WooCommerce the Right Choice for You?
Over the years, WordPress has grown from an obscure management platform to now the powerhouse behind 33% of websites in 2019. The platform has a huge range, allowing it to be both easy-to-use for newcomers and flexible enough for WordPress developers to create elaborate websites. WordPress is SEO-friendly can handle different media types, can be customized with different themes and plug-ins, and the best part is that it’s all free.
Since many businesses have used WordPress for their eCommerce sites, many have turned to WooCommerce to power their shopping carts. WooCommerce is an open-source e-commerce plugin for WordPress which now according to BuiltWith, dominates 23% market share for e-commerce platforms in the top 1 million websites by traffic.
For businesses that already have a functioning website and want to incorporate an e-commerce functionality to it, it makes sense to just add a plugin on WordPress such as WooCommerce or BigCommerce, rather than recreating the entire website and user base. WooCommerce and BigCommerce are both plugins on WordPress that allow e-commerce functionality to a website and this article is going to discuss the comparisons between the two.
WooCommerce is an easy e-commerce add-on plugin for most small businesses as it can be added to an already existing WordPress website. However, as the business grows, there are issues associated with scaling that can arise. Additional plugins can be added to get necessary e-commerce functionality, but these can slow down the frontend experience. The entire site can be slowed down due to the addition of multiple plugins related to the e-commerce functionality and also because both the store frontend and backend are pulling from the same resources.
BigCommerce for WordPress provides a headless solution by decoupling the back-end commerce functionality and the frontend presentation layer (WordPress). Essentially, this means that the BigCommerce takes care of everything related to commerce, whereas WordPress is left to what it was created for, which is managing content and maintaining a beautiful and efficient website.
The WooCommerce and BigCommerce plugin for WordPress can both be easily attached to the WordPress CMS (content management system). The major difference between the two plugins is in the backend e-commerce functionality they provide. BigCommerce for WordPress is a plugin that brings together the flexibility and openness of the WordPress platform with the scalability and robust commerce engine that is BigCommerce.
WooCommerce is open-source which means you can customize it, but that also means that more is required of the user. BigCommerce, on the other hand, is SaaS (Software as a Service) platform where a third-party provider hosts applications that makes them available to customers over the internet. BigCommerce handles automatically updating the platform and keeping the rest of the plugin compatible with the rest of WordPress. There are still necessary updates that need to be made with WordPress over time however with WooCommerce there are multiple different plugins that you are required to monitor and update over time.
Security is of the utmost importance when it comes to e-commerce functionality, as a single security breach can result in customers losing trust in your business and never wanting to engage in future business with you. Understanding the importance of security leads to the next question of, how much of that responsibility would you like to personally take on compared to how much of the burden would you like to outsource to an e-commerce platform?
WooCommerce leaves the work to you, meaning you would have to manage it yourself or have a team in place to manage the security aspect of your e-commerce platform. To ensure you are keeping up with the best security practices, some include updating patches for known security risks, adding an SSL certificate (for a monthly cost), keeping multiple website backups to name a few. There are a few WordPress security plugins that can automate these tasks for you and make it easier to protect your website from threats.
For those that do not have a team to manage security aspects of their e-commerce platform, then the best solution would be BigCommerce. With BigCommerce no customer data or order data is stored on the web server, so even if WordPress is breached, the data is still safe. Using BigCommerce allows business owners to focus less on security and performance and more on innovation and growing their business.
The Hidden Costs of WooCommerce
WooCommerce is usually the most popular option for small businesses to use on their websites since it is an easy to install plugin that is free. Though WooCommerce itself is free, you should expect some costs associated with web hosting and extensions you will need to run your online store. These costs are dependent on your business and what additional features you need in your store.
WooCommerce does not handle payment processing and so you will need to add additional plugins in order to process payments such as Paypal or Stripe. With each additional plugin installed, there might be monthly costs associated with the plugin or transaction fees. WooCommerce does have a built-in shipping service that connects to the USPS and Canada Post, but in order to connect to a wider range of carriers, additional plugins and costs are associated with that.
When considering the additional features that you might need to add, don’t forget to consider add-ons for marketing features, SEO capabilities, special pricing rules and discounts among many more. The majority of these plugins will have a cost ranging from free to $300/month, and that is why it is important to know what and how many plugins you will need for WooCommerce and then the associated costs for those plugins.
The following chart is a way to summarize some of the points made in the previous section, in a way for you to see the difference between the two plugins, in order to help you make the right decision.
|Sales Channel||Point of sale||Add-on needed (0 – $129)||Built-in functionality|
|Ebay and Amazon||Add-on needed (free)||Built-in functionality|
|Add-on for marketing only||Built-in functionality|
|Add-on needed (0 – $49)||Built-in functionality|
|Google Shopping||Add-on needed ($79 – $199)||Built-in functionality|
|Payment||Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay||Add-on needed (free with Jetpack extension)||Built-in functionality|
|Marketing||Coupons, discounts and gift cards||Add-on needed (0 – $49)||Built-in functionality|
|Shipping||Included Shipping Experience||UPS add-on $79 – $199, FedEx $79 – $199, Tracking $49||USPS, FedEx, DHL with discounts of 65 – 75%|
|Cart Management||Abandoned Cart||Add-on needed ($199)||Built-in functionality (Plus plans)|
|Persistent Cart||Requires custom solution||Built-in functionality (Plus plans)|
|B2B||Customer groups||Requires custom solution||Built-in functionality (Enterprise plans)|
|Price lists||Add-on needed ()||Built-in functionality (Enterprise plans)|
Remember the number of plugins that you require to get the same level of functionality as something that already includes it (BigCommerce) is not about price. The more plugins mean the more different integrations, versions, updates and changes that you have to monitor and adjust to. The level of customer support offered from a platform allows you to feel secure in case anything goes wrong, which is inevitable.
With the free version of WooCommerce, there is no dedicated support unless you purchase an add on from their website. However, many users combat this by using online community forums to discuss common issues and problems that may arise.
On the other hand, BigCommerce offers 24/7 customer support available via phone or chat, which is one of their major selling points. They also have multiple online videos, articles and online groups dedicated to solving common problems that users might encounter.
WordPress powers a huge amount of sites on the internet because it’s incredibly easy to build a platform that supports your brand, tells a story, displays all kinds of content and can give your customers an incredible experience. Not only that but WordPress has a huge community of developers that can create the exact and unique type of website that you had in mind.
WooCommerce is also very popular among small businesses for many reasons. It is free, provides some basic e-commerce functionality that easily attaches to the WordPress site that is already built. However, for larger enterprises or small businesses that are looking to grow, they might find that they have outgrown the services provided by WooCommerce and will have to make the transition to BigCommerce.
BigCommerce offers unrestricted scalability, built-in security, and 24/7 customer support among many other features that become essential as a business starts growing. And through the BigCommerce for WordPress plugin, they can still keep the beautiful WordPress website that they have created.
When it comes to e-commerce and integrating multiple different plugins to an existing WordPress site, there are many things that can go wrong and prevent you from receiving payments from your customers. Instead of going through the struggle of trying to figure it all out by yourself, sometimes it is best to have a company that has been doing this for many years, do this for you. Here at Web4you, we offer a multitude of services that range from e-commerce integration into your current WordPress website, along with optimizing your website to have higher conversions and marketing on social media to help get your product/service in front of the right people, with our main focus towards increasing your revenue.