In this fast-paced digital age, customers appreciate and have come to expect the convenience of online shopping. Even if you have always operated as a brick-and-mortar store, a digital retail store has become necessary to compete in the retail market.
To this end, thousands of new eCommerce businesses are launched every year. There are plenty of options when it comes to picking a platform to support your online store. So the question is, should you choose a hosted, drag and drop platform such as Shopify? Or a self-hosted, open-source application like WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a popular eCommerce plugin for WordPress, which itself is the most popular way to build a website in general, powering over 40% of all the websites on the Internet1. Of the top 1 million websites on the internet, WooCommerce is the most used eCommerce solution, powering around 29% of stores, while Shopify is in second place, powering around 19%2.
Because it is open-source, WooCommerce offers limitless customisation and flexibility. That is quite a broad statement we know, so to get into the nitty-gritty of what that actually means for you and your eCommerce store, below you’ll find outlined 7 benefits of WooCommerce and its advantages over other eCommerce platforms.
1. If you can dream it, you can build it.
WooCommerce is an open-source plugin built on well-known CMS WordPress. Open-source means anyone can take the source code and edit it, and you don’t need to pay any fees to use it for your business. It is infinitely flexible and can be completely customised around any of your unique business requirements, giving you complete control over your web store. You don’t have to pick a stock standard theme and live with it forever. With WooCommerce, the online marketplace is your oyster. Plugin and integrations make anything possible, more on that below.
If you already have a WordPress website for your business and you want to start selling your products or services online, you can simply install the WooCommerce plugin, set it up and start selling!
2. You own your website.
With a WordPress WooCommerce site, you build your site or have a professional developer build it for you, and the code is yours. You can choose where it will be hosted. You can shop around and choose the best hosting solution for you, and even move hosting services if you find a better deal.
Hosted, drag and drop editor platforms like Shopify lock you into their own hosting solutions with ongoing costs. They are usually based internationally, with international servers. This can make your website load times longer, and it can also be difficult to rank locally when Google sees that your website is hosted somewhere overseas. You also can’t just take your website and host it locally as you don’t actually own the code or your website. If Shopify goes down, so does your website; you’re completely at their mercy. Whereas If you have a WordPress WooCommerce site, you get to keep the files and move your hosting wherever you choose. You can’t beat freedom and choice.
3. Easy management for the non-tech savvy.
You don’t need to be super tech-savvy to make edits to your eCommerce store. You can have a developer build you a perfectly customised online store. Once it is up and running, the admin interface of WordPress and the WooCommerce wizard allow you to tinker with your site, add a new product or post a blog with ease. Absolutely no CSS or HTML knowledge necessary.
4. Sell anything & everything!
With WooCommerce you can sell both physical and digital products. You can take appointments and bookings online, sell downloadable items like images or books, sell memberships, or even subscription-based products. You can have products from external suppliers automatically shipped via WooCommerce drop shipping.
It also has limitless scalability that allows businesses of all sizes to set up shop. You never have to worry about your business outgrowing WooCommerce’s capabilities.
5. There’s a plugin for that.
WooCommerce has a huge range of plugins available to support your unique eCommerce business needs, with more being developed every day. It has an almost infinite amount of free Plugins on the WordPress Plugin Directory. It is also super flexible when it comes to integrating any third-party systems.
You will find a readymade plugin for almost anything you require, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, a website developer can build it for you.
6. It’s SEO friendly
WooCommerce is very SEO friendly out of the box. It runs on top of WordPress which is standard compliant and great for SEO. And as always, there’s a plugin for that! You can use plugins to further improve your SEO and optimise your web store. Good SEO requires consistent work but with WordPress and WooCommerce it’s easy to optimise your website, as opposed to other eCommerce platforms in the market which don’t allow for SEO.
When it comes to online shopping, security is paramount. Secure payment gateways need to be in place so that your customers’ financial details aren’t compromised. WooCommerce developers make updates regularly to prevent cyber-attacks. You can also add a security plugin that regularly scans your site for malware.
If you really want to capitalise on online sales with your very own online store, we can help! We’re experts in WordPress, WooCommerce, and eCommerce websites. Give us a call to talk about taking your business to the next level on (03) 5222 3328 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a meeting to discuss your next move.