Should you "diversify" your SAAS outside of Shopify into BigCommerce, Woo, Magento, etc?
I'll never forget the convo in our board meeting.
"There's too much risk being shopify centric."
"What about woo commerce, bigcommerce, magento?"
Maybe this is something you're hearing from your investors, or you're discussing as a team.
I get it. I was there too. And we did end up building our app for bigcommerce, and even wix commerce after about 5 years of being shopify-only.
It was hard to understand this at the time, but we ran into pretty big challenges.
- If your product offering covers lots of ground (for us it was webhooks, oauth, coupons, behavior based segmentation, product catalog, etc.) It's such a big time investment to pull your dev team off current roadmap to rebuild a new ecommerce platform integration in a way that gets you close to parody with your shopify app. I mean like a lot lot harder and longer than expected. Whatever your team says, double it. And then consider that if you decide to expand, you're now needing to support that integration moving forward assuming you get to any reasonable scale on the new platform. For us, this created months and months of drag. It weighed on dev excitement. Partially because the APIs weren't as great as shopify, but partially because you're asking a dev to go back and rebuild essentially the same thing they already did. If the team is incentivized, and the ROI is there, maybe that works, but if it falls flat, they won't ever forget that.
- Bigcommerce and Wix commerce just do not get the same level of engagement in their app stores as Shopify does. Full stop. App store is a viable channel for growth in Shopify. It is not inside of BigCommerce. They just didn't build the DNA around third party integrations for merchants early on, and their merchants don't spend a ton of time in the app store.
Now - this doesn't mean you shouldn't build the integration for BigCommerce, but hindsight 20-20, I would not have built the BC integration unless I had a strong outbound motion calling into BC merchants, or a strong BC agency game to help us sell in.
Looking back, I would have been better off had we stayed on shopify, gone deeper in product and shopify ecosystem related integrations.
There's absolutely risk in remaining shopify centric, but the TAM on shopify is huge. They have ,what, 25,000 shopify plus brands, 1.8M total merchants as of writing this. I would have much rather stayed focus to be the absolute best inside shopify, before rushing into expansion into other ecommerce platform ecosystems.