What is WooCommerce?
In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive walkthrough of what WooCommerce is, how it works, what it costs, and what its top benefits are for eCommerce websites.
With eCommerce revenue expected to grow to 6.54 trillion in 2022, if you are a small business owner, you may be thinking of how to create an online store for your business or how to maximize your current business. However, it can be a bit tricky to A) Know where to start, and B) Understand the differences between the options. In this article, we discuss one of the largest and most used platforms out there: WooCommerce.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce started in 2008, called WooThemes, with three founders working to build WordPress themes. After deciding to try something new, they decided to dabble in plugin development which is where WooCommerce was born. In 2017, the company decided to focus on eCommerce, exclusively and WooCommerce became the official name. The company is now owned by Automattic and has 150 staff members across 32 countries around the world. As of January 2020, WooCommerce is used by approximately 3.9 million websites.
WooCommerce is an open-sourced eCommerce platform that is used exclusively on WordPress sites. An open-sourced platform is software where the copyright holder allows users to change, use and distribute to anyone for any purpose. The software can even be developed in a public space. WordPress is an open-source website platform, which is why WooCommerce functions similarly. Open-source platforms have large communities where users and developers can collaborate on codes and resources. This is how it works: First, the business will need to choose a hosting service platform, then they install and use WordPress, and finally, after they have their website designed, the user installs the WooCommerce plugin to handle their eCommerce store needs.
As an open-sourced eCommerce plugin, WooCommerce is designed to be used by small-to-medium-sized businesses that have an online store on a WordPress site. As eCommerce is rapidly growing in this modern and COVID era landscape, WooCommerce is becoming increasingly popular.
What are WooCommerce’s Top Features?
As an open-sourced plugin platform, using the basic WooCommerce software is free to users. To build more complex functionality, WooCommerce-related plugins will be necessary, but at its basic level, WooCommerce is free.
Works Seamlessly with WordPress
WordPress is the most widely used CMS platform in the market, and as an open-source website platform, the offerings and technology of WordPress are constantly evolving, making it an easy-to-use option. WooCommerce works exclusively with WordPress. As a result, if you choose to use WooCommerce, you will benefit from the huge catalog of plugins and resources that WordPress provides to its users. As part of these resources, are the thousands of options of WooCommerce themes that come with WordPress websites. Since WooCommerce isn’t a site builder, it relies on the thousands of themes WordPress provides, including a storefront theme that integrates into the WooCommerce basic plugin and is very effective.
Being integrated into a WordPress website means that there are a plethora of templates that the user can use. However, WooCommerce is also customizable. A user can modify the checkout process, provide email automation, and even change how prices are displayed to the customer. WooCommerce also has its own library of plugins that allow for flexible payment options like credit cards or PayPal so that the user can align with the payment gateways they have already been using.
If you choose to use WooCommerce, you can rest assured that your site will be optimized for speed. WordPress’s themes are built to hold fast load times, which ensures that sales and conversion will not be hindered by technology.
As a business owner, you have to have the ability to track conversions, sales, and more. WooCommerce provides the ability to create, view, and export data in visual and easy-to-understand layouts like graphs and charts.
Key Benefits of Using WooCommerce
With the use of templated themes and designs, WordPress has made creating a website easy to do. As a result, when using WooCommerce, the sync and setup wizard of the plug-in is seamless, even for beginners. You can be assured that you can create a functioning eCommerce site with little frustration.
When working with WooCommerce, you can use templated designs or customize everything yourself. As a result, you have the flexibility to change and use your eCommerce site in any way you want, including through different channels like mobile devices. Additionally, should you decide to change from another eCommerce store, like Shopify, WooCommerce has easy-to-use transfer tools so that you can get your site up and running again smoothly.
A large benefit of working with WooCommerce is the community that you will then have access to. Open-sourced platforms like WordPress and WooCommerce mean that developers can constantly create, share resources, and generally make the platform better. Through this community of creation, collaboration breeds forums and conversations around functionality. As a user, you can readily access these communities to educate yourself through tutorials or find a developer. Additionally, there are WooExperts and the support team from WooCommerce itself that can help you readily.
Unlike SaaS platforms, open-sourced platforms like WooCommerce are not beholden to the changes like terms and conditions, general sweeping platform decisions, shocking capabilities changes, or even complete lack of functionality. As a WooCommerce user, you have more control over your site and any changes that you want to see.
Search Engine Optimization
Because of its customizable functionality and design, WordPress and WooCommerce websites are more SEO-friendly. WooCommerce also allows you to customize things like headers, tags, markup, and more. Thus, your online business will rank higher in search results and Google Analytics, and lead to higher conversions.
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How Much Does WooCommerce Cost?
Technically, WooCommerce is a free plugin. However, for all the bells and whistles, there may be a large cost discrepancy of $3.95 per month, all the way up to $5,000.
They offer hundreds of WooCommerce plugins that make running your eCommerce store easier. Examples of this include MailChimp, Smart Coupons, and WooCommerce Social Login. As your business grows, the functionality of your WooCommerce site will also need to grow. For example, if you decide to do subscription sales, then there will be additional plugins that will be needed to ensure the user experience is still optimized. Another example is the use of SSL certification. Depending on the payment gateway system you have, you may need to obtain an SSL certificate which could cost you extra.
The ala cart nature of WooCommerce add-ons means that costs can add up, even though the plugin in its most basic form is free. Be sure to pay attention to the plugins and functionality you choose, so that the costs do not get out of control.
Begin Your Search Today
By now, you should have a grasp on WooCommerce, and the features and benefits it can provide to your new or current eCommerce website. If you are looking to hire a WooCommerce developer or want to learn more about what developers do, check out UpCity’s list of the top WooCommerce Developers across the United States.
About the author
Haldis Toppen is the Director of Communications of the cultural exchange organization, Greenheart International. With 10 years of experience in leading marketing and communication teams, Haldis has a proven record of successfully leading national campaigns and international programming. She is passionate about bringing the right message to the masses and finding those audiences who need to hear it!