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Shopify vs WooCommerce vs Centra: A side‑by‑side comparison

Ecommerce has advanced. The design freedom and agility are more important than ever before, allowing brands to express their uniqueness and the character of the brand are crucial in the modern ecommerce strategy.

How do brands score Centra on G2?

See how Centra compares to Shopify and WooCommerce, below

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Meets Requirements8.88.79.1
Ease of Use8.58.89.0
Ease of Setup8.38.88.3
Ease of Admin8.58.89.1
Quality of Support7.58.49.1
Ease of Doing Business With8.58.89.7
Product Direction8.58.79.5

The evolution of commerce platforms

With a variety of different ecommerce technology and thousands of platforms it’s hard to find a perfect fit that will enable your business to achieve your goals. We hope this comparison page will help you understand the key differences between Shopify, WooCommerce and Centra, and choose the right platform for scaling your fashion and lifestyle brand globally.

This comparison does not cover Shopify Plus. If you’re interested to learn how this platform fares about the leading e-commerce systems, check our other comparisons.

Legacy platforms
redEcommerce business logic coupled with CMS and frontend website
redBusiness logic and website customized by integrating directly with the platform’s source code
redDifficult to upgrade due to version and vendor lock-in. Significant cost to keep an installation running
Monolithic SaaS platforms
yellowEcommerce business logic coupled with CMS and frontend on limited APIs
yellowLimited possibilities to extend the built-in business logic and functionality through apps
yellowLimited flexibility prevents rapid online business development and makes it hard to meet enterprise needs
Composable SaaS platforms
greenPresentation layer fully decoupled from the ecommerce engine
greenOpen architecture, with data accessible through well-defined APIs
greenAPI “technical contract” between platform and implementation enables rapid low-cost development

Running a fashion brand? Pick an industry‑specific platform!

To successfully run a global fashion brand, you need a platform that understands the complexity of your niche and unlocks your growth potential. A platform that is ready to deliver the desired customer experience for your customers without the need for additional software, apps, or development. 

At a glance

While there are many ecommerce platforms on the market, WooCommerce and Shopify are great options for each business looking to foray into ecommerce on a limited budget. This comparison will take a closer look at how these platforms are built, which industries they serve best, how they support growth, and how they solve the challenges of the next-generation fashion and lifestyle brands.

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Built for...
  • WooCommerce is built for retailers. Retailer-focused e-commerce product. Industry-specific adaptation needs to be added through plugins.
  • Built for retailers.
  • For any entry-level retailer that wants an easy-to-get-started webshop.
  • Built for both established and aspiring brands that need a flexible platform that scales easily and will help them reach their global ambitions.
Powerful vs. ease of use
  • WooCommerce is built to be highly customizable. However, the platform is not as easy to use as Shopify. You’ll need to learn WordPress and manage hosting and updates by yourself. It requires more technical know-how from the users, especially when the brand starts to grow internationally.
  • Shopify is easy to learn. It's the easiest platform to set up of the three. It is a good, user-friendly solution for beginners and startups, but Shopify is limited in terms of scalability.
  • Built flexible and globally scalable.
  • Centra is the right platform for power users. It requires an experienced e-commerce manager to make the most out of the system, but it becomes very powerful with the right person.
Wholesale vs. direct-to-
  • WooCommerce B2B is only a simple B2C-style ecommerce plugin for business customers, not wholesale.
  • Shopify doesn’t enable wholesale. The wholesale sales channel is available only to stores on Shopify Plus.
  • Centra serves both wholesale and direct-to-consumer sales. It enables brands to handle all channels from one platform - both Wholesale B2B and Direct-to-Consumer B2C.
Single vs. multi-market
  • Requires a variety of plugins to allow you to sell internationally. For example, separate storefronts are needed per each market. Everything else like multi-currency or assigning the warehouses for each market requires additional plugins.
  • Separate storefronts are needed per each market. Shopify Markets helps with basic internationalization, however this does not allow for proper local catalog management, assigning of multiple warehouses per market, local bank accounts, base currencies, payouts etc.
  • Centra enables multiple markets, multiple currencies, multiple languages and prices and size charts depending on the location. You can have multiple storefronts with advanced internalization.
Custom design/dev vs. closed templates
  • Template-based design system with forty-nine highly customizable templates available.
  • A good choice for businesses that don’t want to invest in on-brand design.
  • Template-based design system with one hundred themes available.
  • A good choice for businesses that don’t want to invest in on-brand design.
  • Centra's headless architecture ensures complete freedom of design and enables the use of any CMS. Front end is fully separated from the back end, which allows agile development and choice of any technology.
Payment options
  • WooCommerce Payments available by default, multiple other payment options available via plugins.
  • Few fixed payment options with a focus on Shopify payments, which are tailored for the North American market. Extra fees when using other PSPs.
  • Centra supports over 200+ local payment methods through off-the-shelf integrations with PSPs such as Adyen, Stripe, PayPal, Klarna and Qliro.
  • Self-hosted product. A hosting provider needs to be contracted separately.
  • SaaS platform. Hands-off setup that’s perfect for any business that doesn’t want to manage a self-hosted platform.
  • Centra is a SaaS platform running in the cloud, with a 99.9% availability guarantee covering sales periods such as Black Friday.
Automatic updates vs versions
  • Software needs to be manually updated to the latest version, driving
  • cost, risk and creating plug-in compatibility issues.
  • Automatic platform updates.
  • Always up-to-date
  • Centra is always running on the best and latest version with automatic
  • updates fortnightly.
Licensing fees
  • WooCommerce is initially free, but there are fees for plugins, customization, hosting, updates and upgrades.
  • Monthly subscriptions start from $29/month. Any subscription requires an additional transaction-based fee. Transaction-based fee percentage depends on the chosen pricing plan.
  • Centra’s license fee covers everything needed, including support. The only cost on top is the design and development of a custom-built, on-brand website.

The 12 challenges of fashion commerce

To scale fast and grow internationally, dynamic fashion brands need an ecommerce technology that will unleash their full potential instead of imposing limitations. Modern business requires a platform that will be a solution for a variety of challenges. Let’s evaluate how different ecommerce technology approaches scalability, complexity, design freedom, internationalization, and suitability for selling fashion and lifestyle products.

Challenge #1

Ease of use

While easy to launch, platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce make it hard to deliver a unique experience to your buyers. Their limitations in the case of industry-specific business logic increase the need for developers working on the platform 24/7 and ensuring the ecommerce platform works.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra’s clean, easy-to-use backend is constantly developed and improved. The powerful admin interface is created by a dedicated team of UI/UX experts to make the daily work of managing a brand as intuitive as possible, while keeping up to date with changing conditions.

The guiding principle in Centra’s user interface design is to enable administrators to do as much as possible, as fast as possible.

Challenge #2

Design freedom and flexibility

In terms of website design, the fashion industry has very unique needs. Original brands need the freedom to express their identity, character and message – without compromises or limitations.

Design freedom means empowering editors with a full-scale modular CMS mixing content marketing and shop capabilities. This modern approach may not be easy to achieve through some types of ecommerce technology. 

Agility is key to getting ahead of the competition. Each new feature helps brands to reinforce their position on the market. That’s why it’s so important to choose an ecommerce platform that’s flexible.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra represents a modern software development approach: microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native, and headless (MACH). It offers some performance and growth benefits that are impossible to achieve otherwise. MACH architecture ensures a complete freedom in shaping the store, both feature-wise and design-wise without compromising on performance or scalability. 

Centra’s API-first approach caters to the needs of ambitious fashion brands. Many of Centra’s clients choose to work with a headless CMS as part of their front-end stack for a perfect mix of content marketing and advanced shop functionalities. The platform’s API coverage allows brands to elevate their front-end experiences without having to worry about the restrictions commonly associated with popular monolithic ecommerce platforms. 

Challenge #3

Multi‑store and internationalization

Localization is key to driving sales internationally. Different markets accept different price points and prefer different languages and payment methods. They follow different influencers, and their different climate zones impact seasonal sales. They require different customer journeys. 

Offering a localized website and local payment methods can often increase conversion rates by over 10%, and the best local shipping options can often add another 10% to that figure. 

Why brands migrate to Centra?

Centra’s native multi-store architecture allows for full management of core data locally and globally across different stores, supporting brands with global reach or aspirations to enter new markets. 

Centra allows admin users to manage product management at a store level, a language level, or globally. Descriptions can be different for stores based on languages, while the same images can be used globally. The same principle applies to things like category management, promotions, customer management, etc.

Challenge #4


Wholesale experience is a new competitive frontier for fashion brands. It requires a solution that is built with a specific business logic. Modern brands' goal is to design a unique B2B experience for their customers and they need proper tools. 

Why brands migrate to Centra?

With Centra, you gain a fully digital wholesale platform out of the box to help your brand stand out from the competition. The built-in B2B portal for buyers, sales reps and agents, supports the full wholesale business logic for preorders and at-once orders. It allows personalization and full control of customers’ experience.

Challenge #5

Native features vs plugins

Apps and plugins are an easy way of adding new features to an ecommerce platform, but native integrations are more stable and cheaper in the long run.

Extensions are often extra paid, require separate maintenance and support. Overload of plugins can destabilize your platform and cause extentions conflicts. 

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Features for fashionThrough apps/extensions Through apps/extensions and native integrations (limited)Native

Why brands migrate to Centra?

Centra chooses to offer a comprehensive set of native features out-of-the-box instead of being a modular, plugin-based platform. This approach ensures the best user experience and stable performance of the platform.

Challenge #6

SEO, performance, scalability and stability

Faster store means better SEO and more sales – it's common knowledge today. Because most SEO is happening on the front end, ambitious ecommerce stores need a decoupled architecture to gain fuller control of the SEO aspects of the website.

Website speed impacts the entire digital strategy, from visibility (SEO and SEM), through traffic, the user experience, and ultimately, conversions and revenue. This directly results from Google’s growing focus on speed. Stores running on bloated monolithic commerce platforms with customized themes and many extensions lack the speed you need to rank high in SERP. 

Also, most sales in fashion ecommerce happen on mobile devices, which makes mobile SEO and performance super important for fashion brands.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Your store will never run slow on Centra setup. It’s a future-proof headless platform built for speed and growth.

Challenge #7


Fast and responsive support is, apart from the features and capabilities, an important factor impacting the store’s time-to-market, overall performance and spendings.

Challenge #8

Cost of ownership

The total cost of ownership (TCO) estimation lets you examine the financial impact of the investment, by combining the initial spend with operational costs over 3-5 years. Depending on the platform type, operational expenses can make up about 40%-60% of the TCO. That indicates how important it is to consider them from the start to avoid strain on the budget.

Why brands migrate to Centra

With many industry specific features offered by default, Centra significantly reduces the long-term cost of maintaining the platform and ensuring its stable, good performance in peak sale periods. Centra is the most affordable e-commerce platform for fashion and lifestyle brands, without hidden costs and the need to acquire additional plugins or third-party solutions.

Challenge #9

Analytics and reporting

In the heart of every successful ecommerce store is the process of discovering, interpreting, and communicating data patterns related to business. Platforms offer analytics that helps measure user activity, performance, and return of investment and find customer behavior patterns.

Why brands migrate to Centra

Centra has a user-friendly dashboard, giving an instant and clear overview of sales. You can analyze the performance of your store through numerous different dimensions and over any user-selectable time. Centra’s analytics is powered by a high-speed database, making it fast, accurate, and intuitive.

Centra has extensive and highly-customizable report generation capabilities. You can choose from a variety of existing report generation methods to analyze any part of the business data stored in Centra. Reports can be exported as csv or xlsx files. They can be set to be automatically generated at set times or intervals. You will be notified automatically by email once a report is generated.

Challenge #10

Bundling, promotions and upselling features

In ecommerce, product bundling, promotions and upselling are a must have. The more freedom you have when it comes to marketing - the better sales can be expected. Centra is built to enable any type of offers that you believe have the biggest potential for your store.

Challenge #11

Suitability for fashion and lifestyle products

Implementing industry-specific business logic during ecommerce platform development allowed us to create a perfect-fit solution that’s ready out-of-the-box. You won’t have to buy other plugins/extensions while paying for unnecessary features developed for another industry.

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Features for fashionThrough apps/extensions Through apps/extensions and native integrations (limited)Native

Why brands migrate to Centra?

Centra is built to power original fashion and lifestyle brands, and supports complex lifestyle products. Handling styles, colors and sizes, different product displays, collections and drops has never been easier. 

With Centra, fashion brands can maintain their focus on growing their fan base and global expansion instead of maintaining complex technology. More is coming, the features and roadmap are 100% designed to answer the needs of brands with global ambitions.

Challenge #12

Omnichannel capabilities

Sell to consumers and retailers across multiple channels, countries and marketplaces.  Provide customers with a seamless shopping experience, whether they're shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or social media.Scale your brand without any limits with the only headless ecommerce platform built for fashion & lifestyle.

Why brands migrate to Centra?

One platform, unlimited channels: distributors, agents, resellers, marketplaces and their own direct-to-consumer websites.

You’re in good company

International fashion brands choose Centra as the only platform that fully understands the needs and complex business logic of fashion commerce.

Join the vanguard of original brands that scale fast and expand on new markets without the limitations imposed by their legacy ecommerce platforms. Centra have a very impressive portfolio of brands using their platform, including Nudie Jeans, Sandqvist, ETON, iDeal of Sweden, Douchebags and Norse Projects – with some of these being on the platform right from the start.