Shopify For Drupal: A Drupal Commerce Alternative

A couple hundred code commits, a couple weeks of development, and six thousand lines of code later, and we’ve created an alternative solution to the problem of eCommerce on Drupal: the Shopify eCommerce Drupal module.

A Powerful eCommerce Solution

Shopify is a leading eCommerce platform which powers the online stores for some of the world’s leading brands. Shopify has a reputation for being the easiest complete eCommerce solution on the market. Their product is refined and takes much of the pain out of running a store online; from initial setup to fulfilling orders and accepting payments, Shopify is ideal for many businesses, as upwards of 160,000 businesses currently on Shopify have already found.

Shopify does include some CMS functionality but it’s not it’s real forte; it can produce basic pages and blog posts with ease, and product management is simple and straightforward, even for complex concepts. The theme layer is accessible and not limiting for designers, but programming in a traditional sense is not allowed. Site builders and designers are required to use a proprietary templating language and developers are not allowed to use PHP or other coding languages to customize the user experience. What it does, it does well, but when it comes to custom programming, the phrase “Sorry, you can’t do that with Shopify” does come to mind.

The World's Most Advanced CMS

Drupal is a fantastically robust and flexible CMS that can handle just about any type of site you can think of, and Drupal is currently at the heart of over 1 million websites like NBC.com, WhiteHouse.gov and Weather.com. Drupal’s large and dedicated developer community works literally around the clock and around the globe making improvements and sharing new functionality of all kinds.

Since the release of Drupal 7, site builders have had two trodden paths for eCommerce on their Drupal site. They could choose from either Ubercart, the only Drupal 6 eCommerce option which was then ported to Drupal 7; or Drupal Commerce, a total rethink, and the top dog for full blown eCommerce on Drupal 7. While both projects are tremendous undertakings for their maintainers and both deserve huge kudos for their contributions to the Drupal community, they both suffer from one almost inescapable flaw. They are time consuming and painfully difficult to set up.

Drupal Commerce has an entire Drupal Distribution to try to allay this issue, called “Commerce Kickstart,” which allows site builders to install Drupal with Commerce preconfigured to a degree.

Site Builders using Ubercart traditionally complained about its inflexible nature, and Drupal Commerce is in some ways a direct response to that complaint, but it goes so far into the realm of flexibility and extensibility that it’s can be frustrating to use and set up. “You can do anything with Drupal Commerce,” but doing so is regularly an adventure down the rabbit hole where hours are lost in a sea of configuration options just to get a basic store off the ground. If you’ve ever tried to explain to a customer how to set up products, product variants and product displays in Drupal Commerce, you know what I’m talking about.

A Better Way to Do Commerce

Our new Shopify module for Drupal represents the convergence of all the best parts of Shopify with all the flexibility of Drupal. How long does it take to integrate your Drupal site with Shopify to start selling your products? How about under ten minutes?

The Shopify eCommerce module for Drupal isn’t a slam-dunk perfect fit for every project, but we believe that it’s a solution that will be appealing to many stakeholders in Drupal projects.

Site builders and developers will love the idea that Shopify products are Drupal entities that get treated the same way as other Drupal entities. That means they can add their own fields to products, display products in Drupal search results and Views, and theme them however they’d like.

Site administrators will find using Shopify’s interface to update products, create variants, and manage the business end of their store both simple and rewarding. Site administrators even have Shopify’s support team and thorough documentation at their fingertips if they have a question... No more late nights Googling wildly for answers.

Finally, the Drupal Shopify eCommerce module keeps everything in sync. When an update happens on Shopify, Drupal automatically updates to add or delete products, images, tags and collections and more.

If you’ve been looking for an alternative for Drupal Commerce, check out Shopify and the Drupal Shopify eCommerce module. We think it might be just the thing you’ve been looking for.

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Wondering if this is right for your project? We've put together a guide to help you determine if the Shopify Ecommerce module is a good fit for your project.

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Update: We've created a dedicated microsite for this project. Learn more about this project at shopifyfordrupal.com

Update 2: Now available for Drupal 8! The Shopify Ecommerce module was built and released for Drupal 8 in a couple weeks. How could we do it so fast? Because it's a zillion times simpler than other solutions. That's a real statistic. 1 zillion times simpler.