WooCommerce was successfully launched in September 2011. Its customer target market consists specifically of companies selling products online through their WordPress websites. These online stores can vary in size from start-ups to well-established and already successful online retailers. It is important from the outset to point out that Woo Commerce differs substantially from the other Ecommerce platforms reviewed on Automotive Ecommerce in as much as it is not essentially a platform in itself. It is in fact an open source Ecommerce plugin aimed squarely at existing WordPress websites. The reason for this is that it was first developed by two employees of Woo Themes that specialized in developing plugins for WordPress. As its success and popularity grew over the years, WooCommerce eventually became part of the WordPress group of companies in May 2015.
Success of WooCommerce
There is no doubt that WooCommerce is a commercial success, no pun intended, with well over 380,000 online stores operating through its plugin. This tally includes many high-traffic websites, with figures showing that as of the end of 2015, WooCommerce had an enviable market share equivalent to 30% of the total number of Ecommerce websites in operation as well as millions of downloads of their various WordPress plugins. The fact that WooCommerce is offered free and is open source goes in part to explaining its unmitigated success. However it is only the basic product. To operate successfully, it is necessary to purchase add-ons that come in their thousands due to it being open source. It is important to underline compatibility issues that have arisen with WordPress as well as an absence of live support and the need for an ever increasing number of plugins that can hinder performance. Despite this, it remains one of the most popular options available on the market at this time.
What kind of online store is WooCommerce aimed at?
At the risk of repeating ourselves, it is important that you understand from the outset that WooCommerce differs from rival Ecommerce platform reviews here at Automotive Ecommerce in as much as it is effectively not an Ecommerce platform but rather a simple shopping cart plugin that is furthermore only compatible with WordPress websites. Therefore, if you are already using a WordPress website for your online business read on by all means, otherwise it is not worth the hassle of migrating your existing business to WordPress with the sole aim of using WooCommerce.
Another important element to take into account is that WooCommerce is extremely basic. By this we mean that much of what comes as standard when you sign up with competing fully fledged Ecommerce platforms that we review here such as BigCommerce and Web Shop Manager is only available through add-ons and extensions that come at a price with WooCommerce.
Therefore despite the fact that WooCommerce is free to install, it will unquestionably require further plugins and extensions in order to operate efficiently which will result in further costs. As we said earlier, it also requires an existing WordPress website. This invariably means that you also have to find your own hosting option and secure payment system in order to be able to operate.
Although WooCommerce is aimed at small and large businesses alike, please keep in mind that should you experience a large increase in website traffic or have the need for an increasing number of products, it will be your responsibility to ensure your hosting provider offers adequate bandwidth to cope with the extra demand.
Would we recommend WooCommerce for your business?
If you are already operating a WordPress website and feel like it is the right time to start monetizing it, or if you are just starting out and are familiar with WordPress, then WooCommerce may indeed be the right option for you. Indeed it is a good option for small online stores that wish to build on their new or existing WordPress website. It may be recommended for its over-simplified Ecommerce ability with a stripped down interface that does not require much prior technological know-how. However you must be aware that should your business take off with higher volumes of transactions and products, necessary add-ons and extensions will start to escalate, incurring further costs. Furthermore, as the business grows, you will have a greater need for data analytics and reporting tools that are more readily available with rival Ecommerce platforms. So in conclusion, if you are starting out with an established WordPress website that you wish to monetize, by all means try the WooCommerce plugin. If you are already well established and growing while not using a WordPress website, we strongly invite you to read our other reviews to see if you cannot find a better solution there.