WooCommerce is the leading e-commerce store system in the WordPress universe. The plugin is free and turns your WordPress blog into a fully featured online store - all with one click. WooCommerce stands out for its simplicity and versatility. In this article you will learn what advantages and disadvantages WooCommerce has for your online store.
Like WordPress itself, WooCommerce offers a complete custom 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 store system-plugin . WooCommerce was created from the then very well-known plugin Jigoshop and became the most successful store system in WordPress in the same year.
eBook: Online shop with WooCommerce
You want to build an online store with WooCommerce ? You can find tips in our 70+ page e-book WooCommerce for professionals: Online stores with WordPress. It is aimed at freelancers, agencies, WP professionals, but also at beginners.
Then in 2015, as a logical consequence, WooCommerce was bought by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, and gradually integrated into the WordPress economy. Today, according to BuiltWith, over 3.3 million websites use the popular WordPressplugin.
WooCommerce is technically only the basis for a successful shop. At WooCommerce.com you will find a variety of premium and free plugins, such as plugins for the payment service providers Stripe, Amazon Pay and Klarna, with which you can expand your shop according to your needs.
There is even besides the standard WordPress-theme "Twenty Nineteen" the standard-theme "Storefront", which was explicitly developed for the use of WooCommerce. The basic theme impresses with its absolute simplicity and offers an excellent basis for building a store. The features of Storefront are all geared exclusively 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
Storefront now has a lot of premium and free child themes. So everyone can customize theme according to their taste. If you want to invest a little more, you should have a look at the most popular WooCommerce- theme "Flatsome".
WooCommerce is ideal for small and medium-sized companies who manage their shop and internet presence independently with a limited budget.
An enormous number of store cases can be signed off with WooCommerce , 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. Amazon affiliates)
Unlike many store systems available on the market, WooCommerce is basically available free of charge - which is probably the biggest advantage of the solution. The software is open source and modular.
Thus, WooCommerce can be expanded and individualized almost endlessly with themes and plugins - the WooCommerce plugins and themes are available both for free and for a fee. This way you can start right away and expand your store little by little as your business grows.
WooCommerce Extend with plugins
You want to individualize your WooCommerce ? We'll show you where to find the best extensions: Free WooCommerce plugins can be found in the official WordPress plugin directory. Paid extensions can be found for example on WooCommerce.com or Codecanyon. The most important plugins for WooCommerce are listed here. Free WooCommerce themes can be found in the WordPress theme directory. Paid WooCommerce themes are available for example at Themeforest.
Overall, online stores with WooCommerce are significantly more cost-effective than with other store systems - even if you use some WooCommerce premium plugins and pay extra for them. How high the WooCommerce costs for a typical store are in concrete terms, we have broken down in more detail in the magazine.
The German market for WooCommerce has just started to grow and is getting bigger all the time. There is also already a huge international WooCommerce community that you can interact with for support - for example in the WordPress support forum, or in Facebook groups like "WooCommerce Help & Share" and "Advanced WooCommerce".
These are all WooCommerce advantages at a glance:
- High scalability due to modular design
- Low costs compared to other store systems
- Flexibly customizable via numerous extensions and plugins (free and paid)
- Quick setup and easy installation via WooCommerce wizard (no knowledge of HTML and CSS required)
- Large international WooCommerce community for support
- Variety of themes and layouts for individual design (free and paid)
- Continuous development and own "WooCommerce-Economy".
- Full-fledged content management system (CMS) in combination with WordPress
- Steadily growing market in Germany
- Numerous connections to accounting systems, POS systems and warehouse management systems (e.g. Lexoffice, Billbee or Sevdesk)
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 pluginGermanized or the premium pluginGerman Market.
Both plugins make your store legally compliant in Germany and Europe. They complement your WooCommerce store with a variety of additional functions, such as invoice PDF, delivery bill, VAT output in the correct places, calculation of price per unit, strike price, legally compliant checkout, etc.
WooCommerce vs. Shopify - which is better?
If you want to set up your own online store, you often have to decide between Shopify and WooCommerce. Which system is better cannot be answered in a general way and depends on your needs, requirements and possibilities. Both Shopify and WooCommerce have different strengths and weaknesses. What these are, shows our comparison WooCommerce vs Shopify.
2. Legal texts not included
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:
- WooExperte - Here you can also find online training courses on the subject of WooCommerce
- MarketPress Blog - Very good beginner articles on 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 adjustments to the current legal situation from time to time. Remedy here are the above two plugins or the legal text providers. So it should be looked at major legal changes (such as the GDPR) especially whether WooCommerce or other extensions will make adjustments here. It is therefore also always worth a look at the Make Blog of WooCommerce. There you can follow current adjustments to the WooCommerce-plugin, beta versions, release candidates, etc..
5. Test first, update later!
The biggest disadvantage, however, is the update policy and its dependence on the other plugins and the store usedtheme. This means: If WooCommerce makes an update, you should not immediately click on the update, but thoroughly test your store in a closed test environment. Because the multitude of other plugins can cause enormous problems with the store. The reason is that most plugin- and theme- developers are not so fast with their updates.
By the way: Raidboxes has its own staging system, with which you can test all your updates in peace and without disturbing the livesite beforehand. Wondering how this works? In our help article on staging, we explain exactly how to work with it.
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 some resources, such as 128 MB WordPress memory limit. If you also use a plugin like WooCommerce Subscriptions, you will quickly reach the limit with standard hosters. Read our article on the topic of 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
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 WordPresssiteinto 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!