WooCommerce is one of the most popular shopping cart systems in use by online store owners. WooCommerce piggybacks on WordPress, which is the most popular software in the world for building a website.
Because WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin and integrates seamlessly with WordPress, it is a favorite shopping cart system choice for those who want to have the publishing capabilities of WordPress built into their online stores.
WooCommerce is very popular among small business owners and startup companies, because the cost to operate a WooCommerce store is flexible. Business owners can operate a store for under $100 a month. On the other hand, larger companies, including enterprises, can set up their WooCommerce store to scale to serve millions of customers.
What is WooCommerce?
The video below, published by the official WooCommerce team, is a quick explanation of WooCommerce and what it does.
WooCommerce is FREE to download and install. The WooCommerce e-commerce software (which consists mostly of PHP files) is available for download from the WordPress plugins directory. Once you’ve downloaded the WooCommerce platform, you can install it onto your web server following the WooCommerce installation instructions.
Costs associated with using WooCommerce come from:
- Hosting fees: costs associated with WooCommerce mostly come from paying the monthly hosting fees
- Premium add-ons and extensions: There are thousands of premium WooCommerce extensions available for download from the WooCommerce store or from private WooCommerce developers.
If you install WooCommerce on a private web server (e.g. your computer, for instance, using the XAMPP PHP environment), you can use WooCommerce for free, since there are no hosting fees that apply when using WooCommerce locally.
WooCommerce comes equipped with everything you need to build an online store, including:
- Product pages: for listing information bout your products
- Category pages: hierarchical pages designed to organize your product pages for browsing
- Shopping cart: a robust shopping cart system that allows people to add products to a shopping cart and check out
- Payment support: support for accepting credit and debit cards, PayPal, and other payment integrations
- Shipping: modules for integrating shipping options, including UPS, FedEx, DHL, and others
- Store configuration: support for setting up shipping, taxes, and other elements of a shopping cart system
- Integration with WordPress: WordPress is built as an extension of WordPress, so you have access within WooCommerce to the entire WordPress toolset.
- Design and Themes: Change the look and feel of the store (or any of its pages) using the WordPress theme design
Pros and Cons of WooCommerce
There are lots of reasons an online store owner should choose to WooCommerce for a shopping cart solution. As with any product, there are also some reasons that a person or company would not want to go with WooCommerce. Here is a quick list of Pros and Cons of using WooCommerce to host an online store.
- WooCommerce software is free to download and install
- Thousands of useful plugins available
- Can be hosted wherever you choose
- Integrated with WordPress for publishing content
- Highly configurable
- Cost of operating a store can be low for small companies and startups
- Easy to develop and add functionality through plugin development
- Requires your own hosting
- Technical skills needed to set up hosting environment to run WooCommerce
- Store owner must handle IT issues for WooCommerce, including security and performance
WooCommerce comes with some default payment methods ready to be enabled for use during the checkout process. Two of the most common payment methods for use with WooCommerce are PayPal and Stripe.
PayPal with WooCommerce
WooCommerce has a PayPal integration that allows you to accept payments from people using a couple convenient options. With the PayPal WooCommerce integration, customers can pay you from their PayPal account. For those customers who don’t have a PayPal account or who prefer to use their credit card directly, there is an option on the PayPal module for allowing people to checkout with a credit or debit card and have it go through the PayPal payment gateway.
WooCommerce and Stripe
Stripe is one of the most popular merchant credit card processors on the internet. WooCommerce has a free Stripe plugin that can be installed and quickly set up with a Stripe account to begin accepting credit and debit card payments quickly and easily.
For more information about how to use Stripe payment processing with a WooCommerce store, visit the WooCommerce Stripe documentation page.
Getting Started with WooCommerce
The video below is a thorough walkthrough provided by SiteGround (one of most popular web hosts supporting WordPress/WooCommerce installations) of how to set up a WooCommerce store and get it ready for customers.