Selling online has never been as easy or affordable as it is today. You are spoiled for choice with countless e-commerce solutions, and irrespective of the content management system your website is built on, the chances are there is a compatible e-commerce solution that can complement your website. In this post, we will focus on WordPress’ WooCommerce - the most popular and widely used e-commerce solution, and often the choice of entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Let's start with some typical questions we often get asked by clients looking to expand into online sales.
If you already have your website built on WordPress (content management system) then WooCommerce is likely your best option because it was specifically developed for WordPress; therefore, it will be tightly integrated with your WordPress website, and plugins (additional features) are plentiful. Sure, you can integrate other e-commerce solutions into WordPress, but there are only a handful of scenarios where that makes business sense, for all other situations WooCommerce is your best bet and will give you the best ROI.
What Are My Design (Theme) Options?
Because of WooCommerce’s popularity, your theme options are countless, with thousands of themes available on ThemeMonster and ThemeForest. Having said that, Storefront Theme is the most widely used because it is built and maintained by WooCommerce themselves.
What Type Of Products Can I Sell On WooCommerce?
We have yet to see a monetization strategy which could not be accommodated in WooCommerce, so your options are plentiful.
- Physical products
- Digital Downloads (e.g. software, training packages, etc)
- Name your price (e.g. alternative selling strategy, or for donations)
NOTE: some of these options require a paid plugin.
How Will Customers Pay Me?
WooCommerce integrates with all payment options that online shoppers are familiar with. For example PayPal, Stripe, Square, Amazon Pay, and so on. For a complete list of payment gateways see: WooCommerce Payment Gateways
WooCommerce offers 3 main options for shipping:
- Flat Rate Shipping
- Free Shipping
- Local Pickup
At the surface, three options may seem limited; however, shipping rules and cost can be configured in many different ways. For example, according to your customer’s zone (zip, state, region, and country). Also, free shipping rules are configurable (e.g. minimum order amount). And finally, live shipping rates are available with USPS, UPS, and FedEx.
For more information see: WooCommerce Shipping Methods
WooCommerce is an open source e-commerce platform which means it is free to install and use. However, there are some associated costs you need to budget for. For example hosting, payment gateways, transaction fees, paid plugins, and so on. As a point of reference, most of our WooCommerce clients spend between $15 - $200 per month on hosting and plugins (additional features). Obviously, transaction fees will vary widely, depending on the number of monthly orders.
How Do I Install And Setup WooCommerce?
Assuming you already have WordPress installed, you can install the WooCommerce plugin, or go directly to WooCommerce.com. If you do not have a WordPress website, then you will have to find a hosting provider, and install the WordPress software first. The good news is, WordPress hosting solutions are abundant, and installation is pretty straightforward.
Can I Add More Features (Extensibility)?
WooCommerce expansions are growing by the day, and currently, there are almost 300 different expansions you can add to WooCommerce. Here are a few popular extensions
- Google Analytics
- Facebook (Facebook Ads Extension)
- MailChimp (Email Marketing)
- AvaTax (Automate tax rate calculation and tax returns)
- Live Chat
- FreshBooks (Accounting Software)
- Amazon Fulfillment (Amazon will pick, pack, ship, and track orders for you)
- Alipay (Most-used payment gateway in China)
- Follow-Ups (Personalized follow up emails)
- Smart Coupons (Coupons, credits, and gift certificates)
For a complete list of WooCommerce extensions see: WooCommerce Extensions
In summary, over the years WooCommerce has matured into an exceptional e-commerce platform that is capable of meeting all your needs associated with online selling. And considering it is open source (free to install and use) the ROI is often impressive, even after adding additional cost associated with hosting, transactions, extensions, and so on.
Finally, one word of caution; even though most WooCommerce implementations do not require any custom development or advanced technical skills, there are best practices that need to be followed to make the shopping experience as easy as possible. If this is your first e-commerce venture we recommend you talk with someone with WooCommerce experience or an expert (contact us for a free consultation) because a good e-commerce strategy will save you time and yield more sales