Woocommerce Review 2021
The Ecommerce Platform for Wordpress.
WooCommerce: The WordPress Lover’s Ecommerce Soulmate
With 30% of the web powered by it, 10 times higher than its nearest rival, WordPress is the pre-eminent CMS. You can create pretty much any type of website using the platform. However, you want to build an ecommerce store using WordPress you’ll need to use an plugin to setup your ecommerce website. Step forward, WooCommerce.
Not only is WooCommerce the most popular ecommerce plugin available on WordPress, it’s the market leader in online store building, with 42% of ecommerce websites built using WooCommerce.
This should come as no surprise because WooCommerce is:
- Free to install
- Great for people of all levels of web design experience
- The darling of ecommerce reviews websites (with Shopify and Magento it’s most prominent rivals)
- Able to be used as a marketplace
If that isn't quite enough, you’ll get access to a library of free WooCommerce themes, one of the slickest digital commerce interfaces of any platform out there, and a whole host of training videos, documents, and articles to help you out if your starting your ecommerce business from scratch.
So it’s simple: if you want a successful online business then you can’t ignore WooCommerce.
Are you a budding entrepreneur or seasoned business owner looking to expand your portfolio? Well, you’re looking for a way to join the hugely profitable world of online selling then look no further than the globe’s most adaptable open-source ecommerce platform – WooCommerce.
WordPress owns the internet (almost) and if you want to get access to the enormous earning potential that comes from selling goods/services online then you’ll want to use the number one ecommerce plugin for WordPress.
WooCommerce makes it easy to build an ecommerce website and has a catalogue of benefits:
Whether you’re based in the United States, India, Spain, Indonesia, or the United Kingdom, WooCommerce is there for you to set up your WordPress supported ecommerce business. So, join a global community today with WooCommerce.
Number 1 benefit of WooCommerce
While there are so many benefits to selecting WooCommerce to get started in the world of online commerce, our top pick is its relationship with WordPress.
If you’re already familiar with WordPress then it’s a breeze to turn your prowess on the CMS into a WooCommerce store. Of course, if you’ve not used WordPress before it will take you a bit of time to get used to it. However, whichever CMS you choose to set up your store you will still need to familiarise yourself with the system’s quirks and WordPress is extremely beginner friendly.
Check out the video below for more information on the how you can use WordPress and WooCommerce and WordPress to set up an ecommerce store…
It’s important to know that your ecommerce solution is within budget. The price of ecommerce website builders ranges wildly, from free all the way up to many thousands of pounds. Thankfully, WooCommerce is at the lower end of the pricing scale.
WooCommerce is totally free to install and WordPress is completely free to sign-up to.
As this is a self-hosted platform, there are a number of features you will need to pay for in order to start an ecommerce store with WooCommerce:
From $0.99 per year
From $3.99 per year
From $0.99 per year
GoDaddy is one of the many great sites you are able to buy both a domain name and SSL certificate from, while Tsohot is one of the options for web hosting.
Other costs that you may have to consider are:
- Theme – While there are free themes available, they come without the support, guidance, and standard of options available through sites like ThemeForest
- Plugins – Though, there are thousands of free plugins available for your WooCommerce built ecommerce business, in order to get the most from your store you’ll want to invest in some plugins. This article has some of the very best WooCommerce plugins (both free options and ones you’ll need to pay for)
- Premium extensions – If you want to scale up your business and give yourself a slicker website, you might want to consider paying for developer endorsed extensions, such as:
Number 1 pricing hook of WooCommerce
WooCommerce is free and you simply can’t argue with that. What that costs you, though, is the need to spend your time and money selecting the features that come as part of package with an online store builder.
Ecommerce Comparison Features
Free to Install
Free to Install
Ease Of Use
As you’d expect from the number one ecommerce platform available through the most popular CMS on the planet, there are a huge range of features that come with the WooCommerce plugin, including:
- Full content integration with WordPress – WordPress is the number 1 blogging platform on the planet and blogs are driven by quality content. WooCommerce is set up to give you the perfect platform for producing high quality content
- A crisp and up-to-date interface – WooCommerce is a thoroughly modern option for building your ecommerce store and it’s interface is liquid in fluidity – as your business develops the interface is there to evolve with you
- Payment gateways come pre-installed – WooCommerce comes set up with the ability to receive payment via (DBT) Direct Bank Transfer, cheque, cash on delivery, and credit card
- You can set your default currency – Whether your currency is dollars, sterling, Euros (or a wide range of others) you can select your default without hassle. However, if you want to add multiple currencies to your website you’ll need to download and pay for the Currency Converter Widget
- Straightforward inventory management – WooCommerce makes it simple to monitor your stock levels and keep on top of the status of every order placed through your business
- A range of product types – Whether you want variable products, virtual products, downloadable products, group products, external products, affiliate products, grouped products, or simple products, WooCommerce has them and makes it easy for you to add them to your store
- Geo-location support – Getting the tax is an essential part of any business and one of the best features of WooCommerce is that it will calculate the tax rate of every major state and country based on your location
- Complete control of your checkout process – Need a guest checkout? Want to sell only to specific countries? You can do these (along with a range of other features related to your checkout process) without hassle using WooCommerce
Before you decide if WooCommerce is the right option for your business, check out the full list of features available.
One of the great plus points about WooCommerce is that you get access to an enormous amount of plugins which can add new features, as well as improve the functionality and performance of your store.
However, this plus point can also be considered something of a downfall. This is because will the base features that come with WooCommerce make it easy to set up your ecommerce brand, if you want to take it to the next level you’ll need to make use of the additional features available and this could cost you.
You’ll be spending a lot of time on your dashboard; it’s the index page for your website and the hub of activity for your ecommerce store.
As it’s so important, the last thing that you want is for your dashboard to be indecipherable. That’s not a problem with WooCommerce, as the WooCommerce dashboard is easy for people at all levels of IT knowledge and experience to grasp.
How does it look?
While this dashboard has been a staple of website and ecommerce store building for quite some time, there’s nothing dated about it and it remains one of the best examples of what the gold standard is for a simple, flexible, intuitive, fluid, and friendly dashboard looks like.
The standard admin URL for WooCommerce follows the same, simple, set pattern that is used by WordPress: the URL for your website then /admin/
WooCommerce dashboard features
Once you’ve got your WooCommerce store up and running what you’ll find is that, while the dashboard is easy to use, the default reporting features leaves a little to be desired. The reporting options allow you to look at a number of things, including:
You are able to get access to this information but you will need to add an extension, plugin, or real-time dashboard (such as Metorik) in order to do so and this will cost you either time or money, or both.
The answer to this is yes and no. If you are an Apple user then you can download the WooCommerce mobile app from the App Store and keep on top of the intricacies of your online store while you’re out and about. Among the many features included in the app are:
- A data-centric dashboard
- Access to your full product catalogue
- Product details
- Visibility of your orders, including specific orders
To be a truly online business you need to access the global market and in order to do this you need an ecommerce store that is accessible for people of various languages. As with many things related to WooCommerce, you can make your website multilingual, as long as you install a plugin.
That plugin is WordPress Multilingual Plugin (WPML). There three main packages for WPML, offering an ascending scale in pricing and features, along with whether you will need to pay a renewal fee:
You can see the full details on each package by visiting the official WPML website.
WordPress makes it extremely simple to add other team members to your WooCommerce store and there are 4 categories of user that you can add:
- Administrator: Users with this access have no restrictions on what they can do
- Editor: This allows a user to:
- moderate comments,
- Edit, publish, view, and delete any posts/pages,
- Upload files/images,
- Manage categories, manage links, and manage tags
- Author: This allows a user to:
- Edit, publish and delete their posts
- Upload files/images
- Contributor: This allows a user to:
- Edit their posts but not publish them
If you want to add new team members to to your WooCommerce store and give them their own profile, there is a free plugin which allows you to add team members to your website.
Simply download Our Team and then follow these simple instructions from WooCommerce and you
First impressions count and if your ecommerce store doesn’t look the part then you’ll turn your visitors away before you’ve had a chance to convert them into customers. Selecting the right theme is essential if you want to make a good impression and WooCommerce has plenty of themes.
- Free themes – There are a vast array of free themes that you can choose for your WooCommerce store, which are made available as part of your WordPress integration. WooCoomerce’s official marketplace, Storefront, provides a range of free themes. If you want to customise your theme you can purchase the Storefront Powerpack extension, with prices for this starting at $59 (£44.08)
- Premium themes – If you want to splash out on a more stylish and functional theme, ThemeForest is the place to look. It has hundreds of themes and covers an enormous array of niche areas. If you decide to buy a theme through ThemeForest, we recommend that you consider the most popular options as these will often have less technical issues than the least selected themes
- Build your own theme – If you are a dab hand at coding and want a WooCommerce theme of your own, you can build own from scratch. For detailed guidance on how to do that, check out this brilliant article
WordPress is the most popular content management system on the planet. Fact. As a WordPress plugin, WooCommerce’s major selling point is that it allows for seamless integration with WordPress and this gives you access to a vast array of content management features . Among the major features are:
It’s extremely easy to add a blog post. Simply head to the blog section of your dashboard, then add in the content. You can preview before you publish it, along with adding your own categories and tags to personalise the content.
For example, you can add a category for blog posts that fall under the banner of marketing, then include tags for details featured in the blog post – such as digital marketing. You can set up your blogs so that they can receive comments from users and you have the option to restrict these comments from being published subject to your approval.
Adding images to your WooCommerce store is a simple process:
- Blog post – If you are adding images to a blog post you just need to select add media, upload an image, and then hit insert into item once you’ve selected the size you want
- Product images and galleries – Your product images are the primary images for your products, while your product galleries show all of the images linked to your products. You can find full details on how to add product images and create product galleries on this article
Setting up the pages for your WooCoomerce store can be tricky if you don’t have some prior programming knowledge. W recommend that you add on of the number of page editor plugins that you are able to download.
WPBakery Page Builder is an “intuitive drag and drop builder” which makes it easy for you to create the pages you want. However, as with many of the very best plugins and extensions for WooCommerce, it’s not free and will set you back around $54.00 (£41.05).
Your products are what makes your ecommerce store a business. While adding them to your store is pretty straight forward, it is an in depth process and one which requires you to spend time running through the guidelines made available by WooCommerce. This article covers everything.
Plugins and Extensions
Where you really get the full functionality from WooCommerce is through the enormous number of plugins and extensions, which cover pretty much everything you could possibly need to run a successful ecommerce business.
What plugins and extensions are available?
There are pages and pages of easy to add extensions available through WooCommerce. Read this article to get a feel for which ones are most popular. However, the best thing to do is to make your way through what’s listed on WooCommerce and decide what you need for your store.
Can I design my own plugins and extensions?
Yes you can and WooCommerce have given clear instructions on how you go about building your own plugin and/or extension.
How do I install a plugin or extension?
In order to install a plugin or extension, you will first need to download it. Once you have done this head over to the plugins section in the admin login for your store. You then click add new, then upload plugin.
We spoke earlier about the control that WooCommerce give you over the checkout process and there’s plenty of it. There are lots of details you need to know and these are the most important:
Integrated payment processors
- Direct Bank Transfer,
- Cash on Delivery
- Credit card payments with PayPal
- Credit card payment with Simplify Commerce
Payment gateway fees
WooCommerce doesn’t charge you a fee when goods are sold through your store. However, that doesn’t mean you definitely won’t be charged a fee each time you sell a product. This is because the payment gateway provider you chose may charge a fee.
These providers are available through WooCommerce and charge the following fees:
- Amazon – 2.9% + $0.30 (£0.22) per successful card charge
- Braintree – 1.9% + £0.20 per successful card charge
- Orbital Gateway – $9.95 (£7.42) monthly fee, plus 1.65% + $0.25 (£0.19) per successful card charge
- Stripe’s – 2.9% + $0.30 (£0.22) per successful card charge
- World Pay – Initial charge rates are:
- Signature debit transactions = 0.99%
- Standard credit transactions = 1.99%
- Rewards credit transactions = 2.6%
- Corporate/T&E/Keyed-In credit transactions = 3.30%
- $0.20 (£0.15) per successful card charge
For full information on the charges levied by individual providers, review the payments page on WooCommerce’s website.
What credit and debit cards are accepted?
This will depend on the payment gateway provider you select.
One of the very earliest things you are asked to do when setting up your WooCommerce store is to configure your tax options. You are then able to select whether you want the fees shown during the checkout process to be inclusive or exclusive of taxes.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) are rules that have been put in place by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. This is in order to have a unified and universal standard for data security. It largely relates to transmitting credit card data.
There are two crucial points to be aware of when establishing the PCI-DSS compliance required for your WooCommerce store:
- If your transmits credit card data then you need to be PCI-DSS compliant
- If your store uses a payment gateway which has its own server (such as PayPal) then then you are not transmitting data and do not need to be PCI-DSS compliant
Is SSL certification provided by WooCommerce?
SSL is not provided by WooCommerce. You will need to arrange your own SSL certification.
What anti-fraud features are there?
WooCommerce comes with anti-fraud prevention software. In order to activate it you simply have to follow these steps:
- Go to your WooCommerce account and download the zip file for WooCommerce Anti-Fraud
- Head over to WordPress admin, select plugins, click add new, then hit upload plugin
- Install the plugin
How do I make a manual refund?
WooCommerce has a simple process for setting up a manual refund:
- Go to: WooCommerce admin and select Orders
- Find the order you are going to refund and select refund
- Add in the amount you are refunding
- Add in any refund notes
- Select refund manually
In order to get your shipping set up with WooCommerce, you need to head over to the Shipping tab in your WooCommerce plugin. Once there, you have a number of steps to complete:
Setting up shipping for your store
- Add in your shipping zones – these are the regions your store will ship to
- Select your shipping method – there are three options available: flat rate, free shipping, and focal pickup. It is important that you select the right one for your business, and the specific products being sold
This article covers the full process.
Shipping providers available
There are are range of different providers that you can select to fulfil your shipping orders, including:
- United States Postal Service
In order to use there services you will need to head to the WooCommerce extensions store and then download the plugin for that provider.
Overall, the process of setting up shipping with WooCommerce is pain free and the options available are good. You also have the facility of adding dropshipping to your store, putting the responsibility of shipping your goods on to the third-party dropshipping company.
Managing your WooCommerce is possible if you are a small operation, one whose inventory can be counted in single digits. In order to do this you will need to enable stock management.
However, in order to manage your inventory this way you need to manually check your products and their stock in order to keep on top of your numbers.
In order to have an efficient system for inventory management, you will need to install a plugin in order to automate the process. As would expect, WooCommerce has a series of options that are able to do this for you, with some of the most popular being:
- DEAR Inventory
- WooCommerce Stock Manager
The range of products the WooCommerce enables you to have in your inventory is very broad and is suitable for basic level ecommerce businesses, all the way up to larger and niche operations. The basic products types available fall into the following categories:
- External or Affiliate
Products are organised via taxonomy and there is no limit set for the number of products that you are able to add to your ecommerce store.
If you have existing products that you need to import (for instance, from a previous ecommerce store you have set up) all you need to do is create a CSV file and then import it into your WooCommerce – it’s that simple.
And if you want to get involved with marketplace selling that’s not a problem, as you are able to sync with Etsy, Amazon, and eBay, so long as you download the right plugin.
While there are plenty of great things about WooCommerce’s inventory management, the most important thing you will need to do is get the select the right plugin to help manage the process for you, as trying to do it manually just won’t work.
Keeping (within the terms of the GDPR) and maximising the data that you have on your customers is an essential part of evolving your ecommerce business. The reporting facility for WooCommerce has 3 sections of data:
The customer section breaks the data down into two segments:
- Customers vs. Guests – lets you compare the data of your registered customers versus guests. This is a numbers game and just gives you sales figures
- Customer List – This just covers registered users. However, it does give you more information on them:
- Name (Last, First)
- Money spent
- Last order
You can also get your customers IP address via the Customer downloads segment of the Orders section of your reporting.
While this might not seem like a lot it does offer value in helping to manage and market to your customers, with the following being just two examples of how you can use it:
- Location – If you are receiving a lot of orders from a certain area then this could impact on the supplier you use to dispatch your orders (is there a closer option than the one you’re currently using; could you look at adding manual collections?)
- Email – Email has the highest engagement rate of all forms of marketing. You can export this data and use it to market your business to your customers, or sync it with email marketing software
Furthermore, the lack of phone number in the data fields means that you will have to offer your customers email support.
What it also means is that while you have some data available to you, the functionality to carry out marketing and segmentation using the basic WooCommerce profile just isn’t there. Which means that you need to install plugins and extensions. More on that in just a moment.
If you sign-up for the basic WooCommerce and add the minimum of apps and extensions, you’ll find that it’s nowhere near as marketing centric as you need it to be. However, you can add marketing functionality in a range of ways: 
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Sales / CRO
Many more customers abandon their carts then complete their sales. WooCommerce allows you to combat this through a range of options for cart abandonment software that you can add to your ecommerce store, such as:
- Cart Reports
- WooCommerce One Page Checkout
This plugins don’t come cheap but they could help you to save a fortune in lost revenue for your ecommerce business.
WooCommerce also enables you to add a range of discount codes to reward your customers and entice them back to your ecommerce website, some of the best are:
- Review for Discount
- Dynamic Pricing
- Group Coupons
They are available at a range of prices and can be easily added to your ecommerce business.
While WooCommerce has the functionality in the basic package to add reviews to your ecommerce business. All you need to do to enable this is to follow these steps:
- Go on to the admin setting,
- Select WooCommerce
- Hit settings
- Click general
- Select reviews
- Enable product reviews and enable product ratings
This lets your customers leave both reviews and star ratings of your products.
However, if you want to get even more out of your customer reviews (and you do because your customers trust the recommendations of their peers), there are loads of well reviewed plugins you can add to your ecommerce store, such as:
- WooCommerce Product Reviews Pro
- Storefront Reviews
- Yotpo Social Reviews
WooCommerce makes it extremely easy for your customers to review your ecommerce products, all you need to do is make it easy for your customers to leave their reviews.
Because WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, it has a few valuable SEO features that comes as part of the package via the WordPress editor, which makes it easy to manage the following:
- Meta descriptions
- Alt tags
Be aware, though, that while meta descriptions can now be 300+ words, WordPress will cut them off after 160 words.
While these things are useful, you won’t get anywhere near making the most of the SEO for your online store if you don’t get the Yoast plugin.
In addition to this, there are a couple of initial SEO weaknesses that you’ll need to fix:
- Your comment box reply link will have an address along the lines of: http://domain.com/%postname%&replytocom=1#respond . You can fix this by using the URL parameter settings in Google Webmaster
- Change the default permalink from http://domain.com/?p=XX to a more SEO friendly one, such as:
As with other ecommerce options, PPC is available for your WooCommerce website. While there isn’t core integration, the usual channels will integrate with your store. This means that you can add PPC in the form of:
There are a legion of agencies that offer bespoke PPC packages for WooCommerce. However, as with all forms of marketing for you business, do your research carefully before you make any commitment.
While WooCommerce doesn’t come with ready-made social media functionality, there is a lot that you can do with it to make it so. There is an array of extensions and plugins which will help you get a lot more from your online store, such as:
- WooCommerce Social Login – This lets you add a social checkout to your store. It is compatible with:
- WooCommerce Social Media Share Buttons – This lets you add social share buttons to your product pages underneath the add cart button. It supports:
- SUMO Reward Points – WooCommerce Reward System – This is one of the best social plugins available for your ecommerce business because it lets you reward your customers social shares with discount vouchers. It works with:
- Facebook Like
- Facebook share
- Twitter tweet
- Twitter follow
- Google+ share
- Instagram follow
Nothing is closed off as far as social media goes with WooCommerce, you just need to put in the effort and add the functionality to your store.
Email remains the marketing tool with the best response rate. WooCommerce doesn’t have it’s own email marketing software but (you’ve guessed it) there are loads of plugins that can give your ecommerce website this.
It is compatible with:
It’s easy to sync with this software and each allows you to automate your email marketing, along with bringing a range of analytics that you can use to improve the performance of your ecommerce store.
WooCommerce is a self-hosted ecommerce platform. As such, you will need to sort out the hosting and SSL yourself.
WooCommerce have a recommended list of providers they trust based on your ecommerce requirements:
- Siteground – Recommended for single sites
- Bluehost – Recommended for single sites
- Pressable – Recommended for multiple sites
- VIP – Recommended for enterprise sites
This means that the storage and bandwidth available for your ecommerce website will depend on the provider you select for your hosting solution. It also means that you will need to sort out your email hosting and your DNS.
As we discussed earlier, there are 3 sections to the reporting offered by WooCommerce:
This provides you with some decent data on the products that you’ve sold and the customers who have made a purchase from your ecommerce business. However, what it really lacks is data for your site visitors, along with the in depth reporting capabilities you need to take a granular approach to your business. To achieve this, start with Google Analytics.
Google Analytics syncs seamlessly with WooCommerce, once you have added the plugin to your ecommerce store. You have the option of the free or pro version and WooCommerce have summarised the difference between the two in this comparison report.
If you want to go further than that with your reporting, there are a huge number of plugins available and it’s just a matter of selecting the right one(s) for your ecommerce business.
Ecommerce Comparison Features
Free to Install
Free to Install
Ease Of Use
WooCommerce prides itself on having a community of developers. As you’d expect with an ecommerce solution that operates in this way, there are plenty of opportunities for you to develop your website as you see fit, including the HTML and CSS.
This comes down to how much time you’re willing to spend digging into the tools that WooCommerce provide, and selecting the right plugins to enable you to develop your ecommerce website.
If you want to get involved in coding then we recommend you make use of WooCommerce hooks. This comes with your store and allows you to override and manipulate the code in your ecommerce website. For more information on WooCommerce hooks, have a look at this article.
WooCommerce adds to the REST API that comes built in with WordPress. This gives you the freedom to build your own custom apps and unleashes the shackles of the front end of your ecommerce website.
WooCommerce makes it easy for you to find the API. However, if you’re not familiar with this we strongly recommend you familiarise yourself with it before deciding if spending your time on it is going to be beneficial to your ecommerce business.
Support and Community
The support available to you is one of the areas that WooCommerce really shines in. WooCommerce is big on building their community and with so many great developers out there, there is a goldmine of information available to you if you’re willing to look for it.
But WooCommerce is also quite happy to offer up the information to you through their official website. While you won’t find an article on every minute detail involved in setting up an ecommerce website using their technology, the documentation you can find is pretty comprehensive.
- Check the FAQ
- Submit a support ticket
- Submit a query
If that wasn’t enough, you can also become part of the community by joining WooCommerce on Slack.
Overall, the support available to you from WooCommerce is really impressive. Whatever your level of knowledge and experience, the chances are that you will be able to find an answer to your problem and if you can’t WooCommerce will provide it to you.
If you want to learn more about WooCommerce and ecommerce, there are a number of courses recommended on WooCommerce’s Further Education page. They include:
- WP101 – A course to on how to use WordPress
- Udemy – An online learning marketplace with plenty of courses on WooCommerce
- Treehouse – Focused on iOS development, web development, and web design,
- OSTraining – Offers a thorough 29-part WooCommerce course
If you’re looking for a WooCommerce expert you really don’t have to go far. Simply go to the WooExperts page and you’ll be able to find a WooCommerce expert from an array of countries, including:
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States
You can also become a certified WooCommerce expert yourself. What does this mean? Check out this article from WooExpert, Neuralab.
There are so many stores built on WooCommerce and 3 of the very best are: