WooCommerce is an eCommerce platform that gives business owners a lot of freedom to customise their online stores. A free plugin on WordPress, it’s not ideal for beginners because users need to be able to handle the technical side of the site—but if you’re a confident website builder then WooCommerce brings a raft of benefits!
WooCommerce: key features
- Stock level control
- Hundreds of plugins
- WordPress integration
- Total control over data
- Mobile-friendly structure
- Adjustable taxes and shipping rates
- Unlimited products and product categories
- Free extension for Facebook Ads and Facebook Shops
- Built-in WooCommerce Payments—and you can easily integrate other gateways like Stripe and PayPal via free plugins
WooCommerce: user experience
Ease of use
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, not a subscription-based solution like Shopify. That means you’ll need some experience in setting up a web server, redirecting a domain to that server, and installing WordPress and ensuring it’s operational. And you’ll need to complete a few simple tasks before you can starting building your online store with it:
- Get a domain name
- Install WordPress
- Sign up for a hosting account
- Find and install a WordPress theme
Then you can install the WooCommerce plugin on your WordPress website and get building!
To make things easier if you’re not an expert but still feel confident enough to give WooCommerce a go, consider bringing on board a specialised WordPress hosting company to take care of the domain and installation, leaving you to focus solely on WooCommerce.
It’s also important to note that WooCommerce doesn’t come with any ‘design’ as such—it’s all handled via a WordPress theme of your choice. That being said, it’s still relatively easy because WooCommerce works with pretty much all themes on the market. All you need to do is find one that suits your brand and install it on the site.
As soon as you install and activate the WooCommerce plugin you’ll see the onscreen setup wizard, which guides you through each element in turn. It enables you to define the parameters of your store and get everything neatly configured, so tax, shipping, inventory, currency and payment gateways are ready when you go live.
With WooCommerce you can embed Stripe and PayPal in your online store, then process transactions conveniently without directing shoppers to a third-party checkout page. Both payment processors are reliable and efficient, and most WooCommerce stores run smoothly with those alone. You don’t even need a merchant bank account to get things up and running. But if you would like to try out a different service, you can integrate a plethora of other alternative payment processing solutions, most of which are simple plugins. It’s even possible to go beyond online selling, by leveraging the WooCommerce POS plugin for in-store transactions. This accommodates a range of providers offering in-person card-processing functionalities.
Once you’ve identified the gateway that’s right for you, simply install its add-on and connect the service to your merchant bank account. Now you can handle transactions on your online store without having to pay WooCommerce a penny, although note that the payment processors will charge you. The fees differ from one provider to another.
WooCommerce takes full advantage of the fact that WordPress is primarily a content creation platform, renowned by SEO experts for giving business owners the best chance to rank well for keywords. WooCommerce provides more SEO-specific options than other eCommerce platforms simply because it’s built on top of WordPress.
Technically there aren’t any security measures included with the WooCommerce plugin. As it runs on WordPress, most of the responsibility for security falls to you. For example, you need to ensure your hosting company has secure servers, and configure your site’s security plugins and two-factor authentication. You also need to source your own SSL certificate, although you can usually get this through your hosting provider, sometimes even for free.
Help and support
Since WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin, you can get a lot of support simply by exploring the latter’s community forums. But there’s also a dedicated WooCommerce team who will do their best to answer your queries and solve your problems.
Enjoy full control of your eCommerce store with WooCommerce
WooCommerce gives business owners access to thousands of site designs, as well as thousands of plugins which enable them to extend their stores’ functionality. As long as you don’t mind investing half a day into setting up your site, and you’re confident in handling most or all of it solo (unless you’ve brought an expert or specialist company on board to do it for you), WooCommerce is a fabulous and flexible platform that can open up a whole world of eCommerce possibilities, and empower you to grow your business like never before!
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