Picking an Ecommerce platform can be hard work. There are lots of things to consider.
We have looked at Shopify and Magento in recent weeks. Both have lots of factors in their favor as well as barriers for businesses to overcome.
But now we will look at an Ecommerce brand that does things in a different way. It also works in a different way to the likes of Magento and Shopify.
Today we are going to look at the pros and cons of WooCommerce. What makes it a good Ecommerce plugin and what are the barriers that might prevent businesses from using it.
Are you ready to be “wooed” by WooCommerce?
Let’s dig in.
What Is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open source commerce plugin based on WordPress. As WordPress powers approximately 43% of all websites, it’s no surprise that WooCommerce is very popular. WooCommerce has over 39 million downloads as a plugin. It’s also estimated that WooCommerce powers 40.6% of online stores.
Originally known as “WooThemes” WooCommerce started as a company in 2008. In 2015 Automattic, the operator of WordPress, acquired WooCommerce. WooCommerce shifted its whole focus to Ecommerce in 2017.
Pros & Cons of WooCommerce – The Pros List
So WooCommerce is popular. It’s built on the WordPress platform which is the biggest CMS on the planet. It’s also used by the likes of Weber, Walmart and Home Depot. So it has a serious pedigree. But is it right for you?
Here are some of the “pros” for WooCommerce.
Ecommerce business owners can sell almost everything on WooCommerce, in any niche.
Sellers can offer physical products, downloadable products and even invites to seminars or training programs. WooCommerce is also popular with performance Ecommerce businesses. If you run on an affiliate model, you can still use WooCommerce.
The plugin’s capabilities also makes WooCommerce scalable. Adding new features is easy and helps you to innovate your Ecommerce offering. There are different themes to choose from to help you stand out, should you want to change the look of your site on the fly.
It Makes Things Simple (If You’re On WordPress Already)
Operating WooCommerce is quite simple, even if you lack HTML or CSS knowledge. But this depends on whether you are already familiar with WordPress or have a WordPress site already.
Even complicated tasks like order management can be simplified. There are lots of plugins that you can use even for tasks using POS (point of sale) technology.
You can create an Ecommerce site where customers can track their orders and have a smooth purchase journey.
SEO is a crucial part of any Ecommerce business strategy.
As WooCommerce is built on WordPress, following SEO best practices is easy. You have full control over all on page factors like content and title tags.
The very popular Yoast plugin has a version specific to WooCommerce. It helps you to control product-specific and technical SEO factors. At $79 it is a little expensive but the base Yoast plugin can work just as well if you are just starting out.
Other plugins like Rank Math can also help you with Schema markup and they integrate with your Google Search console. Though it would be advisable to be careful with its AI content writing functionality for the moment.
Pros & Cons of WooCommerce – The Cons List
So has WooCommerce made a good case? Well, wait a minute. There are other things to consider before you jump on the WooCommerce train. Here is the “cons” list.
Locked Into WordPress
This particular barrier depends on whether you have already established an Ecommerce site or not.
If you are just starting out, WooCommerce is definitely an option to consider. But there are barriers to that. If you do not have solid technical knowledge, setting up a WordPress site can be difficult. But the real problems start if you already have a website on another platform.
If you, for example, have a Shopify site and want to move to WooCommerce that will involve a large site migration. Something which Shopify does not fully support. The same counts if you are a Magento user, though it is far easier to switch from Magento to WooCommerce.
Companies like MAQE (hint, hint) can also help you with this.
If you are an established business, migrating and rebuilding your website is a huge undertaking. So this is a factor that should be considered. There will be lots of extra costs involved and it will take a lot of time. So think carefully before you switch.
Costs Over Time
Although WooCommerce is free to install, business owners should be aware of other costs they can incur.
These costs work in the same way as both Shopify and Magento. There are extra costs that are not immediately obvious when you are starting up.
For starters, there can be costs incurred for any extra plugins you want to use. As mentioned above, Yoast’s WooCommerce plugin is $79. But other plugins, like Metorik for example which provides an interface to set all your costs, start at $50 per month. This can make some business owners feel swamped by unforeseen expenses.
Another cost, again like other platforms, depends on your choice of payment gateway. Different gateways will charge you different fees, depending on their fee structure. This is something to be aware of if you are thinking of setting up an Ecommerce site on WooCommerce. PayPal now offers setup or monthly fees, but if you are in Thailand that is not useful right now! So think carefully about the payment gateways you want to use.
Lack Of Scalability
WooCommerce is great for startups and SME Ecommerce businesses.
But if you are an established business that already handles a lot of traffic and transactions, things change a bit.
This is why a lot of big brands use platforms like Magento. While the barrier to entry with a platform like Magento is higher, it is much more scalable over time. It is also better equipped to handle huge traffic and transaction numbers.
Limited Customer Support
WooCommerce itself does not offer much customer support. So if you are just starting out you are reliant on the WooCommerce community to help you. While this is ok in some circumstances, the lack of technical support can also mean added costs. You might have to hire outside help to resolve your issues, something which becomes expensive over time.
We will be adding to our pros & cons of WooCommerce list as time goes on and things change. So if you are considering an eCommerce platform. Or if you are thinking of refreshing your existing setup, come back to see if WooCommerce is the right fit for you.
Talk to MAQE
Want to experiment with Ecommerce or Marketplaces? Need help updating your existing setup? Talk to MAQE. Get in touch via email@example.com to see how we can help you with your Ecommerce needs.
If you are just getting started with Ecommerce, or you want to run rapid experiments, visit Paretonow.com.