Whether it is launching a brand new online store for your business or migrating your existing store to efficient e-commerce software, the market offers multiple convenient options that fit the bill. As per their goal, every business has peculiar requirements that can only be met by picking the right solution for your business needs. In order to make informed decisions, it is crucial to understand the pros and cons of all these popular market options that can help you tackle all your store requirements at the base level.
One such renowned option in the market is WooCommerce. It is a tool built on top of WordPress which works as a plugin and enables you to run a functional e-commerce store.
How do you decide if WooCommerce is apt for your business?
Determining the technical skills, business plans, and budget is the primary step when choosing your e-commerce platform. WooCommerce, just like any software, has its positives and negatives. The key factors one must consider when picking WooCommerce are as follows:
- Launching a Website – If your current business website is built with WordPress, WooCommerce would be a great option to upgrade your website a notch above. However, if your website is standalone then adopting WooCommerce might be a long journey. First, one must find a host, install WordPress, and lastly configure WooCommerce. If you’re starting from scratch, this entire process can take a great deal of time.
- Migrating to WooCommerce – The first step in migrating from existing software to WooCommerce is exporting store data like orders, products, and customers. After this, the next logical step is importing all of it to the new WooCommerce store. If you are comfortable with the functioning of WordPress, data migration could be an easy process. However, if you are unaware of the WordPress ecosystem, this step can be quite cumbersome and time-consuming. In order to take your website live as planned, you may have to invest a significant amount of time and effort as the work is primarily hands-on.
- Customizing the Website – Owing to its personalization and customization, every website is said to provide a unique customer experience. WooCommerce being an open-source tool gives you the options to customize your website endlessly. In the case of content-driven sites like blogs or affiliate marketing websites, its built-in features work wonders. Moreso, giant e-commerce companies with complex catalogs will find it necessary to work with premium plugins. Like any other beneficial feature, these plugins also come with an added cost.
- Building Robust Data Security – One of the top priorities of any online store is achieving and maintaining a higher level of data security. E-commerce websites deal with not only customers’ money but also their personal information, making it extremely crucial to set up a robust data security system. For this reason, WooCommerce offers additional plugins to meet your website’s security needs. Sourcing SSL certificates and setting up PCI-DSS compliance must be done by you as WooCommerce provides no support in this area. From another point of view, the open-source functionality can be highly beneficial as you own everything. This makes it convenient to dig into the database and access raw data as need be.
- Maintaining the Website – With complete control and extensive customization comes the added responsibility of maintaining your website. Consequently, e-commerce companies must deal with maintenance issues like server crashes, troubleshooting, bug fixing, etc, on their own. Having said that, the features provided by WooCommerce and the added advantage of customization makes it a lucrative option for stable players with a reliable revenue flow.
- Costing associated with WooCommerce – Cost mainly comprises of two components – fixed and variable. In this case, fixed costs would be hosting, domain acquisition, and payment gateways while the variable cost would be plugins, premium themes, and maintenance costs. If you are a small business who is experimenting with products and testing the market response in certain geographies, this might not prove to be a suitable solution. For such players, this will be an advance investment in a self-hosted alternative. On the other hand, big e-commerce companies with a structured long term strategy can definitely opt for WooCommerce. In the long run, it will prove to be a cheaper solution in comparison to a hosted alternative as you would not be charged for every order.
In summary, if you are a giant e-commerce retailer with complex catalogs, intricate requirements, B2B retail requirements, or any other convoluted integration requirement then you might want to acknowledge a more powerful, e-commerce focused alternative. In contrast, websites where content drives the traffic like retailers with small catalogs of a few dozen products or content-driven sites, WooCommerce works really well. Finally, when choosing your e-commerce software, scrutinize your current needs as well as the long term needs of your store. After all, both re-platforming or building a new store are expensive processes and a one-size-fits-all approach might not suffice while staying competitive in the e-commerce market.