If you’re running a WordPress website, you got a ton of options to add an online store. Perhaps the best-known and most versatile plugin to add a shopping cart is WooCommerce. Even if any usage statistics found of WooCommerce is outdated, it shows more than 3,8 million or 0.2% of websites use WooCommerce.
Its popularity may be because WooCommerce has everything you need to get an online store up and running for your WordPress site, or that it’s fully customisable and well-supported. Either way, it lets you set up an online storefront and backend without all the hassle and costs of e-commerce software. With its vibrant integration market, you can create an online store that looks, feels, and works exactly the way you want it to.
In 2011, the developers Mike Jolley and James Koster released WooCommerce. In 2015, Automattic, the parent company of WordPress bought and it’s now part of the offerings of WordPress.com. Even though Automattic has acquired it, it remains open-source so that you can install and use it for free. Of course, you need to still consider additional expenses such as when you want to extend it and use a paid extension or upgrade.
- Pros and cons of WooCommerce
- Who is WooCommerce for?
- How easy is WooCommerce to use?
- WooCommerce themes and design
- How to manage your ecommerce store in WooCommerce?
- WooCommerce integrations
- What marketing and SEO tools does WooCommerce have?
- Payment options
- WooCommerce security
- WooCommerce customer support
- WooCommerce pricing
- Is WooCommerce the right tool for you?
Pros and cons of WooCommerce
You can both build a new standalone online store or start selling products and services on your existing WordPress site. It’s a free WordPress plugin that in turn also can be extended with plugins and upgrades. It was designed and developed from the ground up using WordPress best practices on the front and back end. This means it’s both highly reliable and robust while boasting enterprise-level quality and feature.
- Modular so that its functionality can be extended
- Open source so that you can customise and modify to your needs
- Advanced features for larger ecommerce sites
- It can adapt to the needs of your ecommerce business
- Open-source with a thriving community that include developers and experts
- If you factor in extension and subscriptions, costs can still run high
Who is WooCommerce for?
If you publish a blog, chances are very high it’s a WordPress blog. Maybe you’re catching yourself now and then wondering how to monetise it. A very obvious answer is WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is a great choice for companies of any size. It allows you to build exactly the online store you want. Since it’s open-source, you can fully customise it as you want. You can add more features with plugins to extend how your store works.
How easy is WooCommerce to use?
Since WooCommerce is part of the WordPress ecosystem, it looks and behaves as such. It’s a powerful plugin with a ton of features. That said, it may not be the right choice for you if you find WordPress difficult to use in general.
WooCommerce connects seamlessly with your WordPress site. To install it, a wizard guides you step by step through the process. Once finished, you’re taken to the WooCommerce dashboard. You’ll be greeted with a 4 step onboarding so that you can start selling immediately.
WooCommerce themes and design
Although WooCommerce is “only” a plugin and should work with all WordPress themes, it performs best when you pair it with a theme specifically developed for it – a WooTheme. You’ll reduce the hassle when you need to apply any WooCommerce updates to your store and don’t need to worry about update a theme and the plugin. You’ll find free and paid themes that are all mobile-ready.
How to manage your ecommerce store in WooCommerce?
The WooCommerce dashboard is your store’s backend. Everything you need to do for running a successful store is done here. Out of the box, WooCommerce supports tangible and digital products. If you want to offer subscriptions, memberships, bookings, bundles, or customisable products, you have to subscribe to these upgrades.
You can sell unlimited products and product variants. If you know your way in WordPress, you’ll find managing your store a cinch.
Exactly in the same way you can add categories and tags to your blog posts, you can do the same with your products. In short, managing your inventory is simple. The same applies to the other tasks such as order management.
You can download and install the official Automattic extension as well as third-party plugins. Since WooCommerce itself is a WordPress plugin, it’s fully compatible with the functions your site is already operating.
If you don’t find a plugin that covers your needs, you can always ask a WordPress plugin developer to custom code an integration according to your specs.
What marketing and SEO tools does WooCommerce have?
Running on top – or with – WordPress, you have all the power of WordPress to put your online store on steroids. It offers a myriad of options such as blogging and landing pages.
Install a WooCommerce-compatible SEO plugin such as Yoast WooCommerce to help you optimise your content for search engines. Of course, you also have to follow SEO best practices for your store. Let us know in the comments if you want to have us go deeper.
If you’re running a WordPress site, you may agree that blogging is core to WordPress. Your online store is part of your WooCommerce site, so it’s easy to publish a blog. WordPress itself has all the bells and whistles for setting up and running a blog.
Other marketing and sales tools
If you’re planning to sell offline, you’d want to have the option to keep everything in sync, regardless of where you made the sales. Automattic offers you a point of sales subscription. If there are other marketing tools and channels you want, most likely you’ll find a plugin or upgrade.
Should the built-in payment options not be enough for you, you can always add more payment gateways as an extension.
As WooCommerce is a plugin to your site, it depends if you’re using WordPress.com or hosting your own WordPress.org site. Should you be subscribing to WordPress.com, all is taken care of for you.
If you’re hosting yourself, you are responsible for securing and maintaining your site. Choosing a secure and reliable hoster that also offers an SSL certificate, means the web host shares some of the responsibility. Make sure you pick well-established plugins as well as on top of all security patches.
WooCommerce customer support
Although WooCommerce doesn’t offer the same kind of support you can expect from other (read paid) store builders, it automatically fixes issues as soon as it detects them. If you’re subscribed to a paid subscription of WordPress.com, you can contact its support team. Just know that it doesn’t cover help for products of third parties who aren’t specific resellers of WooCommerce technology.
WooCommerce is part of a thriving open source community so that you not only find a lot of guides in the knowledge base but many blogs and forums are also dedicated to it.
As open-source software, WooCommerce is free for you to download and use. But, if you need more than what it offers out of the box, you need to fork out for each and every extension. The prices range from free to 3 figures. Some are one-time purchases while others are subscriptions.
Is WooCommerce the right tool for you?
I’m sure you have heard this sentence
“With great power, there must also come great responsibility!”Stan Lee, Spider Man creator
Of course, it depends on your web hosting provider, but WooCommerce is so powerful, that it’s a solid choice if you’re growing fast, planning a big store with multi-channel, or in numerous regions. It can adapt to the needs of your ecommerce business.
Do you have questions about WooCommerce? leave a comment below and we’d be happy to help you sort it out.