Last updated - July 4, 2018
Having an online marketplace has become the norm for business owners and entrepreneurs. We are in the age dominated by ecommerce platforms and online stores, a move influenced by the fact that the internet is now at the fingertips of each and every consumer. Another very significant contributor to the growth of the ecommerce industry is WooCommerce, the ecommerce plugin for WordPress. With WooCommerce, you can design a complete and fully functional ecommerce store and sell your products and services. Basically, using WooCommerce, you can choose any of the WordPress themes for your online store and bring it into existence.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that is used by millions of users around the globe to build their online stores. It is free, easy to use, safe, powerful, and highly customizable with numerous feature extensions in the form of plugins and add-ons. WooCommerce is created to integrate effortlessly with WordPress Content Management System (CMS). In fact, using it you can sell real or virtual products to anywhere in the world in a few simple steps. The popularity as an online shopping platform is evident from the fact that it powers about 30% of all eCommerce sites in the world.
While setting up an online store you would naturally look for simplicity at the start and scalability at the later stages according to the growth rate of your business. WooCommerce is ideal for such a scenario, as it will consistently help you scale your website features. You have the flexibility to scale as your business grows in size. It’s freely downloadable and open source. So, choosing it is a sensible financial decision at the teething stages of your business.
Facts About WooCommerce
- WooThemes, the predecessor of WooCommerce, was launched in 2008
- WooThemes’ most popular theme, Canvas, was released in 2009
- WooCommerce was founded by Adii Pienaar, Magnus Jepson and Mark Forester and released by WooThemes in 2011
- In August 2014, WooCommerce powered 381,187 sites, equivalent of 17.77% of ecommerce sites
- In 2015, WooThemes was acquired by Automattic and then renamed to WooCommerce
- WooCommerce grew exponentially from 1 million downloads in 2013 to 7 million downloads in 2015
- In 2017 alone, over 760 developers contributed new code to WooCommerce
- The WooCommerce team consists of 52 employees from 19 countries
- There are almost 14,000 posts on Instagram with the #WooCommerce hashtag
- There are over 45,000 WordPress plugins at your disposal when you choose WooCommerce as your desired ecommerce platform.
How WooCommerce helps?
It helps numerous online business of big and small size in multiple ways. Here are a few of the most important factors.
It’s open source
WooCommerce is a free, open source plugin, hence it is widely preferred by businesses that are just starting out with their sales operations. Being open source also means that it is constantly getting improvised and upgraded by developers around the world.
If your business is selling digital goods like music or books, there’s a customized plugin for you. If, on the other hand, your business sells physical goods like shoes and clothes, there’s also an optimized plugin for you. In addition to these, there are loads of extensions available for you to make your choice from. In other words, as long as you have a (free) copy of WordPress and some good WordPress hosting solutions, WooCommerce is all you need to build a fully functional website and eCommerce store and start generating revenue right away.
The very fact that WooCommerce is open source also allows third party developers to continue to develop and expand the number of plugins and extensions available. WooCommerce basically gives you full control over your store by offering a variety of options to choose from.
As a great majority of websites across the world is powered by WordPress, there is clearly a sense of familiarity with it. This sense of comfort and familiarity seeps into WooCommerce as well. Navigating through the interface is somewhat of a cakewalk. It is especially comfortable for non-technical users. This is because it does not require any complicated technical procedure to get your online store up and running. WooCommerce also ensures multiple-device compatibility. Your online store and products will look similar on a desktop computer or a mobile device.
Setting up WooCommerce is as easy as it gets. You can follow the steps below:
- Install WordPress and the WooCommerce plugin.
- Go to the settings page for more options on how to proceed.
- On the settings page, choose “Products” to add the type of product you wish to sell, the categories of the product, the coupons and tags you would like to offer, the shipping and tax details for your customers, as well as the payment gateway, amongst other things.
In addition to the three steps highlighted above, there is a “Getting Started” section that describes how to go about every step in detail. If you prefer to use video tutorials, then you are covered. There are guided video tours to help you through the process of setting up your site. Remember that you have the freedom to change how you want things to appear. Another benefit of using WooCommerce is that you can test your site well before launching it.
When you are done setting up the site, WooCommerce helps you enhance the look and feel of your products, and provides efficient navigation through your site. In doing so, your eCommerce experience is brought up to par with the latest trends.
It’s highly customizable
With all the talks about simplicity, never assume WooCommerce is going to give you a lifeless, run-of-the-mill website. The real power of WooCommerce lies in its attitude towards customization. WooCommerce allows site owners to improvise the look and feel of the site considerably using the many inbuilt themes and styles. Once you start your sales operations in full force, you realize its power. There is a vast array of useful feature extensions available for WooCommerce that you can use. This includes free and premium extensions. Most of these will save you from the hassles of tedious coding to incorporate the desired functionality to your website. With the help of these extensions, you can integrate analytics, payment gateways, shipping functions according to your requirements.
WooCommerce gets regular audits and updates that make it a safe and secure platform. You can carry out your business transactions without worries. WooCommerce ensures that the data on your site is directly owned and controlled by you, the store owner. It helps you gain the confidence of your customers as well. All the personal information customers share on the site is only accessible to you.
In addition, developers from around the world are constantly working on the WooCommerce platform to make it better, which means that the system is dynamic. One thing to note is that you have a responsibility as a site owner using WooCommerce to be PCI compliant and to have an SSL certificate for your site if you take payments. These encourage best practices and reduce your vulnerabilities.
WooCommerce aids SEO and content integration
WooCommerce is built on WordPress and it is a known fact that WordPress helps its users with tips and tricks on how to go about their search engine optimization (SEO). Users are able to edit and tweak their content to make it more suited for SEO. Other good third party plugins are also available to help you with SEO of your website in order to reach a wider audience. You basically are able to effectively manage and tweak your efforts while analyzing your performance.
In addition, through WordPress, WooCommerce offers your online store a seamless integration with the most preferred blogging platform in the world, where more than 400 million people view about 25 billion pages on a monthly basis.
It helps you monitor performance
WooCommerce offers fundamental competence in analysis and reporting. The dashboard with order reports, sales reports, traffic trends, etc. consistently. This helps store owners to be on top of their game in understanding customer behavior. Seamless integration of analytics tools like Google Analytics or KissMetrics also contribute in your online store’s performance monitoring.