Why WooCommerce is losing against Shopify and why that’s really bad news

Shopify VS WooCart Google Trends

The two most popular eCommerce platforms today are Shopify and WooCommerce. They are also complete opposites: one is a proprietary software run by a billion dollar North-American corporation, the other is an open source platform to which thousands of people contribute and millions of people use for free.

But WooCommerce is slowly losing in this game. It is built on top of WordPress, therefore a compromise solution, and with a complex installation process that either needs an experienced developer or a huge amount of time and patience by the new user. Compare that to Shopify’s few clicks to a full store online and you see why people flock to it.

But Shopify winning is bad for everyone but Shopify. First, it’s bad for the users. Shopify is a proprietary platform, a walled garden where any investments into it are lost the minute you leave.

Bought a design for $1000, plugins for $500, and paid a developer $500 to customize everything? You leave and… *Poof* All that time and money wasted. You are also completely reliant on their goodwill to keep your store running. From a non-US country they decide to not like anymore? *Poof* Sell something that they decide they don’t want anymore? *Poof* Before you know it, hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars you spent on customizing your Shopify store are gone.

It’s also bad for the Internet as a whole. The Internet is already very monopolized. Most online shopping is done on Amazon. We don’t search for things, we Google them. Facebook knows more about us than our friends and family. Then there’s eBay, TripAdvisor, AirBnB, … we can go on and on. We all know the pitfalls of large monopolies. Do you really want to help another giant American corporation monopolize another part of the Internet?

But we can also see why people do it. In the end, if the short-term pain is too strong, then we don’t think about what can happen in the long-term:

Who cares about Shopify monopolizing eCom space if I can’t even get my store up in 5 days with WooCommerce?!

Or:

I don’t even know if my store will make money and I’m not spending a week of my time learning WooCommerce only to see it fail in a week.

We are big supporters of open source. We use open source solutions and we publish open source contributions. We know how big of a benefit open source is to the whole Internet. But we also know it has some serious limitations. One of them, being very common, is the lack of user-friendliness. Commonly, these solutions are created by experts for their own use without the thought of a beginner years down the line. The learning curve is often very steep and daunting.

And that’s where WooCart comes in. We want to bring Shopify’s easiness of use to WooCommerce, without the cons proprietary platforms bring.

Join the WooCart community and sign up now for our Newsletter!

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12 thoughts on “Why WooCommerce is losing against Shopify and why that’s really bad news”

  • Super true. In addition to that, people are depending on Facebook to advertise their products. And if they are blocked there, then most of the times they lose their entire fortune. because they were soley depending on one platform to advertise and ignored the pain taking yet long term solutions like SEO, Content Marketing and social branding.

    Also Shopify started being a hit when they have Oberlo model for the dropshipping. There is also a very very high failure rate. And people often seems falling for it, because of it’s ease to setup and seeing everything ready. But it’s like, if you give someone a spot at a pond that doesn’t mean you will also get the chance to catch fish, with all those shopify Dropshippers selling the same stuff.

    Woocommerce is super powerful. We have started our warehouse fulfillment stores on wordpress + woocommerce and never turn back. Magento is super rigid and expensive. Seems like mostly developers have an ego love with magento othervice, woocommerce seems to be making us more money and expansion.

  • I had a friend try to set up a WooCommerce store and that’s pretty much his story. If you want people to use your platform, you have to make it much easier to use. Yes, monopolies are bad, but if you give people the option of free & open source but difficult to use vs. simple, the one that will cause very few headaches will win every time.

    People don’t want to waste a week of their life building something like a storefront. Like you said, it’s a waste of time and money. If you have a small store, it’s kind of a no brainer to use Shopify. Because at 29 dollars per month for their cheaper package, it will take you 14 years to equal the $5,000 you would have paid to a developer to implement your WooCommerce store. Yeah, no thanks. Even with their $79 package, you are still looking at 5 years of use to equal that 5k.

    So if you can implement a much more streamlined user experience, great. Because that is the only way you will be able to compete against Shopify.

  • Que?
    52 yrs old. No prior experience whatsoever.
    Set up a store with Woocommerce and Flatsome in a couple of weeks. Zero cost except some plugins.
    If I can do it, everybody can.

    • Dejan Murko says:

      A couple of weeks? What if you could do it in a few clicks and less than 10 minutes? I think that would be worth pursuing.

      • Shoot pics, edit pics, add products, payment solution, connect the bank, add subscription possibilities, write copy per product, add blog texts, connect freight solutions, etc, etc…
        Few clicks and less than 10 minutes. Nah. Maybe if you’re superhuman…

  • I build sites all the time on woocommerce. I have a love / hate relationship with it. Your points above are true. I’m not a fan of the walled garden. But woocommerce has a long way to go to catch up with shopify. #1 is the user interface (UI) Shopify is beautiful. Woo needs to pick up the pace and start a serious overhaul.

  • Woocommerce is difficult? News to me. Anyone can figure out how to do t if they can upload a photo to Facebook. It’s not complicated in the least bit. Stores don’t always have to be created in a day, projects do take time…

  • Marc Roberts says:

    I decided to use woocommerce first…

    2 months later…

    not even 1 item sold! why? coz I wasn’t able to open my store! I even bought a theme thinking it would make things easier but it just made everything worse… There are also lots of updates that will affect other plugins…Which means more time for watching DIY Youtube video…

    I’m tellin you guys… The struggle is real with Woocommerce!Guess I’m not really a good DIYer that I thought I was.

    So I decided to switch to Shopify just this week.

    After 3 days…

    Voila! Store is almost done! And it looks so lit! Just adding products now then I’m ready to advertise.

    Please remember that your TIME is also a COST! To be honest it’s the most expensive cost! Be practical guys!

    Focus your time on what you’re good at!

    For me, that’s designing ang marketing.

    Leave woocommerce to those who are already good with tech stuff.

    Kudos to you Woocommerce guys for being resourceful and making everything work for your store.

  • I have an experience of both the platforms, Shopify and WooCommerce. The former makes a store in a jiffy no doubt but the pleasure of setting up your store yourself with the latter is very satisfying. You are partially correct in your statement that setting up a store with Shopify is quicker but how quick? It took me just a little above 3 days with Shopify and 4 days plus a half with WooCommerce. Not much difference! But here my store was almost with zero cost! Only problem is Shopify doesn’t have blog posting capability! This is one hell of a disadvantage because of the problems one will face in organic reach through SEO.

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