We Wuv Woo – Build an Online Store with WooCommerce

Whether you’re selling one to one thousand products online, look no further than WooCommerce for your online store. Why do we feel so strongly about e-commerce software? It’s my pleasure to explain:

So you’ve decided to sell online? Great choice!

All kinds of people are using the web for even the smallest purchases these days, so why shouldn’t your idea be the next online shopping sensation? $327 billion has been spent on online retail sales in the USA in 2016 alone, and e-commerce sales are predicted to grow another 10% annually for the foreseeable future. The projected total retail sales in the USA in 2016 will be roughly $3.6 trillion. If you’re in business, my guess is you want a piece of that pie.  The cost of setting up a custom online store to sell anything – from massage sessions, to blog subscriptions, to traditional retail products – is a lot less expensive than you may think.

Our favorite tool for building an online ecommerce solution is WooCommere. We “wuv” it for lots of reasons including:

  1. Flexibility to display your products however you like. Thanks to the ultimate flexibility of WordPress, you can have pinpoint control over your shop. Don’t be forced to conform to what works for the big box stores. Include color, size and price variations too.
  2. Easy Product Search & Filtering for the customer to find, filter and view details of your products. The default, basic store is set up to sell your products with a great user experience. Customers can use the search field or filter down using product categories.
  3. Simple Checkout process makes customers more likely to complete purchases and earn you money.
  4. Comprehensive add-ons and value added extensions give you more power than Darth Vader with a truck full of 5 Hour Energy. The out-of-the-box functionality of the default WooCommerce install leaves its competitors for dead and that’s before it’s combined with its extensive plugin directory.

Does a WooCommerce Online Store have any drawbacks?

Because of it’s vast functionality, WooCommerce isn’t always the easiest solution for store owners. If you just want to sell one or two products, it might be overkill. (In that case, it would suffice to use a simple PayPal add on). Online store owners who really want to use the full power of the software have to spend some time getting to know it. And if they want to make their online store really special, they should enlist the help of a developer.

We’ve used WooCommerce for classic product web sales from a bricks and mortar store (including postage and packing solutions). We’ve used it for a subscription based dietary and recipe site, and most recently we’ve used the purchasing power of WooCommerce to provide accommodation bookings services for a local campsite.With some advanced PHP knowledge, and Woo training, the possibilities are pretty impressive. All that goes to say: WooCommerce packs a mighty punch for such a small investment (time and $).

E-commerce Competitors? Erm, not so much…

If you click around for reviews, you’ll see the same three names at the top of everyone’s lists: Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce. Each is really aimed at its own market. The standard responses from each reviewer are the same:

  1. Shopify is a subscription based proprietary software solution. Some find that a hosted proprietary solution like Shopify fits their needs, but – to borrow a phrase from my 4 year old – if you go that route you “get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” Its drag and drop approach requires an eye for design and time for trial and error. Plus, they charge a sizable monthly fee, and don’t have much flexibility, so if you want to expand down the line, you may have to start from scratch.
  2. Magento is a huge, complex, and powerful system. It’s well worth a look if you have 5000+ products.  Large stores with huge inventories would probably benefit from the structure and pre-configuration of an e-commerce stalwart like Magento. The downside is that its not an out-of-the-box solution and skilled Magento developers can be hard to find.
  3. WooCommerce is the best for the rest. If you’re not into monthly fees to host your store, or you’re interested in boosting your organic SEO through blogging, or your business model doesn’t easily fit the prescribed platform offered by a “software as a service” (SaaS) solution, then Woo is for you.

When it comes to e-commerce, WooCommece doesn’t necessarily do any one thing better than it’s competitors, but it does a host of things really well and it does them out of the box.  When coupled with the ease of integration with WordPress and all the benefits that go with that – true customization capability, uncompromised blogging platform + resultant “Organic SEO”, confidence in security, ease of update, and huge reliable pool of developer resources – the decision starts to become a no-brainer. That’s why over 1 million sites to date use WooCommerce, and if we have it our way, that number will continue to grow.

The Get Online NOLA Team is off to WooConf in Austin, TX next week. Stay tuned for more updates about what we can do with Woo. 🙂

wooconf online store conference