Online business is booming. That's the undeniable fact. Therefore, establishing a virtual store is not just a whim. It's a must. The modern eCommerce world is overwhelmed with the abundance of diverse and multi-functional platforms. And it is not always easy to identify the solution that would suit your business needs and requirements. In case you've narrowed down your list of potential go-to destinations just to one option - WooCommerce and still have second thoughts, keep reading. Our WooCommerce review will dispel any doubts and help you make up your mind.
WooCommerce is a free, open-source plugin for WordPress. It's not an independent website-builder and to create a web store, one needs to install this program on top of WordPress. It was launched in 2011 and with over 85 million downloads currently powers 26% of all online stores.
Why Choose WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is easy to set up, and it is considered to be the most customizable and extendable platform. It provides users with extra functionality for the creation and management of an eCommerce store. Loads of both free and paid extensions, numerous adjustable themes, access to the REST API, top-notch SEO, and many other features make this solution unique and highly competitive. WooCommerce is suitable for businesses of any size, ranging from small to medium-sized and large ones.
WooCommerce Review: Distinguishing Features
One of the WooCommerce's peculiarities is that it offers some of the basic features right out-of-the-box. Thus, this enables merchants to sell products immediately after setting up a store. However, if you are planning to expand your business, be prepared to spend extra money on the enhancement of the website's functionality.
The basic WooCommerce features include:
- Ability to sell digital and physical products
- Auto-detection of customer's address using the geo-location option
- Possibility to categorize items, change their properties, sell partner products
- Inbuilt inventory control
- Shipping cost estimator and various delivery options (pickup, local delivery, and shipping)
- Product ratings and reviews that help to improve SEO ranking
- Unlimited number of products, images, and galleries
- Possibility to checkout as a guest
- Integration with Google Analytics
- Mobile-friendliness, etc.
WooCommerce Review: Usability
WooCommerce is considered to be one of the most user-friendly platforms currently existing on the market. It gives its users more control over their stores. The only inconvenience is that if you are a novice to WordPress, get ready to deal with the quirks of WooCommerce integration. Additionally, since WooCommerce is an open-source solution, you'll have to find a web host, get a domain name, and configure them. Also, merchants should be aware that installing WP, themes, and plugins require at least minimal technical knowledge. There's a possibility to use a premium WooTheme or download the free Storefront theme (which is highly recommended by the developer).
The process of adding products to the store is also relatively easy. It is somewhat similar to creating a blog post or a page - you just need to add a title, description, image, decide on the item's category and click the "Publish" button. WP also allows users to configure shipping, inventory, attributes, and linked product categories.
In case business owners encounter difficulties setting up a WooCommerce store, they can turn to the WooCommerce Docs section, which will provide them with all the necessary files, references, and tutorials.
WooCommerce Review: Price Tag
As we've already mentioned, WooCommerce is free to download. The registration of the WP account is also available at no extra cost. But everything is not as simple as it might seem. First of all, don't forget that to start selling online, you will have to acquire a web host. The price of hosting depends on the size of the store and usually ranges from $3 to hundreds of dollars per month. To ease the process of choosing the provider, WooCommerce offers its customers the list of trusted companies.
Secondly, the open-source solution requires a domain (on average, domain names cost from $0.99 up to $12 per month). And, lastly, to get the most out of the platform's functionality, you'll need to purchase some additional extensions (pricing: from $29 up to $299). Usually, these are one-time purchases. Additionally, users may consider installing a paid WooCommerce theme ($39-$79).
WooCommerce Review: The Overall Look
The basic WP theme is called Storefront. It's free and was designed with the aim of integration into the WooCommerce core plugin. Storefront increases speed and improves the website's performance. Additionally, it minimizes theme/plugin conflicts and works well with the platform's updates. The storefront theme is fully customizable, but it can also be used with the default configurations.
Users are also able to enhance the look of their stores with the help of other WP themes that are available on the market (both free and paid ones). The official Theme Store provides users with 17 child themes (14 of which cost from $39 to $79, and two are free of charge). Alternatively, you can always choose from a variety of themes that are provided by third-party developers (e.g., ThemeForest is an excellent source for professionally-looking WP themes and templates).
And again, we will repeat ourselves - since WooCommerce is an open-source solution, all the themes can be customized to meet the needs and requirements of the store owners.
WooCommerce Review: Functionality Extensions
Another thing that determines the WooCommerce's popularity is a great variety of multi-functional extensions. At the moment, the Extensions Store features 350 plugins (both free and paid ones) that are either developed by Woo or the third party. They are mainly aimed at enhancing the functionality of eCommerce stores, improvement of its appearance, increase of conversions. The list of the extensions includes tools for store management, marketing, payment execution, shipping, subscriptions, etc. It is important to keep in mind that WooCommerce seamlessly integrates with all the WP plugins. Thus, more extensions can be downloaded directly from the WordPress repository. CodeCanyon is another outstanding source for high-quality WooCommerce apps.
Examples of the most useful WooCommerce plugins include:
WooCommerce Multi-Currency extension converts the price to different currencies and, thus, assists merchants in selling the goods worldwide.
WooCommerce Recover Abandoned Cart helps to monitor and restore the abandoned carts by sending the customer an automatic email with the cart link, discount coupons, etc. This plugin supports multiple mail templates.
WooCommerce PDF Invoices automates the billing process by creating and sending receipts to the customer's emails, Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or Egnyte accounts.
WooCommerce Social Login provides seamless integration with the most popular social networks and makes it easier for the customers to log in to an online store using a social account.
WooCommerce Review: SEO Features
WooCommerce is perceived to be a rather SEO-friendly platform, but at the same time, it doesn't possess any in-built search engine optimization and marketing features. The solution is supported by the core SEO WordPress tools and additional downloadable modules.
Yoast SEO is one of the most famous SEO plugins that provides users with an extensive number of tools for store optimization. Yoast SEO helps merchants with brand awareness, site traffic, social media, pay-per-click ads, etc. Its main features include:
- Ability to change post's SEO title and meta description
- Google search result snippet previews
- Readability check
- Page preview
- Focus on keyword testing
- Improved canonical and breadcrumbs support, etc.
Yoast SEO can be downloaded for free (basic version). Paid pricing plan with advanced options is available for €89.
Beeketing is a highly responsive all-in-one automated platform that helps solving marketing issues (e.g., improve conversions, grow market value, avoid cart abandonment, and increase sales and checkout rates, etc.). This extension easily integrates with WooCommerce, has a responsive UI/UX design, and is aimed at creating reports for analysis and optimization of marketing campaigns. Beeketing has both free and subscription-based features (price ranges $8 – $49 per month).
WooCommerce Conversion Tracking makes it easier for business owners to monitor their stores' ad campaigns. This plugin embeds special codes to cart, registration and successful checkout pages. And, therefore, creates reports that help tracking all the conversions. Conversion Tracking integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Google Adwords, etc. Initially, it's a free app, but users can upgrade to one of the paid plans.
WooCommerce Review: Store Safety
The WooCommerce platform is being regularly checked for security issues and has the highest level of safety protocols. But users should keep in mind that in the case of open-source software, the safety of a store mainly depends on the web host. It must be a reliable company that makes the security issue its highest priority.
The same is applied to the online payments - their safety relies on the payment gateways.
Also, the users are advised to create secure and reliable accounts' passwords, limit login attempts, and enable 2-factor authentication option.
Additionally, to be sure that your business is not vulnerable to hackers, it is advisable to obtain an SSL certificate.
WooCommerce Review: Support Services
Like any other open-source platform, WooCommerce has limited customer support (since the plugin is given away for free). All the arising questions and issues are likely to be solved with the help of extensive documentation, reference materials, and tutorials available on the official website. Additionally, users can open a support request and receive the answer from the WooCommerce team via live chat.
And last but not least option is to request assistance from the WooCommerce enthusiasts and active users on the specialized Woo forums and blogs.
It is essential to understand that all the non-WooCommerce related issues are being solved by the WordPress help center.
WooCommerce Review: Payment Methods
WooCommerce offers its users some of the basic built-in payment gateways, that are included in the core version of the plugin:
- Check Payments
- Bank Transfer
- Cash upon delivery
- Klarna payments (in the limited number of countries)
In case none of the above-mentioned systems do not work for you and you need more flexibility, it is possible to download additional payment extensions from the Woo Store.
Please note that when choosing a payment gateway for the store, it is crucial to consider the plugin's cost and all the extra fees, your location, and security issues (the availability of an SSL certificate to protect customer's personal information).
Taking into consideration the broad spectrum of WooCommerce extensions and themes, profound functionality, reference materials, tutorials, numerous specialized blogs, and forums, it's evident that this solution provides an immediate advantage over the other carts that are currently available on the market. So, if you wish to establish a trusted and long-running online business, don't hesitate and go for WooCommerce!
Related read: Get ready for Import to WooCommerce [10 things to check]
In case you're using some other platform and want to migrate your store to WooCommerce, perform the switch in an automated way. This type of replatforming is totally user-friendly and doesn't require any coding skills.