An Introduction to WooCommerce

WooCommerce is one of the most popular WordPress plugins available in the market. Due to this, its acceptability has gained momentum globally. Launched in 2011 by WooThemes, it is a free and open-source plugin which offers a complete solution to all eCommerce portals. Using the WordPress platform, users can create, manage, measure and maintain an online shop . You can sell anything you want online without any hassles. The proof of this is in the fact that more than 1,70,000 online retailers currently adopts WooCommerce as their preferred eCommerce platform. They can vouch for their online products generating high traffic.

Why should you use WooCommerce for selling online?

WooCommerce has gained popularity over the years due to the various features that it possesses. These features gives it a distinct edge over its competitors. As a result, store owners can make their online store stand out. Some of the important features of WooCommerce are:

Free and Open-source platform

One of the most important features about WooCommerce is that it is a free and open-source eCommerce solution. Developers can thus manipulate the software for its betterment by introducing new features, updates, themes and extensions. Hence, customization as per individual website requirements is possible making it extremely flexible and versatile. Thereby, online store owners can sell their products and services in innovative ways without any constraint of capital investment.

User Friendliness

The WooCommerce platform is extremely user friendly in nature. You can easily maneuver through even if you are not a tech savvy person. It enjoys an advantage over its competitors due to its flexibility and ability to be customizable as per business requirements. As a result, store owners can sell their products, whatever they may be. You can sell physical, virtual, variable, grouped, subscriptions, content digital/downloadable, an external/affiliate product, or even your time! Besides, products can be categorized as per the type of product, their price range, as well as other attributes. The simple and easy-to-manoeuvre page layout and settings enhances its usability. You can also monitor the traffic generated on your portal. Besides, you can also generate information on the signups made, the sales conversion rates on the portal, statistics of sales figures, order tracking etc. 

Personalisation

WooCommerce provides features that enables customization according to the individual requirements of each eCommerce store owner. This facilitates customer information through the dashboard on the eCommerce portal that individual customers can maintain. Details regarding the customer’s profile details, items previously purchased, previous purchase dates with amounts etc. can be obtained. Such information can be used by the store owner to better his portal and thereby enhance the customer experience.

Worldwide community

WooCommerce has more than 350 contributors and more than 7 million downloads to date. Moreover, the tribe is growing by the day! In future, it is expected that store owners can avail of a lot more features. This includes plugins, themes and widgets than currently present.

Built to integrate with WordPress

WooCommerce merges seamlessly with WordPress. Hence it is the obvious choice for existing WordPress users to connect to the WordPress ecosystem.

Mobile Friendly

WooCommerce is designed in such a way that your eCommerce store can work perfectly on multiple devices. You can operate it from your mobile smart phone as well as from your desktop PC. Hence, it is possible to turn your WooCommerce store into a mobile app. No custom coding is required for this. All you need is just a few third party tools or services. 

Analytical Tracking 

Portal owners can keep track of analytical information generated by WooCommerce. Various types of information can be generated that include evaluation of customer behavior related to purchases and prediction of market trends. This will enable you to incorporate a proactive strategy and to analyze marketing strategies employed with accuracy. As a result, various figurative and statistical information can be generated which can be used to improve sales performance. Besides, various sales related information can be derived such as total sales figures, average sales and sales on a particular day or period. Moreover, you can also ascertain the buying pattern of individual customers, customer reviews and ratings on different parameters on the portal, information on stock levels as well as any information about the estore in general.

Security

The security aspect of the portal is given top priority when it comes to designing the portal. Bugs detected are countered immediately and security updates are implemented promptly globally. This gives the owner complete control over his business and its various functions by keeping data related to the portal totally secure.

Scalability

WooCommerce provides scalability for your business. Hence, it is compatible to sell one product as well as thousands on a single portal. Similarly, it can handle hundreds of orders at the same time.

Feature extensions

There are many free as well as premium extensions that are available on WooCommerce and WordPress. You can considerably improve the performance of the portal using these extensions. They enhance the usability of this plugin with respect to various functions like marketing, accounting, payment gateways, analyzing and reporting. This helps in enhancing the features and integrations of your eCommerce store using more than 300 free and paid extensions.

Documentation

There is enough documentation on WooCommerce in the form of video tutorials, covering various topics. These includes the setup procedure, extensions, snippets, theming, third-party plugins, webhooks, WooCommerce cookies, SSL and HTTPS.

Support

 The WooCommerce support team promptly takes care of any issue that the e-merchant has regarding the eCommerce portal. Support is extended in the form of video tutorials, live chat forums and technicians. Support staff are available round the clock to resolve any issue that may arise. Moreover, there are also many developers who support WooCommerce on a monthly basis.

Functionality of the cart system of WooCommerce

WooCommerce has a management page which stores relevant information about orders placed on it. This page provides information regarding each individual order placed. This includes the Order ID, the order status, the time of the order placed, and the total order price. Accordingly, reports can be created based on various aspects. These include reports based on the sales generated for a particular day or period, for a product category or for an individual product.

Payment Gateways and Shipping rates in WooCommerce

There are about 120 payments gateways that are available in the market that store owners can choose from. The same is the case with the shipping rate extensions as well. Moreover, there are a range of available extensions from which you can choose the one that best suits your business requirements.

How can WooCommerce be set up?

WooCommerce can be set up by following a few simple steps which are mentioned below:

Install WordPress

WordPress can be installed either on your local computer or on the website you are hosting. Tutorials for installation are available on Google or any other search engine.

Download and install WooCommerce plugin

Go to the Admin area, select Plugins > “Add New” > Search for WooCommerce in the top right corner > click “Install Now”.

Setup WooCommerce settings

After installing WooCommerce on your computer, you have to set it up to work. For this, go to the Admin area > WooCommerce > Settings

Fill in Contents

In the Admin area, go to Products > Fill in Products, Product categories, Coupons, Tags etc.

Test your eCommerce portal

To test whether your eCommerce portal is working perfectly, go through the list of different products. You can then add products as per your preference and make a dummy order. Without making actual payments, the payment gateway can be tested using the PayPal sandbox test account. This will ensure that your eCommerce portal is ready to go live.

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