in Struggles

WooCommerce vs Shopify–Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform

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Starting a new business can be an exciting, yet scary thing. Especially if you’re trying to juggle several different things at once. There is a lot of uncertainty. No matter how well prepared you think you are, there will always be things that come up you didn’t expect or anticipate. These might be good or bad, but the key to success is to keep your eye on the bigger picture, and to remember what it is you are trying to accomplish.

One example of this was when we first created our website. We used WooCommerce as our platform and hired someone to create it for us. Everything was fine at first, but as our business began to grow we started experiencing some difficulties with the site. No one in our business was equipped to handle the technical issues, and we didn’t have anyone “on staff” who maintained it for us. We were able to fix some minor issues ourselves, but there were several times when our website just crashed for no apparent reason. It got to the point that we felt like we were being held hostage, and spent many sleepless nights worrying. We never knew when it was going to crash, and if a customer emailed with a technical issue, it was difficult to discern whether it was user error or a website issue. It had eventually gotten so bad, I was afraid to pull up our webpage or log in to our customer emails in the morning because I never knew if it was going to be up or down. I eventually migrated over to Shopify, (which was an experience for another post), and we were finally able to live without being paranoid every minute.

When you have issues like this that take up a lot of your time, it’s difficult to get on with the business of running your business. It’s also one of the things we had to learn the hard way. We had heard a lot of good things about WooCommerce…and I’m sure it’s fine for many businesses. It just wasn’t the right fit for us. Website issues were a problem we didn’t anticipate, and kept us in the weeds for a couple of months.   However, we learned a lot from that experience, and those issues helped us to select the platform that was right for us in the end.

Know yourself and your capabilities.  If you’re not technical, go with a platform that doesn’t require as much technical knowledge like Shopify. While WooCommerce is cheaper to start, as you grow you’ll pay much more in just the stress of trying to manage technical problems.

What has been you’re biggest struggle getting your business started?

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  1. Good post Emmanuel! It’s worth pointing out that WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. Both are powerful and customizable, and as such, you have to maintain both sites pretty closely.

    I migrated my business to the Bigcommerce.com platform after nearly 11 years of running on a completely custom built platform. Sure, we don’t get as much customization capability as we used to have, and therefore, we have to work within the confines of what Bigcommerce can do. BUT…what we’ve sacrificed in flexibility, we’ve gained TENFOLD in reliability. AND, I don’t have to keep a coder on retainer to have them fix one thing or another every few weeks. And those savings add up.

    Btw, in Jan 2015, when we were migrating off our custom platform, we looked at Shopify vs. Bigcommerce. As I recall, we greatly preferred Bigcommerce primarily because the back-end admin tool for customer service reps was much, much more advanced and feature-rich. And about 30% of our orders are taken over the phone, so it was the right move for us.

    • Great stuff, and great to hear from ya patrick! How did your influencer campaign end up?
      Great points about woocommerce and big commerce. Haven’t really used big commerce much, but I’ve heard many people talking about it. All i know is no matter what hosted platform you use, if you’re not technical, it’s better than using woo commerce and having to have a developer on standby all the time. geeesshhh….