With all the Shopify ads we see on TV and YouTube, some people may wonder whether it’s the best, or only, eCommerce website tool. Thankfully, it’s neither the best nor the only option. There are dozens of services to help you sell online from sites like Etsy and Amazon to platforms like BigCommerce and Zyro. Of course, WordPress has its own system, WooCommerce, and that’s the one that we recommend.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an extensible open-source WordPress plug-in for eCommerce. It’s one of the larger WordPress plug-ins, if not the largest, and it’s free. There’s a huge framework and community around WooCommerce and developers can create plug-ins and add-ons. Some examples include:
- Payment processing on different systems and merchant accounts
- The ability to offer gift cards for your business.
- Enhanced checkout features such as suggestive selling and recommended add-ons.
- The ability to customize a product on the website.
- Integrations with social media platforms.
- The ability to display products in multiple colors, 360-degree views, and more.
It even has uses beyond just eCommerce. We’ve used the technology to create an online registration tool for a music school. We’ve also used it to capture leads when downloading eBooks, software, and audio programs.
Is WooCommerce really free?
If you have an existing WordPress website, adding WooCommerce to it is free. The only fees you need to pay would be with the payment processor or merchant account that you use if you’re going to accept things like credit cards and PayPal. These fees are typically around 3% of the purchase price, but vary based on the processor.
Some merchant accounts require a plug-in to integrate with their payment system, which may have an annual cost. And some plug-ins with premium features may also have an additional cost. But if you set up a basic WooCommerce store and only accept checks mailed to you, you could get away without paying anything.
Is WooCommerce any good?
It’s excellent and we’ve set up several sites that use it. Most of our clients are able to use it without additional plug-ins, add-ons, or customizations. Out of the box, WooCommerce comes with the following features:
- The ability to easily add products and services (including variations).
- Payment processing through Stripe, PayPal, and others.
- Inventory management.
- Virtual and downloadable products.
- Shipping management.
- The ability to easily create coupons and sales. You can set an expiration date, usage limits, and more.
Most themes are set up so that your WooCommerce store will match the rest of your site. Since it’s built by the same community that builds WordPress, it integrates extremely well with the platform. While some of the SaaS sites are easier to use when it comes to building an online store, they sacrifice performance and extensibility. We’ve yet to come across a feature on Wix or Shopify that WooCommerce doesn’t have. But we’ve found things as basic as variation limitations on these SaaS platforms that WooCommerce can handle out of the box.
Can I port my store to WooCommerce?
Just as porting a Wix store to Shopify (and vice versa) is a manual process, so is moving a store to or from WooCommerce. However, there are ways to export your products from some of the other platforms and mass import them into WooCommerce. The key to doing this is that the data needs to be in the right format. If you have products with a lot of variants, this can be a tedious process. There are tools and services out there that will do most of this for you, but if you have over fifty products or you have over ten variants on your products, you may want to hire a professional to port it over.
WooCommerce is a free, extensible, open-source eCommerce platform. While it may have a slightly higher learning curve than solutions like Wix or Shopify, WooCommerce more than makes up for it in features. Often, WooCommerce has capabilities that only available on higher-level plans on sites like Shopify, so WooCommerce can be a more cost-effective solution. On top of that, having a WordPress website gives you access to thousands of features that the DIY sites don’t have.
If you have an online store that’s not performing or you’re considering moving to a new platform, then join us for a complimentary consultation. We’ll spend 30 minutes with you reviewing the pros and cons of the different eCommerce solutions and point you in the right direction.