Warning: this is going to be a longish post as I’m stupid excited about this.
One of the projects I knew I wanted to see come to life post Automattic was my Shopify x WooCommerce concept that I call Shopify Connect for WooCommerce (a mouthful I know but since I actually want people to find it by searching I needed to make it a bit long/boring).
I love Shopify & WooCommerce and it’s unfair that I have to choose one over the other (I’m a little selfish that way). So I decided not to choose, I picked both.
You are probably wondering what I like about Shopify? One of my favorite things about Shopify is how they are quickly becoming the master of the sales channels. They have so many integrations and partnerships that only Shopify customers have access to. Want to sell on Facebook, no problem. How about Pinterest, no problem there either. Shopify has made it their mission to let you sell anywhere (watch their Unite 2016 videos to learn more) and recent events have shown that they are serious about it.
Shopify also offers a rock solid hosted platform (being hosted is awesome), an easy to use interface and a pretty large and growing developer community (see their app store).
What I love about WooCommerce is that it inherits all the awesomeness that is WordPress. The plugins, the themes, the community, these are things that no other platform can ever hope to duplicate. With WooCommerce can make your store look and feel exactly like you want with help from the thousands of WordPress developers from all over the world.
Now think of everything you don’t like about Shopify. Does WooCommerce fix those issues? Now think about everything you dislike about WooCommerce. Does Shopify fix those issues? Do you now see how well they compliment each other, how together they make a perfect e-commerce platform?
When I found out about the official Shopify WordPress plugin I was super excited. After playing around with it for a little bit I knew they were on the right track but I couldn’t help feeling like they needed to go a bit further. The plugin works great if you are looking to sell a thing or two but making an entire store with it is really clunky. Then I had an idea, why not integrate Shopify with WooCommerce instead of just vanilla WordPress. Use the structure/layout of WooCommerce with a Shopify powered backend. Over a weekend I put together a quick v1 proof of concept that worked surprisingly well.
In the months since I created my v1 I’ve started 5+ Shopify stores and being a multi-store owner has make me realize some additional benefits of this plugin for store owners with multiple stores.
- It allows you to use one Shopify site to control the backend functions for an unlimited amount of WooCommerce stores from a single dashboard. That means consolidated reports, shipping settings, and shipping/fulfillment dashboard.
- You can also streamline (i.e. reduce) your Shopify costs (if you are an existing store owner or want to be but were scared off by the cost). To use Shopify as just a backend you only need to pay $9/month (for all your WooCommerce stores) instead of the $29/month for the store function. If you consolidated a few Shopify stores into one account you are talking about some serious savings, not only in Shopify monthly fees but also your apps fees (there are some great Shopify apps) and such.
This plugin is based on a shockingly simple concept. It basically involves unhooking the WooCommerce add to cart button and replacing it with the Shopify one (via the official Shopify WordPress plugin). That’s really all my v1 did. Since I was able to bring Joey on board (you’ll learn more about him later) we were able to take it even further by moving the embed code options to the WooCommerce product meta box (to be more consistent), hide/redirect the unused WooCommerce settings/links to their brothers on Shopify and other general stuff improvements making it a much more production ready plugin.
What I’ve attempted to do is connect the two together platforms together in the easiest way possible but also keep as much native WooCommerce functionality as I could. I really didn’t want to duplicate any functionality of either WooCommerce or Shopify but rather have the plugin just sit in the middle and make both plugins work well together. I think it works pretty well right now. I’m also excited to keep working on this project (I have some ambitious v2 plans that I’ll run with if people end up liking this concept).
Big props go to Joey Kudish of Spark Consulting for helping me bring this project to life. If you saw how bad my v1 was you would laugh so hard milk would come out of your nose (well if you were drinking milk). When I heard that Joey was doing freelance work I knew I had to hire him to help me. I’m so glad I did as he took my idea and implemented it so much better than I was planning to. I love bringing ideas to life but it’s so much more fun when it involves collaborating with someone else.
If you’re curious how this works with a real shop check out shop.secretpizza.party. That shop is fully functional (i.e. you can buy stuff from it) and contains some super fun bootleg WordPress merch handmade by me (with my laser).
p.s. if you want to see some really neat Shopify apps check out our sister company, PoolParty.