I build almost all of my websites on WordPress. WordPress powers about 20% of all the websites on the internet. It is so successful because of the community behind it, the fact that it is open source (free!) and because it is so easy to extend it’s functionality. There are thousands of plugins available. Plugins that can add almost any extra functionality to your WordPress website including e-commerce.
The best WordPress plugin for creating an online store is WooCommerce. In fact the company that owns WordPress recently purchased the company that owned WooCommerce.
WooCommerce, like WordPress, is free. You can set up your own online store for cheap with a minimum of fuss.
Is it any Good?
Even though WooCommerce is free, it is a very good plugin. It is capable of running large commerce websites with complex product offerings.
Easy to use
Like WordPress, WooCommerce is easy to use. When you activate the plugin it automatically creates many of the pages you need. Such as account pages, product pages, checkout etc.
The UI is similar to WordPress posts. If you are familiar with WordPress it will be recognisable. People without a lot of technical know how can run a ecommerce store. You can sell physical, virtual and downloadable products with this plugin.
Managing orders is easily done from the Orders page. You can see which orders have come through. Which orders have been completed. Who has paid and who hasn’t. Both the purchaser and the store owner get notified of orders by email. The emails can be personalised and modified.
Easy to customise
There are many ‘off the shelf’ WordPress themes that support WooCommerce. The WooCommerce plugin can be customised and extended itself too with extension plugins. You can create any type of store you can think of. A classifieds site, an auction site, a subscription based site. Even complex multi-vendor TradeMe type websites, the list goes on...
Because WordPress and WooCommerce are so popular they are well maintained. Any bugs or security problems tend to get fixed quickly. Which is not always the case with some less popular commerce solutions. WooCommerce supports many different payment processors. So you will be able to find a suitable PCI compliant solution for taking credit card payments. Popular New Zealand payment gateways like DPS, eWay, WestPac and ANZ eGate are supported too.
WooCommerce has extensive documentation on their website. Because it is so popular it is easy to find a WooCommerce expert to help you with problems or customise your online store.
If you are looking to test the e-commerce waters WooCommerce is an ideal choice. It is cheap, fast to set up and can grow with your business.