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Hi all... Question on your preference.

I’m migrating some platforms away from Zen Cart using Wordpress as the CMS. I’ve gone through the e-commerce comparison’s here. https://comparisons.financesonline.com/zen-cart-vs-woocommerce, and with those comparison’s Shopify is a winner and Woocommerce seems to be the budgeted alternative. I’m curious to anyone else’s experience and preference? Is Shopify over-rated, complex, and/or does it work just fine with Wordpress, or is Woocommerce the winner for you?

These are for small to mid-sized platforms.

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Replies to This Discussion

I've help setup a Shopify site this year and am happy with it.

Just be careful that you don't have to add to many extensions or 'Apps' - whatever they call them.

Some functions that you think should be included in Shopify Basic you have to pay extra each month for. This can quickly raise your monthly cost.
For example, only simple discounts are allowed with Shopify Basic. If you want to do anything different than a certain $ amount or % off you have to purchase an App and pay per month for it. We tried to offer a "buy two, get one free" sale and had to go through some hoops to do it without an App.

See https://apps.shopify.com/ for lots of stuff that you can add... and add costs to your Shopify site.

Bob, appreciate that heads up. That can definitely be a slippery slope. Lots to consider regarding costs and all the additions I might need.

Hi Rob,

I don't have any experience with Shopify, but have helped some folks out with their Woocommerce installations. From what I can tell, Woocommerce is incredibly expandable and customizable from a developers standpoint. Similar to WordPress, I feel that the more I dig into it, the more options it would support me being able to do. I personally am a big fan of one time payments, and so Shopify's monthly payment model would be less appealing to me than Woocommerce's single ticket upgrades (if there was a single item I needed).

Hope these thoughts help.


(P.S. Edit: I am also a little suspicious when a review site gives an edge to a service that is their "partner". I might be being to skeptical, but it raises a bias alert in my mind regarding the final conclusion of their comparison)

Cam, thanks. That helps a lot. I like the one time payments myself. Oh, yes and I understand what you mean by the site leaning toward their partner. That’s something to consider as well when concluding the comparisons.

P.S. Great to see your name. It's been a while. Hope you're doing well.

I've used both and I think the back end and front end experiences are very similar. However, are you asking about the Shopify platform (https://www.shopify.com)  or Shopify plugin for WordPress (https://wordpress.org/plugins/shopify-ecommerce-shopping-cart/). The 48 Days store uses the Shopify platform.

Either way, if you use WordPress for selling, make sure you've got an SSL certificate so that the shopper's data is encrypted.

Thanks, Aaron. Well, my original mapping was to plugin the Ecommerce to Wordpress and get the SSL. It was just choosing between the 2 solutions. But now, I’m curious about the Shopify platform. Which do you think is better, plugin to wordpress, or platform? 48Days Store looks great.

Just more insight: The store(s) is on a stand alone Zen Cart platform with a ton of products. I’m building a content management site, and using an app to migrate the Zen Cart  data to the new e-commerce site. Sounds like I have a few possible scenarios:

  1. Build Wordpress CMS and just link it to the current Zen Cart store. (simple, but least favorite, since trying to leave Zen Cart).
  2. Build Wordpress CMS, download Shopify or Woocommerce plugin, and migrate data from Zen Cart.
  3. Build Wordpress CMS and a separate Shopify e-commerce platform, and link the 2 sites together. Migrate data from Zen Cart to Shopify.

At the end of the day, it sounds like Woocommerce might be the best bet, but I’m just weighing all options.

Thanks again.

Where's your store currently? Can you share a link?

I'm not sure what would work better. I'm in a similar boat where I want to start selling products and courses. I've got SSL but I don't want to bog down WordPress with e-commerce, even though WooCommerce is a great plugin.

I actually got a free account with Coach(https://www.withcoach.com), which focuses on selling digital products and courses. The basic plan at $49 monthly is cheap enough for me to handle without breaking the bank. My biggest worry is for a e-commerce site to quit working and lose money because of technical bugs. I've worked in e-commerce for years and that's a constant problem.

Anyway, can you share the link to your store? I didn't see it on your profile page.

Absolutely. Here’s the current platform I’m migrating. http://gastage.com/ - I’ll have a distribution platform and another theatrical platform in the Northeast that I’ll be migrating after this one. I don’t have the Wordpress built yet, but Content Marketing is definitely part of the strategy.

Bogging down Wordpress is something that crossed my mind as well. Is that your experience with similar situations resulting in these technical bugs? Or was something else causing those issues?

Thanks for the “withcoach” link. That could come in handy on my primary brand.

Okay it looks like you've got a lot of products. I'd probably compare the annual costs of WooCommerce (along with any payment gateways & integrations) with Shopify. Who's your hosting company and what plan do you have? If you've got better than average hosting, you could use WooCommerce, otherwise I might go with the Shopify platform simply for reliability.

BTW, is that a photo of the Crest Theatre in Sacramento on your homepage?

Thank Aaron, I think that’s great advice. I’ve inherited the platform, and Godaddy has been their host and they’ve been happy with it. Given that scenario it sounds like you would consider Shopify platform more reliable. Are they doing their own hosting or something? I’ll compare the pricing as well.

Btw, I believe its 100% e-commerce, but did the Shopify platform even have a CMS?

Oh and that picture, I’m not 100% sure, but it very well could be. Their curtains are all over the country and even Canada.

What CMS functionality to do want?

Shopify lets you manage your orders and gives you stats on sales, lets you run reports, etc.

It will also show you customers and prospects, and abandonded carts.
You can export customers to use in other applications or import existing customer lists.
You can also add Apps like Kit that handle email marketing for you.

Some of Shopify's benefits that we like are not having to handle SSL certificates or payment gateways, having 24/7 chat support, and the abilty to modify site design.

The CMS is going to be focused on a Content Marketing strategy that will leverage blogging, video, photos, and possibly a podcast. Email marketing and Social Media marketing will be integrated with it. Much of the functions that Wordpress can handle just fine.

Thanks for sharing some of these benefits and features as well. I like that it does not have to have an SSL or payment gateway. 

If I go the Shopify platform route, it looks like I will be building 2 platforms; a Wordpress CMS, and Shopify e-commerce, and just link them together.


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