Customize Your ECommerce Store With WooCommerce: Your Open-Source WordPress Plugin

WordPress, a free and open-source content management system (CMS), is well known for a huge variety of plugins that are available to its users. As opposed to hosted software platforms, such as BigCommerce, Volusion, and Shopify, WordPress has to be installed onto a hosting server. One of the most popular plugins available on WordPress is WooCommerce. WooCommerce is a shopping cart software solution that needs to be installed onto WordPress. Although it is free to download, additional extensions that increase functionality can come at an additional cost.

Setup

The process of setting up your WooCommerce + WordPress integration is slightly more time consuming than the other hosted platforms. This is due to the fact that the hosted eCommerce platforms are set up and nicely bundled to provide everything you need to facilitate eCommerce, which is why they are often referred to as “solutions.” As such, you will be responsible for finding your own web hosting and purchasing a domain from a third party source. After you have installed WordPress, you will need to create a free account on WooCommerce.com. Then, access your WordPress dashboard, search the plugins section for WooCommerce, and download the plugin.

Once the WooCommerce plugin is activated, you will be prompted to run through their Setup Wizard. The setup process is fairly straightforward. This is where you will configure everything from payment processes, to shipping and taxes. If you haven’t installed a theme, you might consider installing the Storefront theme, which is a theme developed and maintained by the team at WooCommerce. That being said, most themes are compatible with WooCommerce.

Features/Functionality

WooCommerce provides users with a host of features including product catalogs, inventory management, coupon discounts, and delivery options. It comes preloaded with PayPal, which allows users to pay with credit cards or a PayPal account, as well as BACS, Banker’s Automated Clearing Services.

Everything you need to start selling and shipping products is included in the functionality. You can add additional features by adding extensions to your WooCommerce plugin. These additional features can include new payment channels, such as Amazon or Apple Pay, affiliate programs, and additional product add-ons/variables. Be sure to check out the WooCommerce App Store where you’ll find many great extensions; everything you need to implement the perfect shopping functionality for your organization.

Shipping functionality comes integrated in WooCommerce right out of the box. This includes a handy shipping calculator so customers understand their final purchase cost before they move forward with checkout. Additional UPS or USPS integration is available with added extensions.

Keep in mind that many of the themes and extensions aren’t free, so the costs can quickly add up. If you really want to customize a store exactly to your preferences, in terms of features and functionality, and don’t mind a hands-on approach, WooCommerce with WordPress may be for you.

Creating high authority and a trust in customer satisfaction is key. WooCommerce delivers on conveying that value and trust by providing store owners with product review capability. You can even configure your reviews so that only verified customers can contribute a comment. Products can be organized by category and tracked through an inventory management system. Want to entice customers with some great discounts? WooCommerce has coupon code functionality which can be applied to one or multiple items.

Customers have the option of creating accounts and reviewing their purchase history. This professional level of service really puts WooCommerce at the top in terms of shopping cart software.

Ongoing Management

Due to the fact that WordPress + WooCommerce is more of a hands-on integration, the upkeep and maintenance of your eCommerce business is going to take more time. Many extensions, plugins, and themes have to be manually updated. This is very different from the hosted solutions, where most of the maintenance is done on the backend by the developers of the software. That being said, the maintenance is not rocket science and a few online tutorials will put you in the right direction. Really, most of ongoing maintenance simply involves updated plugins and theme files.

SEO

WordPress has a large array of plugins available that facilitate SEO on your eCommerce store. Many popular plugins, such as Yoast or All In One SEO, will provide the user all necessary requirements for having a search-friendly storefront.

There are also plugins available that facilitate additional integration between your main SEO plugin and the WooCommerce plugin. An example of this would be the Yoast WooCommerce SEO plugin. This plugin gives the user additional options by integrating. Specifically, WooCommerce provides an integrated analytics report within the plugin itself.

More broadly speaking, open-source platforms such as WordPress give you more flexibility and options in terms of SEO.

Omnichannel Integration

With the right plugins and extensions, you now have the ability to integrate WooCommerce with all of the major eCommerce marketplaces, including eBay, Amazon, Google, and, now, Facebook. The right extension will also give you the ability to centralize all of your sales channels into one integrated dashboard.

Pricing

As previously stated, WooCommerce is open-source and free to download. In terms of foreseeable costs, remember that you’ll need to purchase a domain and set up third party hosting. You’ll probably also want to increase the functionality of WooCommerce by adding extensions. Some extensions are free, while others can cost hundreds of dollars.

If you’re thinking about utilizing an open-source eCommerce platform to move your store into the online world while also allowing you to completely customize your site, one option you might consider is WooCommerce. WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress that gives you the ability to set up an online storefront while also allowing you to utilize the SEO capabilities of WordPress. Here at 1Digital Agency, we have expert WooCommerce developers and designers that are eager to help you build a professional-looking eCommerce site to your exact specifications. So give us a call today at (215) 809-1567 and let us help you launch into the future!

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