Do you want to know “What is WooCommerce? And what’s it used for?”
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform that helps you create your own online store. It comes in the form of a WordPress plugin that you can add to your WordPress site and build an online shop.
If you’re trying to understand more about eCommerce and got confused with WooCommerce and its use, you don’t need to worry.
In this article, we’ll explain to you in detail about WooCommerce and its use. So let’s begin.
1) What is WooCommerce? (Overview)
WooCommerce is a powerful eCommerce software that helps you to create an eCommerce store. You can manage as well as grow your store using it. Using different features available in it, you can enhance the quality of your eCommerce site.
Actually, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that is free. You don’t need to pay any amount in order to set up WooCommerce in WordPress. You can easily transform your WordPress website into an online store using WooCommerce.
In 2008, a shop for the WordPress theme called Woo Themes was established. It was famous as one of the commercial shops for WordPress themes. Later in 2011, the same developers of Woo Themes developed WooCommerce. For more details, visit the official WooCommerce website.
You can sell different types of products in the WooCommerce store. You can sell both digital and physical products. A customer can directly download the digital products from your online store but you need to deliver the physical products.
WooCommerce is a highly customizable eCommerce platform. You can modify and change your website easily without any limitations. There are a variety of themes, plugins, and extensions available that you can use to customize your store. Some of them are paid whereas some of them are free to use.
Features of WooCommerce
Now, let’s discuss some of the features of WooCommerce.
- WordPress plugin: WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. It also has features that are available in WordPress. You can use other plugins and themes that support WordPress for WooCommerce as well.
- Anything can be sold: You can sell different products using WooCommerce. You can sell physical products like a t-shirt, jewelry, shoes, etc. using it. Also, digital products like e-book, photographs, etc. can be sold.
- Unlimited Customization: You can modify and customize anything in WooCommerce without any limit. You can customize your site using various themes and plugins that are available. You can also add unlimited products and take unlimited orders.
- Good reporting: You can view reports about your online store through WooCommerce. You can see the number of sales and refunds in a certain time period. You can also see which is your top product and category.
- Helpful to manage orders: Using WooCommerce, you can easily manage the order at your store. You can add your customers’ notes and view your stock of products. You can also mark the orders that you have done shipping and delivered.
- Trouble-free refund: With WooCommerce, you can easily refund the money to your customers. As there is a 30 days money-back guarantee, the refund process is less complicated.
So, these are some of the features of WooCommerce. These features make WooCommerce easy to use even for beginners.
2) Difference Between WordPress and WooCommerce
WordPress is a popular web publishing software. Using it, you can create your own website or blog. That’s why it’s also known as a website building platform. It’s also called Content Management System (CMS) as it lets you create, manage, and publish digital content on the internet.
WooCommerce on the other hand is a plugin made for WordPress. When it’s installed in WordPress, it enables WordPress to work as an eCommerce platform. It helps to convert the WordPress website into an eCommerce website where you can sell your products.
WooCommerce actually is a WordPress extension software, so it can’t work without WordPress. It needs WordPress as the main CMS to work. It doesn’t have its own existence. So, you can’t use WooCommerce in absence of WordPress.
Hence, WordPress is a website building platform whereas WooCommerce is a plugin. WooCommerce is specially designed for the WordPress website. You can’t use WooCommerce without installing it in WordPress.
3) What is it Used for? (With Examples of WooCommerce Stores)
As we stated above, WooCommerce is a popular eCommerce platform. It’s available in the form of a WordPress plugin. You can use it to create an eCommerce site to sell your products online.
Using WooCommerce, you can sell different kinds of products online. Both digital and physical products can be sold through the WooCommerce store. You can also launch a store only with digital products, only with physical products, or a mixture of both.
Digital products include an e-book, website templates, software, etc. Customers can directly download these products online after purchase.
Physical products include fashion products, jewelry, health products, food items, etc. You need to deliver these products to customers through shipping.
WooCommerce offers limitless variations in color, size, fabric, etc. for a product. You can also set prices, stock, and images for each variation using different options.
With WooCommerce, you can easily receive payments through different payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal. However, you can also accept your payment through credit cards, Direct Bank Transfers, checks, or direct cash.
To have a better understanding about the use of WooCommerce, let’s look at some of the examples of WooCommerce store below:
- Blue Star Coffee Roasters: Blue Star Coffee Roasters is an online coffee store that sells coffee. It accesses directly to consumers using WooCommerce.
- Jack Rudy Cocktail Co: Jack Rudy Cocktail Co is a WooCommerce store that sells cocktail mixers.
- Deliciously Clean Eats: Deliciously Clean Eats is a WooCommerce store. It creates a restaurant ordering menu in its eCommerce site. Customers order the meal by visiting their website and get delivered.
- Cupcake Studio: Cupcake Studio is a store situated in Ukraine. It sells cupcakes online. It uses a custom developed WordPress theme for its WooCommerce website.
- Apogee CE: Apogee CE is an online store created using WooCommerce. It offers online courses or live tuition to the healthcare industry. It uses Sensei and Avada themes for its store.
4) How to Install & Use WooCommerce? (Step by Step)
WooCommerce is not a hosted platform rather it’s a WordPress plugin. You need a host to install WooCommerce. So, you’ll have to install it on your WordPress website.
Note: If you’ve chosen the fully hosted WordPress.com as your site platform, then you can find WooCommerce hosted. However, it’s costly for startups. For more details, see our guide on WordPress.com (fully-hosted WP) vs WordPress.org (self-hosted WP)
Below is the step by step guideline for the setup process of WooCommerce on your own web hosting account.
1. Purchase a domain name, hosting, and Install WordPress
The first step you need to take for installing WooCommerce is to purchase a domain name, web hosting, and an SSL certificate. A domain name is your website’s name using which people can find your website. Web hosting makes your website available online. An SSL certificate verifies your website as secure and allows the connection between your website and user.
You can buy a domain name from domain registrar companies at around $14.99 per annum. Likewise, WordPress web hosting can cost you around $7.99 per month. The estimated cost of an SSL certificate is around $69.99 per annum.
You can purchase them all from one place or from different companies. Top WordPress hosting companies such as Bluehost, SiteGround, etc. offer all these services in one place. You can get WooCommerce hosting at $6.95/ month from Bluehost along with a free domain and a free SSL certificate.
Most hosting companies like Bluehost and SiteGround offer the WordPress auto-installation feature as part of their hosting package. All you need to do is check ‘Auto-Install WordPress’ when purchasing hosting.
If you forget to check the auto-install option, then you can use the ‘One-Click Install’ option in the hosting control panel. Using this feature, you can install WordPress in a matter of minutes. Once the installation process is complete, you can log into your WordPress dashboard and start setting up WooCommerce.
2. Install WooCommerce
After installing WordPress successfully, now you can install WooCommerce. First of all, go to the WordPress dashboard and find plugins there. Select it and click on the ‘Add New’ button.
Now, you’ll reach the WordPress plugin repository page. After that, search WooCommerce, click on ‘Install Now’ and ‘Activate’.
Now, the installation process will start. After the completion, run the setup wizard to quickly set up your WooCommerce store.
At first, you’ll have to add the location of your store i.e. country, city, and postal code. After that, you need to choose one of the industries in which your store operates. You also need to clarify the type of product you’re going to sell.
Then, you need to add the number of products you plan to display. After that, you’ll reach the themes section. You can select among different paid and free themes for your store. Otherwise, you can continue with your active theme.
After that, you’ll be asked to install the JetPack plugin. You can simply click on ‘No, thanks’ to skip this step. But if you want you to install it, you can click on the ‘Yes, Please’ button. After that, click on ‘Continue’.
If you need a more detailed guide, then please check our full guide on setting up WooCommerce to build an online shop.
3. Add Store Details in Your Store
Now, at your right-hand side, you’ll see the finish setup column. There you can find store details including products, payments, tax, shipping, etc.
In order to add products to your store, click on ‘Add my products’. There you can add products manually, import them, or migrate the products from your other store.
While adding your product, you need to add the product name, product image, and a short description of it. After this, you need to add the product type and its price. When you complete all this process, you can publish your product. To do so, click on ‘Publish’.
After that, you can choose the payment gateway. Again, at the finish setup column click on ‘Set up payments’. There you can find 3 options: PayPal, cash on delivery, and Direct Bank Transfer. You can set up and enable them as per your need and click on ‘Done’.
Now, click on ‘Set up tax’ at the finish set up column. There you have to follow two steps: Setting the location of your store and the configuration of tax rates.
You can also set up the shipping rates. Click on ‘Set up shipping’ and add the shipping rates of your product.
At last, you can click on ‘Personalize my store’ to create the homepage of your store, add a logo, and set a store notice. Then, click on the ‘Complete task’.
Now, your store is ready. You can start selling your products online.
5) WooCommerce Themes and Plugins
In order to add some extra features and a professional look to your online store, you need themes and plugins. Themes and Plugins help you to customize your online store.
Themes for WooCommerce
The layout templates that help you to design the outlook of your online store are known as themes. Like changing a cloth, you can change your WooCommerce theme and decide which theme looks best on your website.
There are 20 themes on the official WooCommerce site out of which 3 are free and 17 are paid themes. You can also find thousands of other WooCommerce themes by other theme companies in the market.
Some of the examples of WooCommerce themes are:
Storefront is the official WooCommerce theme. Among 20 official WooCommerce themes, 14 are Storefront themes. It’s a flexible theme with several options for layout and colors. It’s responsive to tablets and mobile devices as well. You can also find “storefront child themes” with a price of $39 each.
eStore is a free WordPress theme that is built with deep WooCommerce integration. It’s developed by ThemeGrill, i.e. us. We’re one of the top WordPress theme developers on the market. It’s highly customizable with a variety of color options. It has high-speed performance and loads really fast.
Threads is a responsive WooCommerce theme developed by Organic Themes. It’s available for purchase at the WooCommerce.com themes page. Specially designed for stores with clothes and fashion related products, the theme costs $79 and comes with an offer of 30-days money-back assurance.
These are some of the themes of WooCommerce. If you want to check out more alternatives, see our collection of best WooCommerce themes. If you want free options, then here’s our collection of best free WooCommerce themes.
Plugins and Extensions for WooCommerce
WooCommerce plugins help you to extend your store with new functionality. By installing new plugins, you can add different functions to your online store. They allow you to add some extra features and grow your online business.
Some of the examples of WooCommerce plugins are:
i. Customize My Account for WooCommerce:
It’s an extension plugin specially made for WooCommerce to customize ‘My Account Dashboard’. It comes with a design editor tool that is highly customizable and easy to use. Using this plugin, you can modify the font, font size, font color, background color of ‘My Account Dashboard’. You can create new tabs easily using this extension without any coding.
You can buy this plugin at the cost of $49/year. You’ll also get 30-days money-back assurance.
ii. User Registration
User Registration is a WordPress user registration plugin that is compatible with WooCommerce. Within a few minutes, you can develop a beautiful registration form using it. You can create as many forms as you wish without any limitations. In addition, you can translate the forms to any language you prefer.
There are three different payment structures for User Registration. Professional Plan comes with an unlimited sites license for $299/year. Plus Plan offers you a license for 5 sites at the cost of $149/year. Personal Plan gives you 1 site license with a price of $69/year.
iii. Everest Forms
Everest Forms is simple yet powerful WordPress form plugin that works really well with WooCommerce. It comes with a drag and drop form builder which makes controlling and using the form easier. As it’s mobile responsive, your customers using mobile can use it as well. It can also be translated into various languages.
It has four different pricing plans. You can either buy it yearly or for a lifetime. The Agency Plan costs $199/year and $699 for a lifetime. Similarly, a Professional Plan costs you $129/year and $499 for a lifetime. You need to pay $99/year and $399 for a lifetime for Plus Plan. At last, a Personal Plan comes at the cost of $49/year and $199 for a lifetime.
There are plenty of plugins that can work best for WooCommerce. Using the official and third party made plugins, you can customize your eCommerce store. For more options, check our article on the best WooCommerce plugins and extensions.
6) WooCommerce Alternatives
As discussed earlier, WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce platform. It allows you to easily launch an online store and start selling your products. Not only this, but you can also enhance the outlook and functionality of your store using its highly customizable themes and plugins.
However, sometimes WooCommerce may not be able to help you out. It may lack some features that you need in order to grow your business. In that case, you can use some WooCommerce alternatives. Let’s discuss some of them below:
Shopify is one of the great competitors of WooCommerce. It’s a fully hosted eCommerce platform. It allows you to easily start an online store and start selling without any technical skill. While using Shopify, software, installing updates, or managing backups isn’t necessary.
Shopify is a subscription-based platform. You need to sign up for the Shopify website with your email address.
Unlike WooCommerce, it’s an independent eCommerce platform as it doesn’t require WordPress to operate. However, you get less control over your website while using Shopify compared to a self-hosted WooCommerce store. Also, the level of customization is limited in Shopify than WooCommerce.
For more details, see our comparison article on WooCommerce vs Shopify.
BigCommerce is one of the best alternatives for WooCommerce. It’s a leading eCommerce platform that helps you to create an online store. It guides you to start your store, manage it, and increase its sales. It also offers a package to its users which comes with marketing features, hosting, design, etc.
BigCommerce is simple and easier to use in comparison to WooCommerce. It’s less technical and has more built-in features. However, it’s more expensive than WooCommerce. WooCommerce is more affordable and can be a perfect option for small budget startups.
For more details, see our comparison article on BigCommerce vs WooCommerce.
Magento is another alternative for WooCommerce. It’s an online platform that can be used to set up an online store. Like WooCommerce, it’s also an open-source eCommerce platform. It also comes with the feature of unlimited customization and strong marketing tools.
Both WooCommerce and Magneto can be a great option that can help in selling and boost online business. But when compared in detail, you can see that they are perfect for different businesses. Magento is said to be perfect for an enterprise-level business whereas WooCommerce is good for small budget business.
Also, Magneto is more technical than WooCommerce. You need to hire an eCommerce team or learn to code for using Magneto. But a person even without technical knowledge can use WooCommerce.
For more information, check our comparison article Magento vs WooCommerce.
7) Pros and Cons of WooCommerce
Now, let’s discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of WooCommerce.
- Free WordPress plugin
- Useful for selling physical and digital products
- Easy to use even without technical ability
- Reasonable for low budget business and beginners
- No limit in customization
- A large option of paid and free themes
- Easier refund
- Only works on those websites that use WordPress as their main CMS.
- You need to learn about both WooCommerce and WordPress if you’re not familiar with WordPress.
- In order to add extra features, you need to purchase extensions.
- It doesn’t have a fixed pricing plan. So, the exact estimation of cost is difficult.
So, now you must have developed some understanding of WooCommerce, how to use it, why it’s popular etc.
To conclude, WooCommerce is one of the best WordPress plugins ever built. It’s a great innovation that allows anyone to build an eCommerce store with ease.
You can find various other online platforms to build your eCommerce store but if you’re looking for something that is simple as well as highly flexible, then WooCommerce is the best choice. It’s limitless as you can use any type of hosting for storage, any theme, and plugin for enhancing the feature of your store. No other platforms offer you such extendibility.
WooCommerce is more beneficial for small businesses that already have a WordPress site. It could be the best option for you if you’re comfortable with launching and maintaining a WordPress website.
If you found this article useful don’t forget to comment and share it. You may also like our article on WooCommerce user registration plugins.