You can't talk about WooCommerce without mentioning Shopify
When people talk about eCommerce, Shopify is going to come up. You know it will because it's the dominant player that people talk about when they talk about eCommerce. One reason people point to Shopify is their improved checkout.
Almost immediately, people started building WooCommerce checkout solutions that would make things easier.
You could edit the fields on the checkout with plugins like the Checkout Field Editor and Checkout Field Editor for WooCommerce.
From there, solutions like WooCommerce Checkout Manager, Flux Checkout for WooCommerce, and CheckoutWC (the one I use on this site) were created to help you build a checkout that works more like Shopify.
It's not too simple to say that the last few years have been characterized by the WooCommerce space chasing Shopify.
In some cases, we've improved the checkout experience even more
It would be wrong to say that all we've been doing in the WooCommerce space is chase Shopify. We've been doing other stuff as well – like adding order bumps, and enhancing post purchase options.
In that referenced post, I introduced you to several players that are making it easy to generate more revenue (increasing average order value) with post-purchase offers:
I even took you deeper into Smart Offers in the article talking about raising AOV.
In other words, while some vendors have been focused on matching or beating Shopify with an improved checkout, others are improving the checkout experience to drive greater revenue growth.
But we still have challenges with checkout speed
I wish I could tell you that all of the players above have solved everything – allowing merchants to compete successfully against Shopify merchants. And in many cases they can. But that's if they spend enough on hosting to have fast servers.
In eCommerce speed is everything.
And if you're not willing to spend on quality hosting, your store will likely perform poorly.
I know because I work in the hosting space. We designing our Managed WooCommerce Hosting solution to handle high amounts of concurrent traffic. It's a one-of-a-kind solution that doesn't require tons of caching plugins.
When we started, it was priced at $299. Today you can get it for as low as $19. And you know what? People still think it's expensive. I hear a case every week where someone wants high performance hosting for less than $10/month.
I get it. It's hard to spend money when you don't understand the nuances and details between two different plans that sound similar. So people choose $3 or $9 / month hosting and then are frustrated when they don't see their store function quickly.
It hurts their bottom line because conversions drop thru the floor when people don't see the checkout loading quickly.
One approach, like we've done at Nexcess, is to improve the hardware and software configuration and sell that to every WooCommerce customer.
But that's not the only way….
First came solutions like Bolt & Fast
Bolt may have been one of the earliest externalized checkout platforms I'd seen in a while. If you remember Cart66, you'll remember this kind of solution – where customers do most things on your own website and then shift to another location for the checkout.
Then we saw Fast.co deliver one-touch checkout to WooCommerce stores.
They're not exactly the same. But both speed up checkout and handle fraud. Both are focused on the customer experience.
And they're not the only ones competing to speed up and improve the checkout experience.
New entrants in the market focused on an improved checkout
In one of those earlier posts, I told you about Checkout X. It's a checkout platform for WooCommerce that solves the speed issue by moving customers off the hosting of their normal store, and handled checkout on a hosted solution (like Bolt).
I checked it out and it was fine. But there were places where I felt a bit locked in. I pinged them and they're working on improving their platform to make it even more flexible.
Now there's a new player that is worth checking out.
It's called Perfect Checkout.
Why pay attention to Perfect Checkout?
I started this post telling you about Shopify. I'll end the post in the same way. Perfect Checkout is as focused on an improved checkout as the folks at Shopify. They're focused on the user experience (much like Bolt is).
They've taken the lessons from Shopify and from anywhere else they can find them, and turned it into a customer delight.
But they're also getting around the $8 hosting problem by creating a dedicated checkout platform (much like Checkout X, Prodigy Commerce, and Bolt).
And unlike Prodigy Commerce, they're not creating an alternative to WooCommerce. Inventory and product management is handled on WooCommerce. Coupons are handled on WooCommerce (unlike Checkout X).
And they're working on post-purchase solutions like CartFlows and LaunchFlows – but performance will be even better if you're not using high quality hosting – because the checkout will be hosted on their servers.
Which is why I told you, no matter where you start with WooCommerce, all roads will end at an improved checkout.
Make sure you check out Perfect Checkout.