WooCommerce to Shopify: Interview with Joel Bronkowski

I had the pleasure of interviewing Joel Bronkowski, who worked at WooCommerce for many years, and now works for Shopify.

My recent post about a Shopify-centered conference got a lot of attention, so I wanted to dive deeper into this topic. I was excited to hear from someone with experience in both WordPress and Shopify, to get his perspective on a few different things.

I wanted to learn what Joel thinks about Shopify vs. WordPress, how freelancers and agencies are making money with it, and what Joel’s perspective on WordPress is now, looking back.

Here are a few takeaways:

  • Shopify meetups tend to be more focused on growing your business, not as focused on the technical stuff. WordPress & WooCommerce meetups/camps are almost exclusively how to do stuff.
  • Shopify web development is often less developer heavy which is a departure from the traditional eCommerce development model of charging for ongoing development, maintenance and site performance.
  • The Shopify apps/themes space has plenty of opportunities for growth, but is commercially driven by a centralized marketplace run by Shopify. This is a departure from the open-source space where you can distribute more openly but comes with the benefit of quality control, exposure and support.

If you are curious about the Shopify space, you’ll get a lot out of this. Here’s the interview, I hope you enjoy it.


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Posted by Scott

  1. Thank you for continuing to pursue these subjects!

    Once you go ‘Woo’ for the benefit of ‘owning your codebase’ I have found some big gaping holes that are very difficult to overcome. Diving into ‘custom’ reporting recently has been sobering. If you build up a store with some advanced products the export options are both bloated and deficient.
    Shopify, Magento, and Volusion all have order report exporting which offer each sales option in their own column row per order. Not true in Woo, every option for an order is packed into the options column. This is unusable to any business person for a store with any sort of complexity to their product lists.

    I am installing my first EDD store and I’m excited to see how well Pippen and crew handle exporting order options.

    You can go hunt down each and every option meta id and add them to the SkyVerge Advanced Export plugin with some success. I have struggled with adding some meta fields which currently I have been unable to deliminate on export such as Events Calendar Pro options.

    That sort of suck though doesn’t it? You have to buy a plugin (well worth it IMO), go hunt down id’s for each product options, enter them in the plugin custom export options, rinse and repeat for each new product that gets added over time.

    Reply

    1. Hey Jake, ya WooCommerce definitely has it’s flaws, but you can do whatever you want with it, unlike Shopify. I know EDD is working towards moving to custom tables for everything, but they aren’t quite there yet.

      Reply

  2. I created a test store on Shopify. As a WordPress agency I believe our customers of any size still don’t want to build a Shopify store so there is opportunity to create and maintain shopify stores.

    I’d be interested to hear from other WP agencies that have used Shopify.

    Reply

  3. WooCommerce is stuck in a weird state. It’s not too easy to use like Shopify or too flexible like Magento.

    Reply

  4. Having worked with both Woocommerce and Shopify, I’ve got to say that Shopify just “feels” nicer. I think for me, it’s not having to ever think about updates breaking the site. The centralized, stable system feels like pure freedom compared to the bolt-on approach of adding yet-another-woocommerce-plugin. The theming process isn’t as flexible as WP which is frustrating, but I guess there are always trade offs eh?

    Anyway, thanks for putting this stuff out. It is definitely a worthwhile topic to discuss.

    Reply

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