WooCommerce: The Advantages & Disadvantages of the Popular Shop Plugin

Tino Werner Last updated 20.10.2020
5 Min.
WooCommerce advantages
Last updated 20.10.2020

WooCommerce is the leading and free eCommerce shop system for the WordPress universe. With a single click, this plugin turns your WordPress blog into a fully equipped online shop. WooCommerce stands out above all through its simplicity and versatility.

The history of the popular eCommerce plugin

Like WordPress itself, WooCommerce offers a complete own Plugin and Theme-economy and convinces with its simple modular structure. The rapid history of WooCommerce began in 2011 when WooThemes, in addition to its well-known Themes and Plugins, developed WooCommerce as a shop systemPlugin . WooCommerce emerged from the then very well-known Plugin Jigoshop and became the most successful shop system in WordPress in the same year.

eBook: Online shop with WooCommerce

You want to build an online shop with WooCommerce ? You can find tips in our 70+ sites strong e-book WooCommerce for professionals: Online shops with WordPress . It is aimed at freelancers, agencies, WP professionals, but also at beginners.

In 2015, WooCommerce was then acquired as a logical consequence of Automatticthe company behind WordPress .comand gradually integrated into the WordPress economy. Use today According to BuiltWith over 3.3 million websites use the popular WordPress -Plugin.

WooCommerce - the basis for your online shop

WooCommerce is technically only the basis for a successful shop. On WooCommerce.com you will find a variety of Premium- and Free-Pluginssuch as the Plugins to the payment service providers Stripe, Amazon Pay and Klarnawith which you can expand your shop according to your needs.

There are even besides the Standard WordPress -Theme "Twenty Nineteen" the standardTheme "Storefront"which was developed explicitly for the use of WooCommerce . The basicTheme impresses with its absolute simplicity and offers an excellent basis for building a shop. The features of Storefront are all exclusively geared towards e-commerce.

The features of Storefront are:

  • Specially optimized for WooCommerce
  • Fully responsive design
  • Basic setting options via the theme customizer
  • Many child themes and plugins to extend the theme

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Storefront now has a lot of Premium and Free Child-Themes. So everyone can customize the Theme according to their taste. If you want to invest a little bit more, you should check out the most popular WooCommerce-Theme "Flatsome" take a look.

Is WooCommerce suitable for your shop?

WooCommerce is ideal for small and medium-sized companies who manage their shop and internet presence independently with a limited budget.

WooCommerce allows a huge number of shop types to be built with, for example:

  • physical products (e.g. jam or home-knitted scarves)
  • digital products (e.g. own books or patterns)
  • Tickets (e.g. for concerts, seminars or congresses)
  • protected member areas (e.g. for online training)
  • even external products (e.g. Amazon affiliates)

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Advantages of WooCommerce

Compared to other shop systems available on the market, WooCommerce has the following advantages:

  • A high scalability and low shop costs compared to other shop systems
  • Quick setup via the WooCommerce-Wizard, knowledge in HTML and CSS usually not necessary
  • With WordPress the use of a full-fledged content management system (CMS)
  • An almost endless variety of free and paid Plugins & Themes:
    - Free WooCommerce-Plugins can be found in the official WordPress Plugin directory.
    - Paid WooCommerce extensions can be found at WooCommerce.com or Codecanyon
    - Here is a list of the most important Plugins for WooCommerce.
    - Free WooCommerce-Themes can be found in the WordPress Theme directory.
    - Paid WooCommerce-Themes can be found for example at ThemeForest .
  • A completely own "WooCommerce-economy", which has developed next to WordPress . Thus the further development of WooCommerce is as good as guaranteed.
  • There is a huge international WooCommerce community that you can interact with:
    - in the WordPress support forum
    - in the Facebook group "WooCommerce Help & Share "
    - in the Facebook group " Advanced WooCommerce"
  • The european market for WooCommerce has only just begun to grow.
  • As a rule, it is still more cost-effective to use WooCommerce Premium-Plugins than other shop systems.
  • For WooCommerce there are numerous connections to accounting systems, POS systems and warehouse management systems, such as for example Lexoffice, Billbee or Sevdesk.

WordPress with WooCommerce – the disadvantages

Unfortunately, there are also a few disadvantages you should be aware of when using WooCommerce. I'll explain these disadvantages below: 

1. not made in Germany

WooCommerce was developed in the USA and is therefore not optimized for the German market. This means that if you want to sell your products on the German or European market, you need another Plugin, such as the free WordPress -Plugin Germanized or the premiumPlugin German Market.

Both plugins make your shop legally secure in Europe. They complement your WooCommerce shop with a variety of additional functions, such as an invoice PDF, delivery note, VAT output in the right places, calculation of unit price, strike price, legally compliant checkout, etc.

2. legal texts not included

WooCommerce does not include any legal texts such as general terms and conditions, data protection declaration, revocation regulations, shipping regulations, procedural directory etc. by default. Here help the in point 1 mentioned Plugins or legal text providers such as IT law firm, Händlerbund or Protectedshops. See our article WooCommerce to make it legally secure.

3. manageable european WooCommerce community

Non english-speaking WooCommerce communities can be very small and users can encounter problems when looking for help in their language. For these cases, I recommend the following points of contact:

You'll find more helpful resources on: 

  • WooExpert - Here you can also find online trainings about the topic WooCommerce
  • MarketPress Blog - Very good beginner articles about WooCommerce

4. focus on the US market

The focus of the development of WooCommerce is on the US market, which unfortunately leads to problems with feature requests or adaptations to the current legal situation from time to time. Remedy is provided here by the above-mentioned two Plugins or the legal text providers. It should be looked at so with larger legal changes (as for example the GDPR ) particularly whether WooCommerce or other extensions will make adjustments here. It is therefore always worth taking a look at the Make Blog of WooCommerce. There you can follow current adjustments to WooCommerce-Plugin, beta versions, release candidates and so on.

5. test first, then update!

The main disadvantage, however, is the update policy and its dependence on the other plugins and the shop theme. This means: If WooCommerce makes an update, you should not click on Update immediately, but test your shop thoroughly in a closed test environment. Because due to the multitude of other plugins there can be enormous problems with the shop. The reason is that most plugin and theme developers are not so fast with their updates.

By the way: RAIDBOXES has its own Staging-systemwith which you can test all your updates in peace and without disturbing the livesite . You wonder how this works? In our help article on the topic Staging we explain you exactly, how you work with it.

Technical requirements

After considering the pros and cons of WooCommerce , it is also important to find the best web hosting for your store. Because WooCommerce usually requires quite a bit of resources, such as 128 MB WordPress memory limit. If you then additionally use a Plugin like WooCommerce subscriptions you will quickly reach the limit with standard hosters. You should read our article about WooCommerce hosting in which we describe the most important four factors for your shop hosting in detail.

The current system requirements of WooCommerce:

  • PHP version 7 or greater
  • MySQL version 5.6 or greater or MariaDB version 10.0 or greater
  • WordPress memory limit of at least 128 MB or greater
  • SSL certificate
By the way

Our Pro plan is specially optimized for the requirements of WooCommerce shops. Convince yourself and test our WooCommerce hosting forfree and absolutely without obligation.

Conclusion: is WooCommerce right for your shop?

Just like any other shop system, WooCommerce has some disadvantages. Nevertheless, we believe the strong advantages WooCommerce has, for example its cost factor and growing ecosystem and community, ultimately outweigh any disadvantages.

For this reason, WooCommerce is the best choice especially for small to medium-sized shops. With just a few clicks you can transform your WordPress site into a cost-effective and professional online shop. See our e-book WooCommerce for professionals: Online shops with WordPress .

What do you think about WooCommerce? Do you already have experience with the WooCommerce plugin or other shop systems? I look forward to your comments, tips and feedback!

Tino has been working with WordPress and WooCommerce for over 15 years. His personal focus is frontend development, WooCommerce, and loading time optimization. Tino's roles at RAIDBOXES include second level support and managing cooperations.

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