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.
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 shop system plugin. WooCommerce emerged from the then very well-known pluginJigoshop and became the most successful shop system in WordPress in the same year.
eBook: Online shop with WooCommerce
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 - the basis for your online shop
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".
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)
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 set-up via the WooCommerce wizard, knowledge 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:
- You can find free WooCommerce plugins 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 are available, 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 you can share 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 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 pluginGermanized or the premium pluginGerman 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 come with any legal texts such as general terms and conditions, data protection declaration, revocation regulations, shipping regulations, procedural directory etc. by default. The plugins mentioned in point 1 or legal text providers such as IT Rechts Kanzlei, Händlerbund or Protectedshops can help here. See our article on makingWooCommerce 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:
- The German WooCommerce Facebook group
- The WooCommerce forum on wpde.org
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 adaptations to the current legal situation from time to time. The two plugins mentioned above or the legal text providers provide a remedy here. In the event of major legal changes (such as GDPR), you should therefore check whether WooCommerce or other extensions will make adjustments. It is therefore always worth taking a look at the Make Blog of WooCommerce. There you can follow the latest adjustments to WooCommerce-plugin, beta versions, release candidates, and so on.
5. Test first, update later!
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 system with which you can test all your updates beforehand in peace and without disturbing the live-site. Are you wondering how this works? In our help article on the subject of staging, we explain to you 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
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 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!
A Comment on "WooCommerce:The advantages & disadvantages of the popular store plugin".
Hi, Tino! Great article! For a while a digital marketing firm has been developing online store with Word Press and WooCommerce for our company. We expect the store to have around up to 7000-8000 products or even more. Now different digital expert and consultant is telling us that kind ot platform won’t work for us because the big number of products and all the marketing plugins and traffic will make it too slow. She is suggesting Magento as the right platform for our purpose. This basically means we spent money for nothing and we need to start all over again. Needless to say I am not an expert in this area and can’t say how much of this is true. Can you share your opinion on that? Thank you!