WooCommerce is an open-source plug-in that you can use with your WordPress site, allowing you to effortlessly create beautiful storefronts and landing pages for your customers to experience. It’s easy to use and isn’t technologically demanding – the perfect tool for business owners at all levels of development. Many leaders in the e-commerce space rely on WooCommerce to simplify their stores’ operations and functionality, opting for the convenience, accessibility, and unparalleled quality of the integration.
While WooCommerce is one of the more centralized management options for your e-commerce operations, there are a few considerable disadvantages. One of the biggest issues is that it is WordPress-exclusive, as it’s a plug-in and not a stand-alone service. It also requires additional plug-ins to unlock the full spectrum of benefits within your site, which has offset many business owners looking for a one-and-done solution.
We know that you have many options as you choose the best e-commerce platform for your business. We’ve investigated and reviewed many of the web’s most popular platforms, which has allowed us to confidently recommend WooCommerce as a tool to consider for your business’ tech stack.
Read on for our full review of WooCommerce, and to determine if it’s right for your business needs.
|WooCommerce Standout Features|
|Uptime||Based on WordPress site uptime|
|Best For||Midsize and large businesses looking to centralize and scale their operations|
|Promotion||30 days (for WooCommerce extensions only)|
What Are the Pros and Cons of WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is one of the most popular WordPress plug-ins, claiming over 86 million all-time downloads. This number is with good reason because WooCommerce is one of the most easy-to-use and seamless e-commerce management tools for WordPress store owners. Its commitment to safety, user experience, and customization makes it a strong tool of choice for nearly every type of e-commerce storefront, whether you offer subscriptions, services, or physical products.
WooCommerce holds even more value for midsize and larger-scale enterprises looking to fully customize and tailor their customer experiences, thanks to the wide range of access available via the Extensions or plug-in marketplace.
- Customizable: To stay relevant with today’s pool of prospects, business owners need to remain agile and tailor to their needs and expectations. WooCommerce makes it easy to create a truly custom solution for your ideal customers thanks to its open-source design.
- Inclusivity: Sell anything to anyone, and get unlimited global support while doing it. WooCommerce is a pioneer for diversity in the development space and connects with development and operations professionals from all around the globe.
- Integrable: WooCommerce is made even better by the thousands of available plug-ins and extensions, giving your store a unique feel and experience.
- Intuitive: WooCommerce was built for use exclusively with WordPress e-commerce stores, which makes it especially easy to include in your daily management process and learning experience.
- Visually compelling: The plug-in has endless possibilities for themes and layouts to encourage your customers to buy. It differentiates your site with a unique brand presence from the time of launch.
- Limitless: You can enjoy unlimited bandwidth with the WooCommerce interface, and upload unlimited numbers of products and options for your customers.
- Requires a domain: If you’re looking for a stand-alone site solution, it likely won’t be WooCommerce. The plug-in is built for use with native WordPress sites, and cannot function outside of a pre-purchased WordPress domain.
- Limited customer service options: The WooCommerce customer service team is relegated to Helpdesk options only, which are live chat and email, exclusively. If you’re looking for more hands-on customer support, you may want to try a different tool.
- May require layers: While WooCommerce has plenty of functionality as an e-commerce tool in its own right, it may require “layered” plug-ins or extensions to give you the full spectrum of services that you’re looking for.
WooCommerce may be the best e-commerce platform for: Mid- and large-scale enterprises with a long list of products and services to sell, and those who want to scale and customize their customer experience.
|Best for||New users and businesses on a budget|
|Customer Service||Via Support forum||Via Knowledgebase, email, or direct message|
|Scalability||Not relevant||Not relevant|
|Sales Support||Not relevant|
|Order Management||Not relevant|
|Reporting||Not relevant||Advanced reports|
|Shipping||Not relevant||Not relevant|
|Security||Not relevant||Not relevant|
|Point-of-Sale (POS)||Web-based (via POS extension for $199/month)||Not relevant|
|2.9% + $0.30||None||Not relevant|
|Tax Calculations||Automatic||Not relevant||Not relevant|
**Editor’s Note** It’s important to find the best WordPress hosting provider. Luckily, WooCommerce partners with trusted hosting platforms such as Bluehost and SiteGround for new stores, Nexcess for growing stores, and WP Engine for large stores.
With WooCommerce, it’s incredibly easy to style your store using any of its hundreds of templates. Each template offers you the opportunity to reach your customers in a unique way, giving them a visually compelling and buyer-forward purchase experience. WooCommerce is also tied into the same innovation and design elements powering WordPress, so you can benefit from the latest update via WordPress 5.0. In this update, you’ll have access to the “Gutenberg Block Editor,” which lets you toggle your site’s features and functionality in a convenient block format. This editor also allows for shortcode inclusions, so you can truly tailor your shop’s experience.
Theme customization runs deeply through the available options and elements in the WooCommerce selection tool. You can adapt nearly all of your page elements to reflect your store’s unique look, including the header and footer, design elements, and homepage/shop pages.
I easily navigated through the editing process and was pleased to learn about the Storefront Powerpack extension. It enhances the customization options for the native storefront look and allows you to brand your shop elements. You can get the Storefront Powerpack extension for $59/year.
You can add products to WooCommerce in just a few clicks, navigating to the “Products” tab and following the on-screen prompts. Also, you can also differentiate beyond basic title and description, with options to identify your items as a downloadable digital file, virtual service, or physical product.
For established brands with multiple types of products, it may be more helpful to move them over en masse with the Product CSV Import Suite extension. At $49/year, this extension allows you to completely sync your site with your entire product catalog.
It covers both complex and custom data elements, which is helpful if you’re using Bookings, Brands, or tools like the Google Product Feed. The custom taxonomy capabilities allow you to update your fields with any custom information or text, which can save you hours of time updating on the back end.
While some business owners may consider the additional required extensions for certain functionalities to be limiting, many appreciate the modular structure and customizable elements that WooCommerce is able to supply WordPress e-commerce stores, offering only what you need in a sleek, centralized interface.
Order Management and Shipment
WooCommerce has updated to include a status and activity panel, allowing you to manage orders seamlessly. The tool automatically assigns each order to a unique Order ID, which helps to streamline and track each customer’s checkout process. As the order moves through the statuses on an automated basis, you receive real-time information about the status.
You can easily access this information via the Orders tab in your main dashboard.
The main order management display area looks like the above, including key details such as order number, customer name, billing and shipping address, and the total amount of purchase. You can toggle these elements to see a custom display at any time. Also, you can search and filter to quickly access the information that you need on a per-order basis.
Shop owners can add to or edit an order at any time, which can save hours spent on customer service requests. In addition, you can seamlessly recalculate, discount, or refund orders if the situation requires it. After mastering your setup and customizing your view, you can enhance your reporting capabilities and analytic/reporting systems with WooCommerce Admin.
Multichannel Sales and Point-of-Sale Integrations
WooCommerce works in tandem with the Multichannel extension for easy listing and sales on a variety of third-party platforms such as eBay and Amazon.com. The best part is it is completely free, which allows businesses on a budget to more quickly launch and scale.
When you download your WooCommerce extension, you can sync your catalog of goods and services, giving you a simplified management experience. The default functions are especially helpful, allowing you to set a specific web price increase or decrease, or simply permitting a live sync with the currently available data. It is especially useful when you have a larger-scale catalog of goods to sell. There are several other features that you can set, including:
- Categorization: The categorization perk is perfect for sites such as eBay, which can then compare your product with similar ones and boost sales.
- Shipping: You can upload multiple shipping vendors and allow your customers to choose. Suitable for both domestic and international shipping.
- Auto-list capabilities: Business owners can opt for convenience, and set any other added product to “auto-list.” This automatically updates connected third-party sale sites with any product information that gets added to WooCommerce.
While this seems like an easy-to-use, comprehensive, and free integration tool, business owners may want to keep in mind that it isn’t the simplest process. Navigating this specific extension may take time, especially when you’re first updating permissions.
POS integrations are made possible via the WooCommerce Point of Sale Extension, which costs $199/year. If you’re looking for cheaper or alternative options, you may opt for any of the partnered integrations, such as WooCommerce or Square.
The benefit of going with the WooCommerce POS Extension is that it is built exclusively for WooCommerce. You can manage multiple “outlets” or registers in real-time, which is helpful as you expand. Not only can you take any third-party payment options you wish, but you can instantaneously maintain and update records with every sale.
Multilingual Options and International Currency Support
WooCommerce offers multilingual options and international currency support through the use of extensions – preserving the global atmosphere that WordPress has created for bloggers and shop owners around the world. These easy-to-use enhancements are part of why WooCommerce is so helpful to international business owners, or to those shipping to different global zones. Below, I explain how you can unlock both of these functionalities using WooCommerce-recommended extensions and strategies.
If you’re looking to tailor the language options and experience for international clients, WooCommerce recommends that you use the MultilingualPress plug-in. You can connect an endless number of sites without the worry of a “lock-in” effect, where the site would experience data loss after removing the plug-in. There is a way to make translation easy with a flexible language switcher widget embedded in the page, and full-scale translation that extends to taxonomical terms (like tags).
Currency and taxation can be complex when you’re running your e-commerce storefront. However, WooCommerce has a native solution. If you’re looking to alter tax calculation to be based on different factors, you can easily toggle this via the Settings > Tax > Tax Options areas in the dashboard. You can also set tax rates by country, eliminating the guesswork when it comes time to cash out your customer. This doesn’t just apply to tax rates, though. It is easy to set shipping rates the same way for a near-automated checkout experience for international clients.
WooCommerce heavily markets its open-source design and development format, making it one of the defining elements of brand identity. But what does open source really mean, in this case? And what benefits can shop owners get from this element of its design?
Open-source software solutions have a variety of benefits, some of which include:
- Cost-effectiveness: Often, these types of software or hosts are free and are perfect for businesses on a budget. Because of the free price point, they are often quite easy to scale.
- Customizable: With open-source solutions, you can easily customize the software to be exactly what you need, tailoring your customer experiences without the need for 10 different complimentary tools in your development or tech stack.
- Availability: Open-source software offers so much more than just convenience. Due to how accessible and decentralized the framework is, assistant developers and tech specialists can help you come up with the custom solution you need to succeed.
Tiered Product Arrangement and Designation
With WooCommerce, product listings aren’tjust product listings. There are many different ways to group and tantalize your shop visitors with your arrangements, setting customized segmentation to drive as many sales as possible. We’ll start with some of the more basic grouping styles and iterations, and work our way down to the more complex types.
- Type: This designation is helpful to identify whether something is a product, service, membership, affiliate item, or more. It carries throughout the checkout process to keep everything simple and trackable.
- Featured: This is a handy designation to use if you want to drive sales to a specific product.
- Up-sells and Cross-sells: These options allow you to target users at different points in the customer journey, and can help you to close more sales with no marketing cost.
Endless Customizable Themes
WooCommerce is an extremely competitive editing tool that has helped to elevate the standard for e-commerce storefronts across the web. The variety of theme options and intuitive WooCommerce storefront support are great resources for business owners looking for variety, tailored templates, and an easy-to-use editing and migration tool.
WooCommerce has hundreds of website themes built specifically for its own WordPress-friendly websites, many of which you can test and experience with just a few clicks. You can use any of the toggle tools in the navigation bar to search by shop type, theme level (i.e. Free or Storefront-specific) and pick your perfect look.
Theme selection was straightforward, and I found the setup to be incredibly easy compared to other site builders. It’s very visually driven and modular, much like you’d expect to see within a straightforward WordPress site.
Designs are aesthetically appealing, clean, and effective for their use case. You can edit your appearance even further with the Storefront Pro WooCommerce plug-in, offering you a no-code editing experience with endless customization choices. There are several third-party plug-in choices that you can evaluate and research to determine if it’s worth the cost of investment.
WooCommerce has endless opportunities and integrations for payment processing, and partnering with larger brands such as Stripe and Square. Business owners might also benefit from the WooCommerce Payment extension, which is fully optimized for WooCommerce and is completely free to add to your site.
One of the best features of this extension is its “free-to-play” setup, which allows you to process payments with no setup or monthly costs. You can automatically take over 135+ types of currencies with this extension, allowing you to easily scale. Other benefits include:
- Chargeback support: You can track and manage your chargebacks or disputes through a single centralized dashboard.
- Minute-transfers: You have the ability to unlock your money and transfer it to your account in minutes, even during non-business banking hours. The cost to do this stays at 1.5% of the payout amount.
- Credit card tracking: Your storeusers can opt to save their credit card information for a better overall customer experience.
- Centralized banking options: You enjoy fewer “hands” on your money, and more convenience through a single streamlined process, rather than relying on more third-party processing tools and apps.
Google Analytics Integration and Reporting
While WooCommerce isn’t equipped with native Google Analytics integration or capabilities, it has an easy-to-use free plug-in option via the WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration tool. After you set up Google Analytics and Universal Analytics, you can toggle and customize tracking options for your e-commerce store.
If you’re looking for more advanced analytics and options to refine, we recommend opting for the paid WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration tool. There are plenty of additional perks, including:
- Checkout behavior analysis: This tells you what is and isn’t supporting sales out of your e-commerce storefront.
- Enhanced link attribution: This feature is best to improve the accuracy of your analytics, differentiating links by unique IDs.
- Advanced tracking: There are many different forms of advanced tracking available with this tool, including:
- Cart quantity shifts
- Coupons used
- Coupons removed
- Provided email
- Cart page viewed
- Selected payment method
- Customer profile admin clicks
- Customer email open rates
You can enjoy the pro version of the WooCommerce Google Analytics Integration tool for just $79/year.
I rated WooCommerce in comparison to several other e-commerce plug-ins and found that it is more secure than many open-source solutions on the market. Open-source tools are known around the development community to be easier to hack, but WooCommerce has created a safer experience for its users.
It focuses the most on payment protection, as this is the most sensitive data you’ll encounter during your purchase process. The site maintains both GDPR and PCI-DSS compliance.
If you’re looking for additional protection and options for your customers, we recommend trying any one of the safety extensions available in the WooCommerce marketplace. It also offers premium payment gateways, custom options, and traceability through transparent data use information readily available to business owners and consumers.
WooCommerce currently only offers support via its Helpdesk, which offers live chat and email support to users based on their needs. While this can be helpful for one-off needs and technical questions, it makes it difficult to find clear, quick answers for some of the more nuanced problems.
This disadvantage is noticeably offset by how inclusive and optimized the platform is and can be further minimized if you opt for the concierge setup experience when you first integrate your site. However, it is worth noting that this con may make WooCommerce a less-than-ideal tool for newer business owners.
If you’re looking for assistance, the quickest way is to visit the Contact Us page. You can easily navigate through the prompts to find the department you need and contact them quickly.
If you’re looking for full-scale support (specifically for development, customization, or other more complex needs), we recommend hiring a WooExpert. WooCommerce has a directory of these pros listed on its website for easy access, with an average cost of $50-$150/hour.
Product review organization
WooCommerce seems to be more “self-aware” than other types of plug-ins or open-source solutions. One of the many disadvantages that users had identified in a decentralized structure is an overall feeling of disorganization. To combat this, WooCommerce has made its dashboard even more intuitive: giving product reviews their own dedicated location in the dash. This makes it easier than ever to pull the social proof that you need to scale, and access key information about your user experience by product.
Looking to access the product review feature in WooCommerce? Simply visit the admin menu, and select Products > Reviews. You’ll also see reviews come in real-time via the WooCommerce > Home section of the admin panel. This was rolled out in WooCommerce 6.7.
Enhanced Back-End Coding Customization Options and Accessibility Updates for Templates
Throughout the July 2022 releases, several back-end coding customization updates improved user experience and development accessibility. Many were centralized around optimizing the template library, such as swapping tagged elements for their more commonly-used name (such as <header> for header instead of <div>).
This points to a more low- and no-code experience coming in the later iterations of WooCommerce, which can continue to save time and development costs for e-commerce business owners.
Filter Refinement and Parameter Updates
Throughout the July updates and beta runs, a variety of filter refinement options was added to the native interface. This allowed users to sort by custom values, as well as give a needed update to other more advanced search functions.
Beta Schedule Changes for Easier Testing and Experience
With all of the July changes and updates, the developer team at WooCommerce has adopted a more user-forward release cadence. As of the 6.7 iteration of the software, they decided to increase the beta cycle by a week, and decrease the release candidate cycle in a complimentary way.
To keep it simple, releases will still occur on the second Tuesday of every month.
Compare WooCommerce Alternatives
WooCommerce is a great tool for e-commerce, especially if you’re looking for a more modular solution for your storefront and experience. However, if you’re looking for more of a centralized hub for your e-commerce operations, we have other suggestions that may align more with your needs. Competitors such as PinnacleCart, Wix, BigCommerce, and Shopify may be more what you’re looking for, and at a less total cost after you add your needed WooCommerce extensions.
Our recommendations are a result of hours of research and personal use of services. We’ve provided objecting information about each option so that you can find the best fit for your needs.
Let’s take a look at how WooCommerce compares to other top-tier e-commerce platforms that the Digital.com team recommends:
Frequently Asked Questions About WooCommerce
Is WooCommerce Different From WordPress?
Is WooCommerce Free?
How Do I Install My Woo Theme?
How Do I Customize My Woo Theme?
Does My Woo Theme Work on WordPress?
How Do I Purchase on WooCommerce.com?
How Do I Cancel My Account?
What Is the Difference Between a WordPress Plug-in and a WooCommerce Extension?
How I Rated WooCommerce
I rated WooCommerce through a dual lens, comparing it against the top tools available in the e-commerce storefront space and against the needs and expectations of our business owners and consumers. I looked at the different elements and features offered by WooCommerce and rated them against other tools I’ve personally used for my own sales, putting the product through rigorous testing and evaluation to ensure an accurate rating.
While we take every effort to make a comprehensive review for our members, we do focus on certain elements of the e-commerce experience that have the potential to make the most difference in your store’s success. These include security, customer support, price, scalability, and ease of use.
WooCommerce maintains its competitive role as the most commonly used e-commerce plug-in for WordPress sites, maintaining a competitive edge against some of the larger, more centralized, and end-to-end management tools. Despite the number of extensions you’d likely need for a truly tailored experience, it’s the perfect way to get off of the ground and scale with its competitive (free) price point and modular scaling design.