It’s 2016 and if you are considering selling online it’s not too late! Many companies have made the leap, but before you jump, it pays to understand your options. Here at Ambaum we are experts at Shopify and WooCommerce and we can happily explain the pros and cons of each platform if you are looking to sell online. Just so it’s clear, we love both Shopify and WooCommerce and depending on what you need for your business we will help you find the right fit.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a plugin designed specifically for WordPress. What is a WordPress plugin? Plugins are a way to add additional functionality to your typical WordPress installation. For example Akismet is a common plugin (it comes with default WordPress core installation) that helps you manage and block comment spam.
Here at Ambaum, we are big fans of anything that easily integrates with WordPress so WooCommerce was a natural fit for us. We use WordPress to build the majority of our sites so that our customers get a professional and custom web site, but they also get the ability to update text and images with the a simple user interface (no html skills needed).
The Benefits of WooCommerce
WooCommerce allows you a ton of flexibility, that is the biggest asset we see when we compare their plugin to the Shopify Platform. With WooCommerce you can custom code your entire checkout process and if you are using Shopify there are certain things that can’t be updated (because Shopify is a hosted solution and they lock parts of their code down). Now keep in mind the flexibility of WooCommerce means that it will take more work to get up and running with WooCommerce compared to Shopify. If you know that you will want to continually tweak your purchase funnel and make updates then WooCommerce would be the perfect choice.
WooCommerce works well if you have wholesale customers, but may require extensive customization to setup and configure, depending on your company’s requirements. You can create customized pricing so that when each wholesale customer logs in they can access their respective pricing. You can also create global discounts that apply to a group of wholesalers and we can help you setup quantity discounts for deals when your customers make bulk purchases.
Tons of Great WooCommerce Plugins
WordPress plugins are very handy at improving the functionality of your site and in the same vein there are some outstanding Woo plugins that can dramatically improve the shopping experience on your site. Here are a few of our favorites:
Gravity Forms User Registration Add-On
This plugin doesn’t have to be used with WooCommerce, but we found a handy way to improve the wholesale experience on a customer’s site. We are using Gravity Forms for prospective wholesalers, they can apply through this form and then we update their wholesale account information in a backend table.
Instant Search for WooCommerce Search
This is a really neat plugin! We showed this off to a client and right away they decided to purchase it and get more information on the product searches done on the site. The best feature was the listing of all searches done on your site and then looking through the list to find products you don’t carry, but could add – what a great way to boost sales!
Tax Rate Upload
Need to charge sales tax by state and by zip code? Check out this video on the Tax Rate Upload plugin and you can start adding sales tax by into your checkout process.
WooCommerce Checkout Manager
Customize your WooCommerce checkout process, by adding custom fields, this is a very flexible plugin that will allow you to tailor your site to the specifications you require.
WooCommerce Composite Products
If you sell products in bundles, then this is the plugin for you. Seattle’s Favorite wanted their customers to be able to select different types of oatmeal, but also to only order in blocks of 12, here’s how we used this plugin to add this functionality to their site.
When your customer is going through the checkout process, automatically subscribe the user to your MailChimp list.
WooCommerce Menu Cart
Add a cart icon, plus customer cart balance as a visual indicator on your site, this is a must have.
WooCommerce Poor Guys Swiss Army Knife
Create checkout form customizations, reorder checkout fields, manage the required fields, create data validations and separate billing and shipping fields in the order form. All in all a very useful plugin for getting the most out of your WooCommerce store, we use it on almost all of our installations.
WooCommerce Wholesale Ordering
Create and manage wholesale customer accounts and manage your pricing.
YITH WooCommerce Order Tracking
Track order information, you can set the carrier and then send your customers the tracking code so they can see the status of their order in real time.
WooCommerce is a great option for your eCommerce store, if you’d like a free consultation and quote for your project, contact us today!