What is WooCommerce? Your Guide to E-Commerce Success

Explore WooCommerce - the versatile, user-friendly platform transforming online stores. Ideal for beginners and experts alike!

Updated: 30 Dec, 23 by Susith Nonis 16 Min

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WooCommerce is a powerful, flexible, and customizable e-commerce (electronic commerce) platform built on WordPress, the world's most popular content management system. Launched in 2011, it has quickly risen to be a top choice for online merchants due to its seamless integration with WordPress (WP), ease of use, and a vast array of features and extensions. Ideal for both small businesses and large enterprises, WooCommerce provides users with the tools they need to create and manage a fully functional online store. From product listing and inventory management to secure payments and shipping integration, WooCommerce offers a comprehensive solution for anyone looking to venture into the digital marketplace. Its open-source nature allows for endless customization and scalability, ensuring that your online store can grow and adapt as your business evolves.

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce (online commerce) plugin for WordPress. It is formulated for small to large-sized online traders using WordPress. It was inaugurated on 27th September 2011, and soon after its launch, the plugin became famous for its transparency in installing, customizing, and free of cost-based products.

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You can build an eCommerce store using WordPress with the help of WooCommerce. It only takes the basic WordPress operating system and modifies it into a fully operating eCommerce store.

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WooCommerce makes it simple and accessible to sell any product and service on your website. It enables you to sell digital and physical products accept secure payments, manage stock, and sort all your taxes automatically. The most important thing, WooCommerce combines smoothly with WordPress.

WooThemes developed the WooCommerce plugin, and WooThemes is a premium WordPress theme company created by Mark Forrester, Adii Pienaar, and Magnus Jepson. Afterward, two developers, James Koster and Mike Jolley joined the team to work on WooCommerce. They were working on an eCommerce software called Jigoshop.

The first version of WooCommerce was formed in 2011 and became extremely famous. It also achieved 1 million downloads within two years. In 2014 WooCommerce reached 4 million downloads. Automattic was impressed by the development of this product and adopted it from WooThemes in 2015. Since they acquired this plugin, Automattic has become the prominent creator of WooCommerce.

Additionally, In the same year in which Automattic acquired WooCommerce, the plugin grew to over 7 million downloads. It has powered more than 22% of the top 1 million websites operating on WooCommerce and 28% of all eCommerce stores online.

The fundamental explanation why WooCommerce is most widely used is due to its connections to WordPress. WooCommerce also has thousands of paid and free themes and thousands of plugins that let you expand your store. We have mentioned some of the reasons below to know why WooCommerce is a popular way to build an online store:

  • Both WooCommerce and WordPress are free of cost. 
  • WooCommerce is open-source, which means that any creator can audit, modify, or extend the code.
  • WooCommerce is easy for beginners to use, and you don't have to become an expert designer to create a store.
  • WooCommerce is adjustable, as you can add any functionality using plugins. There is no need to be skilled in coding.
  • WooCommerce is responsive and works satisfactorily on all appliances.
  • Most important, WooCommerce is secure.

As you can see, WooCommerce is the best option to build a safe, flexible online store in WordPress. It is mentioned that anyone can achieve a lot with WooCommerce, which is entirely free. You only have to purchase a domain name and hosting.

WooCommerce enables you to trade anything online. E-commerce is broadly used to sell physical products like beard oils, jewelry, clothes, coffee, and so much more. It is to sell digital products, make bookings, appointments, reservations, and provide services.

For example, if you have a seaside hotel, you can use WooCommerce to let people reserve rooms pay the booking price, and book a room at your hotel. Accordingly, if anyone wants to sell anything online and he/she can accept payments online too, WooCommerce is the best bet.

WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce plugins, and rightly so. Its features ensure that your customers will have a delightful shopping experience. Let’s take a look at WooCommerce’s features.

  • Mobile-Friendly Shopping Experience: Your visitors can have a responsive shopping experience on every device which is great if you’re looking for building customer loyalty.
  • Advanced SEO Capabilities: Through WooCommerce's SEO capabilities, you can customize meta tags, URLs, and headings to improve your store's visibility in search results.
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery: WooCommerce allows you to recover abandoned carts by sending email reminders to customers who left items in their carts.
  • Coupon and Discount Management: You can set up percentage or fixed-amount discounts, set a usage limit, and keep them on the product for specific durations.
  • Integration with Third-Party Services: Your store can be connected to popular email marketing tools, CRM systems, analytics platforms, and more,

There are multiple advantages of using WooCommerce. We have mentioned some of the benefits which you will get:

  1. Easy to Setup and Install

Woocommerce can also be installed just like we install any other plugin. It can be downloaded for free from the WordPress plugin directory, which provides easy access from WordPress to admin. The theme chosen by you regulates the structure of your store. Setting up a piece proposes the same process of following the installation expert.

  1. Equipped with Almost All the Features for Operating an Online Store

WooCommerce offers all the elements you need to run a successful online store. Here, we have mentioned some of the features below:

  • It allows you to sell any product or service.
  • It enables you to add product characteristics, tags, and types.
  • It helps you to add reviews to your products.
  • It allows visitors to your store to filter products by type of product, star rating, overall popularity, and much more.
  • It lets you merge multiple payment providers like PayPal, Stripe, and credit cards.
  • It is relatively simple to customize the setup using themes.
  • It enables you to expand the functionality of your store using plugins.
  1. Flexible and Scalable

You can also enhance your WooCommerce store's functionality using plugins or extensions present in free and premium plugins. This benefit suggests that you can customize your online store to match all your needs. WooCommerce has many official plugins available on its website.

Therefore, you can also get access to store management features, payment options, marketing tools, shipping tools, and much more. The interested people can also explore the WordPress repository for even more WooCommerce compatible plugins.

  1. Shopping Cart Is Feature-Packed

The checkout function is significant in any WooCommerce store as visitors can often discontinue their carts during checkout. Therefore, this section needs to construct well to make the process as smooth as

Here, we have mentioned a few of the cart features contained in WooCommerce:

  • You can add multiple payment gateways.
  • You can also allow geolocation to calculate taxes.
  • You may enable the guests to checkout without creating an account.
  • You can moreover force secure checkout.
  • You can enable redirecting visitors to their cart once they add the desired products.
  1. Product Options

Suppose, when visitors come to your store, they will see how the item looks and functions to purchase products. Visitors will check the image, description, and also maybe a product video. WooCommerce enables you to custom tailor each product listed on the store so that shoppers can get all the information they require to make a conscious purchase. Here are some of the product options proposed by WooCommerce:

  • The users can add unlimited products to your store. You can use different types of unlimited products.

WooCommerce also has stock management features that inform you when a product is out of stock or on backorder.

  1. Multiple Shipping Options

If you provide fast and secure shipping, it also makes the shoppers happy and makes the entire shopping experience worthwhile.WooCommerce proposes different built-in shipping choices to cover all needs. For example, customers in your store can choose from local delivery, flat rate, international shipping, or local pickup.

There is also a choice to hide the shipping price until your shopper enters their address. There can also be functionality like automated tracking and upsells after checkout using plugins.

As mentioned before, WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress. Accordingly, you will have first to install and set up WordPress.You can find a detailed guide on how to build a WooCommerce website with Elementor and the Astra theme, but before that, here's a list of the steps you'll need to follow:

  1. Hosting and Domain Name

You will have to invest in good WordPress hosting to strengthen your store and make it available to the world. The domain name is the permanent address of the store on the internet. We've compiled some of the best WooCommerce hosting providers and promptly managed WordPress hosting to help you make conscious choices.

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  1. Install WordPress

After selecting the best WooCommerce hosting provider, you will have to install the WordPress software. Most hosting providers like Bluehost make it easier to install WordPress. Some can even install the software for you. You can also install the software from the WordPress repository.


  1. Install WooCommerce

The next step is to install WooCommerce, a free plugin, and it is effortless to install. Go to Plugins and look for Add New, then search for "WooCommerce". After that, click on 'Install now 'and 'Activate 'to enable WooCommerce on your site.

  1. Install WooCommerce Compatible WordPress Theme (Astra)

The next and probably the last step is choosing the best WooCommerce theme. They highly recommended that you use the Astra theme which is fast, highly customizable, and lightweight. The theme is used on over 1,000,000+ websites and has over 4700 five-star ratings on WordPress.org.

The primary aim of the WooCommerce plugin is to create an online shop for buyers. We have mentioned some of the online revenue streams you can build using WooCommerce.

  1. Create an Online Store for Physical Products

WooCommerce allows people to sell any product online to both local and international markets. You have to set the shipping zones to calculate shipping expenses automatically at the checkout stage. As we know, each country has different tax rates. Setting this up yourself to fulfill all the legal requirements can be very tough. Here, you can let the plugin handle these complexities automatically.

Earlier, setting up online payment methods was a complicated task. WooCommerce enables you to instantly add multiple payment gateways such as Stripe or pay directly with PayPal. WooCommerce makes the process easier for accepting payments by credit cards for both you as a vendor and your customers. If you incorporate a payment method, you don't have to maintain any customers' financial data. It is because they outsource to the payment gateway.

  1. Selling of Digital Products

WooCommerce permits you to sell digital products or downloads as it has a built-in option to enable access to downloadable products. The vendors who want to sell digital products can upload the product as "Virtual" to calculate no shipping costs. The next step is to set the product or service as "Downloadable" and upload the relevant files. Now, you are ready to sell digital products!

  1. Set up a Service-Based Store

Corporations that offer services can set up stores using WooCommerce. The ones who want to set up a service-based store will need to know the use of particular extensions like appointment and booking extensions. Setting up a service-based online store can assist your business in numerous ways:

  • It allows customers to book services at their liberty.
  • It diminishes the costs associated with making payments.
  • Many free and premium plugins enable you to book appointments online.
  1. Set up a Membership Site

If you want to sell information such as digital courses, membership courses, or eLearning materials, you can use WooCommerce membership plugins. We highly recommend building a user base to increase revenue and add more value to loyal shoppers.

  1. Set up a Subscription-Based Store

The subscription-based setup is the most chosen method of doing business. The subscription benefits users because the price per month is generally lower than buying a lifetime license. If you want to keep your customers for a longer duration, it is more profitable over the long term than a one-off purchase. To achieve this, you will need a subscription box where potential subscribers can register once you sort out the supply and shipping logistics.

These plugins help you to develop your store with new functionalities. If you want your store to be truly successful, there are some must-have WooCommerce plugins to optimize your store. Here are some of the plugins:

  1. CartFlows

This CartFlows plugin assists you in creating a better conversion-optimized checkout page. It also helps to increase conversion rates and revenue per order. The store's checkout page relies on your selected theme, and almost all of them are not optimized for WooCommerce conversion. The plugin is free, but it has a CartFlows pro version priced at approximately $209.

CartFlows allows you to create a custom checkout process, complete with proven funnel tactics like order bumps and upsells. Additionally, You do not need any technical knowledge of using this plugin, as it enables you to design your pages using a page builder plugin like Elementor.

  1. Sendinblue

Sendinblue empowers your shop with contact lists, newsletters, contact forms, marketing automation, emails, and statistics. Sendinblue is considered an all-in-one email marketing plugin. This plugin has a free version and a premium version priced at approximately $25 per month.

  1. Yoast SEO

Yoast helps you to easily add SEO titles and captions to posts and pages on your WooCommerce store. Users can also use it to add Open Graph metadata. You have to Open Graph Meta tags which are snippets of code, which control how content is displayed when shared on social media. The price of this premium version is nearly $89 per year.


At this point, we think that you might be able to answer the question 'What is WooCommerce.' In a nutshell, WooCommerce is the best platform if you want to build a flexible and responsible eCommerce store. It is fast and powerful and most of the features are free. If you want, you can extend its power with premium or third-party plugins at your convenience.

We suggest you use the Astra theme and the CartFlows plugin to supercharge your store. Astra theme assists you in creating a more attractive store and conversion-optimized checkout page. Also, CartFlows helps you manage sales and minimize losses through checkout optimizations and other techniques. All these things combine to deliver a complete eCommerce solution. 

Susith Nonis

Susith Nonis

I'm fascinated by the IT world and how the 1's and 0's work. While I venture into the world of Technology, I try to share what I know in the simplest way with you. Not a fan of coffee, a travel addict, and a self-accredited 'master chef'.