WooCommerce is the top commerce provider for WordPress websites. It is intended for small- to large-sized online merchants. It was designed as a plug-in for WordPress and was released in September 2011. It quickly became popular for its simple installation and high number of themes that can be purchased through its website. As of 2014, over 380,000 websites used WooCommerce, making it the most widely used e-commerce solution in the world. The basic plug-in doesn’t cost anything and can be downloaded and integrated to your website for free. However, there are many things about this e-commerce solution that you should be aware of before deciding on using it.

 

Rank Chart
Price
Features
Our Score
#1
$9 - $179
256
8.5
#2
$30 - $200
256
8.4
#3
$15 - $135
128
8.3
#31
woocommerce
Free
256
5.1

The Good

We like the price tag associated with downloading WooCommerce for your WordPress website: it’s FREE. The open source plug-in costs nothing to download. This means that your development team can easily download the core code and develop a theme free of cost.

There is a simple one-page checkout for customers. This is an important feature for customers who want to checkout quickly after filling up their shopping cart on your e-commerce website. Another important feature is that things are validated in real time as your customer checks out.

WooCommerce only has a few free templates, but there are several clean, attractive themes to use on your website. WooCommerce makes most of their money from selling templates. They tend to be a bit on the expensive side, but we liked what we saw. Here are some of our favorite templates:

  • Canvas and Jotter: $39.00
  • Fashionable: $39.00
  • Spectrum: $79 to $139.00

Of course, there is also the option to buy all the themes from WooCommerce for $399.00.

Some of the other things that we liked about WooCommerce included continuing rollouts of upgrades and better versions. We also liked the high number of tutorials and videos on the website that help explain the process. Also, WooCommerce supports both physical and digital products.

We did like the knowledge base. This is an important feature because there is minimal support with WooCommerce. We would like to see some development solutions and other services offered for WooCommerce, but we saw that questions on the community knowledge base were answered quickly and effectively.

The Bad

We had a hard time understanding what all the hype was about with WooCommerce. Even though it powers most of the e-stores on the Internet, it has some severe limitations.

For example, you have to go through a lot of work to make your website PCI compliant. WooCommerce is not in the business of providing hosting solutions or SSL certificates, so your security is only going to be as good as the hosting solution that you choose to get. If you can’t get PCI compliance in a one-stop shop, getting your website ready to do business will end up costing your small- or large-sized business a lot of overhead.

There are also not a lot of options in terms of analytics for WooCommerce. When we went online to see if there were any plugins and extensions, the only real functionality we saw with WooCommerce was Google Analytics.

We also had some concerns about the role of social media within WooCommerce. In the most basic templates, we only saw the ability to embed Facebook, Twitter, and other buttons. Some users, in the forums, had tried to figure out how to embed a Pinterest button, also.

We also saw some plugins for social media. We found one that enabled social login on your e-commerce store. But there is a downside to this great tool. At $79, it is more expensive than some of the WooCommerce themes themselves.

Another thing that we found was that the WooCommerce paradigm is a little bit too plug-in driven. If you want to expand your functional payment gateways, you need to tweak your code or add more payment methods with plug-ins. Even though WooCommerce is one of the largest global e-commerce solutions, the service is not as robust as some of the other solutions out there, such as Demandware, X-Cart, and others.

The extensions (we weren’t quite sure how these were different from plug-ins) add some more functionality to WooCommerce, such as appointments and bookings, but drastically increase in price. WooCommerce bookings extension starts at $299 and drastically goes up from price in there. Also, the table rate shipping feature extension is expensive. With other e-commerce platforms, these features are often built in. Even though WooCommerce is open source and free, it would take a long time to add these features to your WordPress e-store by integrating code.

The Bottom Line

Overall, we felt that WooCommerce was not all that great. We wondered what all the hype was about. Why pay for extensions, themes, and other e-commerce resources when a provider offers all of these things for a monthly subscription? There isn’t a whole lot of support in WooCommerce, and integrating it into a WordPress website is going to drive up your development costs.

We felt that the premise of WooCommerce was sound enough. It gives WordPress sites the flexibility that they need to integrate an e-commerce platform, and overall has many solid attributes and features. However, it takes a lot of development work within a business to fully implement it on your WordPress website.

At this time, we do not recommend WooCommerce because of their lack of critical core e-commerce functions, such as an SSL certificate. In fact, they were one of the only providers that we reviewed that did not have a free SSL certificate included for the first year.

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