WooCommerce: The Advantages & Disadvantages of the Popular Shop Plugin

Tino Werner Updated on 20.10.2020
5 Min.
WooCommerce advantages
Last updated on 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 plugins

As well as WordPress itself, WooCommerce offers a complete plugins and Themeeconomy and convinces with its simple modular design. The fast-paced history of WooCommerce began in 2011 as WooThemes, in addition to its well-known themes and plugins, WooCommerce as a shop system plugin developed. WooCommerce emerged from the then very well-known plugin Jigoshop and in the same year became the most successful shop system in WordPress .

eBook: Online shop with WooCommerce

Do you want to build an online shop using WooCommerce? You can find tips on how to do in our 70+ page ebook WooCommerce for Professionals: Online shops with WordPress. This book is aimed at freelancers, agencies, WordPress professionals as well as beginners.

In 2015, WooCommerce, as a logical consequence of Automatticthe company behind wordpress.com, bought up and gradually integrated into the WordPress economy. Use today according to BuiltWith more than 3.3 million websites the popular WordPress plugin.

WooCommerce - the basis for your online shop

WooCommerce technically only provides the basis for a successful shop. At WooCommerce.com you will find a variety of Premium and free pluginssuch as those plugins relating to payment service providers Stripe, Amazon Pay and Klarnawith which you can expand your shop according to your needs.

There's even next to the Standard WordPress theme "Twenty Nineteen" the standard theme "Storefront"which was developed explicitly for the use of WooCommerce. The basic theme version is absolutely simple and offers an excellent basis for the development of a shop. The features of Storefront are all exclusively geared towards eCommerce.

The features of Storefront are:

  • Specially WooCommerce optimized for
  • Full responsive design
  • Basic setting options via the theme customizer
  • Many Child Themes and plugins for the extension of the themes

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Storefront today has a lot of Premium and free child themes. So everyone can customize the theme in terms of one's taste. If you want to invest a little more, you should choose the most popular WooCommerce theme "Flatsome" is worth considering.

Is WooCommerce suitable for your shop?

WooCommerce is ideal for small and medium-sized companies that manage their shop and Internet presence independently and have only a limited budget available.

An WooCommerce enormous number of shop cases can be drawn, such as

  • 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. like affiliate of amazon).

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These are the advantages of WooCommerce

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

  • High scalability and low shop costs compared to other shop systems
  • Quick setup via the WooCommerce wizardKnowledge of 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 you will find in the official WordPress plugin directory.
    - chargeable WooCommerce extensions are available e.g. on WooCommerce.com , Codecanyon.

    - Here is a list of the most important Plugins for WooCommerce.
    - you can find free WooCommerce themes in WordPress theme directory.
    - premium WooCommerce themes are for example ThemeForest.
  • A completely own "WooCommerce economy", which has developed alongside WordPress . Thus the further development of WooCommerce almost guaranteed.
  • There is a huge, international WooCommerce community with which you can exchange ideas:
    - at WordPress Support forum 
    - in the Facebook group "WooCommerce Help & Share"
    - in the Facebook group "Advanced WooCommerce"
  • The European market for WooCommerce has just begun to grow.
  • It is usually still cheaper 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 Lexoffice, Billbee , Sevdesk.

WordPress with WooCommerce – the disadvantages

Unfortunately, there are also a few disadvantages that you should be aware of when using WooCommerce. In the following, I will guide you through them:

first trouble made in Germany

WooCommerce was developed in the USA and is therefore not optimised for the German market. That means: If you want to sell your products on the European market, you need another plugin such as the free WordPress plugin Germanized or the premium plugin 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 inherently bring with it any legal texts such as general terms and conditions, data protection declaration, revocation regulations, shipping regulations, procedure directory, etc. The legal texts mentioned in point 1 plugins or legal texts providers such as IT Law Firm, Händlerbund , Protectedshops. See our contribution Make WooCommerce Legally Compliant.

3. Manageable European WooCommerce community

The German-speaking WooCommerce community is a very small community, which can lead to problems when looking for small help. In this case I recommend the following contact points:

You will find more good sources & resources:

  • Woo Expert - here you can also find online training courses on the topic WooCommerce
  • MarketPress blog - very good entry-level articles for WooCommerce

4. Focus on the US market

The focus of the development of WooCommerce is on the US market, which unfortunately leads to problems from time to time with feature requests or adjustments to the current legal situation. The two plugins above-mentioned or the legal text providers can help here. It should therefore be particularly looked at in the event of major legal changes (such as the GDPR) whether WooCommerce or other extensions will make adjustments here. It is therefore always worth taking a look at the Make Blog from WooCommerce. There you can make current adjustments to the 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 live website before once. You wonder how this works? In our Help center post to the topic of staging we'll explain to you exactly how to work with it.

Technical requirements

After you have considered the advantages and disadvantages of WooCommerce, it is also important to find the optimal web hosting for your shop. Because WooCommerce usually requires a lot of resources, such as 128 MB WordPress memory limit. If you then also have such plugins WooCommerce Subscriptions you will quickly reach the limit with standard hosters. You might want to read our Articles about WooCommerce hosting in which we describe the four most important 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 especially optimized for the requirements of WooCommerce-shops. Convince yourself and test our WooCommerceHosting free and absolutely without obligation.

Conclusion: Is WooCommerce the right choice for your shop?

Clear brings WooCommerce just like all other shop systems, also has certain disadvantages. Nevertheless, we are of the opinion that the advantages - such as the cost factor or the growing WooCommerce ecosystem and the community - will prevail at the end of the day.

For this reason, it is the best choice WooCommerce 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 & for over 15 years WooCommerce. His personal focus is frontend development, WooCommerce and loading time optimization. Tino is here with in RAIDBOXES the second level support and as a co-op. Manager.

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