When searching for a platform on which to build your online store, you’ll probably encounter WooCommerce. Since its release in 2011, it’s been downloaded over 5 million times. WooCommerce is an easy-to-use platform that provides all the features you need to build your online store from the ground up. Unless you’ve used it in the past, however, you might be reluctant to choose it over other popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento.

1) Designed Exclusively for WordPress

WooCommerce allows you to use WordPress as the foundation for your online store. It’s available exclusively as a plugin that integrates seamlessly into WordPress. After installing WordPress on your preferred domain name, you can upload and activate the WooCommerce plugin to begin building your online store.

Other e-commerce platforms have their own content management system (CMS). They may provide common CMS features, such as the ability to create blog posts and content pages, but they pale in comparison to WordPress. WordPress is unequivocally the most popular CMS. It offers all the right features to effectively and efficiently manage content. By building your online store with WooCommerce, you can leverage WordPress’s superior content management features.

2) Free to Use

WooCommerce is free to use. You don’t have to pay to download to the WooCommerce plugin, nor do you have to pay to use it. The company that develops and manages WooCommerce, Automaticc, distributes it under an open-source General Public License (GPL). Therefore, you can use and even modify WooCommerce for free.

Because it’s free to use, WooCommerce can save you money on your online store’s startup costs. You’ll still have to pay for web hosting, but you won’t have to pay for an otherwise expensive recurring subscription to an e-commerce platform. WooCommerce offers premium tools, such as extensions and themes, but they are all optional. The plugin and its core features are free to use.

You can download WooCommerce for free by visiting wordpress.org/plugins/woocommerce.

3) Extensions

WooCommerce offers extensions that you can use to easily change your online store’s functionality. An extension is basically a special type of plugin that works in conjunction with the WooCommerce plugin. Like standard WordPress plugins, some of them are free to use, whereas others cost money.

Rather than coding new functionality directly into your online store, you can use an extension. There are hundreds of WooCommerce extensions available. The Shipping extension, for example, allows you to print shipping labels from your online store’s dashboard, whereas the Google Ads extension allows you to effortlessly create Shopping ads for Google.

4) Fully Customizable

You can customizable every aspect of your online store when building it with WooCommerce. Customization is achieved by modifying your online store’s theme. Most themes provide customization options for the header, navigation menus, post and page layouts, background color, text styling and more. If a customization option isn’t offered by your online store’s theme, you should be able to make the desired change through coding.

There are WooCommerce-centric themes that are designed specifically for WooCommerce. According to its development team, WooCommerce is compatible with all WordPress themes. In 2018, Automaticc released version 3.3 of WooCommerce, which among other things, introduced universal support for all themes. Regardless of which theme you choose, it should work with WooCommerce.

5) Data-Driven Analytics

Building your online store with WooCommerce will provide you with data-driven analytics. From your online store’s dashboard, you’ll see an “Analytics” tab added to the sidebar. Clicking this tab will reveal analytics reports for your online store’s revenue, orders, products, categories, coupons, taxes and downloads. A revenue report, for instance, shows gross sales revenue, net sales revenue, tax revenue, shipping revenue and total sales revenue.

You can even use Google Analytics to peer deeper into the activities of your online store’s shoppers. There’s a free Google Analytics extension available at woocommerce.com/products/woocommerce-google-analytics that provides insight into how shoppers find and use your online store. There’s also a premium Google Analytics extension available at woocommerce.com/products/woocommerce-google-analytics-pr that contains additional features like checkout tracking, order cancellation tracking and event tracking.

6) Native Scalability

WooCommerce is a scalable e-commerce solution that won’t restrict your online store’s growth. As you add more products to your online store, as well as attract more traffic to it, WooCommerce will continue to provide a fast and reliable framework. Automatic has optimized the plugin to load quickly, and they continue to improve it with regular updates. As a result, WooCommerce offers native scalability to accommodate your online store’s growth.

Although it’s scalable, WooCommerce isn’t the only factor that affects your online store’s scalability. Several other factors play a larger role in scalability. Your online store’s hosting service will likely have the greatest impact on its ability to scale. If it uses a cheap hosting service with shared resources, your online store may fail to support any meaningful amount of growth.

Alternatively, using a poorly coded theme may restrict your online store’s growth. If the theme is bloated with unnecessary code, your online store will become sluggish as its traffic increases. Regardless, WooCommerce itself won’t prevent your online store from growing.

7) Multiple Payment Processing Solutions

You can’t sell products to your online store’s shoppers without a payment processing solution. Thankfully, WooCommerce supports multiple payment processing solutions. WooCommerce Payments is the plugin’s proprietary payment processing solution. It allows shoppers to pay for their orders using credit or debit cards without leaving your online store.

There are no subscription fees associated with WooCommerce Payments. You’ll only be charged a small per-transaction fee of about 2.9 percent plus 30 cents, which is far lower than fees charged by most other payment processors. Along with WooCommerce, other supported payment processing solutions include Stripe, Amazon Pay, Square, PayPal, Braintree and more, all of which are available as an extension.

Whether your online store succeeds or fails is influenced by the platform on which you build it. If you use the wrong platform, your online store will struggle to gain momentum in its targeted market. Building it with WooCommerce, on the other hand, will give your online store all the features and tools that it needs to flourish.