In search of the best e-commerce platform for your online store? With all the available options, picking a clear-cut winner can be a tough decision. One that requires comparing features and analyzing trends.
However, of them all one, in particular, stands out.
WooCommerce landed on the Top E-commerce Platforms by Usage in 2018 list and is the most popular choice among the top million e-commerce sites – ahead of both Magento and Shopify.
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But, will WooCommerce keep its coveted spot atop the e-commerce CMS ranking in 2019?
After all, this wildly popular e-commerce software for WordPress now powers over 30% of all online stores with over 1M+ downloads and is ahead of all other WordPress plugins.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a free, open-source WordPress plugin that adds e-commerce functionality to your WordPress website. In other words, it allows businesses to sell their products and services online. When installed into a WordPress website, WooCommerce adds in basic product management, order processing, and shopping cart functionality.
Many small to medium businesses prefer WooCommerce to other e-commerce solutions because it is a highly customizable product and relatively easy to install/use. Not to mention, the multitude of WordPress themes available for building out a storefront is nothing short of impressive.
Why Pick WooCommerce?
Choosing WooCommerce provides an immediate advantage for any e-commerce website compared to other similar platforms for a number of reasons, including:
Free of charge (to start)
Seamless integration with WordPress
Endless customization options
Professional, yet simple
Large free WordPress plug-in library
Countless themes (both free and paid)
Easy to get started & to use
Fair Pricing (for paid components)
Just like any other product, WooCommerce comes with its fair share of issues.
Though easy to manage, you should have a good understanding of both WordPress and WooCommerce. And, even then you might still require the professional help of a developer to mitigate potential risks in installing plug-ins (viruses, security, etc.)
While the base program is free to use, the extended add-ons can be costly for small businesses.
WooCommerce is a great choice for start-ups or small entrepreneurial businesses with as many as thousands of products to sell, but the e-commerce program does come with its limitations. You surely don’t want to find yourself in a situation where your website can’t support many visits or other complex e-commerce features.
Users have reported performance issues related to the speed of their websites.
Security. Most WordPress security vulnerabilities are related to themes, plug-ins, and core WordPress. A major part of plugins is the amount of technical debt they can accumulate, making it very difficult to improve or fix the detected issues (including security).
Developers willing to work with WordPress are hard to find, as they are sometimes more interested in other, more complex programs.
The last two disadvantages mentioned above are important. If and when you decide to migrate, the investment will cost a pretty penny. Migrate to what, you might ask? Have a look!
Choosing WooCommerce is largely dependent on whether you’re comfortable using WordPress as well as your business growth ambitions. As long as you have the skills (or the help of a developer) to manage your WordPress platform and you don’t intend to become the next Amazon, you’re good to go with WooCommerce.
However, I discovered something interesting when analyzing Google trends. Since April of 2017, WooCommerce has been decreasing in popularity at the same pace as Magento, a platform still considered an e-commerce giant.
In the same time, “plug-and-play” e-commerce platforms like Shopify have started increasing their market share proving the appearance of new and clear differentiating factors.
Why is this happening?
Shopify attracts new business those who have already launched their e-commerce websites with WooCommerce, but have reached their limitations – as well as newcomers in the field.
– Shopify can customize your store to meet more individual requirements while staying within a budget.
Magento 1 platform will reach ‘End of Life’ in June of 2020. The Magento team’s recommendation is to upgrade to Magento Commerce 2.
– Upgrading to Magento 2 comes with a significant cost.
Some of the larger customers of WooCommerce platform have decided to migrate to more costumed frameworks, Magento 2 EE, or Magento 2 CE.
– Magento 2 CE is more complex and not so attractive if we consider trends. These solutions are also quite costly.
Keep in mind, the new EU privacy regulation, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come into effect. Along with it, come strict requirements about the way businesses collect, store and manage personal data. Your journey to compliance may require a change in customer service departments as all personal data must be handled with care – upon risk of hefty fines or worse. You can do this with a customized framework (Laravel, Symfony, Spring, ASP.NET Core) or a CRM solution.
#My Recommendation. Assess your individual needs and perform a proper analysis of the situation and risks to decide whether a total or partial migration to a more stable framework is the smartest, most secure solution for your business. The priority is to have benefits in terms of security and performance (for example, using solutions proposed by the Amazon or Azure Cloud).
Do you want to boost your productivity or simply digitize your offer and reduce sales costs?