Overview of WordPress CMS and WooCommerce features: pros and cons
Many people believe that the creation of a powerful online store requires a huge budget and extensive technical experience. This is a wrong belief because most of the successful online stores did not have a huge budget when they started. The owner of Amazon did not have a huge budget when it started his business. He started everything in a small garage, and gradually improved to became what Amazone is today.
WordPress is one of the most popular CMS in the world. Even though WordPress is a free solution, It can be used with WooCommerce, to create great online stores. One of the benefits WordPress provides is the possibility to easily edit and extend the functionality of the site as the business grows.
WooCommerce plugin features
WooCommerce was introduced to the world in 2011 by the Company called ‘WooTheme’. Wootheme was devoted to the development and improvement of WooCommerce, working constantly to fix bugs and new functionalities. WooTheme developers have introduced some advanced trading methods such as the accurate prediction of both the administrator and users’ needs, in order to provide very flexible and relevant services.
This trading method is used by about 500 thousand known resources, which include sites with high load. As we can see on the Pie chart below, WooCommerce is the world leading platform representing almost 30% of all the E-commerce sites.
Woocommerce successfully competes with the majority of CMS for the online store, and since is it an open source plugins, the number of active its installations have far exceeded 3 million, according to official data.
For those who use the script, the standard functionality of the most powerful WordPress system is fully available. The application is compatible with almost all paid extensions developed for WP. Thanks to the advantages that WooCommerce provides for online shopping, the traditional WordPress blog format easily transforms into a fully functional virtual storefront, through which you can sell any electronic or physical items.
WooCommerce Platform functionality
WooCommerce helps create, modify and expand the functionality of the online store in accordance with personal preferences, without setting a rigid framework. Included with it, the developer gets a lot of useful features that contribute to active sales.
Using WooCommerce, you can:
- Create thoughtful catalogues with any structure, add an unlimited number of categories and products to them, classify, delete and edit cards.
- Manage orders and customize customer registrations.
- Conduct detailed analytics – track sales statistics, visitor behaviour, monitor the remnants of the products offered, perform a comprehensive analysis of marketing efforts, focusing on visual charts and graphs. You can also provide integration with Google Analytics.
- Establish different taxation and delivery options depending on the region of residence of the client.
- Accept payment directly, by credit card, through popular payment systems, after delivery of the order, add the missing payment methods manually.
- Use effective marketing tools – launch discounts, coupons, sales, set widgets with recommended positions and sales hits.
- Control workflow around the clock, with constant access to all data.
- Increase trust in the store thanks to an advanced rating system from real customers.
- Share user rights, create a contact database, organize a subscription, an online community or a special forum for the trading platform.
In terms of search engine optimization, the WooCommerce shows the same stability as the online store engine itself. Resources built on it, allow you to create favourable conditions for the promotion of a business project. The tagging of meta tags, site map, and human-readable links greatly increase the chances of being at the top positions Of most SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
WooCommerce can be integrated into any theme for WP. There is a large number of templates that are optimized for WooCommerce. Various additional options are built in them: fat pictures, zoom parameters, sliders. All of them are distinguished by a first-class responsive design combined with harmonious aesthetics.
If you wish to highlight your trading platform among competitors, experts recommend installing more original paid Themes. The average price of such options is about 50-70 dollars. But the investment is worth it: it is proved that the look and the design of the website, are the first things visitors pay attention to as they browse it for the first time.
The potential of the store can be expanded gradually using modules designed to perform specific tasks. However, it is quite tedious to make the right choice of module, because WordPress repository contains more than 5 thousand proposals at the moment.
It is worth highlighting the following:
- Products Filter – for advanced product filtration by specific properties;
- PDF Invoices & Packing Slips – to add PDF files to the product positions with information relevant to the target customers.
- Products Slider – to insert spectacular slides to the main page of the online site;
- Product Import Export – for importing/exporting products to the store;
- Custom Product Tabs – to add additional tabs to products.
Initial settings for an online store on WooCommerce
To start an online sale, you need to download the latest version of WooCommerce from the official website.CMS is installed on the selected hosting, which must meet the following requirements:
- support for PHP (version 7 or higher) and MySQL (version 5 or higher);
- free disk space of 1 GB;
- unlimited traffic;
- optimal RAM – 128 MB.
Once the installation is complete, it is advisable to create strong passwords for the site, enable two-factor authentication, and restrict FTP access settings. For future security reasons. Choose a reliable provider who cares about security issues. This is necessary to minimize the risks of the site being hacked and prevent any possible spread of dangerous infections.
After, having access to the administration panel VP, you can easily install the WooCommerce by going to the free directory. You can also use the ‘installation assistant’ to help you further customize the store.
The necessary actions are performed in several stages. The first step involves the creation of checkout pages, product display windows, shopping carts and account, which can later be re-edited in the “Pages” section of the console.
During the second, you need to select the country in which you plan to launch an online store (your location) Because the visitors of your sites have to know the location their goods will be delivered from. Then you should indicate a convenient type of delivery, unit of measure (grams, kilograms, pounds, meters, feet) and currency (dollars, pounds, francs).
After that, you can start adding products. The process itself will not cause difficulties and will remind the publication of entries for the blog. First, you need to go to the tab of the “Products” panel, enter the name of a specific unit and add to it information relevant to buyers.
A specific type is selected for each product: simple, downloadable, virtual, affiliate, variable. Then set the base price and, if necessary, the cost of the sale. All the nuances associated with the inventory can be controlled in the “Stocks” menu. Through a separate tab, you can add related products for cross-selling. A special feature that allows the user to download content (Photo, music, movie) after payment.
Advantages of WooCommerce websites
Reviews collected from most of the WooCommercce website Owners indicated the main advantages of the platforms:
- Full control over your own resource. Developers provide unlimited content management, code editing, customization settings.
- Diversity. Goods from any direction are successfully sold on the trading floors: various services, digital downloadable products, household appliances and much more.
- Powerful and reliability. The platform creates projects of both the base premium level.
- High security. The plugin is protected from various vulnerabilities and threats to ensure a safe operation of the resource. The VP development team is constantly updating the security system, working to eliminate the identified flaws and improve protection against cyber attacks.
- Optimization for mobile platforms. Images of goods from a virtual storefront are equally high-quality, both on a regular PC and on a smartphone. The service perfectly optimizes any site: information is displayed in the most user-friendly form.
- Multilingual. The default distribution of the application includes English, German, French and other languages.
Disadvantages of WooCommerce Sites
There are also downsides to working with WooCommerce:
- Strict resource requirements. After installing the plugin on the CMS online store WordPress significantly increases the load on the site. If you use insufficiently strong hosting, this will lead to a decrease in the speed of loading pages.
- Predominant orientation to the western regions. Standard delivery options and payment gateways are more suitable for foreign users. To adapt the settings to local regions, some modify the system on their own.
- Limited technical support. Since the plugin is free, its support is limited to thematic forums and online teams with fairly long response time. Help in solving problems via email or through social media is not provided. To get the right to publish questions on the forum, you need to purchase at least one of the service tools.
- Imperfect translation. The default localization is not entirely accurate. Often, when you start a project, you have to make some improvements.
The high cost of advanced features. Even though WooCommerce is a free plugin, it has some additional professional tools and features that are quite expensive. However, their level of quality is much higher than that of the “free kit”.
Examples of WordPress + WooCommerce Stores
WooCommerce has created many successful high-conversion domestic e-commerce projects which are distinguished by a clear structure, convenient navigation, flexible interface and a pleasant modest design.
A large Swiss independent magazines store from various world publishers – LOREM:
Norwegian online pet food marketplace – Eukanubashop:
Bellissimo is the supplier of products for use in microfibres, permanent make-up, eyelash extensions, the production of elevators, tools and accessories in North America:
WooCommerce is a great solution for novice online marketers and those who already have their own WordPress sites. WooCoomerce provides the opportunity to create small and medium E-commerce websites in a short time, and there is no need for serious financial investments to get started. As the business grows, it is possible to expand the potential of the site, provided that the code is written correctly, and the server is resistant to loads. The marketplace can accommodate up to 5,000 products or even more. It all depends on your website hosting capacity. For an average hosting plan, the optimal amount that does not affect the site performance is about 2-3 thousand units of products. However, If you plan to deploy a volume larger than the one we mentioned above, then consider switching your hosting plan to a higher package.