Last updated - November 10, 2023
Woo Express appears to be a promising new option for retailers who want to use WooCommerce without having to bother about hosting and upkeep. The fact that WooCommerce employees provide support and that hosting is handled directly by Automattic utilizing WordPress.com servers should reassure store owners that their website is in capable hands.
While a majority of the users are aware of WooCommerce, not many know about Woo Express. This article will explain everything you need to know about Woo Express and how is it different from WooCommerce.
What is Woo Express?
Woo Express is a more streamlined and simplified way to get started using WooCommerce and some of the solutions that we believe are highly crucial or really valuable to many retailers. We strive to make it as simple as possible to sign up, get started, and maintain your site. It’s almost like a version of WordPress.com for open-source WordPress, where hosting is taken care of for you, there’s a ton of extra functionality that’s included. It has a bit more of an opinion about the solutions you should use and gives you additional step-by-step instructions.
The Woo store will operate exactly like every other Woo installation. As the merchant’s business develops and grows, you will be able to work with them and change the design, add any other extensions, and collaborate with them.
It includes a number of specially chosen WooCommerce tools and plugins that will help you launch your website quickly, sell more different kinds of goods, and expand your business. You can use a native GitHub integration, execute WP-CLI commands, view server logs, directly access DBs, and set up your workflows over SSH and SFTP with every managed WordPress.com environment.
How does Woo Express Compare with Shopify?
WooCommerce currently controls 23% of the top 1 Million eCommerce websites, followed by Shopify with 21%. WooCommerce is not preferred over Shopify by website owners who are unwilling to deal with the technical aspects of things, such as hosting. When the store expands, having to maintain the hosting and WooCommerce may prove to be a big pain. Shopify’s expensive pricing is justified by the fact that it handles security, performance, maintenance, upgrades, and uptime.
Shopify will lose this advantage with the introduction of Woo Express. Like Shopify, Woo Express offers security and an SSL certificate. The game has advanced to a new level when you take into consideration Woo Express’s powerful WordPress and WooCommerce plugins, improved SEO, and other features.
Here is a head-to-head comparison between the two.
Difference Between Woo Express and WooCommerce
In order to understand how Woo Express differs from WooCommerce you first need to know what Woo Express is at its core, its functionalities, and usages in the eCommerce industry. So, let us take a closer look at some of the important tenets where Woo Express becomes a unique proposition.
Woo Express as a Package
With the launch of Woo Express Automattic hopes to become the one-stop shop for online retailers using WooCommerce. Woo Express effectively provides everything needed to rapidly and easily create an online store with all the features you need. All of the user’s needs are met, including managed hosting, front-end solutions, and everything in between.
Up until this point, if you wanted to utilize WooCommerce for your business, you had to handle the hosting yourself through a third-party supplier. This means that if you are to use WooCommerce you need a hosted website.
Woo Express utilizes the architecture of WordPress.com (keep in mind that WordPress.com and WordPress.org are two very different things), and it is a platform that includes hosting. Therefore, if you want to use Woo Express then you do not have to worry about third-party hosting service providers since it comes integrated with web hosting.
Block editing, which is widely regarded as a superior, more advanced method of creating websites, enables users to set up an online store more quickly and easily because all the necessary pieces may be stacked, mixed, and matched to fit the branding and purpose of the site.
While WooCommerce falls short in this aspect, Woo Express comes with a robust block-based editor and default themes. This means that users who are familiar with WordPress.com can easily migrate to Woo Express since it provides the same levels of ease of usage.
Woo Express intends to give all features and functionalities in the form of blocks, such as cart and checkout blocks, building on the wide variety of WooCommerce blocks already available for diverse uses. The requirement for adding extensions and plugins will decrease because many of them will be included in the box.
In terms of themes, aside from the default theme setting, Automattic has already made available a number of other block-based themes for Woo Express in particular. However, consumers won’t be restricted to using only these themes because they’ll be able to install any WooCommerce theme available, not just the ones created for the hosting plan.
Similar to websites created on WordPress.com, the major goal of Woo Express is to offer retailers a turnkey solution that includes hosting already taken care of. Despite being the first partner of the recently announced product, WordPress.com doesn’t seem to be the only one. There are many hosting companies who would undoubtedly like to join the WordPress and WooCommerce ecosystem, which has a vast ecosystem. The only choice, for now, is hosting with WordPress.com.
Potential users are likely primarily interested in the cost, accessibility, and comparison of Woo Express to other hosting options.
Pricing of Woo Express
Woo Express in the Words of Beau Lebens – Head of Engineering at WooCommerce
Beau Lebens, the head of Engineering at WooCommerce got candid with Jonathan from Do the Woo in an exclusive interview about Woo Express. Here is a little excerpt from the interview about Woo Express. You can read the full interview here.
“Yeah. So Woo Express is a simpler streamlined version of getting up and running with WooCommerce and with some of the solutions that we see as being really key or really important to many merchants. So you can think of it as, it’s almost like a version of WordPress.com is to open source WordPress, where hosting is taken care of for you, there’s a bunch of additional functionality that’s included, and we try to make it just much easier to get onboarded, up and running. It’s a bit more opinionated about here are these solutions that you should use, and walks you through the process a bit more.”
“So I think the biggest thing that we are going for here is, through Woo Express, we should be able to get more active merchants. So people who have a store, it’s set up, they’re functioning in some way, and really just increase the size of the pie for everyone if you like. Because what we are seeing at the moment is a ton of people come, for example, to WooCommerce.com, to your point earlier of not everyone comes to this through the WordPress community. So people come directly to WooCommerce.com and they’re expecting to get up and running with this thing called WooCommerce.”
It’s difficult to predict how Woo Express, the new managed hosting service for WooCommerce, will perform and how it will compare to competing hosted and unhosted e-commerce solutions because it was only released in March 2023.
Give it a shot if you haven’t already launched your first internet store. You will have hosting taken care of, and WooCommerce’s robust tools for setting up and running an online store will be available to you without a doubt. Early adopters, be sure to share your thoughts on Woo Express with us!