What is WooCommerce? Breaking Down the Popular eCommerce Solution

WooCommerce, originally launched in September 2011, has quickly become the leading eCommerce solution. It currently powers 30 percent of all online stores — more than any other eCommerce platform — with over 10 million downloads globally.

How to be sure WooCommerce is the right solution for your online store...

How to be sure WooCommerce is the right solution for your online store…

We have written several blog posts about WooCommerce, including how a WooCommerce store can compete with Amazon, an important consideration. But, we wanted to share more broadly why this platform is such a powerful eCommerce option — both for existing eCommerce stores seeking to migrate to something more flexible as well as for brand new eCommerce stores seeking an eCommerce solution that is cost-effective and scalable. We hope you find this article useful as you research your eCommerce solutions.

What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is a free plugin that adds eCommerce functionality to a WordPress website. The beauty of WooCommerce is that it was built to seamlessly integrate with Wordpress. Both physical and digital goods can be sold through WooCommerce and its open source platform and many features and extensions make scaling a storefront efficient and accessible.

Where WooCommerce Came From

WooCommerce was created and is managed by WooThemes. It is now part of the WordPress parent company Automattic. WooThemes builds and sells premium Wordpress themes. Sometimes people ask us why would WooThemes give WooCommerce away for free? Well, it’s pretty simple. WooThemes builds and sells WooCommerce premium themes that are customized to work with the WooCommerce plugin.

While selecting a premium theme for your eCommerce site can be a good idea, you don’t have to purchase a customized theme. The beauty of WooCommerce is that it will work with any WordPress theme, including the Storefront theme which is a free WordPress theme available to any WooCommerce store.

It is worth noting that WooThemes has a fantastic track record in the development community and among customers. They’ve been around for quite a while and have consistency produced top-notch WordPress themes, extensions and plugins, including WooCommerce.

Customizing WooCommerce

Whether you go with a free WordPress theme or a premium theme, you will be able to customize your theme to create a unique eCommerce storefront. There are currently almost 40 different WooCommerce enabled themes, some of which are free. These themes are available through the WooThemes store.

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Why Developers Love WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open source platform. Its source code is available on GitHub, an online code repository where anyone can publish their code for others to collaborate on, including making their own version of the code and submitting issues related to the code as well as fixes to the code. In our opinion, WooCommerce’s agile open source development is a real advantage — it keeps the platform constantly up-to-date and modern.

As a free plugin to WordPress websites, WooCommerce offers extensive features out-of-the-box. This makes it easy to integrate into an existing WordPress site and to get a basic eCommerce storefront up-and-running relatively quickly.

There is also a robust WooCommerce community and support where developers can share ideas, collaborate and search for questions and answers. WooThemes users benefit from community forums, video tutorials and other tools to ensure that they have the knowledge they need to effectively and efficiently use the WooCommerce plugin to create eCommerce functionality on WordPress websites and stay current on code developments.

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Scaling WooCommerce

One of the things that makes WooCommerce special is that it provides the ultimate ease for scaling an eCommerce website. It was built with extension and adaptability in mind. With a robust, open source framework, a WooCommerce client of ours can scale their store from something very basic in the beginning to a more sophisticated eCommerce site as they evolve and grow.

The WooCommerce off-the-shelf plugin offers many of the essential features any eCommerce site would need, including ordering, tracking and shipping options, delivery status, inventory management and more. It also comes bundled with the ability to accept major credit cards, PayPal, bank transfers and cash on delivery. Other options include integration with vendors like Stripe, Authorize.Net and Amazon Payments.

Through a growing collection of 300 plus extensions, an eCommerce store can be further enhanced. WordPress.org is home to these WooCommerce extensions. Some of these extensions are free while others are premium extensions available for a fee.

Security and WooCommerce

One of the things we, and many others, like about WooCommerce is that we feel confident in its security when we recommend it to our eCommerce clients. While it is a hosted eCommerce platform, your data belongs to you and is kept secure through regular audits by industry leaders.

Analytics and WooCommerce

Analytics are an important aspect of any website and can often be confusing to know how to apply to a website. WooCommerce has a built in analytics system that will show you a wide variety of data, including total sales, sales by date, average order totals, individual customer statistics, among others. Extensions are available that provide deeper data and analytics as well.

Integration and WooCommerce

Because WooCommerce is a WordPress-based platform, you can fully integrate it within an existing WordPress site and blog. This allows for everything — your website, storefront and blog — to live under one roof. This not only makes managing your online business easier, it sends a powerful, branded cohesive message to your customers.

Free, but Mighty

Don’t let the fact the WooCommerce is a free plugin make you think it’s not a seriously professional online store solution. As we mentioned earlier, it’s currently leading the pack and powering 30 percent of all online stores on the Internet. While it’s simple and user-friendly to use once installed onto a WordPress website, it’s definitely a professional eCommerce setup off-the-shelf. And with its many apps and extensions, it’s a solution made to scale as your business grows.

Want to Learn More about WooCommerce?

Check out our other blogs and videos on WooCommerce. We hope you find them helpful as you explore your eCommerce options for how to build an eCommerce store or in upgrading your existing store.

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