WooCommerce is an e-commerce plugin for WordPress. The add-on software helps run a massive percentage of today’s e-commerce stores worldwide.
In this article, you’ll get complete history of WooCommerce– the popular e-commerce tool for WordPress, its key features, and the pros and cons.
What You Need to Know About WooCommerce
WooComerce has been downloaded over 161 million times, according to the company’s official website.
WooCommerce is a user-friendly e-commerce plugin that provides several features a new online retailer may need, including:
- Design options: including WooCommerce themes that provide a website’s overall look, style, and feel
- Online community
Automattic, Inc. is a San Francisco-based company that owns WordPress. However, WooThemes, a WordPress theme developer, initially released WooCommerce about one decade ago, in 2011.
WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce solution, which differs from other competitors such as Shopify.
Like WordPress, WooCommerce is free for commercial and personal use, so you can install and commence using the plugin immediately.
However, you may need to spend money on other components for your e-commerce site, including the:
A Brief History of WooCommerce
WooCommernce was co-founded by Mark Forrester, Adii Pienaar, and Magnus Jepson after they sold news themes.
The trio developed WooThemes from 2009 to 2011 before launching the new plugin. The co-founders also developed WooThemes mascot, Hiro, during a trip to the Austrian Alps.
WooCommerce’s initial release was in September 2011. The original launch post appeared at WooThemes.com. It’s since been moved to the WooCommerce website.
WooCommerce’s popularity skyrocketed, achieving one million downloads in June 2013. The company attained this milestone in less than two years after the plugin’s launch.
Over one year later, WooCommerce reached four million downloads.
In November 2014, the company hosted the first WooCommerce Conference in San Francisco. Over 300 people attended the event.
The California company also launched its first-ever free theme, Storefront, at that time.
In 2015, WooCommerce reached seven million downloads. In May that year, Automattic’s founder and CEO Matt Mullenweg made a blog post announcing his company was purchasing WooCommerce.
The primary objective was to make creating an online store easier. During a public event, someone had asked Mullenweg when the company would make creating online stores as easy as it had made creating blogs.
Recode, a technology news website, speculated that Automattic paid around $30 million for WooCommerce.
Features and Benefits of WooCommerce
WooCommerce is an entirely open-source e-commerce plugin. This feature allows you to make any alterations and customization you require.
You can avoid the limitations of several other e-commerce plugins available. For example, WooCommerce allows you to add unlimited products and users and accept unlimited orders.
This plugin system provides streamlined e-commerce, so you can add the options you desire.
Meanwhile, you can also retain the features you have at your online store. WooCommerce is compatible with other WordPress plugins, increasing flexibility.
The e-commerce plugin also offers over 400 extensions, including marketing, payments, accounting, and shipping. An extension improves or “extends” the capabilities of applications.
You can pick the most suitable themes for your e-commerce site. Options include WordPress’ default themes and several popular themes. These offerings are available as free and premium themes.
WordPress powers over one-third of the internet.
Meanwhile, the security company Sucuri regularly audits WooCommerce. This process can provide confidence that the risk of security threats is minimized.
The threat of security vulnerabilities is one of the primary reasons to consider a premium theme. WooCommerce updates template files to maintain high security standards.
Your online store may require additional plugins to add other features, such as search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of getting web pages to rank higher in Google and other search engines.
When selecting e-commerce plugins, it’s critical to select ones with a high rating among WordPress users.
WooCommerce Payments is a payment processing system. The feature allows customers to purchase products directly from your e-commerce site. An external payment processor is unnecessary, which lowers costs for your online store.
WooCommerce Payments requires no setup or monthly costs. This system is currently available in regions including North America, Europe, and Australia. The payments feature is also in preview mode in some Asian countries.
WooCommerce for Beginners and Professionals
WooCommerce is free to use and has incredible “out-of-the-box” functionality. However, e-commerce owners may want to utilize several extensions or add-ons to expand WooCommerce’s functionality.
Consider that some plugin extensions are free, while others require fees. The WooCommerce extensions are like building blocks that allow you to create new and unique e-commerce sites.
It’s critical to consider the various costs connected to WooCommerce. The software add-on differs from traditional website building tools that bundle features into one paid package.
In other words, you’ll have to “do the math” to determine how much value your company gets from specific add-ons.
Online retailers must consider several possible costs, including:
- Web hosting
- Premium WordPress themes and plugins
- WooCommerce add-ons
It’s also critical to know about and monitor such costs since they can add up quickly. For example, having this year’s trending themes may be impractical if they’re not compatible with your e-commerce site.
WooCommerce for Developers
WordPress is the world’s most popular content management systems (CMS). It provides direct support for the WooCommerce plugin. Meanwhile, developers can quickly install this CMS solution.
The primary advantages of the e-commerce plugin for developers include:
Features and Themes
The programming coding is minimal. So, the WordPress plugin can work effectively with basic features.
However, developers can add various extensions as needed.
Another significant benefit for web developers is WooCommerce makes it easier to switch between various appearances. You can toggle by using different free or paid themes.
WordPress has become one of the most well-established website-building platforms in the world. It’s highly adaptable to Google’s SEO guidelines.
WooCommerce also offers various third-party SEO plugins. These plugins make it easier for developers to optimize each page of an online store’s website.
In turn, you may increase your online store’s rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The plugin also offers straightforward and intuitive built-in analytics. Web analytics involves collecting, analyzing, and reporting website data.
Developers can help e-commerce owners collect data, such as customer information, updated sales figures, and most popular products.
WooCommerece Pricing Information
Several factors determine the total cost of using the WordPress plugin.
Costs to Use WooCommerce
The basic cost to make the WooCommerce plugin functional is about $10.
Suppose you wish to add some additional features such as themes or extensions. You should then expect to pay about $200 per year.
However, if you want to operate large-scale WooCommerce websites, the total costs can be as high as $1,000. One critical factor is the number of “bells and whistles” you want your e-commerce site to have.
Do you want a fully functional online store? If so, then you should consider adding at least a few extra features to your WooCommerce pricing budget. Extensions are one option.
WooCommerce Cost-Related Factors
Here are some of the various considerations related to the total cost of WooCommerce plugins. The prices and price ranges are based on January 2021 figures.
This necessary cost provides your e-commerce site with a place on the internet. The costs are related to which web host you use.
The main options are introductory rates and renewal hosting prices. Introductory web hosting rates are lower and typically expire in about a year. Then you must pay renewal hosting prices.
The domain is a website’s name. A typical price for this essential cost is $10 to $20 per year. You register a domain with a web hosting provider.
You’ll typically have to pay a higher price when renewing your hosting plan.
The typical cost of themes can range from free to over $100. You can find several free and paid WooCommerce templates for your e-commerce site. Templates are pre-designed layouts for web pages.
The company’s storefront theme bundled with the storefront template is free and offers customization.
You can also make one-time payments to upgrade the basic storefront template through paid themes.
Extensions, or add-ons, can range from free to over $350 per year. You may add various extensions, including:
These costs can range from free to over $120 per year. Plugins are optional, yet they can increase customer engagement.
You can select from hundreds of free and paid plugins. They’re included in plugin categories, including marketing, growth, and design.
This cost can range from $0 to $300. Options include anti-malware tools. Malware or malicious software is designed by cyber-criminals known as “hackers.”
Pros and Cons of WooCommerce
WooCommerece offers advantages and disadvantages you should consider when determining whether to use the e-commerce plugin.
Advantages of WooCommerce
You can customize WooCommerce specifically for the type of products your online store offers. Meanwhile, you can customize themes to suit your e-commerce site. You also don’t need to be highly tech-savvy!
Users can use the plugin to sell various types of online products. It also offers high scalability so companies of all sizes can set up an online shop. You can expand the plugin as your business grows.
You can boost security to protect your customers’ credentials. WooCommerce is bundled with various secure payment platforms such as Paypal.
Disadvantages of WooCommerce
It’s critical also to consider some crucial drawbacks of WooCommerce, including the following:
Keep in mind that WooCommerce is a plugin. So, you can’t use it on websites where WordPress doesn’t support web hosting. As a result, established businesses may need to remake their website to use the plugin.
WooCommerce is free to download and install. However, you may need to purchase extensions to optimize its usage.
Some businesses may perceive these expenses as hidden costs since they increase the total cost of building e-commerce sites with the plugin.
Suppose you wish to secure a payment gateway that WooCommerce doesn’t support. In that case, you’ll have to cover the cost.
Final Thoughts on WooCommerce and its History
This review has aimed to provide you with information about the history, features, price, benefits, and drawbacks of WooCommerce.
Hopefully, you can make a more informed decision when selecting an e-commerce plugin for WordPress.
This is a guest post written by Arnold Rogers. As an experienced business consultant, Arnold Rogers has advised businesses across many industries in areas of lead generation, customer experience, service development, and small business cash flow and financial management.