When the pandemic threatened to shut down the world, the shift from brick-and-mortar to online shopping was already set in motion. The latest twists and turns didn’t spark the change, they only sped it up significantly and now it shows all signs of sticking around for good.
It does not matter if changing times made you want to go online. Or, an ever-lasting appeal of low start-up costs and high customer reach. Or you simply think it’s the time to up your game and put your shop online. Still, the first challenge is to decide which ecommerce platform is the right choice for your business,
Enter WooCommerce, one of the best-known extensions of WordPress, and one that allows its users to set up and deploy an ecommerce platform without needing too much technical know-how or having to resort to web wizardry.
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Launched in the September of 2011 by Automattic, WooCommerce now powers around 3.9m websites across the globe, and the number continues to grow. It was created with small to large-sized WordPress-using merchants in mind but has managed to stay friendly towards newcomers by combining a user-friendly approach with powerful performance, high flexibility, and a full set of features.
Although we could easily dig up more reasons why WooCommerce and your ecommerce website are a match made in heaven, we’ll stick to 10 for the sake of convenience.
If you want to find out more about WooCommerce’s story of success, you can check out its official site and its blog, where you’ll also find tons of tips and tricks. Along with this, fans of social networking sites can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
1. It’s free, but you’ll probably want some paid add-ons
Although there’s a whole array of first-rate ecommerce platforms currently on offer, most of them will cost you a pretty penny. However, this is not the case with WooCommerce which you can download straight away completely free of charge. In addition to this, it’s equipped with a full range of features, including plugins, extensions, and a capability for unrestricted customization which will boost your business without the risk of busting your budget.
If this sounds too good to be true, it’s because this isn’t the whole truth. One of the obvious drawbacks with WooCommerce is that like any other plugin it won’t work with the free version of WordPress. You can “fix” this by upgrading your WordPress plan or installing it by yourself on a domain name you own and host. On another note, despite the core system being free, if you want to purchase additional plugins (for multilingual sites, currency conversion marketing, extra SEO, faster-loading speed, and such), extensions, or themes, it can go from free to costly pretty quickly, so keep your eyes open.
Still, you can be pretty confident that WooCommerce will stay a free plugin for WordPress.
2. One of the leading ecommerce platforms
If you are wondering how many webstores are using WooCommerce in 2021, let’s start with a few raw numbers. According to BuiltWith, 5,106,506 live sites are using WooCommerce as we write, which means that in the top one million sites 58,946 of them are using WooCommerce which is 5.89% of them, and it’s a big thing. Now let’s be a bit more specific and check out how many online stores have put their trust into WooCommerce’s hands.
According to the numbers, WooCommerce powers over 25% of all online stores which leaves all its competitors in the digital dust. And if you wonder how many new sites are installing WooCommerce, an up-to-date statistic is available on the WooCommerce page as part of the WordPress plugin section and it shows a staggering 161,972,783 downloads, over 322,000 of them being in the last week.
All in all, since lots of folks use WooCommerce, why wouldn’t you too?
3. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin
An open-source approach combined with user-friendliness has made WordPress the most widely used content management system (CMS) for newcomers and webmasters all over the world. Whether you dream about opening an ecommerce store, or simply building a blog, WordPress will supply you with all the tools you need to turn your daydreams into reality. According to its official site, WordPress powers over 43% of the web at the moment, which is nothing short of impressive.
As an official plugin for building an ecommerce site in WordPress, WooCommerce is completely compatible with WordPress, which means users can combine the two with complete confidence to create a powerful platform for their online store. What’s more, users familiar with WordPress will feel right at home with the user-friendly user interface (UI) WooCommerce has borrowed from WordPress. It will boost their confidence while saving them time and money (because time is money, right).
4. Simple setup and configuration
Less tech-savvy users will be glad to hear that they don’t need to be familiar with lines of code nor possess any advanced technical knowledge to sign up, configure, and change a site’s backend to maintain and manage an online store.
Even if you don’t have a lot of experience with WordPress, once WooCommerce is installed it will lead you through the whole setup process, step-by-step, and get you ready to start selling in a matter of minutes. Just tap into the Setup Wizard, fill in details about your store, check out additional extensions and services you can add to upgrade your business (free and paid ones), After that, choose a new theme (or proceed with the one you own), add your products, set up shipping, tax, and payments options, and don’t forget to pretty up your store.
If you’re not a stickler for perfection, your online store should be ready for visitors in less than 30 minutes.
5. Wide variety of themes
If it’s true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there are enough WooCommerce themes under the sun to satisfy even the most nit-picking critic. On WooCommerce’s Theme Store users choose between 38 themes aimed at various industries, a few of which can be downloaded for free. In addition to this, you can find a few thousand fully functional WooCommerce themes and templates around the Web, and you won’t have to look far.
After picking out a perfect theme for your online shop, you can personalize it even further by changing pre-set CSS styles and color schemes, and customizing it with plenty of freedom.
6. High level of flexibility
If you’re a fan of flexibility, you‘ll be a fan of WooCommerce as well. Due to its distinct structure and great diversity of plugins it supports, WooCommerce allows its merchants to sell whatever they want, wherever they want, and the way they want it, and all without getting too technical.
With WooCommerce you are free to sell both physical and virtual products, sell membership access to your site, sell your time, rent a room, host online auctions, or sell third-party products as an affiliate. You can even take commissions on other merchants selling in your store which has to be one of the easiest ways to make big bucks.
What is more, since WooCommerce is WordPress-based you won’t have to choose between having your online store, your website, or your blog on the domain you own. With WooCommerce, you can assemble all three aspects of your online presence behind a single pane of glass, which is always good news.
7. Makes an online store feel professional yet simple to use
Since WooCommerce is a free, simple, and beginner-friendly ecommerce platform, some might mistake it for an unprofessional one. However, WooCommerce is every bit a professional online store solution.
The first thing a shopper will see is the store’s outside, so it’s important to leave a good first impression (the first step of building trust) and invite your users in with promises of an enjoyable experience. The way to do this is by choosing a clear yet captivating theme for your shop’s front and interior, and by making sure that your shop is simple to use so your shopper wouldn’t get lost while perusing the store.
Besides taking care of its appearance to keep shoppers from going to competitors, an online store should invest into the performance part of its user-friendliness by optimizing its loading speed, making it mobile-friendly, becoming SEO smart, integrating tracking and analytics tools, making the sales process as seamless as possible, and so forth. With WooCommerce you can achieve all this and much more, and everything you’ll need for a professional yet simple-to-use store is a few clicks away.
8. It will make you a master of marketing
Although a good service is an advertisement in itself, to get your business to grow you’ll have to implement a couple of marketing strategies. Fortunately, with WooCommerce you’ll have a lot of options to go with, and you can even do it on a tight budget.
You can create a complete social media marketing strategy, pay for ads and sponsored posts, stay close to your customers through newsletters, run promotions, give away coupons, gifts, points, or rewards, invest in SEM (search engine marketing), inform your customers about news and updates via SMS, create a space for user reviews and ratings, employ a couple of marketing automation plugins to save some time, and so much more.
There are hundreds of WooCommerce plugins and extensions on offer (around 150 of them offered on the official site only), some of which are free while others can be yours for a fee. Among the free ones you’ll find WooCommerce’s integration with Google Analytics, Facebook, Snapchat Pixel, HubSpot, Trustpilot Reviews, MailPoet, and the list goes on.
WooCommerce also has an in-built analytic system that allows you to gain in-depth insight into your shop’s traffic, all exhibited through an effective use of graphs.
To become a master of marketing, in addition to tools you’ll also need how-tos, and WooCommerce offers tons of them as part of its Support section.
9. Safety, stability, and support
Although some people feel that free-to-use, open-source platforms are lacking in the security department, WooCommerce is actually one of the safest ecommerce platforms around. It is monitored by Sucuri Security which is considered to be one of the best WordPress security plugins. It will take care of security auditing, malware scanning, and security hardening, and all at no charge. To tell the truth, there are both free and paid versions of the service but most sites should be safe enough even with the free plugin.
To stay on the safe side, WooCommerce also offers a free SSL certificate for WordPress users and you can install it with a few clicks. In addition to this, you can find plenty of plugins to strengthen WooCommerce security even more. WooCommerce also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with all of its paid products which means you can try everything out for yourself without having to worry about breaking the bank.
Another component of any successful online store is stability, and it’s safe to say that WooCommerce has proved to be one of the most stable ecommerce platforms as well. Although the initial version of WooCommerce was far from perfect, thanks to the hard-working team of developers behind it, now it’s all polished up and ready to conquer the world.
The last but not least of the three S’ is support, and WooCommerce’s customer support system is one of its spotlights. In addition to the FAQ section, a Documentation site, a blog, and an ever-expanding WooCommerce Community (which are free for all), its customers can also get in touch with real and reliable people via the Help Desk.
10. WooCommerce is constantly upping its game
As an open-source project doing it right, WooCommerce is not the final result of the old-fashioned blood, sweat, and tears of its developers, but it also gets shaped by thousands of users from all parts of the world, many of which are bent on shaping it to perfection. And this colorful developer community is not only improving the code but also adding new features, building new extensions, creating all sorts of custom themes, and so on.
As the WooCommerce community is growing without signs of stopping any time soon, so does the platform itself, and so can your online business.
A complete ecommerce solution
At last, those were the ten reasons why WooCommerce and an ecommerce website deserve to be seen as an ultimate power pair when it comes to successfully selling stuff online. In short, we find that WooCommerce offers a complete ecommerce solution that will provide a powerful platform which is bound to help any online shop thrive without getting too technical and scaring away less experienced users.
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Mirza Bahic is a freelance tech journalist and blogger from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the past four years, Mirza has been ghostwriting for a number of tech start-ups from various industries, including cloud, retail and B2B technology.