AS 79: Woocommerce vs Shopify – which is better?

13 Dec 2016

What’s up you invincible Kings! Wondering what is the best e-commerce platform is? For almost a decade, I’ve been building e-commerce sites, platforms, web services, and have often pondered the true answer to this. I’m your host, David Aladdin, and Your listening to episode 79.

As of recently, I’ve come to a solid conclusion as to which is better, woo commerce or Shopify. The best e-commerce platform for physical products is shopify. In this episode, we deep dive into why Shopify best’s woocommerce, and why I think you should use it too.

Woocommerce, oh how much potential you have, yet so much headaches. Woocommerce, is an awesome platform to start an e-commerce store. Don’t get me wrong. It’s core platform is free, recently acquired by Automattic and distributed as a core platform as free.

Shopify is better for physical products….

The first question you ask yourself is…am I selling physical or digital goods? I prefer Woocommerce for digital goods and Shopify for physical goods.

What is Woocomerce?

Woocommerce is has many strengths, including the fact that it easily installs onto WordPress, an free install-able core operating system to hundreds of thousands of websites on the web today. In addition, wordpress is fully customization, from themes, to plugins and every single aspect of your website.

Out of the box, it comes very polished as well, with reporting, product creation and fairly flexible to work with most WordPress themes.

Not only that, Woocommerce was once the solution I used to power my own e-Commerce site, until I started to realize the major potential flaws and headaches that came with it.

For one, Woocommerce claims its’ free, but most of the functionality exists in plugins that cost on average of $70 to buy, with 1 year of updates. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but when major core areas of your functionality cost $70/year to keep updated, it gets pretty frustrating year after year, buying these upgrades, with fairly glitchy updates.

That’s not to say that you have to pay for the update, but usually when you don’t pay for the upgrade, that core section is unupdated either now not working, preventing a conflict in another area, that is now not working.

Now imagine having 5-10 of these plugins, each $70/year. If you don’t upgrade, you potentially have conflicting plugins, or security vulnerabilities in your site.

Security vulnerabilities is something that scares me deeply with Woocommerce.

When you have the e-commerce portion of your website hosted by wordpress, on a shared or dedicated server, you always have the potential of being hacked. My biggest concern was this. If I automated my fulfilment through my e-commerce wordpress site to my FBA storage, I could potentially be screwed one day if my wordpress site was hacked for whatever reason.

And yes, there are tons of ways to secure your WordPress site. But in the past decade or so, with all the security plugins like wordfence, ninjasecurity, secure cloud based security, the list is long.., I’ve still been hacked – say it be a wordpress theme glitch, an un-updated plugin from codecanyon. It happens a lot.

Was it me just being lazy? Definitely not. WordPress has been highly refined over time, but every add on that you have, requires constant updating. It is extremely annoying to see 10 new plugins requiring updates each week, and then checking all of the plugins to get updated.

WordPress is great but breaks down a lot from updates

If you use wordpress, you know exactly what I mean. Then on top of that, sometimes, if you update all the plugins, you can get the white screen of death, which can just happen as perhaps your server sql database crashed, or something corrupted.

Then there is the issue of some plugins bought from codecanyon which require updates outside of the wordpress plugin directory, thus you need to seperately go and download those plugins seperately, re-write all the code there, and continue business as usual.

Now this is just for plugins. Themes require updates too. And even then, a security flaw may leave your WordPress installation vulnerable. If a hacker was able to get into your WordPress e-commerce site fullfilled by Amazon, they could essential create a purchase order for 1000 units, and now you have a major nightmare on your hands.

Hackers could send 1000 units, or 10,000 units of your inventory, and you could be out of a lot of money. And that is why I decided to try out Shopify.

So, even though I had bulletproof website security, there was still a small chance any wordpress site could get hacked, and thus my conquest to discover a better solution began.

Less headaches with Shopify…

5 Months Ago, I tried shopify. Running an e-commerce business is night and day compared to Woocommerce. No longer was I Spending a ton of time updating random plugins with the fear I might get hacked. No longer was I going to to re-pay licenses for outdated plugins as years went by.

As I entered shopify, there was a design aspect of the dashboard that made building an e-commerce store and launching products the #1 priority. With woocommerce, it felt like they just included the bare minimum so that you’d have to buy their premium plugins year after year.

 Upon signing up I realized how simple Shopify took the headache out of e-commerce. It ran faster, product creation was faster. Inventory management was easy but most importantly, the power of shopify lies within it’s developer community.

Shopify’s Apps made Amazon FBA integration Easy

Everything works as expected. Unlike plugins, shopify uses apps to connect to your store. Sort of the same thing, but the installation process was a click of the button. The first app I used created all my Amazon listings in one click into my Shopify store. Literally within 5 minutes of installing, I had 18 product listings created in shopify from Amazon, and my inventory counts were synced as well.

That didn’t take care of fulfillment. I had been using ecomdash to fulfil orders between Amazon to eBay. I had tried to setup ecomdash with FBA to Woocommerce. Problem was, customers were buying stuff on Woocommerce at the time, and ecomdash wasn’t fullfilling these orders. Woocommerce has an annyoing interface between orders pending, paid, fullfilled and shipped. For whatever reason, orders were being paid for but not shipped, a technically glitch I didn’t fully figure out even when using auto-complete orders plugins with woocommerce.

Bleh. Again, these are some of the headaches you deal with when you build on WordPress.

When I installed my ecomdash app to shopify, it completely synced and  when orders are placed in Shopify, my FBA inventory is now shipping out to those customers. Everything is now working as expected while diversification of platform and scaling has been further achieved.

Furthermore, my FBA inventory is safer protected behind Shopify than my WordPress installation. Yes, shopifiy itself could get hacked, but that’s way less likely, and their 200,000 fellow users would also be in big trouble too.

Now their app system doesn’t just stop their. Although most their apps are monthly pay based apps, I am much happier to pay 10 dollars a month, without having to individually or group update them, and just focus on scaling my business and adding products.

I don’t want to worry about the security and the functionality of an e-commerce site. With wordpress that was happening every single month, and with Shopify, it runs perfectly.

What if you have WordPress and Woocommerce installed and you wanted to switch to Shopify?

So this is and has been my current situation. I have WordPress installed on the root domain, and shopify on a sub directory, as By doing so, I’m not messing around with my long existing blog, with hundreds of articles. If I were to change the urls there, it could affect my SEO, and I don’t want to that. So simply put, I kept my traffic driving articles where they are. And I have set it up such that I have wordpress as a bloging platform mixed with shopify as an eCommerce tab. And it’s been working pretty good.

The winner is:

Shopify is better for physical products 

Woocommerce is better for digital products.

Shopify does cost a bit more to run, but that’s the price I’m willing to pay for peace of mind.

So what does this mean David?

I’d say it creates a potential for your products to start being seen in retail stores. It could potentially disrupt of all retail. Imagine sending your goods to Amazon FBA. Then Amazon FBA sends their best selling  best products “aka” lightning deals and “go deals” to their retail stores. They don’t have to just sell groceries. It’s like when Amazon first started, they went into books. But their now into everything. Adding Amazon Go, is the next step to the puzzle, and they can stock more than a super Walmart can stock, if they wanted to. And this could eventually lead to Amazon Super Go, where they have tens of thousands of products from Amazon in these Amazon Super Go’s across the country. No one thought Walmart could be distrupted. But I also see it as Amazon’s getting back at Walmart for pushing into retail with the Jet acquisition. In 10 years time, retail can look completely different than it looks today. It’s like asking us…what did Amazon look like in 2006. It was completely different. In 10 years… so much has happened.

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