There’s no denying that if you want to monetize your site or build an eCommerce store with WordPress, WooCommerce is the way to go.
To put that into perspective, the second biggest eCommerce platform, Squarespace Online Stores, enjoys just under a 15% share of the same market.
So what is it about this platform that makes it so popular?
As you’ll read in this comprehensive WooCommerce guide, the answer is really a combination of things:
1. It runs on WordPress, which itself powers a significant portion of all the websites on the Internet.
2. It’s very easy to set up and use, meaning you can set up a complete online store (see our Woocommerce Tutorial) with practically no technical know-how required.
3. It offers an impressive list of features that can be extended via a variety of top WooCommerce add-ons and integrations, many of which we’ll share with you below. First, however, let’s talk about what exactly WooCommerce does, and how you can put it to work to build your online retail business.
What is WooCommerce?
At the most basic level, WooCommerce is a plugin that transforms your standard WordPress site into a dynamic online store.
Yet to leave the description at that would be to do a disservice to what a rich and extensive tool WooCommerce really is. Via its own core features and many of the third-party extensions that we’ll share with you later, this comprehensive platform gives you everything you need to run your online business, handling everything from sales, shipping, and taxes to advanced marketing campaigns, all without hardly ever having to leave the WordPress environment.
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WooCommerce Core Features:
Out of the box, WooCommerce offers all of the following:
- Basic reporting and analytics
- Customizable eCommerce themes
- Add products to sell physical, digital, or service-based items
- Payment gateways
- Abandoned cart tools
- Manage orders
- Manage shipping and taxes
- Manage customers
- Marketing tools.
The great thing is that if you find any of WooCommerce’s in-built tools don’t offer quite the level of functionality you need, you can always add one of the platform’s own 800+ extensions or one of the thousands of third-party add-ons out there.
WooCommerce Analytics and Reporting
By default, WooCommerce offers a standard set of reporting and analytics tools that provide that data on things such as:
- Your best and worst-selling products
- How many customers you’ve acquired
- Your inventory levels.
All of this is relatively easy to access and make sense of, meaning it may be a good option if you’re just starting off and only have a few orders. However, if you have a lot of data and need more high-level reporting features, the following three extensions are a better option.
There are a few key reasons why we rate Metorik as the number one reporting and analytics tool for WooCommerce.
First, the platform was developed by an ex-Automattic engineer who helped to build WooCommerce in the first place which means that, of all the third-party extensions out there, few understand WooCommerce and its users better than those at Metorik.
Second, it utilizes an attractive, clean interface with intuitive navigation and a visual reporting style which makes it much easier to understand your data than the default WooCommerce reporting features.
Thirdly, it provides an extensive array of reports on everything from revenue generated and total orders to how much tax you’re paying, to what extent refunds are hurting your bottom line, and more.
Learn more about this powerful analytics tool in our comprehensive Metorik review.
Plans start from as little as just $20 for up to 100 orders per month.
If you’re happy with the level of data provided by WooCommerce but find the lackluster layout doesn’t lend itself well to gaining quick, accurate insights into your store performance, or if your success is such that Metorik’s order-based pricing doesn’t suit your budget, try Advanced WooCommerce Reporting instead.
This popular plugin takes your core WooCommerce data, presents it in a much more easy-to-understand format, and provides you with both more data points and reporting options.
Advanced WooCommerce Reporting is available for a one-time cost of $45 for a standard Envato license.
Don’t like any of these options? See our guide to the top 9 best WooCommerce reporting and analytics tools for your store.
It’s hard to criticize WooCommerce’s product pages. Regardless of your theme, you’ll be able to present customers with all the information they need to make a purchasing decision, including dynamic product photos, shipping details, and more.
Still, depending on the products you’re offering, you may want to go further and allow customers to personalize your products, upgrade their purchases, or create their own product bundles.
If you’re looking for the perfect solution to allow you to do that, WooCommerce Product Add-Ons is the one for you.
This feature-rich extension gives customers more flexibility over their purchases by allowing you to add a wide range of extra fields to your products.
Elsewhere, you can also offer upsells, customized product packages so that you can sell personalized gift boxes and even a price calculator for more complex orders.
See our detailed WooCommerce Product Add-Ons guide to learn more.
$69 for a single-site license or $119 for use on unlimited sites.
When you first install WooCommerce, you’ll be able to offer customers multiple shipping options with different rates and assign those options to different regions.
This is a great start, but as with everything eCommerce related, you can enhance your shipping process with a number of add-ons, including:
The WooCommerce Advanced Shipping plugin allows you to use table rate shipping to set an unlimited number of shipping options that provide better value for your customers while keeping your own shipping costs down.
You can set these shipping methods based on any combination of 19 conditions such as:
- Product size and weight
- User location (by country, state, city, or zip code)
- User role (allowing you to offer shipping discounts to registered members etc.)
- Cart total
- Order Quantity
- Coupon usage.
Of course, there are a number of other top tools for WooCommerce table rate shipping that you may also want to consider.
$23, plus an optional $6.95 for extended support.
When you first set up your shipping methods, you’ll be able to give customers a timeframe for delivery. For many products, that’s good enough, but for certain types of businesses, customers need more control over when their purchases are delivered.
If you’re running a food service business or a florist, for example, your customers will want to choose the delivery date and/or time.
Order Delivery Date Pro allows you to not only offer that but to also set different shipping rates depending on the time/date so that you can charge more for peak-time deliveries or rush shipping
See this plugin in action in our complete guide to Order Delivery Pro.
Alternatively, see our list of the top 11 order delivery date plugins if this one isn’t right for you.
Plans start from $149.
Ranked number one in our guide to this year’s best WooCommerce shipping tracking tools, this useful plugin makes it easier for customers to monitor their purchase deliveries all the way from order processing to the estimated time of arrival.
YITH WooCommerce Order Tracking helps to increase customer loyalty and even reduce customer service inquiries about order deliveries by giving those customers the ability to see exactly what’s happening with their purchases.
$65 per year, though a free version with limited functionality is also available.
There’s no need to get the calculator out and work out the tax percentage of every sale nor do you need to endure any extra headaches come tax return season as there’s a plethora of excellent WooCommerce tax plugins that you can use to do all the hard work for you.
WooCommerce has its own official tax plugin which automatically calculates tax costs at the checkout depending on the user’s location.
This is more than enough for most business owners as it does an effective job of simplifying your sales taxes. However, the plugin does require Jetpack to work, and while that tool has a lot of its own benefits, it’s also known to cause performance issues which may prefer to use one of the two alternatives below.
As good as WooCommerce Tax can be, it’s actually powered by another platform called TaxJar, yet doesn’t offer all of that platform’s features.
Rated highly in our guide to the best WooCommerce tax plugins, TaxJar’s main highlight is that it doesn’t just calculate and apply your sales taxes, it at also calculates your tax returns too, giving you the precise figure you owe in each applicable region and allowing you to automatically submit your returns.
$19 per month for up to 200 orders with additional plans based on order totals.
Alvara is an official WooCommerce partner and is the brand’s recommended premium alternative to their own free plugin.
This powerful platform offers real-time calculations for sales tax, customs duties, and import tax at a global, regional, and local level and can even calculate your tax returns for you.
Alvara offers custom pricing on a volume-based level. You can speak to their sales team to request a quote.
WooCommerce’s standard checkout process may be secure, but it’s not exactly efficient, and that can have a major impact on your conversion and abandoned cart rates.
That’s why we recommend the following tools to optimize the process and deliver a better checkout experience for your customers.
As we mentioned in our Direct Checkout for WooCommerce review, the highlight of this plugin is that it allows customers to skip the shopping cart and go straight from the product page to checkout in a single click.
Another feature we really like about WooCommerce Direct Checkout is that it also allows you to customize your cart and checkout pages to make things simpler and better designed with conversions in mind.
$49 one-off payment.
The best WooCommerce checkout plugin around, PeachPay is as easy to use for you as it is for your customers.
The platform offers one-click checkout for returning customers and an express checkout for guests, helping them to shop quicker and helping you to boost those conversions.
Find out more in our PeachPay review.
WooCommerce doesn’t currently accept cryptocurrency as a payment option, but if your business does, MyCryptoCheckout is the tool to use.
The tool makes it easy to accept over 30 cryptocurrencies and a whole plethora of other digital currency tokens.
Discover more benefits in our MyCryptoCheckout review.
Fee for up to five sales per month. Unlimited transactions cost $59 per year.
Optimizing the checkout process is a great start when it comes to reducing abandoned carts, but if you really want to ensure you get as many completed sales as possible, you’ll also find the following tools invaluable:
Retainful re-engages customers in the shopping process by sending timely, automated abandoned cart emails and single-use next-order coupons to entice them to finish their purchases.
See how it works in our Retainful review.
Retainful is free for up to 300 contacts. Premium plans for more contacts start at $19 p/m.
CartBoss’s approach to reducing abandoned cart rates involves sending SMS messages to customers, either with a basic reminder of their planned purchases, or with a number of special offers including fixed-rate discounts, coupon codes, or free shipping.
CartBoss charges per message. The current rate is less than $0.01 per message in the United States.
For other ways to reduce your abandoned carts, see our guide to the leading WooCommerce abandoned cart plugins.
WooCommerce has its own integrated coupons feature that lets you offer one-time percentage of fixed-fee discounts, sign-up discounts, and repeat purchase discounts.
However, it is fairly limited in terms of functionality. To really use coupons effectively, you can use add-ons such as:
The leading WooCommerce coupons plugin, Advanced Coupons allows you to boost sales by offering a wide range of discounts including:
- Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO) deals
- Store Credit
- Shipping coupons
- Bulk purchasing discounts
- Gift cards
- Store credit.
You can discover even more discount options in our Advanced Coupons review.
$59 per year.
Smart Coupons is an official WordPress product, so you know that it’s going to work flawlessly within your online store.
Extended the features of the free plugin, this one affords you more coupon issuance conditions, more restrictions, and a better way to monitor how coupons are affecting your revenue.
$99 per year.
Check out more top WooCommerce coupon plugins here.
WooCommerce has a basic product import/export feature that allows you to upload or download your catalog as a .CSV file, but it doesn’t support custom files nor does it allow you to transfer products from other online platforms.
To do that, use the following tools:
With Advanced Product Importer, you can take products from more than 100 popular marketplace websites including Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and more, and then add them to your WooCommerce store either as your own products or as an Amazon Associates affiliate partner.
The plugin is available for an annual fee of $169.
Import Export Suite for WooCommerce expands on the basic product import/export options to allow you to include custom fields and metadata as well as importing or exporting product reviews, orders, customer and coupon data, and more.
The Import Export Suite costs $129 per year.
WooCommerce wouldn’t be the world leader in eCommerce software if it didn’t offer stellar order management tools.
However, as with everything, it can always be improved. To do this, we recommend the following extensions:
WooCommerce After The Order is a top-rated plugin that streamlines the order management process so that both your customers and team members can stay informed of order status, everyone in your team can stay informed, track order status, suggest upsells, and reduce the time it takes to get products to customers.
$59 per year.
With YITH WooCommerce Custom Order Status, you have all the unlimited flexibility and control you need to create any number of order statuses unique to your products or services as well as manage everything from purchase confirmations to final delivery.
$79 per year.
One of the best things about WooCommerce is that it integrates with a wealth of top digital marketing platforms to help you grow your online business.
Among the best of the bunch, you may want to try:
With the official Mailchimp WooCommerce extension, you can put the power of email marketing to work on driving sales, engaging audiences, and boosting brand loyalty.
If you’re a fan of Mailchimp but not their plugin, here are some other top Mailchimp plugins for WordPress.
And if you don’t like Mailchimp? Here’s 8 top email marketing alternatives.
If you read our recent review of this smart omnichannel marketing platform, you’ll know that we love Growmatik because it makes it incredibly easy to create conversion-boosting automated marketing campaigns using a combination of product pages, email marketing, and popups.
Before we finish, it’s worth a reminder that WooCommerce isn’t limited to one-off sales. You can also use it to generate recurring income through subscriptions.
Along with the in-built Subscriptions module, you might also find the following tools helpful:
WooCommerce Subscriptions enhances the aforementioned in-house module to allow you to set any number of different billing schedules, set manual renewals and automatic rebilling on failed payments, and, most importantly, give your customers all the power they need to manage their own plan without the need to contact customer service.
$199 per year.
Along with managing billing schedules, payments, and customer controls, one of the best reasons to use this is to create premium Members-Only sections of your websites in which customers can subscribe for discounts, pre-launch access to products, or whatever perks you decide to offer.
$69 for a single site license or $149 for use on unlimited sites.
The 20+ WooCommerce add-ons we’ve detailed above are just a small selection of the thousands available.
The best part is that you’re not just limited to WooCommerce-specific tools either. The platform offers integrations with a whole host of top platforms to optimize everything from Customer Relationship Management to marketing and running ad campaigns on services such as Google and Facebook, all the way to creating custom automations via the popular service Zapier.