Starting an online journey involves a lot of hard work. Sellers have to juggle between multiple tasks, from choosing an eCommerce platform to setting up their online store to handle the shipping and returns smoothly, and so on. Amidst all these, the most stressful job is to find the right eCommerce platform.
The right eCommerce platform will fulfill all your business requirements. It will act as the backbone of your eCommerce website and help your business achieve greater heights.
Not sure which eCommerce platform will tick all those boxes? Well, WooCommerce eCommerce is the answer!
2) What is WooCommerce?
Released in September 2011, WooCommerce is an open-source plug-in designed to meet the needs of WordPress. The platform enhances a simple WordPress website by transforming it into an eCommerce website where sellers can add products, build shopping carts and integrate payment gateways for trading products or services.
WooCommerce was created by two Jigowatt developers, Mike Jolley and James Koster, hired by WooThemes to fork Jigoshop, an existing eCommerce plugin. Soon after its release, it saw a huge jump in the number of users. As of 2020, it had approximately 3.9 million websites using its services, making it a leading eCommerce platform around the globe.
3) What features does WooCommerce eCommerce offer?
Expecting that you've got an idea about WooCommerce, let's get acquainted with its features.
3.1) Store designing
Reports suggest an appealing store design attracts more customers. It extends their stay on the website, eventually pushing them to purchase something.
WooCommerce provides numerous templates for online sellers to enhance their eCommerce websites. It assists them in using those templates and even gives them access to the latest WordPress updates.
3.2) Product Management
Adding products to the eCommerce website can be tough at times. Sellers can get confused while updating descriptions and product variants.
But with the help of WooCommerce tools, they can easily manage their store without worrying about any mishaps. Large-scale sellers can even purchase the Product CSV Import Suite extension for $49/year and sync their product catalog for a more enhanced customer experience.
3.3) Multilingual support
A language barrier is enough to take away a potential customer. Thanks to WooCommerce, online sellers don't have to go through that phase.
WooCommerce offers multilingual support to all sellers. It helps them make cross-border sales easily and reach a wider audience in a short time.
Online sellers can use the MultilingualPress plug-in and avail of the benefits of this feature without bearing any additional costs.
3.4) Order management and shipment processing
Often online sellers complain about order management. They struggle to track multiple orders' simultaneously, thereby losing a successful sale.
With WooCommerce's status and activity panel, online sellers can keep tabs on orders effortlessly. They can use the unique Order Id assigned by the platform and get real-time information about each customer's checkout process. Sellers can even keep an eye on all the orders through a single dashboard.
3.5) Multichannel sales and Point Of Sale (POS) integration
Nowadays, depending on one sales medium isn't enough. Sellers should operate through multiple mediums to acquire a larger group of customers.
Thankfully, WooCommerce enables them to do so. Through its Multichannel extension, WooCommerce allows online sellers to list products on third-party platforms like eBay, Amazon, Pinterest, Facebook, and many more. It even gives them access to POS integration for $199 a year.
3.6) Multi-currency support
Tax calculations can be very complicated for different locations. At WooCommerce, online sellers can alter tax calculations by visiting the Tax tab under Settings. They can assign tax amounts as per different countries' requirements and eliminate any guesswork.
3.7) Google Analytics Integration and Reporting
Google Analytics is the most popular tool for monitoring and analyzing traffic on an eCommerce website. Though WooCommerce doesn't offer direct Google Analytics integration, online sellers can use its plug-in option to improve the visibility of their WooCommerce websites.
For more advanced features, they can even purchase the paid WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration tool, which offers benefits like enhanced link attribution, customer behavior analysis, advanced tracking, and much more.
4) WooCommerce eCommerce Pricing
For those with some knowledge about WooCommerce, you must think there aren't any costs attached to the platform. But that's only partially true.
Indeed, both WordPress CMS software and WooCommerce eCommerce platform are free to download. But there are additional costs for installing and running an online store on the platform. Given below is a brief outline of how the platform charges online sellers.
4.1) Mandatory Costs
a) Hosting and domain
To run an online store on WooCommerce, sellers need a web host and domain. Typically, when you purchase a hosting service, the domain is included in it. However, if you purchase a domain separately, you might have to pay for it along with hosting services.
Coming to the price, hosting services can be purchased anywhere from $3 to hundreds of dollars per month. Domain, on the other hand, can cost $9 to $20 per year.
b) WooCommerce themes
Any eCommerce website, irrespective of its size, can't work without a theme. Though WooCommerce offers several free themes to its users, online sellers might not always prefer using them. In the case you belong in that pool, you might have to pay somewhere between $1 to $200 per year, depending on your theme choice.
c) Shipping and payments
Generally, shipping is free on WooCommerce eCommerce. But to unveil better features or use plug-ins, sellers need to pay somewhere between $0-$108/year.
As for payments, sellers are charged 2.9%+$0.3 per transaction, along with a monthly price of $0-$30.
Security is one of the most important aspects of an eCommerce platform. Without it, neither the seller nor the customer's data is safe on the internet.
At WooCommerce, sellers can be charged $0-$300/year for security tools and $0-$65/year for SSL certificates.
These were the mandatory costs of setting up a WooCommerce website. Now, let's move on to the optional costs.
4.2) Optional Costs
a) Customer experience
Every eCommerce website's success relies on how well it treats its customers. If the eCommerce website has loopholes, naturally, customers would be reluctant to visit it. Whereas if they get a seamless experience from adding the product to their cart to delivery of the shipment, they'll keep coming back for more.
To enhance your customers' experience, you can purchase extensions from $0-$200 each/year.
b) Marketing functions
Marketing functions are essential for beginners to reach more customers. At WooCommerce, online sellers are charged from $0-$348/year for customer communications and $0-$79/year for SEO.
c) Hiring Developers
Not all online sellers are capable of setting up their own WooCommerce websites. For those who need additional help, they have to pay $10-$100/hour to developers.
5) Benefits and limitations of WooCommerce
Being used by 5+ million websites in 2023 alone, WooCommerce is the biggest eCommerce platform. But what makes it so special, or let's say, better than its competitors?
Of course, it's benefits! Let's take a quick look at what the WordPress plug-in platform offers.
Most eCommerce websites are limited to selling either products or services. Result: sellers dealing in multiple categories often have to pay higher prices or look for less popular alternatives to provide all of them together.
At WooCommerce eCommerce, online sellers get the flexibility to sell almost anything on their eCommerce websites. Online sellers can offer products, download novels or comics, access webinars or training sessions and do a lot more.
For any online seller, growth and profit are the ultimate goals. At some point, all of them want to lead the industry. But when eCommerce platforms restrict operations based on business sizes, this goal somehow gets hindered.
Thankfully, WooCommerce allows businesses of all sizes to operate freely with its platform. It gives them access to multiple plug-ins in every phase of their journey, making them the best in their industry.
c) Strict security
With various saved payment and card details, it becomes crucial for eCommerce websites to provide top-notch security.
At WooCommerce, developers keep updating the platform to save it from hackers and offer various plug-ins for online sellers to enhance security levels as per their requirements. NOTE- plug-ins and extensions aren't generally free of cost.
d) Interactive Community
With over 5+ million websites operating across the globe, WooCommerce has one of the largest community forums. Two of its favorite forums include,
(i) WooCommerce support forum
Run by WooCommerce developers and other advanced community members, this forum requires users to register with WordPress. It allows them to interact and resolve their queries freely by popping their questions. However, there might be a slight delay in response at this forum.
(ii) Advanced WooCommerce
This is a closed Facebook group with more than 25,000 members, including WordPress developers handling more advanced WordPress queries popped by users.
(iii) WordPress Help and Share
Another closed Facebook group, this forum has more than 29,000 members, dealing with all kinds of queries from beginner to advanced popped by various types of users.
e) Numerous customization options
With over hundreds of free themes and paid plug-ins and extensions, WooCommerce offers a variety of customization options. Online sellers can choose their style of operation and create an eCommerce website that speaks about their business and its values. Plus, they don't need to be technologically sound. With assistance from WooCommerce wizard, they can do a fine job with their WooCommerce website.
Though WooCommerce is free to download, it has a lot of underlying costs for operating an online store. Keeping aside the hosting and domain charges, online sellers are expected to pay for any plug-ins or extensions except for the ones termed free by the platform. Plus, each enhancement, even advanced themes, requires sellers to pay hefty amounts to use them.
b) WordPress specific
WooCommerce is a WordPress plug-in. Hence, online sellers can't use it on sites not hosted by WordPress. This itself restricts established online sellers, forcing them to remake their eCommerce websites in order to use WooCommerce eCommerce.
6) WooCommerce eCommerce Returns
Every eCommerce platform strives for a successful sale. But often, due to reasons like defective or damaged products, changes in customers' minds, wardrobing, wrong size or color selection by customers, wrong product delivered by sellers, and much more, customers return their products.
This return is generally borne by the online seller, who again has to pay for reverse shipping and inspection charges. In case of an exchange, he/she has to pack and deliver the goods to the customers paying for both packing and shipping charges. At WooCommerce, the situation is no different from other eCommerce platforms. However, the way of managing eCommerce returns differs here slightly.
The platform offers a WooCommerce Returns and Warranty tool to manage its eCommerce returns, making sure the reverse logistics process is handled smoothly. With this tool, online sellers can add a warranty to products, set a warranty period for different products, sell a warranty as an add-on, give customers instructions on how to claim a warranty, and so on.
7) How to create a better WooCommerce eCommerce returns policy?
Creating a better WooCommerce eCommerce returns policy isn't too difficult. Here are a few tips to help you out.
7.1) Formulate a simple return policy
Most eCommerce platforms struggle with large amounts of eCommerce returns due to complicated returns policies. Make sure while creating one, you add simple and easy-to-understand points. Be clear about what items are included, what is the tenure for claiming a warranty, how to apply for a claim, and so on. Also, try to avoid as many loopholes as you can.
7.2) Make sure your return policy is identifiable
Often while designing eCommerce websites, online sellers go overboard with customizations. Result: customers struggle with finding the necessary information.
When adding a returns policy to your eCommerce website, keep it identifiable. Make sure it's not hidden under too many tabs and can be reached by customers easily.
7.3) Add flexible clauses
Reports suggest eCommerce websites offering lenient and flexible returns policy witness an increase in purchases than those with complex clauses. Therefore, while creating a returns policy, think from a customer's perspective and act accordingly.
7.4) Turn a return into a sale
Often customers returning a product seek better offerings from the seller. If you can use this opportunity to resell something or offer an exchange in place of the returned product, you can save a successful sale from turning into a loss.
8) How to open a store at WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is the simplest platform in the eCommerce industry. With a few steps, you can easily open up an online store on the platform. Here's a quick guide on how to go about it.
Step 1- Set up hosting and domain name
A domain name defines your website's address on the internet. It can be anything that represents your company or its objective. Hosting, on the other hand, is the storage space where your website's files and resources are saved on the internet.
Together the two fulfill the basic requirements of a WooCommerce website.
Step 2- Download and set up WordPress
Once your hosting and domain name are in place, download WordPress from its official page. Next, open the platform and click on settings, then the General option. Fill in details like your Store title, Tagline, WordPress Address (URL), Site Address (URL), and Administration Email Address, and click on Save.
Step 3- Set up your WooCommerce Store
From your WordPress dashboard, find Plugins and click on Add New. Type WooCommerce in the search bar on the top right corner of your screen, and click on Install. Once installed, there will be an Activate option present in front of you. Click on Activate, and follow the steps below.
In the Welcome to WooCommerce screen, fill in the required details like address, country, city, and postcode.
Click on Continue and choose your industry type from the next screen. Later, tick the check box of the types of products you will be offering, and press Continue.
Next, add some Business Details like how many products you want to display and if you are selling anywhere else. In the same window, click on Free Features and press Continue.
Thereon, choose a theme for your online store or move on with the default theme.
Step 4- Set up payments
For configuring payments, go to WooCommerce and press Settings. From the list of tabs above, select Payments. A new tab with the list of payment options will appear in front of you. Click on “Set up” for the options you want to activate on your online store and fill in their details, including API keys. Once done, Save the information and return to the dashboard.
Step 5- Add Products
From your dashboard, go to Products and click on the Add New option. Next, fill in the title, and provide a description of the product. Then go to the right-hand side of the screen and click on Product Categories. If the category isn't created, click on +Add New Product Category. Or else assign the one you find fit for the product. Scroll down a little and type in data in the Product Data box. Next, add another short description and images and save all the data.
Step 6- Customize WordPress theme and install plugins
The look of your eCommerce website decides the number of visitors. To make your WooCommerce website stand out, install the WooCommerce theme and click on Appearance. Next, go to Customize and edit it.
For additional features and a better customer experience, install plugins and integrate them with your WooCommerce website. Once complete, your online store is ready for launch.
WooCommerce eCommerce is a simple and user-friendly platform. It's packed with features and plugins to enhance customers' experiences and make their shopping journey an enjoyable one.
The eCommerce platform has grown rapidly in the past years and is capable of becoming the most used eCommerce platform soon. Let's hope it fits your business and guides it in the right direction. Good Luck!
10) FAQs about WooCommerce eCommerce
10.1) What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an open-source plug-in designed to meet the needs of WordPress. It transforms WordPress websites into eCommerce stores.
10.2) Is WooCommerce eCommerce different from WordPress?
Yes, WooCommerce is a plug-in for WordPress websites and can't be used to manage other sites.
10.3) Is WooCommerce free?
Yes, WooCommerce is free to download. However, there are underlying costs in setting up an online store at WooCommerce.
10.4) Can I customize my theme on WooCommerce eCommerce?
Yes, the platform allows online sellers to do so.
10.5) Can I cancel my WooCommerce account?
Yes, since WooCommerce eCommerce is just a plug-in, you can easily remove it from extensions.