WooCommerce just announced it is releasing WooCommerce Payments. They’re billing it as the all-in-one payment solution for WooCommerce, where you can manage everything in your WooCommerce dashboard. Is this a nifty new feature? Definitely. Is it a direct move against platforms like Shopify that provide their own built-in payments? Yep.
We expect WooCommerce Payments to be largely praised, and we won’t dispute that. It looks like it will be a very solid option for accepting payments. But WooCommerce Payments has sparked a larger question for us. It’s easy to get caught up in the shine of a new feature, but how might those new features effect users in the long run?
Investing all your eggs in one basket
The saying goes, “don’t invest all of your eggs in one basket.” This is commonly applied to financial investments, but it’s the concept that’s important. Investing in just one thing, whether that’s stocks or web platforms, increases your risk. Diversity spreads that risk, and is considered the safer choice.
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So how exactly does this apply to WooCommerce Payments? Well, for the same reason we’ve always recommended systems like WooCommerce over platforms like Shopify. They provide diversification of your technical investments.
We’re not against all-in-one platforms. They certainly provide a valuable service. But what happens if that platform closes its doors? What if they hike prices in a way that makes it more expensive to operate a small shop? What if they stop offering a feature that you rely on? Hypothetically, what if something happens that forces you to head in a different direction?
If something like that ever happens, you’ll find yourself in a very tough spot. By putting all your eggs into one basket (or platform in this case), you’re forcing yourself and your business to rely on that singular platform.
WooCommerce, with their release of WooCommerce Payments, looks to be trending toward a platform as a service. There’s nothing inherently bad about that, but, if that is the case and we see the shift in the coming years, how will that effect the open-source nature of WooCommerce? WooCommerce has become what it is today because it’s open source software that anyone can contribute to, extend, support, etc.
Will a shift toward a platform as a service impact that ability? Services, by nature, are not open source – they’re more commercial and closed off. Wherever Woo decides to take things, we hope the flexibility it has always provided continues to grow.
Diversifying Technical Infrastructure
We recommend you purchase your domains from a separate company than the one your host your website on. We also suggest using a separate provider for your business email. Further, we think it’s a good idea to use the payment gateway of your choice, such as Stripe or PayPal.
Why is that? Simply put, it makes it easier for you to pivot down the road, if needed. If we have problems with PayPal, we can switch gateways instead of entire platforms. If we have problems with our host, we can switch hosts instead of having to migrate all of our domains and email.
Modularity is important in technical infrastructure because it spreads risk and makes things easier to scale. The only way to truly avoid the risk associated with using services you don’t control is to build your entire infrastructure yourself. However, unless you’re Amazon or Google, that’s not very feasible. Therefore, reliance on third party services is necessary to some extent. But diversifying that risk will protect you and your business in the long run.