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What is WooCommerce? Comparison and Detailed Overview.

05 July 17
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This is the first article in our research project that is focused on question – “What is WooCommerce” and comparison of WooCommerce with other e-commerce technologies available on the web.

This article will cover the findings of a bit unusual research as its focus would be not on the general features of WooCommerce and its users’ experience, but on the developers’ view on  technology and issues that they tackle when launching online stores based on it. Originally, this analysis had been carried out for our inner use prior to our determination to launch our own WooCommerce based solution. We assume this research would be of some interest to other experienced e-commerce developers or to those ones who are just  about to start  their way.  

What is WooCommerce?

The research focus

From the beginning let’s have a look at the aspects we explored in the each technology analysed

Simple and comprehensive architecture

For the development of large e-commerce projects and their further scalability. the e-commerce platform’s core must be flexible and have a comprehensive architecture. These aspects are important for platform administration anв personnel teaching and further project development as a whole.

Availability and support of the core features

By core features we mean different ready-to-use plugins and extensions for product, user, order, catagory, delivery and shipment management and the possibility for scalling up as opposed to  building the new architecture from scratch  and supporting it further.

Scalability

Scalabiltiy itseft largly depends on the integrated  API, which will ensure effective platform management and leave its initial code unchanged. Modularity is of utmost importance as in affects further updatability of plugins as well as theme inheritance for design customization to different business types.

Page Speed

The technology should not have extremely high  requirements to the hosting platform and at the same time the store navigation should be fast with minimal response times.  

Compatability and integrity

We explored  all  features needed for an online store and their compatibility in one solution. The switch on/switch off option for the store features is a must as well as their possibility to work as one mechanism.

Support and updatability

Easy  software updatabiltity and comprehensive support are essential for the online store operation. We’ll explore these aspects in a very detailed way and provide you with our findings.  

The complexity and flexibility of custom projects

The extent of software customizability turned out to be really important to end customers as most of them have quite specific requirements to the store functionality and design. This is connected to their business demands and peculiarities.

Standardization and personnel dependency

The technology should have a detailed documentation with the description of main standards which will allow different teams to work with it and  develop it further. The operation of online business should not depend on one software development company.

Security

The platform should fully protect the online store owners’ personal information and should guarantee  a flawless work of their business.  

Large professional community and the availability of ready-to-use solutions

It is really important in order to develop some non-standart features and find answers to all users’ or developers’ queries.

Marketing an SEO options

The e-commerce platform must be equipped with all SEO and marketing tools in order to implement store’s promotion strategy and integrate seamlessly with the third party services and market places.

Large market  

The developers love security and understanding that their contributions are valued and could be used in the mass market. This fact inspires them  to move forward and work hard on their software products.

Research subjects and their  characteristics comparison

Here you’ll find our research of the most popular e-commerce platforms.We’ve tested their functionalality  and made an overview of some key features from the open sources. We haven’t worked very tightly with some of the platforms and therefore over findings could be considered somewhat sketchy. Anyway, we’d enjoy the discussion with you in the comment section below the blog post.

In the first place, I’d like to mention that there is no ideal solution that has everything at hand, although giving it enough efforts in terms of engineering it’s possible to achieve a  high rate for each platform. Our task was to find a solution which needs the least customisation and efforts. All e-commerce platforms are rated from 1 to 10, from the least to the most effective accordingly.

So… What is WooCommerce?

WooCommerce got next rates

Simple and comprehensive architecture.

WooCommerce is based on WordPress,  the world’s most popular platform and therefore it has a very simple architecture and a detailed documentation for developers.  8 points.

Availability of ready to use plugins and their support – 9 points.

Scalability.  

The platform has an eleborate API and it supports RestAPI which ensures seamless work  with both ready-to-use plugins or the ones developed from scratch. Plus, the platform is quite developer-friendly and does not need a lot of time for understanding its core structure (as opposed to Magento, for instance). 8 points

Response time.

The WooCommerce technology is considered to be a way faster solution than Magento, Prestashop and Opencart and can function well on the hosting platform with lower system requirements. 7 points.

Integrity and compatibility.  

WooCommerce supports all WordPress plugins whose variety is regarded as the largest among all e-commerce platforms in our study. Moverover, most of the plugins are free. 8 points.

Support and updatability. All platform’s updates are performed on the basis of WordPress which is trusted by millions of developers in the world. Apart from the core features all installed plugins are also updatable.  7 points.

The level of customization.

Due to platform’s comprehensiveness and a high level of scalability, it is regarded as the most flexible and customizable solution for e-commerce projects. 7 points.

Standardization and dependency on the developers.

WooCommerce has largest community in the world and its code adheres to the established standards. Due to these factors this e-commerce platforms scores high in our analysis. 7 points.

Security

The basic security concept is embedded in the core features, there are also additional solutions available on the market. A big part of the security issue depends on the hosting platform and regular software updates.  7 points.

Marketing tools and SEO.

There is a variety of marketing instruments avaliable for the store owners to use. Besides, the professional Word Press blog platform contributes to the WooCommerce’s leading position as far as SEO  goes. 8 points.

Large market. 

The market of WordPress and WooCommerce is truly the largest in the world. In fact, it is as large as all other platform markets are taken together.  10 points.

Overall rating: 7,82

WooCommerce comparison with biggest e-commerce platforms

Other technologies

We’ve also reviewed some other platforms that could be used as a basis, but they were put away for the reasons we find quite important. Although if it is necessary, we will gladly carry out additional deeper research on any of them. If you’re interested, please let us know in the comments below.

BigCommerce, Volusion. We haven’t done a deep research of these platforms, as they are very similar to Shopify. Although they are less flexible in further developing, they have much smaller market, less plugins and scalability options available.

If we get requests to look through these platforms in more detail, we will do it.

SquareSpace, Wix. These platforms are generally focused on the corporate websites, and their set of features for e-commerce is significantly poorer, comparing to all the platforms reviewed, although they have large audience.

Joomla, Drupal. These are less popular platforms analogous to WordPress, but they obviously lose in terms of an amount of available solutions. Plus, the quality of their e-commerce add-ons is significantly lower comparing to WooCommerce.

Laravel is currently the most popular php framework, which can be used to quickly create a unique solution. Although likewise with Symfony, it’s pretty hard to create the platform for a wider audience.

Summary. What is WooCommerce for us?

For us we’ve answered a question: “What is WooCommerce?”. After analyzing a variety of platforms, we’ve made our choice in favor of WooCommerce. We decided to develop a comprehensive WooCommerce solution to troubleshoot all sorts of possible bottlenecks. Based on our own knowledge and decisions, we aim to turn it into an ideal e-commerce platform.

Here you can watch summary table with all of the platforms compared:

What’s next

This article starts our blog section on a wide range of researches of e-commerce platforms. We will highlight and compare other aspects of different e-commerce solutions, including marketing, optimization, sales tools, integration, case studies; and look for the best ways of problem solving in the field. 

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