Hey everyone !
After spending a month working on an ecommerce site through Webflow Ecommerce, I wanted to share my thoughts on it, and when you should consider using Webflow Ecommerce.
TL;DR: If your client/project needs a “simple” ecom site without so many ecom features such as multi-channel sales, accounts, then go with WF Ecommerce, it’s by far the best solution for your needs especially if you value design. But if your project/client cares more about ecom features than design, then WF Ecommerce is not for you.
As much as I love Webflow for its design capabilities, I have to admit that WF Ecommerce is still limited for some major ecommerce features.
Let’s start with the good points:
- Design! (I mean it’s Webflow), you can do whatever you want in terms of layout on every single page.
- Product Custom Attributes. I’m used to Webflow CMS, so at first, I didn’t think that was so “unique” to have custom attributes, but after trying different alternatives, I can guarantee that Webflow Custom Attributes is one of the best in terms of both flexibility and easiness for the client.
- Webflow CMS integration: As it’s part of WF, it’s very intuitive to connect the ecommerce part and the CMS part, making possibilities almost endless. In my case, I needed a page featured different specs of products (not categories), I just created a collection and it was done!
- Shipping Methods: Again a lot of freedom about the way you want to define shipping pricing. Very easy to use and very useful.
- The cart and checkout pages, this one might be different for other people, but IMO, I think the balance WF gives us between design capabilities and easiness to use for those two pages is great. Basically, you’re limited in terms of cart layout (only 3: left, right, center), and the checkout layout is pretty much the same for every WF ecommerce site. But when working on it, I didn’t see it as limiting, it allowed me to work on design without worrying about technical details.
- Emails: Very easy to set up and work as expected. The only downside: you have the webflow branding on it.
Ok now, the bad points:
- Limiting Ecommerce features/Integrations: No Account Management for users, No multi-channel, limited shipping integrations (only Shippo). I don’t want to spend too much on this aspect as it already has covered in other threads.
- No faceted navigation: For me, this is a major feature for any retails business. The users need to be able to filters/search/paginate through the products. You might argue that you can use things like Mixitup or the CMS Library by Finsweet or Jetboost but here are the major problems with those 3 ways: it’s DOM-only. Meaning that if you have 500 products, then your page will load 500 products at once (not cool for the UX and the SEO). Personally, the only solution was to use Mixitup, thank you @sabanna for your tutorials! (Finsweet I love what you’re doing but you didn’t have the pagination feature).
- Products Limits: This one is very confusing to me, in the WF ecom “trailer”, you define WF Ecommerce as “brand-first ecommerce” so you talk about businesses that value branding and know its value right? But even on your largest plan ($299/mo), you’re limited to 3000 products, so any stores with more cannot use WF Ecommerce. Pretty confusing.
But it goes worse, as @vincent explained :
So, if you got a blog on your ecom site, with 150 articles, your product limit goes down from 500 to 350 (assuming you’re on the cheapest ecom plan). But if you’re selling t-shirts with 3 colors and 4 sizes, well each item counts as 1 x 3 x 4 = 12 items. 150 / 12 = 12.5, so you can only have 29 t-shirts in your store (41 without the blog).
(this example is from Vincent as well)
- Checkout Bugs: When working on the checkout pages (Stripe and PayPal), I discovered 2 minor bugs: the checkout wasn’t updating. Basically, if you were loading the checkout page for the very first time, no shipping methods were shown. Same if you’ve defined a different price for shipping. Let’s say from 0 to 5 products, shipping costs are $5, and from 5 to 10, it costs $10. Well if the user added 6 products to the cart, the shipping costs would be $5 (instead of $10). The bugs were resolved by manually triggered JS event through a simple script, by doing so, the checkout was updated and the correct info was shown.
- Checkout Limitations: As @Elliott pointed out: “Webflow doesn’t have the ability to notify a customer that they have an out of stock item in their cart if it runs out of stock before they’re able to checkout essentially blocking them from completing a checkout without notifying them why.” (Check out his post on the thread to have more info)
Note: BE VERY CAUTIOUS when using Backups with Webflow Ecommerce! If you don’t check the right case, you will lose all your inventory content for each product. It doesn’t matter when you have 3 products, but it does when you have 400 (yes I’m speaking from experience )
Going back about the ecommerce features, I know the Webflow team is working on that, and I’m not asking to work more or anything, I really respect the way you treat your employees so don’t change anything, but please give us more info on the wishlist because “In Backlog” for 3 years doesn’t help me at all!
So what if you need an ecommerce site, with design freedom such as Webflow but Ecommerce features such as Shopify?
Well, it’s complicated. I tried to connect WF and Shopify with the Udesly Adapter, but some issues appear on the Shopify end (no product custom attributes, static URLs, literally impossible to create custom filters, even with GraphQL API!, etc).
Except if someone knows the perfect solution (which I would be interested in), you have 4 choices :
- Stay with Webflow Ecommerce for “small” businesses.
- Go with Shopify/Ecom platform but lose the design abilities and be limited to the Shopify platform.
- Combine WF/Shopify but be limited to the Shopify platform.
- Create a custom ecommerce site through Headless Ecommerce and JAMstack (or any other custom implementations) and do whatever you want but it requires a dev team.
Feel free to correct me/add info I forget!