Why is WooCommerce such a popular ecommerce platform? Is it really free?

know either of the two, don’t worry. In this analysis we want to show you the capabilities of WooCommerce for online sales and why it is one of the kings of electronic commerce today.

So what does WordPress have to do with all this? Isn’t it a CMS for managing a blog? Indeed, WooCommerce is a plugin, or add-on, for WordPress, with which you can create a powerful online store without the need to migrate to another platform.

WooCommerce is a If you’ve heard of WooCommerce, you’ve surely heard of WordPress too. In case you don’t completely free plugin (only in principle), which competes directly with other e-commerce platforms , such as Shopify and Magento, two of the largest on the market, among many others.

The objective of this analysis is none other than to introduce you to WooCommerce and help you choose an e-commerce platform. Each of them has its own characteristics and peculiarities and that is why we want you to be clear about it. So without further ado, let’s get to it.

A little history of WooCommerce

The origins of WooCommerce come from the hand of two developers: Mike Jolley and James Koster. His first work was based on the replica of an existing plugin called Jigoshop and with it, WooCommerce appeared in 2011.

The pre-plugin business model was based on creating WordPress templates with WooThemes. After this both WooThemes and WooCommerce were acquired by Automattic, who are behind WordPress,

With more than 300,000 active sellers online, WooCommerce is one of the most used ecommerce platforms today. Its ease of use and its native integration with WordPress is what makes it the favorite of many.

WordPress and WooCommerce

The first thing we have to be clear about is the relationship between the two. More than an independent platform, as we have already said, WooCommerce is an open source plugin that is installed in WordPress.

What does it mean to be open source? This allows us high customization , since we have the complete plugin code at our disposal to be able to edit the lines that interest us the most and change even the last detail of our online store. On other platforms this is not possible.

The disadvantage is that to be able to resort to editing the code we need an expert in web development or have sufficient technical knowledge to do so. This could lead to more unexpected expenses and time that we sometimes don’t have.

Installation

Of course, you need to have a site previously created in WordPress to install the plugin. WooCommerce cannot work independently .

The first thing the seller needs to do is purchase a web host with its corresponding security (such as the SSL certificate to protect your customers’ data). Step number 2 is to configure WordPress to install WooCommerce as a plugin. First it is advisable to configure WordPress so that it is exactly as we want before proceeding with its installation.

Once you have everything ready, you just have to go to the WordPress store and install it. The virtual assistant will take you step by step through everything through the installation.

As we can see, the great difference to another e-commerce platform is that it may be somewhat more complex, since first we need a WordPress installation with the manual hiring of the hosting and the previous configuration, and then we need to install WooCommerce as a plugin.

Other CMS allow the creation of an account quickly and have the online store in just 5 minutes, although they may not have the customization potential of WooCommerce or we are not so interested since we work with WordPress beforehand. Colors for tastes!

Ease of use and features

WooCommerce is very easy to use and all the options of the famous plugin are located within the corresponding section in the WordPress control panel.

The day to day is sewing and singing. The most complicated thing is if we lean towards an expert customization of it, due to the advanced knowledge that we will need for it, and a slightly slower installation since we have to find the plugin, install it and configure it after preparing WordPress for it.

As for its functions, it more than fulfills what we expect:

  • Add both physical and digital products.
  • Write a detailed description of the product.
  • Establish temporary offers.
  • Configuration of configurable shipping rates and taxes.
  • Payment with PayPal incorporated.
  • Inventory management.
  • Management of product categories and attributes.
  • SEO settings.
  • Mobile adaptability.
  • Built-in Facebook extension.

Navigating between the different WooCommerce options is really simple and each of them has the corresponding submenus. You will not get lost.

Layout, themes and Storefront

The design of your store is everything. And it is that it is the first thing that your client is going to fixate on once they land on your website. We can have very intuitive functions and incredible products, but if we do not know how to present them in a professional way, we run the risk of them leaving the store before even reaching the shopping cart.

In this sense, the design function and WooCommerce themes are very on par with WordPress, since it is this who will be in charge of the design of the store, being, let’s say, the matrix of the store.

However, the WordPress store has something called the Storefront . It is a WordPress theme specifically designed for use and full integration with WooCommerce . In this way, it allows you to maximize the loading time and performance of the site, while eliminating those conflicts that may result from other themes or installed plugins.

You will be able to customize the theme, since surely you are interested in giving your own style to the version of the theme that it brings by default.

On the other hand, you also have WordPress themes, some of which are designed to work as an escape from e-commerce. Some are free and some are paid. The cost of some of them can considerably increase your initial investment, and that is why we recommend you sign the one that interests you the most and add it to your accounts.

Although WooCommerce is free as such, the cost of the themes and their extensions are what will truly increase the cost of establishing your online store.

Later we will break down the prices with an example to form a rough idea of ​​how much a complete online store can cost.

Extensions

In relation to what we have been talking about, extensions also add a significant cost when we establish our store, but they offer additional functionalities that are really useful to take it to another level.

WooCommerce extensions can be found in your own store, which is divided by categories and the most popular of that moment appear on its cover. It should be noted that there is a section with extensions specifically designed by the Woo team, the creators of the platform.

The store offers both free and paid extensions , and some are based on one-time payment and others on payment with annual subscription.

One of the disadvantages of WooCommerce compared to other e-commerce platforms is to be aware of the compatibility of these extensions with your version of WordPress and WooCommerce, since if they are updated and your extensions do not, it could lead to compatibility problems in your store, unexpected errors and even plugins that do not work well with others, no matter how much WooCommerce is the order of the day.

Here the knowledge of web development and the time that is needed for its effective management would come into play again.

In the following list, you will find several examples of what WooCommerce extensions can offer:

  • Paid subscriptions to your products and services.
  • Management of reservations and rentals.
  • Creation of a member’s area with special products and services.
  • Integration with payment methods like Stripe and Amazon Pay.
  • Integration with Google Analytics.
  • Integration with MailChimp.
  • Added to your products as gift wrapping, special messages, and other options.

This list is just a small example. We recommend you enter the WooCommerce extension store and browse the categories to discover everything you can add to your online store.

Payment methods and gateways

The “clean” version of WooCommerce, without additives, offers support for payment by credit card, bank transfer and even cash on delivery . To add more payment gateways, we would only have to go to the extension store, as we have seen in the previous section, and install the required plug-in for this.

Pay with Stripe

Stripe is one of the most used payment gateways in WooCommerce and allows you to accept payments directly in the store, without the need to resort to third parties or open a new way.

Paying in the same window has proven to be very important for conversion, as it provides customer confidence and saves them from having to move between different gateways.

The great advantage of installing the extension is that it is free, safe and very easy to use.

Payment with paypal

Of course, we could not be talking about an online store without offering the option to pay with PayPal .

As with Stripe, its extension is also free and allows you to make a payment safely by linking our credit cards or bank accounts.

Customers will pay directly on your website and will feel safe being covered by PayPal’s fraud protection.

There are many additional extensions for payment processing and we invite you again to consult the WooCommerce store to discover the ones that interest you the most.

Finally, it should be noted that the integration with bank payments in Spain is carried out through the Redsys system, a service with years of experience and proven security.

Taxes and offers

What would e-commerce be without the funniest part of all: taxes ?

Nothing to worry about. WooCommerce allows great control over how taxes are passed on to the customer and how we will configure them on our site as sellers. In this way, you can configure how a tax is calculated according to the customer’s shipping address and the location of your store.

WooCommerce also allows you to add taxes so that they are included in the base price of the product.

Another of the attractive points of the store are the offers . WooCommerce has the specific configuration of coupons that will be applicable for example in a minimum purchase of a product, exclude them from products to which an offer has already been applied and a long etcetera.

Taking care of the offers and coupons in our online store is something really important, since it offers a certain dynamism to the sales process and our customers always appreciate it.

Scalability and hosting

Scalability is basically the ability of the server to support high web traffic that can be both expected and unexpected, either at crucial times of the year or because our store is growing exponentially in sales.

One of the most recent examples to illustrate the importance of having proper scalability in e-commerce is Black Friday or Cyber ​​Monday. Traffic these days is skyrocketing and we don’t want our customers to stumble upon poor performance on our website, right? Not counting the SEO penalty that this entails.

WooCommerce allows great freedom when hiring a hosting, which you can do through the default option of WordPress or through your own choice. You must ensure that the server is prepared at all times to deal with these fluctuations and be prepared to perform the manual updates that you need.

In this section, the same happens as with the customization of the store with themes and extensions: it allows us greater freedom but with the added cost of requiring technical knowledge and more time to manage it . However, it is a good idea if we are clear about it and have the necessary knowledge.

Marketing and SEO

WooCommerce has the help of WordPress for basic SEO settings and to control how you will appear in the search results of the most powerful engines (yes, in Google, basically). You can automatically create titles, metadata and define the structure of the URLs within your online store as in any other WordPress site.

To have more advanced SEO options, there are plugins created specifically for this. Yoast SEO is positioned as the number 1 extension for WordPress and will help you better target your strategy and increase conversions. Its features include keyword optimization, recommendations for updating outdated pages, setting the preview of your page when it is shared on social networks, checking for duplicates, and more technical tools. Keep in mind that the most powerful options are paid. The basic version of Yoast SEO has significant limitations.

As for the marketing functions that WooCommerce has integrated, it is not one of the aspects in which it stands out the most. When someone makes a purchase in your store, automatic emails are sent in which you can take advantage of to present other related products. But for email marketing we have third-party services such as MailChimp .

In short, to get the most out of SEO and marketing, WooCommerce needs outside help. This involves learning how various additional tools work to be able to complement WooCommerce efficiently and it is possible that, as with themes, we will need the help of an expert.

Security and customer service

WooCommerce is audited regularly, so you shouldn’t have a problem trusting its security. Its code is safe but you will have to make sure you buy a hosting that is reliable, robust and stable.

As for payment gateways, it works with some of the most secure in the world. Make sure your site has an SSL certificate so that your customers’ purchases are 100% secured. It is vital that your site is protected in this way, as it can mean the loss of a large number of customers.

And finally, speaking of customer service, we have to say that WooCommerce does not offer direct support because it provides its product for free (although it is possible to make specific inquiries by email). However, you will find a very extensive documentation within the official page and it has a wide community of sellers who can help you in blogs and forums.

Prices

Once we have seen the main features of WooCommerce, we have to develop the concept that it is free, since as we have said, its installation is, but not all its add-ons.

If you only need a hosting to support low traffic and you do not resort to any theme of your store, nor to any paid add-ons, you may only pay several dollars a month.

However, and from experience, if you really want to get the most out of your online business and get serious about it, you are going to have to take out your wallet on more than one occasion. We are going to give an example to get an idea of ​​how much a professional store can cost you with WooCommerce.

Cost list

  • Website with WordPress : free
  • WooCommerce Installation: Free
  • Hosting on a web server : from a handful of dollars a month to hundreds of dollars. In the beginning, you may only need to pay $ 10 to $ 20 a month and scale from there.
  • Domain: approximately from $ 10 per year and up to about $ 20 per year if you choose to contract the domain with privacy protection.
  • Item: price from $ 0 to $ 200. It depends on your personal choice, but we recommend purchasing a theme that is specifically designed to set up an online store in WooCommerce.
  • Plugins: here it really depends on what you need. Some plugins are free and some are paid. An example is the plugin that allows paid subscriptions in your WooCommerce store, which costs $ 200 per year, with customer support included.
  • Web Development Expert: If you need a professional and fully functional business, you will surely need to spend thousands of dollars in the long run. Hiring an expert in web development is expensive, but it will solve all the problems you may encounter on the trip. And not only that, but it will be able to help you with the installation of the themes, the design, the compatibility between the extensions and the SEO optimization.

Conclusions

In our opinion, WooCommerce can result in a fairly powerful e-commerce platform that has all the necessary functions to function very robustly and with great control by the seller. All the necessary functions are at hand, and those that are not, can be easily purchased through the extension store.

The negative point that we see in WooCommerce is the one that we have been commenting on in this article: its dependence on WordPress and extensions makes it more difficult to master than other CMS and although its customization is its star point, the costs derived from it also increase by need the help of experts.

Luckily, there are other e-commerce platforms that allow you to create your online store, along with reliable hosting and great customization without the need for advanced knowledge in just a few minutes, such as Shopify.

We are experts in Shopify because we believe that it is an excellent tool for online sales and one of the best resources that a seller can choose. If you need help with it, we will be happy to help you and guide you step by step Woocommerce Development Agency in Lahore .

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