WooCommerce is a WordPress eCommerce plugin that transforms your WordPress website into a fully featured eCommerce store.
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Last updated February 12, 2016. Please visit the official site for the most up-to-date information.
Launching your very own online store is an exciting journey made up of the pleasures and challenges of running a business. You can now turn your ideas into products your fans can use and enjoy thanks to the unique functionalities of an eCommerce platform. But you first need the right tools in place—a system that not only fits your budget but fits your business as well.
WooCommerce is a powerful yet easy-to-use solution to setting up a beautiful and functional online shop. Powering 30% of online stores worldwide, it simplifies eCommerce for even the non-tech savvy entrepreneur. And since it’s built as a free WordPress plugin, people can set up an eCommerce store and start selling in minutes. If you already have a WordPress-powered blog or site, you can install WooCommerce and have a store without much extra work. From there, you can sell physical goods such as clothes and art, or digital goods like music or software.
If there is one thing to love about WooCommerce, it’s how it manages to simplify product and order management without overwhelming the end-user. In fact, setting up products on your site is as simple as creating posts on your blog. You can create, edit, hide, and delete products; segregate products into categories; tag products for easy searching and much more. Underneath such simplicity are more advanced features such as grouping products according to type and/or shipping method, and being able to determine different rates for different product groups.
The next important step is to ensure that your customers can easily pay for your products and services, and select the shipping option that’s best for them. Out of the box, WooCommerce is bundled with your basic payment methods: PayPal (for credit card and PayPal account payments), BACS (for direct debit and deposit transactions), and cash on delivery. As for shipping, you can decide whether to offer free shipping or flat rate shipping, or shipping to specific countries. Payment and shipping settings are easily configurable in your WooCommerce dashboard.
Of course, you don’t want to start selling without implementing the right taxes. Fortunately, WooCommerce takes care of taxes by enabling you to automate tax calculations based on the customer’s shipping and billing address, or your shop’s base address. Considering your customer’s point of view, you can choose whether to display product prices as inclusive of tax (these are based on your store’s base tax rate) or exclusive of tax. More advance tax features include tax classes, where items are taxed based on specific conditions such as shipping or the items sold, rounding tax at subtotal level, and geo-location support. You can learn more about WooCommerce tax settings by checking out their tax documentation.
WooCommerce’s core features make it a viable eCommerce solution to start your online business with. If you require more functionality and security though, WooCommerce extensions allow you to remove these limitations through customizations and integrations with third party services, all of which enable you to do even more with your online store. For example, you can provide subscriptions and/or memberships, accept additional payment gateways that make sense for your customers, accept bookings, provide real-time shipping rates via USPS, and more. There are free and paid extensions that you can add to your WooCommerce store. Here’s the full list.
The fact that the core WooCommerce plugin is free to use makes it an attractive platform to start off with. There are no hidden fees, subscription plans, or service charges to pay for. Pricing comes into play if you need to buy WooCommerce extensions for added functionality or if you wish to buy either extensions to the free Storefront theme or a premium WooCommerce theme from the Woothemes shop. One one hand, paid WooCommerce extensions range from $49 - $249 for single year licenses, with additional pricing for multiple licensing. On the other hand, you can purchase paid extensions to the free Storefront theme for $19 or more, or a premium WooCommerce theme for $59-$79 for the standard package.
As an entrepreneur, you want to work with an eCommerce system that allows you to focus less on the technology and more on the important aspects of your business. WooCommerce is one of those rare gems that enable you to do just that without costing thousands of dollars upfront and the stress that more often than not plagues most eCommerce platforms. Give it a try—it’s free to download.
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