Insights, Web Development
WooCommerce Review – Is This The Best Ecommerce Platform?
In this article we will review WooCommerce and see what makes it the most popular ecommerce solution worldwide.
We already discussed in another article why choosing the right eCommerce platform is practically essential for your online business. We reviewed the most important factors we should take into consideration before choosing our builder. Now, as promised, we will take a better look at some of the best eCommerce platforms out there. After reviewing Shopify, we’ll continue with WordPress WooCommerce. In this WooCommerce review, we’ll explain the platform’s pros and cons, and unique features. This will make it easier to decide what businesses is WooCommerce ideal for.
WooCommerce Review: Quick Overview
- What is WooCommerce
- Which big companies use WooCommerce
- WooCommerce Is A WordPress Plugin. Is This Good Or Bad?
- Why you should use WooCommerce (advantages)
- Why you should NOT use WooCommerce (disadvantages)
- What is unique about WooCommerce
- Consider this
- What does it cost
- Will you need to hire a developer
- Definitely use WooCommerce
What is WordPress WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is the most popular builder with 28% of all e-commerce websites on board. It’s built on WordPress which already powers a huge piece of the web.
Since it’s an open-source WordPress plugin, it functions only as a builder for the e-commerce part of the website while the rest should be handled by hosting service and installing and configuring the WordPress CMS.
The platform is well-known and trusted which is one of its many advantages.
Which Big Companies Use WooCommerce?
About 28% of all eCommerce websites use WordPress WooCommerce and we’ll list some of the most successful ones.
WooCommerce Is A WordPress Plugin. Is This Good Or Bad?
Pros and Cons
WordPress WooCommerce isn’t the simplest solution to set up a new eCommerce business, however, it’s incredibly powerful, flexible and rich in functionalities to aid the growth of your business.
In fact, according to sources such as Builtwith, the platform holds a noticeable 28% of all eCommerce websites in current use. Of course, this is to be expected when WP itself shows remarkable stats such as enabling over 75 Million sites across the web and 14.7% of the world’s top 100 websites. On top of that, over 500 new websites powered by WordPress.org emerge daily alongside with 17 new blog posts for every second.
Such an enormous active community is amongst the reasons for WordPress’s success.
If you’re already using WordPress as a platform for your website, which is very likely, adding the WooCommerce plugin to set up a store would be a piece of cake.
You won’t need to set up a single hosted platform. The plugin works as a third-party integration within WordPress and enables you to use all your already existing plugins and the WP command-line interface. In short, WooCommerce inherits the strengths and reliability of WordPress and offers a solid foundation to build a world-class eCommerce store.
In case you start from scratch without an existing WordPress website, there are a few things you’ll need to do prior to setting up your store:
Step 1. Acquire hosting services. 🗸
Step 2. Install and configure WordPress CMS 🗸
Step 3. Build the design of your pages and add the features you need. 🗸
Step 4. Install and configure WooCommerce. 🗸
Why you should use WooCommerce (advantages)
WooCommerce is free in terms of the initial price so you won’t have to think about monthly license payments. Surely, there are additional costs that will inevitably surface if you decide to include extra features to your website.
The platform includes a rich palette of extensions that you can take advantage of. In fact, there are thousands of plugins specifically built for WooCommerce. The modular system makes it easier to expand your admin panel’s functionality depending on your work. You can add plugins in terms of shipping, product management, SEO, payments, and more.
Its popularity means it’s easier to get assistance from experts, tutorials and also to find a WooCommerce developer.
Huge variety of content management options.
It’s highly flexible and allows you to sell both digital and physical products and services. It understands not all eCommerce sites are the same and it knows the differences. If you have something to sell, you can sell it.
It is open-source which benefits from a huge community of developers and active users.
WooCommerce easily integrates with Google Analytics and has its own set of analytics as well.
Optimized for content without the need to write blog articles elsewhere.
Why you should not use WooCommerce (disadvantages)
📖 WordPress Experience
As a WordPress plugin, you will need to have experience with WordPress. Even then, in some cases, you might still need the help of a professional.
💸 Extension Pricing
Similar to most platforms, additional functionalities, and extensions require a fee.
📖 Learning Curve
It does require knowledge and experience to add new functionalities.
Maintenance is the responsibility of the business owner.
WooCommerce isn’t a self-hosted solution, so it requires to set up hosting and monthly payment for a hosting subscription. Typical average costs are around $15 per month.
Security is also the responsibility of the user. You can’t leave that to the platform, instead, you’ll need to take care of improving your security.
It’s necessary to test any new updates with your shop before installing Updates, especially if you have multiple plugins.
What Is Unique About WooCommerce?
🎨 WordPress WooCommerce Storefront
This is a free WP theme that is deeply integrated into WooCommerce. It eliminates the possibility of a theme- plugin conflicts and grants max speed and website performance. The storefront is customizable but also offers default settings. It also allows you to install a child theme to customize the look of your pages even further.
📦 Featured Products
A pretty well-thought tweak of WooCommerce is the ability to designate featured products by adding a special column to your products before publishing them. The column usually adds blank stars which you can click to set a particular item to featured. This way you can highlight new products, promotions, discounted items and etc.
🎨 Product Variations
WooCommerce allows you to add images to each variation of a single product. This will help any customer view the actual product they’re interested in. For example, if the product has different sizes and colors, the users would be able to view a photo of the small purple kid’s t-shirt if they wish.
🚢 Shipment Tracking Pro
This is perhaps the most advanced plugin for tracking orders. It supports more than 80 shipping carriers, import tracking details for bulk orders, deal with tracking IDs via FTP or send tracking details to your customers via email. In addition, the plugin allows you to import tracking details automatically, modify the tracking message. It’s also compatible with multiple languages and fully integrated with ShippingEasy.
🔎 Advanced Search and Filtering
When we talked about Shopify in another article, we mentioned the challenges before advanced filtering for product searches. In WooCommerce’s case, you are able to filter products by their attributes. This is possible thanks to a navigation widget that allows shoppers to search by color size, colors or even ratings.
❌ Remove features
As much as you can add features in some cases you’d want to disable some of them. In fact, in WordPress WooCommerce you can completely disable reviews on a case to case basis or remove unnecessary checkout fields. You could even disable the purchasing of products.
📷 WooCommerce Instagram
You can add a unique hashtag to your best items and every time someone uploads an image with that hashtag to their Instagram, it will show on your page. This additional section on the product page will give extra context for future shoppers and will give you more content for SEO value.\
🏷️ Custom Labels
You could add fully customizable thumbnail labels to particular products. This is especially handy when you want to flag some items “out of stock”, or others with “free shipping”.
The code is based on open collaboration which allows the users to access and alter it any time completely for free.
In addition, WordPress WooCommerce provides a rich library of thousands of themes to work with and customize as it pleases the user: from the header and footer to the product sections and checkouts. These features make the software suitable not only for professional developers but also for beginners. Most new users adapt to the learning curve pretty quickly.
👁️ Visual Editing
The platform doesn’t offer WYSIWYG or drag and drop editing.
WooCommerce requires a hosted service and installed and configured WordPress CMS.
💡 Intuitive Experience
Suitable for both pros and beginners, the interface is rich without being overwhelmingly complex.
The platform offers thousands of tools and plugins and isn’t afraid to slip another hundred on the table. There is a downside to this, however, as those plugins take up a lot of space and would inevitably slow down the overall performance. In order to prevent this from happening you could still add those features through CSS or jQuery.
📈 SEO Performance
WooCommerce websites have a really high SEO performance. Of course, climbing up the rankings would require some work in terms of content, images, and the usage of rich snippets and an SEO plugin.
WooCommerce is free when it comes to basic functions offered for your website. For specific services like advanced search engines, analytics, email marketing, etc, those are components that require payment.
The open-source nature of the platform might raise some concerns in that department. Most reports, however, point to the fact that the causes of hacking are usually because of third-party plugins, bottlenecks, weak passwords, and other vulnerabilities. The very core of WordPress is extremely rarely the cause of attacks. Surely, one can significantly improve their security by choosing a reliable hosting service and updating WordPress constantly.
The large WordPress WooCommerce community offers huge documentation, guides, and articles as well as specialized forums. The community has numerous active users that would assist you in case of technical issues or anything else you’d like to know when setting up and maintaining your eCommerce website.
What Does It Cost?
WooCommerce is free to use by itself, however, many of the add-ons to the platform aren’t. Most of those paid functionalities and plugins will inevitably appear necessary in the future, so you will want to consider the additional costs. Don’t get concerned about having to pay thousands per year though: it’s necessary to note that the applications’ capabilities are not always related to the price.
For example, the average cost of the highest-quality theme is around $50. There are important plugins that most businesses would need to take advantage of and some might cost between $500-$800. Although some essentials such as the YoastSEO and PayPal & Stripe come for free, other important features like Bookings or Subscriptions cost around $200 each.
You will still be able to run a fully functional web store just on free features and free extensions. WordPress WooCommerce comes with product pages with ratings and reviews, tax and shipping calculations, inventory management, and unlimited image displays.
The benefits of WooCommerce double from its modularity. On one hand, you access WordPress plugins and extensions, on the other specific eCommerce ones. You will also find free themes that you can customize as you please, especially if you have some experience as a developer. There are also free extensions in the areas of marketing, accounting, payment, and shipping.
Will You Need To Hire A Developer?
It’s important to point out that since the platform is relatively beginner-friendly, you can still create and manage a website by yourself at least in the beginning. There is a plugin with a built-in configuration that can get you ready to run your store in no time.
Its Open-source nature, however, gives you the ultimate control over the source code. Such control allows you to alter the code, customize every single feature, add every functionality you want, even build your own integrations. To customize your business according to your brand and have the exact functionalities without making compromises.
All of this, however, requires you to know how to code.
Even for things such as security, upgrades, and upgrades, this is something that you need to take care of. This is because WordPress WooCommerce is not a self-hosted out-of-the-box closed-source platform where maintenance is packed with a software monthly subscription.
In short, yes, learning how to code or hiring a developer would be best for bigger and ambitious projects. And why wouldn’t it be? If open-source allows unlimited control, why not taking advantage?
Definitely use WooCommerce
Due to its overall service and a huge choice of amazing tools, WordPress WooCommerce is the number one choice for building pages for online services no matter the type. It’s ideal for content-heavy eCommerce websites with a huge variety of products. Experience with coding will appear necessary in the long run.
As an open-source not self-hosted solution, it will require the user to arrange the hosting and maintenance. We hope this WooCommerce review helped you decide if this is the eCommerce platform you wish to bet on.