Ecommerce Platforms – WooCommerce Review
WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It enables you to build a powerful and professional online store with WordPress. This plugin works with most all WP themes.
It’s set to fully accommodate not only the small scale business owners but can also stretch to large scale companies. This e-commerce platform is used by a lot of high traffic websites and has over 39 million downloads.
Because of its simplicity and ease, it quickly rose to fame among many users who found it quite easy to customize and make use of.
Multiple plugins available to have affiliates selling for you with tracking.
It’s important to note here that you pay for hosting and therefore have more control (and less convenience) than other platforms, but the costs generally work out to be the same.
If you want a platform that takes a little more work than Shopify, but gives you total control, works with the best blogging software available, and has better integrations for you to sell affiliate products, then this is the software for you.
The plugin is free
You have total control of your site, its functions, and its data
It works with WordPress
It’s the most customizable e-commerce platform
Since it’s so popular, most vendors have apps and integrations ready to go
You can get access to significant analytics from your choice of plugins
It is scalable and adding products is easy
Equally easy to add affiliate products and vendors
You can run a blog and have a store
This is not a marketplace so you have to market your store
There’s a learning curve
Since it is open-source software, there is no direct customer support
Support is found in their WooCommerce community forum or in the many online articles and tutorials
Not a turn-key solution like Shopify
Ease of Use
WooCommerce and WordPress have thousands of pre-built themes, easily added plugins, and optional drag-and-drop builders to make non-developers feel like pros. But it isn’t as easy as a platform like Shopify.
If you pay for a theme like Divi you get excellent support for the theme. And if you select the right web host, you get WooCommerce and general e-commerce support to make your life even easier.
Dreamhost is my preferred web host and they offer leading WooCommerce and e-commerce support and more. You can take a look at Dreamhost here.
The cart and e-comm designs are excellent and there are many great WordPress themes to pair this platform with. Since WP is fully customizable you can get exactly what you want.
You need to choose a “responsive” theme, which means it adapts for mobile and pad viewing. Most themes are responsive nowadays.
However, you should always test your site on a phone to make sure all is well. Adjustments are a part of the process here.
Maintenance is fairly straightforward. You need to run regular updates for your theme and your plugins. Updating products is easy and any reputable supplier will have a WooCommerce app to link to your store — part of the store automation process.
You handle hosting, hopefully with a great support team at your web host.
Most WooCommerce users engage in conversations on almost a day to day basis in their community forum. However, it does not have direct client support. Most issues are tackled with user experience and some sort of research.
This platform has all of the marketing functionality of WordPress – you need to add plugins and configure email and analytics, but all the tools are there.
WooCommerce is highly scalable with loads of room to grow and customize to your needs.
The plugin and the software are free but there could be additional costs as you customize adding plugins or paid themes.
When you add in basic e-commerce hosting starting around $8 per month, a basic email marketing platform for $20 per month, and any other add-ons (I use Divi, a paid theme, for $89 per year), the cost is similar to Shopify.
Essentially, Shopify and WooCommerce costs roughly the same, though if you wanted to you could run a WooCommerce store for a little less.