What is WooCommerce?

Posted on by Dan Pock | Updated:
Reading Time: 3 minutes

WooCommerce is a free eCommerce plugin that provides website shop functionality within WordPress. The plugin is currently built and developed by Automattic which is the company behind WordPress as a whole. With just a few clicks almost any WordPress site can turn into a fully-functional eCommerce store.

Get started on WooCommerce

After installation WooCommerce provides basic store functionality on your WordPress site. The plugin includes a super simple process for installation and setup provided by a Wizard upon first run. This wizard will help you configure the most important options so you can hit the ground running.

Screenshot of WooCommerce setup wizard
Like a top hits of WooCommerce settings, the Setup Wizard won't cover everything you might need, but it will get you started fast.

Once past the setup wizard you'll find an endless amount of configuration and control. You can manage varying payment options, customer geo-location, custom checkout workflows and more. To take a more in-depth look at exactly what WooCommerce is and where it came from check out this great article by iThemes.

Why WooCommerce?

One of the best things about WooCommerce is that you don't have to use everything - getting things setup is quick. However if you do need something more complex there's likely a way to do it because its so flexible. Since WooCommerce is built on WordPress that means if you want something custom, there's probably a plugin for it. Even if there's not a plugin then adding that function just requires some custom code! Even if you're not a developer there are some pretty easy ways to manage code snippets in WooCommerce.

Another great reason over other options, like store builders, is that you own 100% all your site data. From the product information, the site theme, store meta-data and media assets - you have full control. If you want to build a custom component or make major layout changes, you have that as an option. And what about your main site? In a lot of cases your main marketing site ends up being separate from your eCommerce store. This can be a huge pain, with WooCommerce you can build both solutions in one.

Open-Source and Developer Friendly

Because WooCommerce is built on top of WordPress everything about your store is open source. You can go and find the code that makes it all tick, tear it apart and teach yourself how it works. This is kind of important, even if you're not realistically going to do this it means any developer you hire could do it. Having access to this kind of detail about code can make developers more productive and ultimately makes it easier to work in. This is a huge part of the reason why WordPress is able to power 26.4% of the internet.

Ultimately you need to pick the best platform for your needs. You should consider what your business will need now, but also keep in mind how you want to grow it in the future. If you have growth in mind then you won't want to have to migrate your store if find a feature/tool you're missing. With that in mind picking a solution that can provide options for your growth is important. Simply put WordPress (and WooCommerce) is ubiquitous on the internet and for good reason.

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About the Author: Dan Pock

Dan Pock does technical support at Liquid Web with a background in System Administration, Public Relations, and Customer Service. His favorite things include his cats, Oscar Boots, and Dash Nougat; experimenting with PHP; and making up recipes (or at least attempting to). You can find his coding hijinks on GitHub, where he shares most of his projects and open source work.

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