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

Last updated on 2019/09/26

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by Dejan Murko

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.

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