Perspective on WordPress

I just got back from an eCommerce conference called Content and Commmerce Summit.
It was very different from the WordPress conferences I usually go to, and it gave me a lot of perspective.
I go to the same events every year, and talk to the same type of people. I love WordPress, and so do everyone at these events. We do things a certain way in the open source tech community, and we think our way is the best way.
We get into this echo chamber about how WordPress is used way more than any other publishing platform, open source is the greatest, and let’s sell more plugins and themes. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s important to get out of the bubble once in a while.
It really opened my eyes going to an event where no one even said the word WordPress once. The audience at this conference was non-technical, mostly marketers selling stuff online. I watched a presentation where the presenter had slides with 20+ different recommended tools on them, and not a single mention of WordPress.
This is an eCommerce conference, WooCommerce is 41% of all eCommerce stores, and not a single person said the word WooCommerce. All I heard about was Shopify and Amazon.
Why wasn’t anyone talking about WordPress? Does it matter?

Shopify is more important than you think

I had a conversation with a friend at lunch, he sells clothing on a Shopify site. He will do over $1M in gross revenue this year. (Here’s his site)
He loves Shopify because it’s so easy to use. I mean he’s crazy about it, he doesn’t just tolerate it. He absolutely loves Shopify and thinks it’s the future. I got the feeling that most people at that conference felt the same way.
Shopify is growing fast, and they are doing really well in the enterprise space. If this conference is any indication, I think Shopify is more important than many people think. It’s not just people starting out on this platform, many of them are doing big numbers.
I asked my friend what he liked about Shopify, here are the main things I heard:

  • It’s so easy to use, really user friendly.
  • My site is super clean, I built it myself and it was really easy.
  • I can use tons of plugins (apps) to do anything I need easily.

You might make these same arguments about WordPress, but it’s not the same.
Some people say WordPress is easy to use, it’s not. When my friend said Shopify is easy to use, this is a whole different category of great user experience. This is building a site from scratch for a completely non-technical user, and them loving the end result and the experience.
Granted, Shopify is a SaaS, and they can control the user experience end to end. WordPress won’t ever have this advantage, except when other people build paid platforms on top of it. The problem is that many people don’t care if it’s a SaaS, or self-hosted, they just want it to be easy.
This is a really hard problem for WordPress to solve, it would have to be done at the host level. One-click install with a much improved onboarding experience. WordPress is a long way away from this, because it’s not just onboarding. It’s installing themes and plugins, configuring widgets and menus, building pages, and more. There’s a lot of work to be done.
I’m not bagging on WordPress, I’m just being honest. This is the biggest weakness in WordPress: that it’s not made for a great end-to-end experience for non-technical people.
Even a platform like that is supposed to have a better onboarding experience is not much of an improvement. I started a blog with my wife years ago on .com and she had a very frustrating experience just trying to do simple things.

WordPress is not for non-technical people

If we’re honest, the strength of WordPress is not that it’s easy to use for non-technical people. It’s an open-source platform that is easy for developers to extend and customize for clients.
The reason it’s so popular is that people are using it for their blog only, or agencies and freelancers are building them more complex sites. The experience my friend had setting up his Shopify store does not exist with WordPress. Non-technical users don’t get a domain, hosting, setup WooCommerce, an SSL cert, a payment gateway, a premium theme, a few other plugins, and then rave about how easy it was. That does not happen.
Do you know how many steps there are to setting up a self-hosted WordPress site with WooCommerce, a theme, and a few plugins? It’s a daunting task for a newcomer, they will most likely end up frustrated.
WordPress is great for B2B. Companies with money can pay an agency to build their site, and their team can learn how to use it.
It’s great for people with a low budget who are curious about learning new tech, and really want to own their data. They can learn how to use it and build their own site if they are motivated.
There is a large contingent of people who just want to get stuff done, they don’t want to fuss with the tech. They don’t care about open source or owning their data. They don’t want to install a theme and setup their widgets, or search thousands of results to find the best SEO plugin. They don’t want to setup “managed hosting”, an SSL certificate, or a payment gateway. They just want to sell their products and make money as fast and easily as possible.
This community is not being served by WordPress.

What should we do differently?

This article is not a manifesto that WordPress core needs to change course, or we all need to jump ship to Shopify.
This post is a set of observations from one person going to one conference, so take it with a grain of salt. I still love WordPress.
I think core is making some great strides in improving the UX, including the theme customizer and Gutenberg. The problem is that these are silos of improvement, we are still a long way from an end to end experience that rivals Shopify.
How much does it matter? Does WordPress need to be the best solution for non-technical users?
I don’t know.
The point is that we don’t hear about this stuff if we are only talking in an echo chamber. We need to pay attention to what other technologies are doing better than WordPress, and acknowledge it. Then learn and get better.
We need to look at trends and opportunities that exist outside our comfort zone, even if that means building a site for a client that doesn’t use WordPress (gasp!)






44 responses to “Perspective on WordPress”

  1. Eric Avatar

    I actually wrote something (related to Gutenberg) that takes on the question of whether WordPress should be for non-technical users:
    My feeling is that WordPress doesn’t have to be all things for all people. It can be more of a professional grade tool. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be easier to use and couldn’t benefit from UX improvements. I think once you start targeting the completely non-technical user, you may lose out on some of the developer-friendly aspects.

    1. Scott Avatar

      Hey Eric, I appreciate that perspective. It does seem like there needs to be a choice one way or the other, since there are many more good tools out there than when WordPress was created. WordPress can’t be the best at everything.

      1. Eric Avatar

        Exactly. I can understand the desire to appeal to as many people as possible, but at some point you have to figure out who you are and what you want to do. The fact that we can customize WordPress to make it easier for the non-technical user to manage content is an advantage IMO. There is a flexibility here that other platforms don’t necessarily have.

  2. Colm Troy Avatar

    Super post Scott.
    I’ve been saying this to anyone who will listen to me for years. The onboarding process for WordPress and WooCommerce are awful and a huge turnoff for non-technical users. I’d wager many Shopify users potentially first started with WooCommerce and ran a mile in frustration.
    WordPress needs to decide what it wants to be. Is it a developer/designer focused publishing platform or is it competing with Wix/Squarespace/Shopify. Gutenberg would suggest we’re attempting to compete with the latter. But I think the much bigger problem to sort out is the number of points of friction that exist to getting productive with WordPress/WooCommerce as you’ve highlighted. Anyone close to WordPress has known this for years and it’s clear all the bigger hosting companies are attempting to fill in the gaps with their own custom onboarding processes for new WordPress websites, but without an incredibly well thought out core solution I think we’ll never be able to compete with the ease of use offered up by the hosted competition.

    1. Scott Avatar

      Agreed. I don’t see the improvement coming from core though, it will take too long. It’s just too difficult for the core team to make the sweeping changes necessary, it has to be iterative for backwards compatibility. Hosts can only do so much because everyone uses WP differently. I think the only way to do amazing UX is SaaS based verticals, which is what Shopify is doing.

      1. Jake Avatar

        People seem very willing to give up control for simplicity.
        If you had an onboarding form that injected responses into a cloned preconfigured instance (saas) that made fairly accurate assumtions about a business (smb category) it would go a long way.
        I has improved onboarding recently. I think wp hosting tools are insanely easy right now. I have to say the ease of editing content with Elementor is fantastic. Guetenberg / ACF blocks seem likily.
        Bundle the resources in a saas for a given verticle, remove options, offer a service. Seems like a no brainer to me.

  3. Bob Dunn Avatar

    Hey Scott, great post. And yes, coming from someone who has branded themselves with WP 😉
    But seriously, I love the fact that stressed the need to get out of the WordPress bubble. I think that in itself is the major root of most of these issues and the community perspective. I was in business 20+ years before WordPress came into my life, so it comes easy for me.
    There is a lot going on in the eCommerce space and you have touched on the importance of not only being aware of it all, but actively being a part of it beyond the WordPress niche. There is so much more I could say, but I’ll leave it at that and thank you again for this fine piece 🙂

    1. Scott Avatar

      Thanks Bob!

  4. Zé Avatar

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this a lot. I am willing to bet that I (as a WordPress developer/PM) am not the only one for whom this subject has been an unspoken sore spot, not readily addressed because we don’t seem to ever have time to get round to it. I am very glad that you did.
    I completely agree with Coim’s comment above, especially this part: “…the much bigger problem to sort out is the number of points of friction that exist to getting productive with WordPress/WooCommerce…”. Granted, friction will always exist in a self-hosted solution, it will never compete with a completely controlled ecosystem à la Shopify, but this is no excuse not to think about the “well thought out core solution”. This, in turn, implies the kind of leadership and vision that I can’t see anywhere (and yes, that could very well be because I’m not looking hard enough, but again, I sense I’m not the only one.)
    I did have a minor question for you, concerning the names that were mentioned at the conference, and whether they included *other* self-hosted platforms such as Magento or PrestaShop, because if they weren’t, then there’s a wider discussion to be had about self-hosted ecommerce, before we plunge into the specifics of WordPress in that area.
    Anyway, thanks, it was a great and enlightening read.

    1. Scott Avatar

      I didn’t hear talk of Magento/PrestaShop, but those have a very small market share compared to WooCommerce. WooCommerce dominates Shopify in market share, that’s why it’s so surprising to me that it was not mentioned.

  5. Amanda Rush Avatar

    Hi Scott,
    This is a great post. Re: Woo not being mentioned, I wonder how many of the people attending the conference you attended realize that Woo dominates the market? I think the getting out of your bubble advice is pretty universal, and I think *everybody’s products will get better if we can ever figure out how to get out of all of our bubbles and start exchanging ideas without bashing each other’s favorites.

  6. Anita Avatar

    Hi Scott, this is a great post. The reason why I started using Shopify instead of WooCommerce is because it’s difficult enough to train and get clients using just WordPress, along with their plugins. Then to add on WooCommerce was really getting to be a challenge. All the plugins that are needed – some paid, some premium. All the maintenance on those. I hear all the time, “Clients shouldn’t have a website if they don’t know what they are doing.” Or, “If they can’t hire a developer to manage their sites, they shouldn’t have a website.” I think that is totally unfair to think that in order to be a business owner you have to hire someone to maintain the website for you. If you can, that’s fine. If you can’t, that should be fine too. For those I set up Shopify for, I used my Shopify Developer account to get it all set up for them. It was really pretty easy for me to train them in what they needed to know. Plus they have full support from Shopify. I explain to clients that they should have one site for everything but, sometimes that’s not possible. So I tried to create the Shopify for them to look as best I could with link between both websites. It worked out just fine for them. I did have a few who left WordPress to blog on Shopify and that was fine too because they mostly sold products and weren’t bloggers. They’ve done pretty well. Options are always good to have. Thanks for this post!

  7. Asim Bawany Avatar

    great post Scott. You highlight a very important point that I’v been observing for a long time but I’v never seen any conversations around it… WordPress USED to be really easy. Never as easy as using something like shopify of course. But when I started using wordpress to build mini affiliate sites back around 2010 I was blown off by how easy it was to build a simple blog type website. Over time, wordpress grew and I guess the need for flexibility and making wordpress do a lot of things for a lot of people resulted in the platform no longer being “easy” and “simple” …

  8. David McCan Avatar

    An opportunity for the Woo team to set up a booth at next year’s event 🙂

  9. Patrick Rauland Avatar

    I think every community has their own little bubble. Funny enough at Shopify Unite this past year I talked to a lot of agencies and a lot of agencies also do WordPress work. I’d say maybe 1/3 of them in total.
    So there’s definitely a lot of people that use WordPress even among the people that attend Shopify Unite.
    I think WordPress’ audience is definitely more technical and spread through site builders who can customize a solution for their clients.
    Shopify is spread through store owners so very different groups.

    1. Tony Perez Avatar

      What’s really interesting about this comment is that one way to look at it is that 1/3 of the audience works on WordPress also. Cool, makes sense.
      I think the more interesting shift is the inverse of what you described.But what if you flip it around, how many WordPress devs are “now” doing Shopify in addition to WordPress. More and more, I’m seeing WordPress shops extending their service offerings in these platforms – like Shopify. There’s a reason for that.

  10. Chris Hufnagel Avatar

    This is a post that is needed in the WP community. You are absolutely correct about the echo chamber.
    This pas weekend I was having coffee with a friend. She wanted my thoughts on her website. I knew it was e-commerce but had no idea what it was built with.
    She is just getting started, so my goal was not to pitch her a new website and her improve the current site.
    Then she told me it was made with Shopify.
    My internal reaction was “uh oh, she needs to hear about woocommerce”.
    Fast forward 45 minutes and I am suddenly looking for a new ecommerce project just so I can use Shopify.
    The way she talked about it was incredible. She really did love what it did for here and the fact that she could do almost all of it herself.
    Love this perspective, the echo chambers are real in the WP community. Articles like this help!

    1. Scott Avatar

      Thanks for sharing Chris!

  11. Chris Muller Avatar

    Great post Scott! Definitely agree with a lot of your points raised. We mustn’t see WordPress as the be-all-and-end-all to all our solutions. A friend of mine hacked away at a WordPress site for months (and lots of help from me), eventually giving up and trying out Shopify and had her site up in a week. After all my raving about WordPress I had to concede graciously that she had made the right choice.
    WordPress has the unique ability of molding to the unique needs of a client, with the right expertise behind the wheel. If the client’s needs are met by Shopify (or other) then it will likely come out on top.

  12. Jamie Avatar

    Great read!
    When we opened our retail clothing store and accompanying web site, we decided on wooCommerce simply for the flexibility, control and unified inventory across online and retail sales. Granted, it took time time to piece together the suite of quality plugins and custom code, but in the end it works for us – albeit not without it’s shortcomings.
    There is likely room for both approaches to an eCommerce solution, but perhaps the main difference between WooCommerce and the SaaS of the world like Shopify, is the marketing dollars and expertise. Why was nobody talking about WooCommerce?? Good question.
    If we step way outside the bubble and think from the consumers perspective, maybe we find out what really matters. For example when we were pitching our business to anyone who would listen, all I heard from consumers was, “I just buy it on Amazon”.
    For us, our products are not readily available on Amazon – we have more of an Etsy like site for a niche market segment, but I have to wonder, your example of the clothing store that does a million in sales, how does he promote his product and who is his audience? Can consumers buy his stuff on Amazon as well, or how does he drive traffic to his Shopify store. What is the cost of acquiring those customers, if any.
    My observation is, there is a lot more to a successful eCommerce company then their eCommerce platform. Shopify is in the business of selling a dream, an EASY dream, where WooCommerce is in the business of developing a platform for developers to help fulfil the dreams of their clients (and plugin developers). I suppose there is room for both.

  13. Ahmad Awais Avatar

    I couldn’t agree more with you, Scott. I just started a new company where I am a minority stakeholder and like most of the work is being done by my partner — having less time on my hand we ended up with a non-WordPress solution for hosting a simple checkout page since it was way too simple and we didn’t need lots of problems.

  14. Mike Schinkel Avatar

    Aright Scott, you sold me. I give up on WordPress. Now it’s only Shopify for me!
    j/k, cause I don’t do ecommerce sites. But if I did…

  15. Luke Cavanagh Avatar

    I agree the UI and UX in WordPress is not that great. Things as simple as adding a new product are not as easy as they are in other e-commerce platforms. WooCommerce at least has the onboarding setup on new installs, WordPress does lands new user in wp-admin and then the Googling begins.

  16. James Kinney Avatar

    You hit the nail on the head about non-technical clients not understanding all the components that go into a WP site. They want it to work and don’t care that two plugins conflict with each other and it can take hours and hours to figure out what the issue is and fix it. My biggest issue with WordPress is that all those components create so much redundant JavaScript, resources to download and poor performance. Now google insights wants you to combine all that code. That makes sense for performance but is impossible when trying to manage updates. I’d like to see WordPress implement common libraries that plugins have to use to reduce this redundant code. Same issue exists with woocommerce. If a theme keeps a separate copy of the woocommerce files it creates unnecessary work to keep them current. I haven’t heard anyone talk about this within our bubble of WordCamps and meetups.

    1. Scott Avatar

      You can concatenate files with a plugin like WP Rocket, but with HTTP/2 this actually isn’t as big an issue as it is with HTTP 1. Slowness is down to executing the code, not requesting the separate files.

  17. louie171 Avatar

    great article Scott. I think for store owners that need alot of customisation/high level of control and are happy to pay for ongoing maintenance ( for things like reworking/tweaking templates with every new release of Woocommerce), then Woocommerce is a great solution.
    But certainly for 90% of the kind of people that contact me about an Ecommerce website, Shopify is a better solution.
    In fact I’ve started recommending it to people that contact me ( feels abit weird as I specialise in WordPress ecommerce), time for a pivot I think.

  18. James Kinney Avatar

    Thanks for your reply, Scott. I tried 3 different plugins to minify, combine or inline css and JavaScript. My google insight score suddenly jumped to 100% because the site was only loading a blank white page. ?

  19. Rich Hauck Avatar

    Great article. I think this bears relevance beyond eCommerce and is applicable to the CMS market as a whole.
    As an independent WordPress designer/developer, I have been monitoring the growth of SaaS CMSs closely–in some ways, it could be considered our competition, and I can’t blame customers. Even if a subscription fee becomes more expensive down the road, the hosting, 24/7 support, and automated bug patches are alluring for those who don’t want to bother with all of the technical aspects of running a website.
    Sadly. Automattic might have to launch a new product to truly address the usability issues, as “WordPress” might already be associated with “overwhelming” to the common user.

  20. Tomas M. Avatar

    My question is: why there were no WooCommerce people at that conference?
    Are we sooo goood, that others have to chase us?

    1. Patrick Rauland Avatar

      When I was product manager for WooCommerce I went to ecom conferences like eCommerce Fuel Live & IRCE as well as attended a few virtual conferences like Smart Marketer’s eCommerce All Stars.

  21. Sandeep Kelvadi Avatar

    What makes WordPress great, the open source nature and community driven development, is also it’s achilles heel. I think this is a great read for people in the WordPress community because it’s so easy to get into a bubble and not realise what’s happening elsewhere.
    We get many people coming to us wanting to build something that WordPress is not ideally suited for and we advise them to choose an alternate approach. The myth of WordPress being easy to use is pervasive and unfortunately a lot of people get hurt in the process. This does more harm to WordPress in the long run.
    Thanks for putting this out. Much needed perspective for all of us to ponder over.

  22. Matt Avatar

    First, great post! Bringing outside perspectives into the community dialog is a huge gift. Sometimes people look at me like I’m smoking something when I talk about the importance of Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace in shaping the independent web of the next 4-5 years.
    It all comes down to the user experience. WordPress has evolved over the past 14 years to the point where it can be a great solution for just about anyone starting a blog or website. It has also developed a pretty substantial agency, assembler, and developer community in that time that has outsized but appreciated representation in the core development process. People who are members of those groups often attribute WP’s success to developer features like Custom Post Types, and they also mistakenly think that WordPress used to be developer-focused and now it’s trying to be for users — in fact, we’ve always built WordPress with the broader, non-technical audience in mind, and developer opportunities have grown organically as it got more popular.
    WooCommerce is where WordPress was in ~2008, and it’s helpful to think of Shopify like Typepad. For those who weren’t around at the time, Typepad was a blogging platform that was much easier to use than WordPress with more users and add-ons, and the company behind it was probably 20x the size of Automattic. It felt utterly dominant and unassailable. Most hosts at that time didn’t have a good one-click installer, so using WordPress meant downloading and uploading files, setting up MySQL databases, and modifying PHP scripts (or getting someone do to it for you). Typepad was simple: you could get started with in a few clicks and by entering your credit card. We were able to execute a strategy that worked well going after the top and bottom of the market against Typepad.
    Now there are easy one-click setups of WordPress and Woo and WP has become pretty mainstream, and we conflate the barriers of installation with the barriers of everything that happens after installation. (We also tend to understate the importance of in opening up the power of WordPress and the brand to the world.) Today you can get WooCommerce going on a host by clicking a few buttons — installation isn’t hard. But to get to the point where you’re actually selling something to the world requires pretty heavy setup and configuration, and a multi-step and error-prone sign up process with a payment provider. Some people do this, but most Woo sites today were probably set up by someone who was fairly tech-savvy and developed or assembled a custom solution over the course of at least a few days, and maybe much longer.
    I’m excited about the team working on WooCommerce, the ecosystem around it, and the potential it has over the next few years. It won’t happen tomorrow, but I would love to see you update this blog post in 2019 or 2020 with the state of the various off-the-shelf ecommerce solutions. History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does often rhyme.

    1. Scott Avatar

      Hey Matt, thanks for your insightful comment.
      You stated: “we’ve always built WordPress with the broader, non-technical audience in mind.”
      Is the non-technical user still the target market for WordPress? If it is, I would say that many of us who build on WordPress have failed in that mission. Even those of us who love WordPress don’t recommend it to our friends and family to try on their own, as I’ve heard countless times, and you can see in the comments on this post.
      The platform has become for developers and agencies, whether that was the mission or not. So where do we go from here? Do we embrace that and make it the best platform for power users, or work towards competing with Squarespace and Shopify for the non-technical user?

      1. Matt Avatar

        I wouldn’t say that we’ve failed, just that we have a lot of opportunities for growth. WordPress has helped out tens of millions of non-technical people already, and there are billions more that haven’t tried out the platform yet.
        What is the basis for your assertion that the “platform has become for developers and agencies”? I can see how it might seem that way inside WP discussions sometimes, but not sure if any of the data, usage patterns, or adoption and growth of WP supports that.
        (Also, don’t forget that Shopify and Squarespace have huge programs aimed at agencies and developers as well. They aren’t saying that they have to choose user segment over another.)

        1. Scott Avatar

          Maybe failed is too harsh, but there is definitely room for improvement.
          I can’t speak to any larger data outside my own experience, but I’ve had a lot of conversations with people who use WordPress who don’t recommend it to friends and family who are going it alone. This is not just a couple people, this is something I’ve heard over and over, and it is how I feel as well. If you don’t have some sort of technical skills, building your own WordPress site isn’t what I’d recommend. Maybe the data doesn’t support that as a larger trend, I don’t know.
          So what I’m getting from you is that the target audience for WordPress is still the non-technical user, while also being great for developers?

          1. Matt Avatar

            It’s good to know that perspective and what you’re seeing. My guess is based on the number of new WordPress sites being added per day — tens of thousands — and the distribution of plugin and theme usage that non-agency or pro-developed sites are still the vast majority of WP’s user base. On plugins, I’m inferring that based on the number of sites that have only a few or no plugins, have a single author, or use an off-the-shelf directory theme. I’m leaving out which obviously has a ton of non-tech users as well across its free and paid plans. (Though it’s starting to attract a lot of devs as well with custom plugins/themes on the business plan.)

        2. Alex Vasquez Avatar

          Like Scott, I don’t have data to go by but I agree with his sentiment (also an agency owner/developer). However, I do volunteer with the Small Business Development Center one day a week helping small business owners with their “internet stuff.” Two weeks ago, I had four meetings with smb owners: One had a Wix site, another had SiteBuilder, another had Squarespace, the last one had Shopify. I usually have a WP site in there during the day. I ask these folks why they chose the platform they chose. For those who chose a site builder platform, they cite ease of use and speed to get up and going.
          I’m hosting a workshop this week “Wix vs WordPress” and we’re covering the reasons why a biz owner might choose one platform over the other. I sat through the Wix onboarding process and, for me, it’s pretty easy to see why a lot of folks, particularly business owners, go the Wix/SquareSpace/Site Builder route. The WP setup piece comes with a lot of caveats and for the lay user, it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s definitely not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it seems that the draw of ease of setup and launching a site is a real thing.
          If the non-technical user is still a priority, the WP user experience and onboarding experience needs a good look and improving it, I think, is a key to continued growth.

        3. Anh Tran Avatar

          I agree with Matt. It was the mission of WordPress to create a website for non-technical people since its beginning and I still see that today (Gutenberg, admin UI improvements, Media Library improvements, etc. – although sometimes I don’t like them). Changes can’t be done fast, especially when it affects millions of people (see what’s going on with Gutenberg).
          Shopify was born after WordPress and become popular just a few years ago, so it could learn a lot from WordPress and other platforms. I’m not surprise that it has better UI/UX for users (it’s undeniable). And we can see that in other fellow CMSes, not just Shopify.
          All we (developers) need for now is pushing WordPress forward, to make it catch up with what other platforms do, and probably better. I hope that time will be next year or 2019, maybe?

    2. Luke Avatar

      Shopify is no Typepad. It has way better ecosystem. Shopify vs WooCommerce is like iOS vs Android. iOS can beat Android as long as it keeps leading ux innovations, no matter it is open source or not.

  23. pierre Avatar

    I think a lot of the problem too is that people equate open source with cheap or free. I don’t know who these people are who think they can start any business, much less a business that overlaps with technology like ecommerce without having development overhead.
    The reality of the situation is that with an agency of efficient and skilled devs you should still plan on budgeting AT LEAST $50,000 for setting up an ecommerce site, and if that seems expensive to you wait until you see how much it costs if you pick something that isn’t open source. Then their is photography, copywriting, etc. It costs money to make money.

  24. Monique Avatar

    Interesting conversation. I recently presented the first part of my research on the usability of WordPress WP-admin and what role (plugin/theme) developers play.
    My talk on WordCamp Nijmegen about this topic will hopefully be up on WordCamp tv soon. Next step will be research among end users, both tech and non tech. Any help on where this can or may go is appreciated!

  25. Joe Howard Avatar

    Great read, Scott!
    I recently went to a small business conference and found the exact same thing. I spoke with about 20 small business owners and found that not one of them used WordPress. They were all on Shopify or other platforms.
    One big reason I heard is that Shopify is just really easy. I think you spoke to this point already above, so I’ll keep it at that.
    Another reason is accounting. These businesses were all NY-based and dealing with sales tax is something that Shopify does really well (according to people I talked to).
    One woman literally said, “Shopify – please take my money! It’s so easy to see that I’m making a good investment when things like this are automated and I don’t have to worry about it.”
    Shopify is making huge strides forward. Definitely a lot of lessons for WordPress / WooCommerce to take from there.

    1. Scott Avatar

      Interesting point about taxes, thanks for the comment Joe.

  26. Nick deve Avatar

    Scott Thanks for Sharing amazing content, I agree with that point that WordPress is not easy for a nontechie person.