180 – WooCommerce v other options

Debate – WooCommerce v other options

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I don’t doing eCommerce! So when David suggested that we carry about a debate about WooCommerce v’s other options, it was pretty clear which side of the fence I was going to defending!

So, let’s start there, and that’s exactly what we do. The opening of the podcast is about whether or not you should be involved with eCommerce at all. Yes, I know that lots of your clients want it, and there’s decent money to be had from building such sites, but there’s also the strain and stress that eCommerce websites bring that no others do. Upgrades can be problematic, restoring from a backup after something goes wrong, with orders still coming in is a nightmare, and it’s likely the only kind of website that you’re going to build which your clients are going to poking about in every single day – they break things and then, well, you know who they turn to for help!

So just don’t do eCommerce… period!

Of course this is a fairy tale, and I want to be able to buy things online just like you do, so we need eCommerce and the most widely used way to deploy that is with WordPress and WooCommerce, so we should all just use that… right? Mmm… well, maybe.

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This is what the podcast is about today. Should you use a self hosted version of WooCommerce or a SaaS platform such as Shopify?

You see, there are so many things that can go wrong with an eCommerce site, and they will go wrong at some point, and, as I said earlier, you’re going to be the one having to poke around trying to fix things. Now, don’t get me wrong, I suspect that a few of you are real WooCommerce experts. You know the code, you know how it all hangs together and every single little problem is something that you can fix up in a jiffy! But that’s not most of the users of WooCommerce. I suspect many of the WooCommerce websites out there are just built with a quick search for ‘Woo’ in the WordPress plugin repository and two clicks later, you’re off to the races. If something breaks, well… you’re doomed.

So, go use a SaaS platform instead and sleep better!

Perhaps this is a little on the pesimistic side though! Perhaps there are ways that you can bend WooCommerce to your will and make a profit, and that’s the level-headed position that David brings to the debate.

It’s free, it’s GPL, you can so what you like with it as there are no restrictions. What that button to be over there? That can be done. What to really get to grips with the SEO on the site? That can be done too? In fact, you can do almost anything if you’re prepared to learn how it all works. Try doing that with a SaaS platform like Shopify!

So the main talking points are thus:

For WooCommerce

For the other options

  • Other solutions are dedicated to Ecommerce (not held to the WordPress post structure)
  • Saas solutions come with fast CDN’s (none of the sluggishness of WP)
  • WooCommerce extensions have become expensive over time
  • WooCommerce has not respected backward compatibility
  • Fewer compatibilities issues than with open-source projects with many plugin authors
  • No Plugin conflicts with SaaS
  • Only $29 per month – (lots of price increases on official Woo plugins 
  • PCI compliant right out of the box
  • The usual domain, security, SSL, hosting and updating time and money cost are gone with SaaS
  • Shopify POS
  • Table rates

So there you are, now it’s over to you. Listen to the podcast and let us know your thoughts. To Woo, or not to Woo!

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Buildspodcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley. Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there, and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Thank you for joining us again, really appreciate it. And if this is your first time, let me introduce myself. I'm Nathan Wrigley and this is episode number 180 entitled a WooCommerce versus other options. It was published on Thursday the 21st of May, 2020.
As I said, my name's Nathan Wrigley and this is WP Builds where our sort of WordPress specific network, we generally tend to talk about nothing apart from WordPress, and today is no exception. If you'd like to know a little bit more about that, head over to WP Builds.com that's our website, and over on that website, there's just every single thing that we produce.
A good way to keep in touch if you're interested is WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe. Over there, you'll be able to subscribe to our newsletter and find out about the content that we produce. That's a podcast every Thursday. You're listening to it now, and also a newsletter that we produce on a Monday.
It's an audio newsletter, so you can listen to the weekly WordPress news that comes out every Monday, but also we have a live version of that every Monday at 2:00 PM UK time in the Facebook group or on YouTube, you can find us. Talking about WordPress, notable WordPress guests and so on and so forth.
Over on that page, there's also a subscribed form to sign up to our deals newsletter. When we hear about a deal, we alert you right away and options to subscribe on your podcast player, and I mentioned the Facebook group. You can join it over there, two and a half thousand WordPress's or being very polite.
I really do like it. The other options would be WP Builds.com forward slash deals. That's a searchable, filterable list of permanent deals that plugin developers and theme developers have offered to us. So go over there. If you're in the market to buy something this week, you never know. You might find it and they never go away, which is the best thing.
And another option would be WP Builds.com forward slash. Advertise if you would like to have your product or service put in front of a WordPress specific audience. A bit like AB split test have done. Want to set up your AB split test in record time, like in a couple of minutes. Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else.
Buttons, images, headers, rows, really anything. The best part is that it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor, AKA Gutenberg. Check it out at absplittest.com. Okie dokie. Let's get stuck into today's conversation. It's a debate between David and I. We're onto debate number six.
We've got this sort of slightly more adversarial approach these days. So I'm joined and we're talking about Woocommerce, and we've come up with the rather pithy title of a Woocommerce versus. Other options. The idea being, you know, should you in any way, shape or form get involved with e-commerce? Is that something that really should be left to SaaS platforms?
So example would be Shopify, perhaps even a different WordPress plugin. The fact is a lot of us make a substantial amount of our income from selling WooCommerce websites or. ECommerce websites, but is it the best way of doing it? Do your customers get the best deal? Do you get the most peace of mind?
Should you leave e-commerce all together and just concentrate on different types of websites? It's all in today's debate and I hope that you enjoy it. Hello,
David Waumsley: [00:03:40] today's debate, we are calling Woocommerce versus well, anything else. And Nathan's going to take the anything else, and I'm going to argue for WooCommerce, which is actually not the easiest thing for me to do.
And they said,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:03:53] well, where do we start? Okay, so I suppose this debate comes out of the fact that I. Largely, well, completely recently askew. I don't want anything to do with e-commerce whatsoever. I've been there in the past. I confess that I haven't actually deployed will commerce in anger. I've installed it a couple of times and tinkered with it, but really not got into it all that far, but years ago.
Spent quite a lot of time with Drupal commerce and Magento and various other open source versions of e-commerce, and I just came to dislike doing eCommerce websites. And so my opening gambit is simply this, just don't do them. Don't get involved with building eCommerce websites. There are just so many things to go wrong.
It's quite interesting, actually. I was on a zoom call the other day with a whole bunch of people, and one of the people who is a WordPress guy was basically making the exact same point that e-commerce is just a terrifying proposition as far as I can see it. Basically the only website that you're ever going to deploy, the only type of website where the client has a 24 seven all the ways on requirement for it.
Now, if you build a brochure websites or if you build more or less any other kind of website, they're going to be a little bit accommodating. Should there be a tiny bit of downtime or should a little feature not quite work correctly. Whereas in an eCommerce website, anything that goes wrong could be completely catastrophic, and there are requirements for it to be continually correct in terms of reconciling the database and making sure that the receipts are being emailed out and that the invoices are correct and that it's rounding up the values of the transactions correctly.
The discounts are working, the coupon codes are working, so there's these myriad. Bits, all hanging off each other, hoping to work and trying to work, and I just see that as just, just something I don't want to get involved in, so don't do e-commerce. There you go.
David Waumsley: [00:06:01] Yeah. I mean, you know what, it's hard for me to argue that.
So my background is that I was one of the first adopters of Woocommerce cause I set up a little shop of our own. It was a side project and it was quite successful. And we, you though. A WordPress theme that had some e-commerce on it. And it was, it was terrible really, cause it didn't take care of the stock properly.
So it caused us problems and then were commerce came out and we swapped over to it. And it was fabulous for us because the problems did disappear and we carried it on for another, say, four years, I think with it pass more. And I like it, but once I started doing this as a job. I really quickly wanted to get out of giving it a toll on, I sent people to the biggest rival, really Shopify out there, because I think most people weren't ready for the responsibility that goes with an eCommerce shop.
And I also didn't want the exactly the same things as what you'll say in this worry of things going wrong and taking the responsibility.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:59] So
David Waumsley: [00:07:01] I've had to shift my position. So my argument, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:04] no. Honestly, stop there. Thanks for joining us on this episode of the WP Builds. I think I've just nailed it.
It's over.
David Waumsley: [00:07:16] And you know why I've got back into WooCommerce and only just recently, and I think it's a few, things have changed. So page builders have made it a lot easier to adapt the layout. So that was always tricky because clients then wanted to have their vision of how their shop would look. That's made it easier to move around the dynamic stuff within WooCommerce.
So that was an advantage and some better themes, which had. Things like we need to get for various plugins. I think it's become a little bit more reliable over the years as well. I think particularly we're now into version four of will commerce, which is leading us into this new JavaScript. The rest API is, they're producing these reports in the backend, so I think we're onto something new.
I think, whew. Commerce used to lack, and it still does, you know, this backwards compatibility, so you could make. Changes and then it would break, leaving you to be forced to rely on the plugins to update for you. Yeah. I know I'm not making a very good case, but let me, let me get to why I think it's still worth it.
Now. I've adopted. For my business. More of an approach for training people to DIY a little bit more. So help. Because when it comes to Woocommerce, they really do need to be hands on with their sites. So they do need training, and I've shifted the model a little bit more towards the FAC facilitating them to manage their own.
Site. So I think Woocommerce is great because it still offers people like us an opportunity to getting clients on something, which is the
biggest growth area,
I think, for, you know, website demands and get in there. But not take out, take hours out of the responsibility for it. So they, we will help you with your WooCommerce shop.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:57] Do you know what, yeah, I mean, clearly it's a stupid position that I just had in terms of don't build eCommerce websites. That works very well for me, and I am more than happy with it. And I honestly think that it will take some cataclysmic events. For me to to revisit that. I really don't foresee doing eCommerce websites anytime soon.
I am going to hand those over to, to companies who do that and that's what they do, which we'll get onto in a minute or I'm going to pass them onto people who I know. So I am, although it was. Kind of a spurious argument. Clearly there need to be eCommerce websites. I as much as anybody, enjoy shopping online and the benefits that it's brought to us, as a society are incredible and beguiling and wonderful, but I'm staying away from them.
That being said, my, I suppose my argument would be exactly what I just said, that the. I think if somebody were to approach me and say, I've got a budget, it's a reasonable budget. It's the kind of budget which is suitable for building a website. I honestly still think I'd be telling them to go and look at the SaaS platforms for a whole variety of reasons, largely because it's going to save them a ton of money.
I mean, that's just a real win for them. That's really great. You know, they open their wallet and they begin at kind of $29 a month, which when you extrapolate it over the course of a year. 360 odd dollars for a shop, which will work. I'm sure it doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but it'll basically work.
And the one thing that I think that $360 will buy them, which having something in. WooCommerce won't is peace of mind, that, that horrible feeling that the hosting in some way on your WordPress website collapsed during the night. Something in the database got corrupted, something got hacked, got stolen, the backup didn't work, you know, all of those things.
And whilst in a normal website, all of that is fine. I think in an eCommerce website, all of that, it can be cataclysmic. So really. I think the strongest argument that I've got for e-commerce on a SaaS platform, and here I'm thinking about things like big commerce and Shopify. They're really the only two that I know anything about.
It's just peace of mind. You just get a a hundred percent well, I don't know what their SLA is, but I'm sure it's very close to a hundred percent you know, just pay your money, upload your products, you're done. It'll just work. It'll be rock solid. Nothing to keep you awake at night.
David Waumsley: [00:11:34] Yeah. And it's really hard to argue against that, apart from the fact that it leaves us kind of a bit stuffed.
So if our, you know, more and more the brochure sites are being taken up by SaaS products, whereas the way we can use our kind of skills, our, you know, our knowledge for client work. I mean, for me, now I'm thinking. I'm feeling I'm going to have to move much more towards dealing with eCommerce because the other work, I'm just fighting against the others, the Squarespaces and the wicks for the brochure sites.
I might, I might be able to put up a fight against, say, Shopify. And we were looking at the figures before on this one and, and it was a real shock, cause it really does come down to, if we're looking at the two popular ones, it's Wu commerce and Shopify. And I'm just so stunned because it wasn't. Too long ago when I last looked, and this was still in my head, that Woocommerce had, I think, 46% of the market share with something like Shopify coming in, some that were like 7% well, over these last few years, it's increased.
Its growth has been 120% each year on it. So it's now the case that it's. Dependent on what figures you're looking at. It's overtaken Woocommerce.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:12:48] So just to be clear, do you have those figures? What are the percentages of eCommerce stores that are running on either of those two platforms, roughly?
David Waumsley: [00:12:57] Yeah.
Well, if we look at now trends, I've just got it up here built with, if we look. Well, Shopify is leading. If we look at the entire internet on theirs, which is 22% of the market will come us only coming in on 15% now. But if we go to the top 1 million, I think, yeah, we'll call us. Takes the lead here with 27% Shopify dropping down to 21 and there's some, there's a lot of global differences.
So say the UK. it's much higher for WooCommerce than is Shopify. If you take the U S it's much higher for Shopify than, we're commerce. So there's those kinds of differences as well.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:13:37] Do you know what's interesting about that data as well as if Shopify is winning on the top thousand? My assumption is that those top thousand websites have got very deep pockets.
They are, you know, they have, they're rolling millions of dollars every single month. Possibly, possibly more. And so just from a longevity point of view, that speaks, and if the trend is toward, we will comma, sorry, towards Shopify over time, that speaks to me as a very profitable, SaaS product, Shopify. And if, and if it's slowly moving towards it and Shopify is growing over time, maybe.
The top 2000 websites, the top 3000 the top 4,000 you know, when you get to a million, it's, it's pivoted. But I'm imagining that, you know, the, the large proportion of those 500,000 half of it are going to be, you know, small amounts of money, far less significant. So that, that tells me about its future and its stability.
And the fact that. Well, you know, you don't really want to get into a platform that you think there's a chance that this is going to be not around in a few years time. It really doesn't feel like that for Shopify at the minute. It feels like it's dead solid bet. Now,
David Waumsley: [00:14:50] and we better clarify on that one because I should have just clicked on this one.
If we put it into the top, 10,000 should be fine. It's really in the lead. 21%, and in fact, I can't even see, Where was it then? We are, we're commerce is dropping down to something ridiculous, small 5% or something. Actually, it's best to look these up because actually these figures are changing so rapidly that we can't rely on it, but I mean, I think,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:15:17] well, no, no.
I would imagine, depending on the way how that data is actually thrown together, I would imagine that there has been a giant shift in the last couple of months towards SaaS. Platforms. Because let's say, for example, that, you know, we're recording this during the, the lockdown and, and I, for one, received quite a few inquiries from people who have.
Previously just had a website and they've, they've shifted their products from their warehouse to a whole bunch of retailers. Those retailers are now shot, and so they've decided they want to shift their paint or their shoes or whatever it might be in an, you know, themselves. I don't know that they'll ever go back to using retailers if they're successful.
Anyway, the point being that. I think e-commerce has really changed in the last couple of months, and maybe the exact time that we're recording this. We've got some slightly distorted figures, but you know what? If I had a warehouse needing to get rid of all that paint, I'm never going to go to a developer and say, look, please can I join your roster?
I'll happily wait six months for you to get me my website up and running, or whatever. You would go to the place where you could launch tomorrow, and that would be online and SaaS, you
David Waumsley: [00:16:28] know. Yeah. That's a really, really good point. Well, I still got to argue for the WooCommerce because it's the only route for us to be able to make some money out of it.
So yeah, people off to Shopify. Well, I guess we can work on Shopify. There's, you still can use your CSS skills to make those sites look nice and, and design a little bit, even though it's working through templates. But I think we'll commerce still should, has a fight against Shopify. So sure, you can't beat it on the ease and not having to worry about host insecurity and conflicts and updates and all that sort of stuff.
But. You might slightly get annoyed with the extra transaction fee that you're going to get with Shopify, which you can control with WooCommerce. You could decide who's going to process your orders for you and what you're going to pay with Shopify. You are kind of locked into their system, aren't you?
And there's a transaction fee.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:24] Yeah. And that is presumably part of their very profitable business model. You know, they, they. Cleverly soccer, tiny percentage of your profits each time you have a transaction, and you probably don't even notice until the end of the year when your accountant reconciles it all and you suddenly look at the number with all those zeros on the end and think, really, did I really give them much?
I thought it was just 29 bucks a month. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:17:47] Yeah. You know, I read something, I think it was in a forum where they were asking people what they liked and disliked about Shopify, and somebody wrote some really, really good detailed experience having three shops on Shopify, and it was somebody who believed that was the best solution, certainly for anybody starting up over anything else.
But she did also add in the fact that. That's true. If you don't have a developer hand who can sort out all the technicalities of the things that obviously Shopify saw outfit you, but she had issues with it. Was that. There were certain things which get annoying with their marketplace. So buy with Shopify, if you want to, complex shipping tables, it doesn't come part of that.
So you end up paying an extra $20 to be able to have that kind of functionality. Something you could do cheaper with Woocommerce. And
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:41] it's.
David Waumsley: [00:18:43] It's often the design things that you can't do. Cause the interesting thing about Shopify, we should talk about them, shouldn't we? Because they start at 29. Then the next thing is, what is it,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:52] 1779 so the, the base package, which is called basic Shopify, is $29 a month.
And you, you get yourself an online store and, you know, there's a few tick boxes in their pricing table. Then you go to Shopify, just regular Shopify as it's called for a growing business. They describe, and then there's a. There is quite a gigantic leap from that point. and you go up to advanced Shopify, which is a sudden 299, so call it $300 a month.
And for that you get, a few, a few extras, but it's at that kind of price point. Those few extras do seem somewhat expensive, I have to say.
David Waumsley: [00:19:28] Yeah. And you reduce down the cost at, you're on those transaction fees, that then goes down to half a percent, you know? But then there's the, there's the one that's even higher than that, which is the plus Shopify plus, which starts at 2000 pounds per month, while it is 2000 pounds per month.
And that's your only way of being able to get access to the code to be able to change your cart and checkout process. So you. If you're really somebody who thinks in the future that you might want to do some of the kind of clever upsells that we see now with things like cart flows and some other products out there where you can intercept that checkout process whilst people are in the mood for buying slots.
And again, you can't do that until you're in that kind of 2000 pound range. That's how I understand it with Shopify. So it's a real plus to the flexibility of WooCommerce if you really want to get into that kind of stuff.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:20:25] Yeah. The the, you know, there's, there's no denying that is there, and that is obviously one of the key features of why I love WordPress in general is the ability to take something, even if it's something which is prebuilt and looks ready to go and this perfectly figured and done, you can just start to delve in.
Play with it and muck around with it, and of course you can't do that with Shopify. As you say, if you're willing to spend and you have the technical expertise, then yes, it's possible. But for most people, I think that's going to be somewhat out of reach. And I guess, I guess that's, that's kind of it is network.
We're drawing a line here about the type of merchant who is going to be using these services and maybe this debate is going to come down to something like this. If you are. Brand new to e-commerce and you're just dipping your toes in the water and you want to just get yourself off the ground and establish that your product has a market and that you can make some money online, but you don't have the cost worked out for a developer.
You can't afford to pay somebody if something goes wrong. You just want to be headache free, then Shopify is good, but if you want to be able to tweak. Modify, alter, have something utterly cost them, you'll need a deeper pocket. And you can't really do that cheaply, at least with Shopify. And so at some point there is a crossover.
The balance tips, the Seesaw goes in the other direction and it will, commerce starts to look far more compelling. I dunno where that point is, but it seems to be somewhere between $79 and $2,000 a month.
David Waumsley: [00:21:58] Yeah. And I think you know why we're trying to argue, if I wanted to convince people to think about with commerce over Shopify, I think I'd be saying, you know, you your business, your.
The main may change. You might want to do other things. You might want to get your traffic through blogging, and that's fine. Okay. Shopify has got a blog. You can use that, but it doesn't have, and this is another criticism of, of Shopify, is that you can't really control the URL structure for your SEO and other things you can do, but you would want, if you really wanted to take that seriously, you would need another blogging blogging platform.
But then that becomes the problem of,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:22:34] you know,
David Waumsley: [00:22:35] with WordPress. We'll commerce is just a plugin to give you that facility. You've got the blogging ability, the ability to set up courses or events or anything else, and you can have the one user log in and their account will remain within that one site.
Trying to do. Similar kind of thing with your business by using, say, WordPress for your blog and something else for your courses and membership and then have Shopify, you can't get them to talk to each other without inconvenience in your existing customer base.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:08] Yes. Yeah. All of this makes sense. I feel this debate's getting away from me somehow.
I feel like somehow you're in the ascendancy, so yeah. I'm going to try and drag it back a little bit. Just going back to what we talked about right at the very start where I was talking about the headaches that e-commerce brings, I am interested to know because I know that you have dabbled quite a lot with WooCommerce and things.
Have you ever had it bite you? Have you ever had an actual problem where the, you know, the midnight phone call or whatever or whatever, the, the snotty email in the morning, it's down, something's gone wrong or. Updates, plugin, conflict, nightmare, all broken. Have you ever had any problems like that, or is your experience with WooCommerce been largely pain-free?
David Waumsley: [00:23:48] It's not been too bad. There have been some frustrations, with things. So it's, again, it's with this backwards compatibility. So I've done some very simple modifications to, will commerce such as, and this is the old days, I wouldn't need to do this now with the page builders. This is why I'm, I'm more keen to use it.
So I wanted to say, put the title above the image around the shop page. Instead of the default way. So I changed something. There's some code they're freely available to use. I do it. There's a minor update, not a major update, and it's broken. And then I go to the go to the pages and the whole file structure is entirely different.
So suddenly I've got half day loss trying to work out how to get it back to how it was. So those, it's those kind of little things which have booked me, but I actually believe we might be, there might be a turn on that because if you think about it, Shopify right. Had a lot of criticism because of its structure, because it was, it was designed as something that needed to work within WordPress and wasn't a dedicated solution.
So his criticism was how it would add content to the database and how clumsy it did stuff. But I think. They've needed to break things. And I think now perhaps, maybe I'm not to mystic, we were at a point where it may be a more stable platform, which doesn't have the same floors.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:07] Okay. That's really interesting because that's something that I've heard time and time again, is the, the, you know, the fear of hanging over the update button of WooCommerce much more than any other thing.
presumably because of the reasons I said, because you know that there's more riding on it. You know, if you're, if your SEO plugin or your. I don't know. Any other plugin doesn't quite work. You can quickly roll back and it's not really that important. You can identify the problem and wait for the next update or something, but you know, in a livey commerce store, clicking update, have orders happened.
In the meantime, have you got somehow got things that have been transacted? Have you in somehow deleted those? If you restore from a backup, all of those kinds of things. It's nice to hear that. But it seems to be more update friendly. There's less scary stuff happening each time. If that's the case, then that's good.
David Waumsley: [00:25:56] Yeah. I've only got my very limited experience. I mean, really, there's only one shop that's constantly doing business. Like I, I'm kind of looking after at the moment, but I will tell you over the last couple of major updates I've just updated with my brother, my wife has. and, And everything has been perfectly fine.
There's not had an issue at all. So I think, you know, I used to find a lot of really annoying little things with my tweaks or gone wrong, but nowadays I don't. But then, you know what? I'm cautious with everything I do. So I'm where before I thought, now I'll just get in there and I'll add in a snippet here.
Rather than pay for a plugin, I'm more likely to add a plugin. Now that said
Nathan Wrigley: [00:26:35] that somebody else you've played it. Cause of course there is the th the, the unexpected consequences of these updates. So it's all very well. You updating things and something as you described, something minor goes wrong. Like, I don't know, like you said, the image ends up above the title or whatever, but presumably.
You're not discovering those problems yourselves. It's an angry client who's discovering those problems. And that speaks of kind of all sorts of things, doesn't it? You know, the client gets the impression that, well, what, what are you doing? You don't know what you're doing. You know, yesterday it was all fine, and today it's okay.
You, you know, it's different. It's wrong. What, what on earth has happened. They're not aware that there's a plugin that's been updated. They just know that they have an eCommerce store and things are in the wrong place. And so the impression of becoming a inept or unprofessional breaking things. With their website that they cherish and they're familiar with.
That's far more likely because I very much doubt that those things would happen on platforms like Shopify. You wait, I bet loads people say all the time.
David Waumsley: [00:27:35] In all honesty, again, it's really limited knowledge, not big user of WooCommerce, but when it comes down to those kinds of things, you know, the things that I used to be fearful with.
Before we commerce was stock control, but in terms of getting those orders through and the, the statistics that have on what's happened and then getting their emails have all been kind of fine. Things have worked on it. It does actually the issue, the only issues I've had have tended to be things which we could find on other sites have been display issues.
And small things like that. The actual function and people getting paid at the right time and the communication and the stock control as all always remained correct in my experience with WooCommerce.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:28:14] Well, yeah, I guess if it, if it had fundamental problems on with those exact things, it would be dead in the water, wouldn't it?
Nobody would ever use it. It stop control and invoices going out simply didn't work. But it is interesting cause obviously with things like Shopify, everything's onto one platform. It's developed by a presumably. Yeah. The fairly well paid and adept team of developers and everything's going to work.
Whereas my impression of WooCommerce stores is, and you only have to look around, you know, Wu commerce itself has many, many extensions. you know that you can extend it with plugins, I should say. And then of course, you've got third party retailers, like, yes and so on who also offer these functionalities.
They all bolt in. They're all relying on. Core updating in a, in a timely and, and non non breaking way. So that would worry me as well. The fact that, you know, you come up with this complicated store, you've got the budget, you make something complicated, but then it's, it's, it's a jumble of spaghetti and it's hanging together by plugin authors who you really don't know what they're doing.
So that would, that would cause so much anxiety for me. I think so.
David Waumsley: [00:29:20] I personally, and this is an argument for WooCommerce as such, but I think if you are getting involved in something like that, I think it makes sense not to go that approach where I think, you know, one school of thought it's not mine is that, you know, we feel developed that the client doesn't need to know about what they use in, you know, they just want it to work.
I wouldn't want to personally take that responsibility. I want to say, yeah, you use in this world commerce extension here and. You know, and let them know about all the caveats that go with that because none of us can guarantee, can we a conflict between these two plugins. But you know what the same thing I believe does and can happen in Shopify, because you do need to extend in the same way you do with, you know, because we're commerce does work, the basic thing works and gets a shop up and running for free.
Just you need to provide your hosting. It's, we're only talking about the extensions and the extensions, the third party extensions on Shopify, so perhaps the same issues will exist there. Shopify doesn't control the code for those third parties.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:20] Yeah. Okay. Yep. Fair enough. What about things like, Compliance and regulations within particular countries. Now again, I'm sort of guessing that of SaaS platform, like Shopify have that all in hand. You know, they've got the law for each jurisdiction and then make sure that if you're trading out of a certain country, that their platform has the data held in the right places and all that kind of stuff.
What about things like PCI compliance and what have you, you know, if you're throwing together a bunch of disparate random plugins, some of which, You know, you, you may not even know anything about the company that sold it to you. How do you, how do you manage stuff like that? How do you make sure that you are compliant, that your hosting meets the right requirements and that your code is all completely legit and that it's not scraping credit card details, which of course we now know has happened in the recent past.
David Waumsley: [00:31:09] Yeah. And that's, and this is where I ended up falling on your side with this stuff. I mean, I, I'm quite happy the fact that there's only one gateway provider ready for that I would use, which is Stripe, because it takes care of all that stuff where these jobs go. And of course you'd have to be absolutely cautious with the kind of plugins.
That you put into the install. So I think we're commerce is restricted in that area. I wouldn't touch it unless it was, you know, I don't think I would want to be taken on that responsibility of adding in other payment gateways through other software that wasn't official software.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:44] Do you know, if will commerce offers that kind of compliance?
So let's say for example, that you just use WooCommerce and you integrate it with Stripe. Are you, are you done? Is that fine? Are you compliant in just about every jurisdiction? Are you good to go to sell things with, you know, with a WordPress website, with WooCommerce using Stripe, or, well, PayPal's a different case, but are you okay with that?
Does that meet all of the requirements.
David Waumsley: [00:32:10] well I don't, I don't really know, but I believe that's the case. All you need is to, you know, you just need to let's encrypt certificate and as long as you're using Stripe, they take care of that through JavaScript. And you are. A PCI compliant, then that's my understanding.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:28] Yeah. It's interesting though, isn't it? Because both of us obviously worked with WordPress quite a lot, and both of us don't know the answer to that question. and it's the kind of question that presumably somebody knocking on your door, wearing a suitable uniform might not re might not say as a suitable answer, you know?
Well, you built the website. there's been fraud. you don't appear to know whether it's compliant or not. Come on, governor, accompany down to the station. We've got some questions for you. Again, it's these kinds of things you would assume, right? The assumption would be that that's all taken care of, but the fact that neither of us know is slightly chilling, isn't it?
David Waumsley: [00:33:06] Well, I think, you know, I mean, we would be in trouble if we, if somebody, I mean, what's what they're going to be able to get out of our install of WordPress. They would be able to get the passwords and the usernames up by clients. It would be up to Stripe to ensure that the credit card details that they.
Typed in, that becomes their responsibility. So, you know, using Stripe, we are protected in that way. It wouldn't be our problem. It would only be our problem if we let our sites get hacked and they got older, their usernames and passwords. But that would apply pretty much to, you know, many sites that we set up.
You know, if you are blogging as well, you could have that. That kind of information lost as well. Yeah. At least
Nathan Wrigley: [00:33:48] I think it was somewhat of a spurious argument, but interesting because there were little spate of, of plugging problems lately reported on sites like, Wordfence and so on. One of which was, and I don't really, I didn't really investigate the details of this, but one of which was scraping the, the credit card details before the payment was processed and sending it off to a third party server somewhere.
And so the. The, the problem there was that there appeared to be nothing wrong. You know, the transaction went on as, as normal in the normal way, but the code was written in such a way that it, it before it sent it off to wherever. I don't know. I doubt that it was strike, it was probably some other place, but, it got, it got scraped and sent to her to somebody else and then obviously six months later, a year later, whatever that then gets used.
And. Boy. Imagine if you're the owner of that shop. You don't really have too many answers for law enforcement at that point, do you or the other than yep, it did do that. By site.
David Waumsley: [00:34:45] Yeah. I mean, we don't know this, this, this is one to speculate, but you know, would there be any more protections from plugins that you got from the repository, from WordPress, that you installed it into that then you would over Shopify, you know?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:34:58] It's interesting. And it's these sort of questions and the lack of clarity and the, and also the, you know, the, the sort of fear of. Being told off by the, the jurisdiction, the, you know, the police or whatever in your particular jurisdiction is, is intriguing. Yeah. Again, they were pretty spurious argument.
I am more than more than satisfied that if you use, plugins that come from reputable authors, that you're completely covered on this. So I'm not really going to dwell on that for too long.
David Waumsley: [00:35:24] No. I think there's a lot of nuances here, and I've never got straight on this one because I've, I've read stuff on the Shopify side where they're saying, you know, you're not covering properly, or at least it costs you extra money to cover sort of taxation or the handling of taxation for the UK on other places.
But then I've heard that. Kinds of arguments as well at case. we've commerce not having a plugin that does that. So I think when you, you know, somebody would really need to do their research, I think on which to pick on this, you know, if they've got particular requirements, legal requirements.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:57] Mm. Do you think there's, do you think there's one, area that, where one wins out over the other?
So, for example, I know that you mentioned before this call began that you could get like a point of sale terminal off Shopify. That is to say you can have a physical, actual, actual thing which you hold in your hands, which, you know, you can type it it basically, it's like a, it's like a tail cash register, but for your online store so that you can actually have.
The online store married up with the, with the, the real world store. That seems like quite an attractive proposition and apparently that's a service that Shopify offer.
David Waumsley: [00:36:34] Yeah. As part of their lowest deal, you can get this point of sale system that's there for their site and you know, bar codes. Now, the person who I thought gave me the most interesting account of Shopify was very critical of that.
They said that that bar code system was very slow work in, so the free thing that you get with them isn't really up to standard. Yeah. But you know, it really beats will commerce there because in order to get something very similar, you would need to go to the, there is a point of sale, offering from the official Woocommerce.
And there is one from year as well, which kind of gives you a new display of your shop. One way you can just kind of type in people's card details online or something or do it there and you can Mark, you can. So like you can pair that up with a barcode system of your own. So I don't know on that one. So maybe Shopify, at least on paper, it sounds great because it's just there.
It's just part of the deal. As soon as you sign up, you've got this point of sale system.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:35] It's quite compelling. If you own a, an actual shop, isn't it? And you are simply going online in order to expand your reach, you know, you've got the product sitting on your shelves, you just want a wider audience. that is quite compelling, I have to say that.
Increasingly when I go into small independent little stores, although it may not be in any way be connected with Shopify, I'm seeing more and more of those like funky new little terminals where there's like something like akin to a tablet, an iPad or equivalent attached. And then there's some sort of little separate cash drawer.
And clearly it's connected to the internet in some way. And you know, you can swipe your card on the little detachable button, so on. And you know those, those giant companies that ran. cash register networks, they seem to be losing out to presumably companies like big commerce and Shopify who are able to offer these much more affordable, stick it in a box so you can receive it within 24 hours and get your, get your cash register going through us.
Yeah, it's quite compelling, quite a compelling offer, and maybe it's a loss leader for them, but it gets people through the door. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:38:39] And it's, you know, what's going to be interested in about this? This debate is going to be a different, you know, I'm sure months down the line. I mean, the interesting thing is the pairing up with commerce with GoDaddy, isn't it at the moment?
Will that increase the amount of users. All commerce and will that, you know, carry on stimulating the kind of offerings we've got to Woocommerce. That's the big fear here. I mean, if, if Shopify keeps increasing at the rate that it is, it could push out Woocommerce and then hence that sort of development or.
All the extra add ons for WooCommerce, we'll slow down. I'm hoping that's not the case.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:39:17] Yeah. Interesting that because the time that we're recording it, GoDaddy have joined up with WooCommerce, whether or not they still will still be around and in times to come, I don't know. And also it seems to be being AB tested on offs because I, I could get the banner one minute and then it was gone the next minute.
But WooCommerce have joined forces with GoDaddy offering. Three months for $3 of hosting, plus about about 800 pounds worth of, of extensions to Woocommerce. There are 34 included at the time of recording this podcast, but although I'm going to ask you to. Come on my side for a moment here, David, you weren't that, you weren't that taken by the, by the sort of depth of the 34 extensions on offer.
You, you, you weren't convinced that they would be something that you would be making a, a good store out of.
David Waumsley: [00:40:07] No, I think because the big items there, things like subscriptions and bookings, you may not want those. And maybe the plugin that you want is, conditional shipping and payment options or something which won't be there.
So, you know, even though you've got this big price tag of all this stuff you could use, I just don't think you would ever get to one single shop, whatever, use anything close to half of what's been offered. So, yeah. Yeah. So it sounds like a great deal and I think the host is a great deal and I think the partnership would be a good one.
My, my first reaction to this was, Oh no, cause I want to be able to sell Woocommerce to people and have them come on my host and in care. I can't compete with this. But looking at a game thinking. Just on practical level, it's, it's just looks great, but it probably isn't going to help.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:58] Right. There's not the suite of, there's not the exact array of extensions that you want, so, okay.
Yeah. Speaking of, you know, extensions and pricing and all of that kind of stuff. Interesting. Cause I know that one of the things that has put people off with commerce in the past is the fact that they feel that they've been bitten by what, what can only be described as. Well backtracking on promises, is that too strong of pricing that was offered that was then kind of reneged on or modified in such a way?
I'm sure in terms of the terms and conditions, it was probably completely legit, but a lot of people were up in arms and so that kind of speaks as well. Now, whilst we don't have any. Cast-iron guarantees. It feels like Shopify. It would be suicide to try and put their prices up significantly in a very short space of time madness.
If they did that, who knows? They might, but you, you do feel that over time WooCommerce have done that. They've taken away things that they offered and they've bought. Mm. You know, bulk pricing and things have gone. lifetime deals have sort of gone by the wayside. And so that's kind of a bit of a concern as well.
If you're developing on this stuff, suddenly a shop that you were able to offer profitably might suddenly become unprofitable when you've got to renew your licenses.
David Waumsley: [00:42:16] Yeah. Yeah. I felt that was unfair and that really put me off with commerce. for some time. I mean, the only thing, I mean, I'll count the, the things that have changed.
So the first one was when it was, we theorize that owned it rather than automatic has they do now? The first one, the big controversy back in 2013 was that they took away sort of overnight the lifetime deals on their extension and turned them into subscriptions. They. Turn that around again and allow people to keep them as lifetime deals.
But it sets off the whole GPL clip things with, WP Avenger, first GPL club. They're offering those extensions. So they started that off. That was, but now, since automatic, we've had two changes, which was the dropping of the 50%. Renewal discount. That was a huge impact on people and unexpected from automatic.
And then just recently, the bulk buy in reduction in costs for developers of a particular extension is now gone. So these are these three increases, unexpected ones. So I completely get that. But can I make the argument for. Why might be kind of reasonable against say Shopify? So, I think they're bringing themselves more in line with Shopify, but
Nathan Wrigley: [00:43:34] largely Shopify could be a
David Waumsley: [00:43:35] lot more expensive.
So if say, subscriptions, you know, you're going to get that for $99 for the official channel, that if you want the official WooCommerce subscription. from their marketplace, but it's gonna cost you, there's a certain element of free up to a certain number of purchases. And then I think the options there were $39 per month.
So, and I think it's similar with kind of bookings plugins as well. So you could say that as it stands at the moment. There's still, in terms of cost, it probably is the case that, the official WooCommerce wants a cheaper than the official Shopify once or shop. If I once just about, yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:44:16] Do you feel that they're just trying to keep it in line with the pricing.
Would, you know, let's say for example, you've got a store which is costing you $80 a month on Shopify. They're just trying to keep in touch with those prices. In other words, whatever Shopify charge, that's how will commerce feel. They can charge. They're not, they're trying to create some sort of parity, maybe slightly cheaper, but you know, as opposed to just going for whatever would be the norm in WordPress.
They're just trying to figure out what the norm is in e-commerce.
David Waumsley: [00:44:49] Yeah, maybe. I mean, you know, personally I think it's a bit of a money grab and I think it was a mistake. I think they, one of the things that leads people to WordPress and were commerce was the fact that it is essentially free and you can get it cheap.
And I personally, I think it's a mistake, but when you kind of trying to be a bit more balanced, it's still, it's still, there's a good argument for WooCommerce. Even with these price increases, the cost is. Not as much as Shopify. So I think that all this to play for at the moment, I think it's really interesting.
There's a bit of, I think there's a big fight on between these two.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:45:26] Yeah. And really interesting. They've taken on some big names like go daddy to help them with the, you know, the marketing of that. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some television commercials or certainly a big spend on. Online advertising, you know, Facebook and so on with with the kind of money that GoDaddy can bring to bear.
It's quite an interesting offer
David Waumsley: [00:45:43] just
Nathan Wrigley: [00:45:43] to, just to get out in front of things like Shopify, because I confess, I don't think I've seen television adverts for Shopify, but I've certainly seen a phalanx of online ad for adverts for things like that. And obviously, you know, if the market share is dropping for WooCommerce in the way that you've described.
Then that's something that they need to be really mindful of. The last thing that they want is to, you know, to have a product which is completely unsustainable and development stops, and then whatever you want to do, you're forced to go with some, with some sort of SaaS solution. Hmm. As always, we've got nowhere.
We've reconciled. Nothing. And we're no wiser than we were 40 minutes ago.
David Waumsley: [00:46:25] It'd be interesting to revisit this sometime because at the moment unseen, there's a route for people like us to be able to make some money out of Shopify and help clients along the way at the moment. But I wonder if that position will still be the same time cause I've swapped.
I've swapped sides a few times.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:46:41] Do you know what there is? There's so much stuff that I'm now putting into SaaS buckets, you know, just, it's quite normal. Things that I once thought were absolutely, excuse me, sacrosanct, like music, which I bought on CDs and vinyl back in the day. I've now deferred all of that over to, you know, Spotify or something equivalent.
I just, I think maybe the, the shift is changing a little bit and, And for all the reasons that we've outlined, or at least I've outlined, I think we'll see Shopify and other such things growing, especially in the current times where it's important to get yourself up and running immediately and for very little upfront cost.
David Waumsley: [00:47:20] Hmm. There is one thing I should say, just for clarity that, you know, if you look at the growth in, in WooCommerce, it's definitely still there. It's just, it's not that it's, it's maybe losing out in market share, but both are growing.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:34] Oh, well that's good to know. Yeah, that is good to know. And on that point, should we, knock it on the head?
David Waumsley: [00:47:39] Yeah, indeed.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:40] That was good. Thanks, David. Yeah.
David Waumsley: [00:47:42] Thank you. Bye bye.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:44] Well, I hope that you enjoyed that episode. It's always fun chatting to David about these things. We always take an adversarial approach, although it does have to say remain rather polite and convivial throughout the whole thing, which is very nice indeed.
Anyway, you never know. Maybe there was something in there, a value for you. Are you firmly in the, I'm never touching e-commerce. Are you firmly in the, I'm always using e-commerce? Perhaps a little bit of both. Maybe you've dabbled in some SaaS platform anyway, please. Yeah. Reach out in the comments over on the WP belts.com website.
Or perhaps you could go over to our Facebook group, WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook and let us know what you think over there. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Want to sell your AB split test in record time, the new AB split test plugin for WordPress. We'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes.
Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, really anything. And the best part is it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. Go check it [email protected]. Okay. WP Builds does a lot each and every week. Maybe we'll see you back here next Thursday for a podcast episode or failing that perhaps Monday when we will release the weekly WordPress news and also have our live [email protected] forward slash.
Live. Either way, stay safe. I hope you have a nice week. And I'm going to fade in some cheese music and say, bye bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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