At present, WordPress dominates the worldwide content management system (CMS) market. As an open source CMS, WordPress enables enterprises to build and manage websites without spending additional funds. At the same time, the themes, templates, plug-ins, and extensions provided by the CMS help developers to build custom websites and web applications rapidly. But WordPress is not designed as a platform for developing web stores and eCommerce websites. It lacks some of the built-in features provided by widely used eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce. When a developer wants to use WordPress for eCommerce application development, he has to use a free WordPress plugin called WooCommerce.
Developers can create eCommerce websites with WordPress WooCommerce . Hence, WordPress eCommerce development is synonymous with WooCommerce development. The usage statistics posted on various website depict that a large percentage of web developers prefer WooCommerce to other eCommerce platforms. But the developers must understand the pros and cons of WooCommerce when he decides to use WordPress for eCommerce.
Pros of Using WordPress for eCommerce
Simple and Quick Installation Process
At present, WordPress is more popular than other content management systems. An enterprise using WordPress can use WooCommerce to convert its website into a web store. It can further navigate through WooCommerce smoothly just like other WordPress plugins. The free and easy to install nature of the plugin also makes many enterprises use WordPress for eCommerce. A new user can further install WooCommerce quickly by using the installation wizard provided by WordPress and following the instructions conveyed by the wizard.
Many web developers consider WooCommerce to be more flexible than other eCommerce platforms. The themes provided by the eCommerce solution help developers to build custom storefronts without putting extra time and effort. The developers even have option to distinguish the storefront by making changes to the themes. Also, they can take advantage of the plugins and extensions for WooCommerce to customize product attributes without any hassle or delay. They can even add new functionality to the web store quickly by adding specific plugins or extensions.
Flexible Product and Inventory Management
An online retailer can use WooCommerce to create web stores selling both physical and digital products. He even has option to keep adding products regularly and set different product types. At the same time, WooCommerce simplifies inventory management by providing a WordPress-centric user interface (UI). The retailer can use the UI to check current stock levels and manage day to day inventory. However, he must obtain adequate server space to manage products and inventory efficiently.
WooCommerce accelerates custom eCommerce website development by supporting multiple currencies, payment gateways, and shipping options. Further, it detects a customer’s address using geolocation, and displays the appropriate currency, payment gateway, and tax rate. An online retailer can further take advantage of geolocation to personalize customer experience by displaying the appropriate price and shipping option.
Built-in Analytics Tool
Most online retailers nowadays use analytics to track visitor activities and collect customer data. Most eCommerce platforms allow enterprises to use third-party web analytics services. While using WordPress for eCommerce, retailers can take advantage of a robust extension like WooCommerce Google Analytics. The extension uses Universal Analytics to track basic information about users, events, and sessions. Likewise, it uses Enhanced eCommerce Analytics to collect important eCommerce data like product views and shopping cart actions.
Prevent Data Loss
Many eCommerce platforms lack the capability to save data automatically when the eCommerce application is closed suddenly or unexpectedly. But WooCommerce saves the data automatically each time the application is closed. The feature helps online retailers to retrieve useful customer data like purchase history and current purchases even if the application is closed suddenly. The valuable customer data help enterprises to personalize customer experience and increase conversion rate.
A Wide Range of Extensions
While using WordPress for eCommerce, developers have option to choose from several free and paid extensions according to their precise needs. These extensions help programmers to add functionality to the web store and personalize customer experience without writing longer lines of code. Based on his precise needs, a developer has option to choose from extensions for product page, store management, payments, checkout, shopping cart, shipping, reporting, and search and navigation.
Cons of Using WordPress for eCommerce
Not an eCommerce Content Management System
The features and tools provided by WooCommerce help developers to build web stores. But they must remember that WooCommerce is originally a WordPress plugin. They cannot use WooCommerce as a robust CMS for eCommerce websites. Also, WooCommerce lacks some of the advances features provide by other eCommerce platforms.
Increases Project Overheads
As a free WordPress plugin, WooCommerce helps enterprises to curtail eCommerce application development cost. It even allows developers to choose from a wide range of eCommerce themes and features according to precise business needs. But developers have to use paid themes and eCommerce features to improve customer experience and make the web store standout. These paid themes and functionality often increases eCommerce development cost.
Deploy Skilled WordPress Developers
When an enterprise decides to use WordPress for eCommerce, it has to deploy developers who have experience in working with both WordPress and WooCommerce. The knowledge and experience will help the developers to create robust eCommerce websites by using the WordPress plugin effectively. The enterprise also needs the services of an experienced developer to update the eCommerce website.
Many web application developers prefer other eCommerce platforms to WooCommerce to avoid frequent updates. They have to keep the WordPress plug-in up to date to make the web store accessible on major browsers and deliver richer customer experience. Also, they have to handle common issues associated with updating a WordPress plugin – data backup and testing. The frequent updates makes using WordPress for eCommerce complex and time-consuming.
On the whole, WordPress is not designed as an eCommerce platform. A developer has to use WooCommerce when he decides to use WordPress for eCommerce. WooCommerce, like other eCommerce platforms, has its own pros and cons. Hence, it becomes essential for web developers to evaluate the pros and cons of the widely used eCommerce solution based on precise needs of each project.