WordPress is the most popular open source Content Management System (CMS) as of date. It is praised for its simplicity and its users mainly being non-developers are satisfied with its ease of use. In such a situation how good will it be to have something that can enable such non-developers to build an eCommerce portal?

This is exactly what WooCommerce does. Let us in this article try to understand some of the frequently asked questions and then move on to the most crucial question in this regard, how scalable WooCommerce is? Let us now try to understand what WooCommerce is and other queries.

What is a WooCommerce site?

It is a website or portal that has WordPress installed. On any supported theme, WooCommerce, which is a plugin is installed on WordPress to enable the features of a fully customizable eCommerce portal. With its highly configurable plugin, WooCommerce was launched in September 2011. Most of the basic features in WooCommerce is free.

How do I use WooCommerce?

As I already said, WooCommerce is known for its simplicity, it is extremely easy even for a layman or a non-developer to set it up. There are mainly two ways to begin setting up once you install it.

Manually Setup

If you are familiar with WooCommerce, this is the way that you should go ahead with it. You can go to the settings of the plugin and start from there. From the lowest sidebar link, coming up. Each sub-menu, starting from the bottom is loaded full of functionality. Like so:

I will explain to you briefly what the settings tab has and how it is different in Setup Wizard in the next sub-menu.

General

Here, we have general settings like the store location, coupons, currency, and other units that can be configured.

Products

Everything configurable w.r.t. the products can be found in this section. Inventory and Virtual products are a part of this section. If we want to sell software or downloadable products, even they can be configured here.

Shipping

If you are selling physical products, this is the place where the products have to be assigned shipping prices starting from free shipping based on zones, and classes. the shipping options let you enable some hidden calculators and costs.

Payments

There are by default four options or types of payments; like:

  1. Direct Bank Transfer
  2. Check Payments
  3. Cash on Delivery
  4. Papal Standard

In addition, any other payment gateway can be configured either by adding a plugin written by the developers or changing some functionalities using code.

Accounts and Privacy

Customers who want personalized details are captured in this section. The option to enrich the customers with relevant information is attempted in this section.

Emails

An email is triggered at each and every defined state of the order, like:

On a new order, On an order failed, etc. These emails can be customized in this section of WooCommerce, from where the email can be sent, to what type of an email is sent.

Along with this some default integrations are configurable. Different pages like:

  • Cart page
  • Checkout page
  • Account page
  • Terms and Conditions

can be channelized.

After setting up WooCommerce, you start adding the products, that can be of various types, like

  • Physical
  • Virtual
  • Downloadable
  • Variable
  • Group

Setup Wizard

The important parts of the previously mentioned settings automatically show one after the other making it easier for us to move ahead, enter the details and store them for further purposes. This is mostly for people who are not familiar with coding and WordPress. If you are at least familiar with WordPress, you will be capable of following the process all by yourself, which is according to me the ideal way.

What big companies use WooCommerce?

There are many companies that are using WooCommerce as it is is the easiest available tool that comes for free and is open source. Out of that we relied on a website that has done manual research and found below the three best, biggest and most popular websites that are using WooCommerce to sell different kinds of products as of Feb. 2020.

They are:

  1. https://allblackshop.com/ – All Blacks Rugby Merchandising
  2. https://singerco.com.au/ – Sewing Machine Ecommerce
  3. https://www.weber.co.za/ – Barbecue Ecommerce

The portal that has done this research is https://www.businessbloomer.com/ and you can find more information from the following link: https://www.businessbloomer.com/top-websites-powered-woocommerce/ where they have added relevant information to the topic.

How much does WooCommerce cost?

Frankly speaking, if you are a developer, it saves you a lot of bucks than costing you something. Most of the features that you would want in a basic eCommerce portal come for free from this plugin of WordPress. You are free to customize it to your choice based on your knowledge or your spirit in learning the same.

At the same time, if you are not sure about development or coding, you might have to shell some bucks based on your requirements. Let us in this section find out more about the features that are offered to you for free and some of the basic and most popular plugins that you might want to purchase.

Free WooCommerce Plugins

The first plugin, though looks complicated, is only because of the options it provides the user with, is worth an attempt to go through all of the options that the plugin offers. There are more or less most of the major minute things that are configurable using this plugin.

If you want to generate invoices right out of the box, install this plugin. It not only generates invoices in the form of PDF, but also generates packing slips using shipping and orders as inputs. This is pretty straight forward to use, comes in handy most of the times.

Variations for the products are by default enabled in WooCommerce. However, WooCommerce just adds a dropdown from which the users have to select the desired variation. What if the users would love to tap on the image or color that they would like to order? Here is a free plugin for such requirements.

Products can be by default searched using the default configurations. To make this search bar more user friendly, like google suggest, add this plugin and this Ajax feature will automatically be added to the search bar.

When there is a requirement for customizing the shipping rates, making it flexible for any future orders, use the below mentioned plugin. Using this plugin you can easily change the pricing based on totals, weight, quantity etc.

We will write a separate article about the premium plugins.

Is WooCommerce scalable?

Now that we have some idea about what WooCommerce and its uses are, let us move ahead and learn some of the queries that you might have when it comes to scalability. Before understanding, how scalable WooCommerce is, let us try to figure out the parameters involved in measuring the same.

Hosting

Well, it is quite obvious that the webserver where your WordPress and WooCommerce instances are installed makes a big difference. Though this part is not explained enough in most of the places, the most important aspect of any WordPress or WooCommerce portal is “Managed Hosting“.

Added to that of course is the hardware, which is the speed of the server. The better the hardware and the bandwidth of the server, the faster and more reliable will be the instance of WooCommerce.

Images

The second most important thing is the loading of pages and the biggest hurdle in this regard is the images. Given the situation that it is a necessity for the products to have images, there are several options to consider to bring down the load on the server to render the images.

Traffic

The total amount of traffic that visits the website has a huge impact on the shopping cart. What we have to understand here is the number of visitors to a website has nothing to do with just the products. When more customers are interested in a few products, there are more orders.

For instance, consider a store having 100 products that belong to a niche wanted by a huge fan following. In such cases, the orders might go big, say 100,000 orders a day just from 100 products. In another case, a website may have 100,000 products and is brand new, yet to be marketed. This store will have maybe 100 orders a day from those many products.

So, the traffic need not necessarily mean more if the number of products are more.

Code

WooCommerce, as told earlier, is a plugin written in PHP that enables a WordPress site to sell products online. While doing that, due to security issues and optimization, the plugin needs to be updated on a regular basis.

Until we are updating as and when there is a new release, we are go to go. The shopping cart will be fast and rolling with great speed.

Other Plugins

WordPress supports any number of plugins. But, there are certainly a host of plugins that might easily slow down the WordPress website. Therefore, it is advised not to install unnecessary plugins when they are not required.

Theme

WordPress theme is a package that has been designed to make the website look better. In the process, there may be some elements in the package that might slow down the website or at least some pages. This could be due to the misuse of CSS code and Javascript code. There could be unnecessary scripts that might be slowing down a page or the complete shopping cart.

Can WooCommerce handle 50000 products?

Considering the above points from the previous section, we can easily say that WooCommerce can undoubtedly handle 50,000 or more products. Here, the key is the number of orders.

  • More the number of orders better should be the server on which the eCommerce cart is hosted
  • Coding should be updated on a regular bases
  • There should be a check on the number of unnecessary plugins getting installed
  • Right themes with less Javascript and CSS will load the pages faster
  • Image Compression is a must for unnecessary extra load on the pages

Fixing these issues can help speedup the shopping cart where WooCommerce is installed. 50,000 products can easily be handled by WooCommerce.

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