How would you like to have a shopping cart for your online business that…
- You can style any way you want
- You can integrate with virtually any other app (including “uncommon” payment processors)
- You can use to sell physical as well as digital products (in the same cart!)
- You OWN entirely (including all of the data and code)
- Is modular (so you avoid bloat)
- Has hundreds of plugins and add-ons that make it even more powerful
- You can can customize endlessly
- You can use to run full blown funnels including upsells, downsells, order bumps, free + shipping
- You can use to run an affiliate program
- You can track and monitor with detailed analytics
- You can even clone and sell to your clients
…and much, MUCH more…?
This is exactly what a self-hosted WooCommerce based shopping cart lets you do!
And in this WooCommerce review you’ll learn what makes it such a special suite of tools.
Why You NEED WooCommerce For Your Business
The more customers we work with the more I find myself recommending WooCommerce.
In fact, whether you sell online memberships, digital products, physical products—or a combo of all three—WooCommerce helps you sell and deliver them to your customers with ease.
It’s truly unlike any other shopping cart out there.
What Is WooCommerce?
Woo Commerce is the ultimate flexible shopping cart solution built specifically for WordPress.
This means you don’t need to sign up for any 3rd party apps to use it.
And you don’t need to pay a fortune for it because the core WooCommerce platform comes as a totally free WordPress plugin.
You manage your WooCommerce store directly inside of your WordPress dashboard just like any other plugin.
And of course, you can integrate your WooCommerce site with virtually all of the apps in your tech stack.
Why Use WooCommerce?
Because your mom thinks I’m cute.
And also because it gives you total freedom to do whatever you want.
You see, WooCommerce is open source.
It has a well documented code base and a robust API.
That means it’s super easy for developers to create all sorts of extensions and plugins that enhance Woo’s functionality in amazing ways.
And indeed, over the decade PLUS that WooCommerce has been on the market, it’s grown into a huge, thriving ecosystem.
There are literally THOUSANDS of Woo-competent developers at your disposal, and HUNDREDS of useful plugins and extensions available.
There are countless Facebook groups and communities and businesses dedicated solely to WooCommerce.
That’s why when I say you can do pretty much anything you want with WooCommerce, I’m not exaggerating—it’s that powerful!
WooCommerce is essentially unrivaled by any other shopping cart / checkout platform in terms of flexibility, compatibility, and customizability.
And because WooCommerce lives on YOUR WordPress site, you own absolutely all of your data and code.
Can you say, “business asset”? 🙂
Why 3rd Party Shopping Cart Solutions Suck
While there ARE some decent 3rd party shopping cart solutions on the market, they inevitably fall short.
For instance, as of this writing we still use ThriveCart to sell our care plans and ‘flex’ developer hours.
Even though it has worked reasonably well for us, we’re in the process of moving to our own WooCommerce based cart.
We’ve found that when a business gets mature enough, you need a solution that can grow and pivot with you.
In our case, ThriveCart lacks the flexibility we need to implement and automate several important processes.
And that’s the big point to remember:
Whenever you’re using a 3rd party app you are dependent on THEIR team to ship the features that you need.
Sure, you can make feature requests.
But is there any guarantee that the features YOU need will get shipped in a timely manner—or at all?
The reality is that these businesses have their own priorities that may or may not overlap with your own.
Meanwhile, WooCommerce gives you near-instant flexibility and control due to its huge, open-source ecosystem with its thousands of independent contributors.
You can’t say that about ANY hosted shopping cart solution on the market, I don’t care how sexy their marketing is.
WooCommerce performance is an important consideration because you want the checkout experience (and the admin experience!) to be fast and smooth.
It’s true that WooCommerce sites can grow quite large and become “transactionally heavy”
This means that the site makes a lot of database queries.
Thankfully, WooCommerce is modular so you don’t need to install a million plugins—just the ones you need.
This keeps your site leaner.
Even if you build a heavy duty WooCommerce site, nowadays you can squeeze crazy fast performance out of a cheap CloudWays server.
In short, performance on your WooCommerce site is obviously important.
But unless you build a total hairy beast of a site, you’re unlikely to run into any speed or performance issues that you can’t resolve quickly and cheaply.
What can you sell with WooCommerce?
Pretty much anything!
- Digital products
- Physical products
- Live event tickets
- Coaching / Group Coaching
…or any combination of products you want.
WooCommerce works similarly to the Amazon.com shopping cart.
Your customer adds the products he wants to his shopping cart and then proceeds to checkout to pay for them all at once.
However, you can also modify this default cart behavior to use a more funnels based approach.
With this configuration your customers will purchase one product at a time in a pre-defined sequence of main offer, order bump, upsell, downsell, etc.
Selling digital products with WooCommerce
WooCommerce lets you sell digital products like ebooks, webinars, video courses, etc.
For instance, one of our MemberFix customers uses WooCommerce to sell Zoom webinars.
Another one of our customers sells subscriptions to their membership site using WooCommerce.
This membership site uses an InfusionSoft specific membership plugin called iMember360.
So you can sell any kind of virtual products with WooCommerce and deliver them using the software of your choice.
Selling physical products with WooCommerce
WooCommerce lets you sell physical products like hardcover and softcover books, lumpy mailers, supplements, CDs, gifts, and pretty much anything mailable.
You can even automate fulfillment of your physical products by integrating with a service like Amazon, ShipStation, ShippingEasy, and many others.
You can also get detailed tracking of your customers’ order status, send automatic notifications, offer discounts, and build powerful automated marketing processes for your store.
Free plus shipping with WooCommerce
In my opinion, one of the most underrated growth strategies if you’re selling any kind of digital products or memberships online is to start selling physical products as well.
Russell Brunson built his software business ClickFunnels to over $500 million using various “free plus shipping” offers.
So how does free plus shipping work…?
Russell offers to send you a copy of his book Dotcom Secrets (great book) for “free”.
You just have to pay for shipping, which is usually something like $5-$10.
In the biz this is called a Self-Liquidating Offer (SLO).
Of course, the real shipping cost is almost always less than you’re being asked to pay.
But the perception for the customer is that they’re paying $7 bucks for an entire book.
That sum covers not only the shipping but also the cost of printing the book.
It can even cover the cost of acquiring the customer, which is why it’s called “self-liquidating”.
And of course, the free plus shipping offer is always followed by a funnel full of upsells and downsells that can make the entire thing highly profitable.
WooCommerce Plugins, Extensions and Add-ons
The core WooCommerce WordPress plugin is free and is fairly feature rich “out of the box”.
However, you’ll definitely want to use some of the awesome plugins available on the market to extend Woo’s functionality.
There are way too many cool plugins out there to list them all.
So here are just a few notable mentions:
BuildWooFunnels – This is the most sophisticated suite of add-ons for building professional grade funnels in WooCommerce. We’ve worked with this suite several times and it is absolutely phenomenal. Yes, they do free plus shipping! They even have a powerful automation engine called Autonomi.
Subscriptions for WooCommerce – This plugin allows you to accept subscription payments in your WooCommerce store. It supports a wide variety of payment processors out of the box. And if you want to use a less common payment processor, there’s a great chance that an independently-coded plugin already exists for it!
Memberships for WooCommerce – That’s right, WooCommerce has its own rather excellent membership plugin.
Note: I generally recommend completely separating your shopping cart domain, your membership site domain, and your main marketing-focused domain.
Let’s go through frequently asked questions and answers about WooCommerce.
Is WooCommerce Free To Use?
The core WooCommerce plugin is 100% free to download, use and modify.
To further expand the functionality of your WooCommerce store there are countless plugins available on the market, both free and paid.
How Much Does A WooCommerce Site Really Cost?
A WooCommerce site can cost you anywhere between $0 and several thousand dollars.
While the core WooCommerce plugin is free, you can spend quite a bit of money on development and maintenance services, depending on how ambitious your project is.
If you go crazy buying a bunch of extensions for your WooCommerce Store, you’ll have to pay the yearly support and renewal fees that most of the plugin vendors charge.
And of course, you have to pay for your hosting.
In general, the costs for a WooCommerce site are pretty manageable, especially when you’re just getting started.
By the time your costs become significant your store may already be bringing in more than enough revenue to justify the expenses.
Just don’t go crazy buying a ton of add-ons and you should be able to keep your expenses to a minimum.
What Is The Best Hosting Provider for WooCommerce?
CloudWays is the best WooCommerce hosting company that we’ve worked with.
In fact, we host almost everything with CloudWays and we’ve been using them for years, during which time they’ve gotten better and better.
CloudWays lets you do a 1-click WordPress install that is already optimized for WooCommerce and comes with it pre-installed.
While WooCommerce sites tend to be “transactionally heavy” (i.e. they send a lot of database queries), CloudWays gives you many configuration options to improve the performance of your WooCommerce store.
For example, you can perform a 1-click install of the latest version of MariaDB, a highly performant open source database.
You can then activate the high speed Redis cache to further speed up your database performance. And that’s just a small sample of everything you can do!
There’s also one situation where you may need more of a hosting PARTNER than a hosting provider. And that’s if you have a massive, complex WooCommerce site.
For super heavy and high traffic WooCommerce sites, Pressidium is an excellent enterprise grade hosting provider.
They’re pretty expensive but they work with you to individually optimize your WooCommerce site for performance on their own infrastructure (which they themselves maintain).
If your Woocommerce site is crushing it, Pressidium offers a more hands-on and performant alternative to CloudWays.
Is There A Monthly Fee for WooCommerce?
There is no monthly fee for the core WooCommerce plugin.
However, if you install additional extensions on your WooCommerce site, you may have to pay for those.
How Much Does WooCommerce Charge Per Transaction?
WooCommerce does NOT charge any fees per transaction.
The only transaction fees you have to pay are to your payment processor.
For example, the popular payment processor Stripe charges 2.9% plus $0.30 for each successful transaction.
Paypal’s fees are also in this range. WooCommerce charges no additional fees on top.
WooCommerce Review 2021
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