I don’t pretend to be an expert web developer. Sure I’ve dabbled in the past, but like the millions of others out there, I probably couldn’t build my own e-commerce site from the ground up. Should that mean I couldn’t run my own e-commerce site?
For many years now services such as WordPress have allowed almost complete amateurs to run their own personal blogs and basic sites, yet as soon as selling becomes an issue, the added complexity takes it beyond the realms of possibility for most people. Well now there’s WooCommerce from WooThemes, that might make the job a little easier for you, me, and anyone else who would like to makes sales through the Internet.
What is WooCommerce?
Essentially, WooCommerce is the name given by the developers to a collection of custom WordPress themes. What’s unique about these themes, however, is that they work in conjunction with various custom plugins to allow operation of the website is an online store.
With a WooCommerce theme, you as the owner of the site, can login to the WordPress backend exactly as I am doing now with little or no web-development background, and manage the items for sale on your website, by adding them in a very similar fashion to how one would add a blog entry.
How it Can Help You
The Internet is a powerful platform for retailers in the 21st century, but only if you’re applied correctly to it. What you get by employing WordPress rather than build a bespoke site from the ground up, is a host of optimisation and management tools at your disposal to give you a better chance of creating a sizeable impression on the world wide web.
Not only that, these themes are ready made for you to populate with your products, therefore setup time will be minimal and the end result can be visually quite stunning, with a feature set that allows for not only cataloguing all of your products, but also beautifully showcasing them in a dedicated section at the top.
It could be potentially vital for your business to gain a presence online, and these themes can make that process of getting online a whole lot simpler, and the effort required to remain operational online even more so. The design work is done for you, the backend work is done for you, yet WordPress allows for great customisation so if you do wish to do so, you can make your store your own.
As well as the six themes featuring WooCommerce functionality, WooThemes has created nine extensions that you can opt to deploy onto your website:
- PayPal Pro
- Table Rate Shipping
- EU VAT Exemption
- Sale Flash Pro
- Per Product Shipping
- Payson Form
- Web Cash
- Product to Media Link
- 2Checkout Form
The vast majority of these concern the addition of functionality allowing for your customers to make the transactions online via services such as PayPal, Payson or 2Checkout.
These extensions don’t come cheap, however, as they can set you back anywhere between $30 and $50 each, however if you’re comparing this method with creating your own site from scratch with this built in, you’re talking hours saved. We’re assuming here that you won’t have the wherewithal to entirely create a functional site alone, so adding in $50 is a great deal cheaper than employing a web designer to build it for you, as I’d assume you’d otherwise have to.
Other extensions, meanwhile, are rather self explanatory, such as ‘Per Product Shipping’, which allows you to calculate different shipping costs per item sold, rather than a standard rate across the board. This is great if you’re looking to sell things that vary in size a great deal, such as artwork perhaps, rather than t-shirts and clothing.
The six themes currently available that offer WooCommerce are the following:
Now that probably doesn’t mean a lot to you right now, as they’re just names. But it’s worth noting that while each of these themes maintains its own style and layout, there are elements that can be changed before purchase of the theme, such as the colour scheme. Each theme comes with a host of different options on that front, a varying quantity from theme to theme.
If you want to try out the themes for yourself before you decide to take the plunge and grab one for your online storefront, you can do so here at the official site, and from there you can peek at all the themes in action by choosing from the drop down lists at the top of the page, and the colour schemes next to that.
The themes do vary in price quite drastically too, with Wootique being completely free, but minimal, and Coquette setting you back up to $150 for the developer pack. There are a trio of what they call ‘child themes’ in Statua, Simplicity and Canvas, which whilst basic, go for $20 each representing good value considering what you’re getting for that.
You might be thinking there’s some great compromise to be made with WooCommerce compared to a bespoke site, and the only thing that could be considered such is the reduced flexibility you have. However with six themes all in various colour schemes, there should be something that catches your eye.
If you’re thinking of starting up your own e-commerce site, then WooCommerce can save you time, money and effort by putting it all on a plate for you from the word go, leaving you with the simple task of adding in all of your products, and taking them away as required.
WooCommerce gives you a variety of tools as standard, with the obvious additions noted above as extensions, allowing you to create and maintain a fully operational and professional site where you can sell your products, and as we all well know by now, the Internet is a goldmine just waiting to be tapped into.