WooCommerce – is an open-source and free eCommerce platform that allows selling not only digital and physical products but also affiliated goods from some marketplaces. This shopping cart plugin is designed to operate only with WordPress websites. Ever since it was founded in 2001, users worldwide have downloaded it as many as around 123 million times! This is a direct sign that WooCommerce is widely accepted and approved, but whether it’s good for you, too, this review will reveal.
The plugin introduces its features in a Core plus Extensions mode. Actually, it’s quite possible to start selling just with the free basic WooCommerce package since it involves all the necessary features. And yet, for more advanced checkout and shipping features, you’d better obtain some add-ons.
Completing a WooCommerce download, users always get the following free-of-charge features:
This includes all the tools that a user needs to manage a virtual shop. The overall dashboard looks clear and well-organized. You will find the necessary categories just to the left. Accessing the user’s page, you will be guided step-by-step on how to set up an Internet store or website. Once you publish it, the plugin will provide you with an overview of how it performs.
This eCommerce platform allows grouping all your products by categories, presenting each of them with variations, as well as advertising affiliate products. You can export or import extensive lists of various physical and digital products. Just make certain you have checked the box to indicate the digital ones don’t need shipping.
This feature aims at making it possible for your customers to sign up for an account or appear via guests on your website. You can add a shipping calculator right on the shopping cart page to avoid any problems at checkout. Depending on the shipping zone of your customers, you can program various rates just in the built-in calculator. Set the shipping type for your customers to choose from local delivery, pickup, and shipping through this feature.
To control your stock level, hold it in case of a canceled order, or remove the out-of-stock products from the display, you are to access the Inventory Management feature. Moreover, to enhance this feature and have a clear and accurate storefront, you can consider the intuitive and flexible Storefront free theme.
The Marketing features enables integrating with third-party marketplaces and sending newsletters to promote an online store. Here you can create discounts and coupons. By the way, the discounts can be applied to a single product, some of them, or even the entire product line – the choice is yours. By enabling reviews, your customers will be able to post feedback from now on. If you are afraid of scamming reviews of competitors, allow reviews only from verified accounts. Send wishlist reminders, flatter your customers with birthday messages (maybe accompanied with a special holiday discount), target inactive consumers, etc. Everything that will boost your sales can be found here.
WooCommerce comes with built-in SEO tools to ensure long-term traffic for your WordPress site. You will achieve this through more accurate meta tags, adequate keywords, custom URLs, thorough product descriptions, title and alt tags, and more. With the help of SEO extensive tools, the search engine will find your products easier and rank them much higher than if you wouldn’t have exploited them.
WooCommerce makes both your admin page and storefront work amazing on mobile gadgets. This way you will get a significantly better reach since today most customers prefer those services and sites which can be launched right on the go. Just the same way, you will manage your storefront and customers’ offers from wherever you are.
WooCommerce supports a geolocation tool to spot the addresses of all customers. This way you can control the shipping, conduct precise tax and shipping calculations, and even target your adverts and discounts to specific locations for marketing purposes.
Integrations and Add-Ons
If the features of the basic free plan aren’t sufficient for you and you’re seeking more advanced ones, you can get them via paid extensions. WooCommerce offers both its brand extensions and those contributed by developers. It will be sensible to take time, investigate, and find out particularly what you miss for a brilliant WordPress website. All the add-ons are categorized into such sections as payments, marketing, store management, subscriptions, shipping, etc.
Here we have separated some of the most popular and essential extensions from the portfolio of the WooCommerce plugin:
- Cart Add-ons – this tool was designed to impulse purchases once customers appear in the shopping cart.
- Refer a Friend – the tool boosts organic sales by attracting customers through a referral program.
- WooCommerce Payments – to ensure secure payments, as well as track the cash flow right from your dashboard. The tool comes with no monthly fees or setup costs.
- Braintree – the extension aims at allowing users to accept credit cards, PayPal, and debit cards through one payment gateway solution.
- WooCommerce Deposits – through this add-on, you will enable consumers to pay for their purchases using a payment plan or a deposit.
- WooCommerce Shipping – with this add-on you can print DHL and USPS labels straightly from the WooCommerce dashboard while saving as much as up to 90%.
- JetPack – this add-on involves marketing, performance, and security tools for WooCommerce stores developed by the experts of WordPress.
- Google Analytics – the extension helps users to understand their customers better through precise analytics.
Payment Processing at WooCommerce
WooCommerce offers its users several basic built-in payment methods. These are:
- PayPal Standard
- WooCommerce Payments
- Braintree for WooCommerce
- Check Payments
- Klarna Payments
- Cash on delivery
- Direct Bank Transfers
In addition to this, the platform also offers other payment options via add-ons. Among them, the most widely used ones are:
Nevertheless, PayPal and Stripe are perhaps the most widely chosen options for payments by WooCommerce users. Both processors are supported with instant configuration tools.
What refers to payment gateways included in the extensions list, here we have got more than a hundred titles to choose from. When doing so, check out which is more beneficial in your particular region for the budget you can afford. It’s highly important not to end up overpaying for transaction fees. In all cases, be aware that WooCommerce never issues additional transaction fees which is a great advantage over other plugins.
The brand tool WooCommerce Payments was set up to gather payments, monitor the flow of cash on the site, and conduct all other services connected with payments straight from your dashboard. The tool doesn’t demand either monthly fees or setup costs. The countries that this tool is available in are the UK, the US, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Canada, France, Italy, France, and Spain.
The use of the WooCommerce Payments tool will help you attract customers from abroad, too, since it accepts payments in over 135 currencies. Your customers will not need to conduct manual price calculations or check the current exchange rates.
WooCommerce Website Design and Templates
WooCommerce features a vast range of themes due to allowing people to design themes and sell them through the platform. This gives users almost unlimited options to select from. WooCommerce easily integrates with all WordPress themes. However, using a WooTheme is a way better idea. First of all, you won’t have to think about applying WooCommerce updates to your store. It works smoothly with all updates by the brand. Furthermore, WooCommerce offers its web ticket support exclusively to Woo products.
The Storefront theme by WooCommerce is flexible and comes absolutely free. It’s available for all users. The Storefront Child themes are several. Two of them are provided free while a dozen come at $39. Surely, the Storefront by WooCommerce can’t be described as superb but it’s quite a good choice taken into consideration that the template is free of charge. If you decide to opt for it, WooCommerce has an extension – Storefront Powerpack. Priced at $69 for one site, the add-on enables you to change the feel and look of the site yet with no intervention to its coding.
Other themes that you can pick up, though at a certain price, are categorized into the following industries:
- Arts and Crafts
- Fashion and Apparel
- Booking and Accommodation
- Electronics and Software
- Digital and Audio
- Food and Drink
- Flowers, Gifts, and Collectibles
- Pets and Pet Care
- Health and Beauty
- Sports and Recreation
- Home and Furniture
- Toys and Games
Customizing the Site
Let’s suppose you have picked up a theme for your site. What’s next? You can access the customization of the site to augment its look. Just go Appearance, and then Customize. To left in the menu bar access Site Identity to select/create a logo, give your site a title and add a tagline. Through Colors & Backgrounds, you can set the colors and tones. If you want to add footers, go to Widgets. The Homepage Settings will let you choose what must be displayed on the homepage of your site including the headers, footers, title, number of pages and posts, etc. WooCommerce has a Block Editor tool for users to change their site fonts with Global Styles. Find it through the Fonts section.
Generally, all open-source free site builders provide limited customer support. With WooCommerce nothing differs. The platform doesn’t offer personal customer assistance via live chat, telephone call, or email. And still, you can get in touch with WooCommerce through a web ticket. The company normally responds to these tickets through a scheduled live chat. The latter, however, doesn’t work round the clock. The support hours for scheduled live chats are Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 17:00 (GMT+2). Expect to have your query responded to within 24 hours.
Despite the lack of personal assistance at WooCommerce, self-help options are quite developed such as FAQ, documentation, etc. Access any to find the explanation of a problem or question you have faced.
Other than that, there are several means of accessing help. The channels are:
- Community Forum – there are active forums with numerous registered users. Find one, register, and search among previous posts with answers or create your own topic.
- Videos – once you set up a WooCommerce store, you will find a “Help” drop-down button where you can access multiple helpful video tutorials.
- Blog – the blog section of the company includes amazing tips and tricks, as well as recommendations by experts of the field on a broad array of topics.
- Social Media – you can as well try to contact WooCommerce through social media channels (WooCommerce accounts are on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter). However, you shouldn’t anticipate much help here.
And finally, you should always remember that WooCommerce and WordPress are not one and the same. WooCommerce just integrates with WordPress. Hence, if you have problems with the latter, you’d better get in touch with the WordPress Help center.
WooCommerce is a self-hosted site builder. Hence, your website security is only your responsibility. Neither the built-in security features of the platform nor the third-party payment gateways can provide reliable security. You’d better pick up a credible web host and obtain a decent SSL certificate to ensure your site against security breaches.
WooCommerce offers entirely free services for as long as a client wishes. However, even though the basic free plan is good enough to create a simple WordPress site, for a more professional look and feel, you can’t do it without installing plugins. For this, you have to upgrade your free plan to Business Plan. This comes at a cost of $300 per year. If you obtain the package, you are going to have all the following points included in the subscription:
- Custom themes and plugins installation;
- Advanced SEO tools to drive traffic;
- Live Chat customer assistance;
- Limitless support through email;
- Google Analytics tool to track your statistics;
- Backups and activity logs in real-time.
Let us remind you that the Business plan comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
If you still would like to get your new site as cheaply as possible, you will have to get along with a plain free theme, the cheapest possible hosting, no add-ons, and extensions, as well as no hope to receive any design work on the site. For an average installation, here is a list of all the prices for WooCommerce services we’d recommend you to consider:
- WordPress – Free
- WooCommerce Plugin – Free
- Web Hosting – Starts at $3 per month (a bigger business will need a dedicated or VPS server costing much more expensive)
- Theme – Free to $200 (a one-time cost)
- Domain – Free for a year for random domain or $10 per year to get a domain from third-party services
- Extensions and plugins – Differ in costs
- Web Design – Do as much work on your site design as you can, and apply to a freelance designer’s services whenever you find necessary.
WooCommerce Alternatives and Competitors
Hands down, WooCommerce is a brilliant eCommerce solution on WordPress. However, it’s definitely not for everyone. The industry offers plenty of other options to choose from. These are online tools that enable building a site with no code incorporation and come already ready to sell online. Which one to select depends on your needs and experience.
Since WordPress sites are technical to create, you’d better stick up with an eCommerce site builder if you are not on the platform already. One of the greatest all-in-one web-based eCommerce platforms, for instance, is Shopify. The latter includes all the significant features that a user requires to launch an effective and successful shop on the virtual platform. Just the same way, you could try Volusion. To get more detailed information on each, as well as several other outstanding site builders, check out their reviews.
Are you good at DIY projects? If yes and you don’t feel certain about paying a monthly fee, WooCommerce might be the right choice for you. This is a free (and low-cost, assuming you apply for reasonably priced extensions only) solution that excellently harnesses WordPress’s functionality and SEO for the user’s benefit. The service enables users to customize and scale up what they find necessary.
With simplified bank transfers and many ways of delivering fantastic experiences to customers, you will have your online store thrive quickly. With WooCommerce, you get the chance to incorporate the right plugins and add-ons all designed to work seamlessly with WordPress. With so many benefits, though, WooCommerce may not be the perfect solution for everyone.
For inexperienced users, it may require ages to get used to the tech of WooCommerce. Taken into fact that the platform doesn’t offer any reliable and quick contact means with the support team, working through tech issues on your own might be a headache.
Another issue with WooCommerce is the quality of free templates. If you want to build a professional-looking website that will shine among others, you need a premium theme developed by a paid company.
So, to complete beginners and those seeking premium-looking websites WooCommerce can’t be recommended as the perfect choice. It is rather for skilled site owners who are confident about their experience and knowledge in website building and don’t want to overpay for tasks that they do themselves.