WooCommerce is a free ‘WordPress plugin’ that is used by 25-30% of eCommerce websites. It is the world’s largest eCommerce platform and is considered to be the best eCommerce solution for small businesses that already have a site on WordPress, or who operate on a tight budget but still want a robust online store. It has thousands of third-party themes and plugins, giving it a great deal of flexibility to accommodate most needs.
How does it work:
WooCommerce software is ‘open source’ – free to use. You need your own domain name, WordPress installation and hosting to store the website files.
WooCommerce is built on WordPress, the software powering more than 34% of the web.
With WooCommerce, any website running on WordPress can be turned into an eCommerce store.
From physical products and digital downloads to subscriptions, content and even appointments, you can sell anything with WooCommerce.
WooCommerce itself is entirely free to get started, but you must have website hosting and WordPress already in place. Then it’s just like installing any other WordPress plugin.
You can enhance your online store with paid extensions and integrations for your storefront. Like WordPress, WooCommerce has several free themes that you can use to build your online store, or you have the option to purchase premium themes.
You can set up various payment options from major credit cards to integrations with Stripe, PayPal, and so on. You can also sign up with WooCommerce Payment which allows you to accept credit or debit cards.
It has thousands of third-party themes and plugins, giving it a great deal of flexibility to accommodate most needs.
You are free to integrate your WooCommerce store with Google Analytics to keep track of data.
WooCommerce does not have phone or email support. Users have to file a ticket, which will be answered via live chat within 24 hours. Online help guides and Community forums are also available.
When setting up your store, some of the first things you’ll need to make choices about are homepage design, menus, site structure, and payment and shipping options.
This WooCommerce guide gives some advice about getting started such as:
- Setting up your store’s name, logo, tagline, brand colours, choice of text font. These elements may be based on existing logos and PR materials, social media pages.
- Choosing which theme to use
- Deciding on your homepage’s layout and design
- Payment methods, taxes/VAT and other settings
- How you plan to ship or deliver your goods
Advantages of WooCommerce
WooCommerce is currently the most popular E-Commerce solution in the world. It can provide a cost effective solution for businesses with an existing WordPress website. If required, you can sync it with your Facebook store for free.
Disadvantages of WooCommerce
At first WooCommerce can be a bit of a learning curve for those who have not created a similar site before. Since the platform is mostly free, you are expected to handle things on your own or hire a website developer to do this for you.
WooCommerce is currently the most popular option for eCommerce websites to be built with. However, compared to solutions such as Shopify or EKM, it requires more technical knowledge to set-up and does not have the same support options that they offer. You would need to have website hosting and payment processing.
For users who are comfortable with WordPress and online support forums this is could be a cheap and flexible option, with no limits on how much you can sell.