E-commerce is possible on WordPress because of an e-commerce platform which integrates seamlessly with WordPress called WooCommerce. WooCommerce is now owned by a company called Automattic the original creators of WordPress.
With e-commerce platform like Woocommerce WordPress’s adoption by online retailers has been growing over the last 5 years. Coupled with WordPress’s huge independent developer base and trust the platform has gained over a decade, WooCommerce is now the most used e-commerce platform in the world. As per Similartech report Woocommerce now powers about 810K online stores followed by Magento at 650K and Shopify at 250K.
The domination of Woocommerce as an e-commerce platform is unmatched. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your online store must be built on Woocommerce. All businesses are not equal. You need to weigh in various factors like cost, timeliness, usability, stability, scale, and security in order to judge a business-solution fit.
Woocommerce is an open source software. In other words, you have to install the software on your own servers. It is a self-hosted solution. Before you dive into the advantages and disadvantages of using WordPress for your online store you must be fully aware of various pros and cons of using a self hosted ecommerce solution.
- Hosted Vs Self Hosted Ecommerce Solutions: Which is right for you?
- Things to know before you start an online store
Advantages of using WordPress for Ecommerce
Huge Developer Base – WordPress is an open source platform has a huge base of developers. There are many Good WordPress developers who can build a good e-commerce website for you for a reasonable cost. WooCommerce has its own directory of experts.
Easier to customize – WooCommerce comes with a simpler code base than most open source e-commerce solutions. With WordPress being around for such a long while there are a plethora of high-quality plugins and themes which can help you build a feature rich and high performing online store. You can upgrade your store by using WooCommerce extensions marketplace.
Flexibility – Unlike hosted e-commerce solutions with WordPress the possibilities are endless. Complex e-commerce problems like variable pricing, one-click checkout, and product customization can be done with WordPress in the least amount of development time.
Mobile Friendly – By default WooCommerce is mobile friendly. This attracts more mobile user base and conversions. You can even convert your website into a mobile app using store extensions.
Free – WordPress is an open source software. It is free to install. You can also avail many high-quality e-commerce plugins and themes for free. You have to pay only for the web servers.
Challenges of using WordPress for Ecommerce
Frequent Maintenance – With WordPress, you have the extra responsibility of keeping your plugins, themes and platform version updated and compatible. This could be tedious when one of your plugins doesn’t work with the new version of WordPress. This takes time off your business. You have to keep your software and plugins updated to wade security threats and keep your online store safe.
Security Threat – It is your responsibility to keep your WordPress site safe. WordPress being a popular platform is vulnerable to attacks. WordPress is secure but your online store will be as safe as you want it to be. You have to use plugins or even hire a developer to secure your website from attacks. With hosted e-commerce solutions this is taken care of.
When things break – When things break you are on your own. When you are stuck you have to figure it out yourself. With few hosted solutions you get a dedicated support team to help you out with the issue. When you choose WordPress you and your team are the only people who will have to fix it.
Doesn’t necessarily scale – You can have hundreds of products added your WordPress online store without taking a hit on performance. But if you are attracting millions of hits per month with thousands of products running a stable online store on WordPress is a challenge. For such cases, you will have to move to a much-advanced e-commerce solution like Magento.
Use WordPress if…..
- If you are a small or medium-sized online store(hundred to a few thousand products) but want to enjoy the benefits of a self-hosted e-commerce solution like flexibility and customizations.
- If you have a thriving blog and want to open a shop as an added value.
- When you want high functionality e-commerce site but don’t want the complexity of other open sources software like Magento or OpenCart.
How to get started with WordPress for e-commerce
Step 1: Buy a hosting server from a trusted company preferably which has pre-installs of WooCommerce and WordPress. Here are few recommended by WooCommerce.
Step 2: Install WordPress and follow it up with a WooCommerce installation.
Step 3: Start building your online store using these support tutorials.