Digital.com’s Rating for WooCommerce
Our Editors rated WooCommerce 4.2/5 based on user ratings, pricing, and features offered.
WooCommerce allows e-commerce site owners complete control over their site configuration. It has more than 400 extensions and over 9,000 WordPress plugins it can integrate to create a bespoke site.
Is WooCommerce Right For You?
Yes: if you have a small or medium-sized e-commerce site working with a limited budget.
No: if its steep learning curve and lack of dedicated tech support might make it too difficult to use.
Table of Contents
WooCommerce: Quick Overview
WooCommerce is a fully customizable, open-source plugin for WordPress designed for e-commerce. Touted as one of the top plugins on the Internet, it:
- Supports more than 5 million websites
- Has 23.43% of the e-commerce platform market share (as of April 2021)
- Powers 22% of ALL online stores
- Runs 40.6% of WordPress websites
Websites using WooCommerce include:
The WooCommerce plugin turns any WordPress site into an e-commerce site, seamlessly integrating content with e-commerce elements. You can sell anything in unlimited amounts on a WooCommerce-powered site, from physical to digital products, including subscriptions and appointments.
Because it is open-source with more than 350 contributors worldwide, WooCommerce is versatile. You’ll find it infinitely customizable if you have some developer skills, as it has more than 400 extensions. You can also integrate other WordPress plugins easily.
What Are the Pros and Cons of WooCommerce?
- Hundreds of extensions
- International support
- It’s free
- Steep learning curve
- No customer support
Hundreds of extensions. WooCommerce is a lean machine to which you can add functionality using extensions and plugins. You have a choice of hundreds of extensions to use with WooCommerce. The goal is to allow infinite customization of a site.
You can configure your site to display in multiple languages, accept various currencies, and automatically compute taxes in different regions through numerous payment gateways using WooCommerce. WooCommerce Multilingual, for example, is a plugin that can help you sell in different countries easily.
WooCommerce is a free plugin, so installing it on your site will not cost you anything.
Steep Learning Curve
WooCommerce is for developers and comes with complete documentation. It has a Setup Wizard to guide the new user, but setting up and using it can still be challenging for site owners with no coding experience. The many plugins and extensions needed to make a site fully functional require some technical knowledge to configure correctly. If you want to use WooCommerce for your site, you might have to hire a developer to do it for you.
No Customer Support
You might be able to access the support provided by your website hosting platform, but WooCommerce itself does not have a dedicated support team. You’re pretty much on your own if you run into issues, although you can get help from the various WooCommerce communities
WooCommerce Plans and Prices
WooCommerce (and WordPress, for that matter) is free to install and use, so technically, there are no plans or pricing to discuss. But to reiterate, you still need to pay for a domain name, hosting, and many of the extensions and plugins needed to make your site fully functional. Note that the cost of your theme, extensions, and plugins are for the basic requirements to run an e-commerce site.
|WooCommerce Cost||Cost Estimate: Basic Site|
|Hosting||From $311.40/year (shared hosting, $24.95/month, billed annually)*|
|Domain Name||From $12.99/year (.com site)*|
|Theme||Free WooCommerce theme|
|Extensions||Free + transaction fees (PayPal and WooCommerce Payments)|
|Security||Free (basic SSL included in hosting platform)|
|Annual Cost (approx.)||$324.39 + transaction fees|
* Prices by Bluehost
One of the best hosting platforms you can use for WordPress sites is Bluehost, which also has robust technical support to help you with setting up your WooCommerce plugin. The Basic plan includes domain (first year only), SSL, CDN, and custom themes.
When you go to the Bluehost website, click on the WordPress tab and scroll down to “WooCommerce” for WooCommerce-specific hosting.
What Makes WooCommerce Stand Out?
Aside from being the primary e-commerce plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce is popular because it is free, versatile, and customizable. Since it is an open-source plugin, you don’t have to pay anything to use it. Many of its extensions and compatible plugins are also free. But if you want all the bells and whistles, be ready to pay for them.
WooCommerce is versatile because you can sell anything on your site to any country with the right plugins, which extends the reach of a traditional brick-and-mortar store that you want to bring online. If you have an existing website, you can easily integrate WooCommerce without having to change your theme.
You can also customize your site in any way you like as you have complete control over your choice of templates, payment gateways, and hosting platforms.
Features Included With WooCommerce Plans
The basic WooCommerce plugin is a lean framework with some built-in tools for e-commerce sites. But most of the necessary functions can be added by way of free and paid WooCommerce and WordPress plugins.
WooCommerce is a plugin of WordPress, a powerful content management system (CMS). When installing the WooCommerce plugin for your WordPress website, you can quickly create product pages using the built-in modular WooCommerce blocks.
Built-in tools and numerous integrations help you create or modify your WordPress website into a fully functional and efficiently managed e-commerce site. Many of the integrations are free to use and easily accessible using the Setup Wizard. You can also:
- Choose how to accept payments
- Configure shipping and delivery options
- Compute sales and other taxes
WooCommerce has 45 themes that you can choose from, three of which are free. Paid themes can go up to $129 a month. You can also use any of the 9,000 or so WordPress themes for more design flexibility.
Storefront is the official WooCommerce theme and also the one recommended for new users since it integrates seamlessly with WooCommerce extensions and updates. The default theme is free, but you can extend its functionality by buying the extension bundle for a one-time payment of $69. You can also choose Storefront child themes specific to an e-commerce store type, e.g., sports and bookstores, ranging from $0 to $39 a month.
Exercise caution if you want to switch themes for an existing site because you might lose content. Use this guide to help you migrate seamlessly from one theme to another.
Product Management and Order Management
WordPress site owners will find the WooCommerce dashboard familiar territory—you can easily manage your products and fill orders. By integrating the right plugins, you can automate tax calculations, access live shipping rates, and find the best shippers available, saving both time and effort. The dashboard has 14 unique data points for detailed analysis.
With more than 25 order and inventory management extensions to help you manage products, WooCommerce makes product and order management a breeze. Some extensions are specific to handling custom, split, and bulk orders.
WordPress offers even more product, order, and inventory management plugins specific to WooCommerce, such as the free inventory solution ATUM using which you can monitor what’s happening in your store, products, prices, and more.
WooCommerce Shipping is a free, built-in feature right on the dashboard. You can offer three shipping methods on WooCommerce: Free Shipping, Flat Rate, and Local Pickup. You can also group products using Shipping classes, get access to discounted shipping rates, and print USPS and DHL labels (exclusive for US-based stores).
If you want to offer more options, you can choose from 12 extensions, including Fulfillment by Amazon and Zapier. And, for $79 a month (billed annually), you can also run an AliExpress dropshipping business through WooCommerce Dropshipping.
WooCommerce has a basic shopping cart that new users can use right out of the box. You can improve its appearance and functionality at no cost by creating checkout and shopping cart blocks using the WooCommerce Blocks plugin.
Unfortunately, these features are still in the testing stage, and non-coders might find them challenging to use. Save yourself the pain and check the WordPress site for WooCommerce compatible shopping cart plugins for $29 a month (billed annually) and up.
Marketplace Plugins for WooCommerce
WooCommerce has a rich-feature list and massive extendability with almost 60,000 plug-ins. Plug-ins are essential for extra functionality. One of the most sought WooCommerce plugins is an extension that provides PDF invoices & packing slips, a mandatory extension to organize businesses transaction. This includes plugins that are meant to customize your e-commerce website, they are readily downloadable and intuitively designed for the needs of e-entrepreneurs.
WooCommerce syncs your e-commerce site and products with several major online marketplaces including Amazon and eBay. If you choose to, you can easily sell on those platforms too.
Your basic WordPress SEO settings should be implemented correctly to optimize your WooCommerce SEO. Installing an SEO plugin and putting the right keyword helps to boost your website’s visibility. WooCommerce is equipped with SEO plug-ins that help you secure a high-ranking e-commerce website.
If you want to improve your site’s SEO, check out our list of the best SEO software for 2022. SEMRush, for example, has a free WordPress plugin to help you write content for your site.
WooCommerce takes a mobile-first approach by offering some mobile-responsive themes and a mobile app to help you manage your online store. You can use WooCommerce’s mobile app to monitor and manage your e-commerce site on the go. You can also use the app to manage more than one store. The mobile app is currently in the beta testing stage.
The mobile-friendliness of a WooCommerce site will depend on the theme you choose. And while the free Storefront theme is mobile-friendly, other themes may not be. Generally, a responsive theme is mobile-friendly.
High-Quality Search Functionality
WordPress has several product search plugins specific for WooCommerce, making it easy for users to find products through a site-wide search, filtering, sorting, and faceted navigation. You can also consider WooCommerce Product Search to showcase products that top a category or tag, are featured, on sale, or recently viewed on any page of your store.
Point of Sale
You can choose from six extensions for your point-of-sale functionality, including the free Square for WooCommerce and PayPal Zettle. The other extensions are paid offerings.
As mentioned previously, WooCommerce already includes WooCommerce Payments, Stripe, and PayPal as payment gateways. This means your e-commerce site can quickly start accepting payments. But you can also choose to integrate other major payment gateway extensions, many of which are free to install.
WooCommerce is natively secure, and the best hosting platforms usually add another layer of security. Cloudways, for instance, includes an SSL certificate with its paid plans along with dedicated firewalls, two-factor authentication, IP whitelisting, and regular security patching.
But to ensure protection against brute force attacks and hackers, you can install WordPress plugins such as Jetpack and Sucuri.
Jetpack is free for WordPress and WooCommerce sites and provides brute force attack protection, site stats, and CDN (Content Delivery Network). It automatically blocks suspicious IP addresses before they get in. You can choose to avail of other Jetpack services, but the free service, which includes the WooCommerce and host security features, is usually enough.
Support And Self-Help
One of the drawbacks of WooCommerce is the lack of dedicated help desks and live customer support when users run into trouble. But the site provides comprehensive guides that walk you through almost everything non-coders and developers alike will need to set up and maintain a WooCommerce site.
Additionally, the community support is quite extensive. If you require more support, contact a WooCommerce Expert for a fee.
What Are Some Good Alternatives to WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce plugin on WordPress, but it is hardly the only one. Given its steep learning curve and the absence of dedicated support, it might not be the best option for users with little technical experience so alternatives might start looking attractive.
Shopify is a good choice for e-commerce newbies because it is easy to use the hundreds of templates to design an online store without any coding experience. It also has a robust and dedicated support system to address any concerns when using the platform. Additionally, Shopify integrates with over 6,000 apps, including WordPress.
The thing is, Shopify charges a monthly fee to create and use the platform. It has a 14-day free trial, no credit card required, but it does not have a free version.
The other WooCommerce alternative is BigCommerce, a self-hosted platform popular among more than 100,000 e-commerce sites. The popularity could be due to the many built-in tools for sales, SEO, and other e-commerce features that do not require you to install individual extensions and plugins as you must for WooCommerce.
It could also be due to its user-friendly interface and strong customer support. Because of these benefits, some users choose BigCommerce over WooCommerce.
That said, most go with WooCommerce because of its customizability despite the technical challenge it might pose to non-coders. With BigCommerce, you don’t have any control over what comes with your plan. Additionally, BigCommerce is a paid platform on par with Shopify, which could deter online sellers on a budget.