A common question for eCommerce retailers and brands building their first or rebuilding their existing store is whether they should use the WordPress platform with WooCommerce or another eCommerce plugin.
The answer, as you might expect, is that it depends. However, there are some pretty clear points to consider that can help you make the decision for your particular situation. These factors are:
- Technical expertise
Are you focused on content more than shopping?
If yes, WordPress is likely to be a better choice for you.
WordPress is a blogging platform that has flourished into a general website CMS. This means many features, plugins and resources have gone into making it perform well for content heavy websites. Content here means articles (and probably videos).
Other platforms like Magento or Shopify have blogging features but they are not the core function of their platforms. They generally have less features that you can use to really hone in and make your content perform.
A halfway option is to use WordPress for your site except the actual store pages, where you can leverage another option.
Are you trying to spend as little as possible?
If you are optimising for spending as little as possible, WordPress may be a better option.
WordPress has many plugins such as WooCommerce which are free -including the platform itself. Often this includes freemium style plugins that you will need to add other features to your store. Other professional platforms like Shopify have an ongoing monthly cost, including the plugins. These are generally good quality and nice to work with, but it does add up so may be of interest further down the line rather than right away.
So if you are just testing the waters with a new product to test for 6-12 months and want to save every dollar, WordPress would be a good option.
Do you already have technical skills?
If you do not have technical skills, other options will be easier.
WordPress isn’t difficult to learn, but there is a learning curve. What’s even more is that WordPress requires a level of extra setup to achieve the same features as other eCommerce platforms. This is both a strength and a weakness. It is a strength because you can highly customise your store and its functions. It is a weakness if you just want to get on and sell with minimum fuss.
Another consideration is the WordPress can often have security problems. Not from the platform itself which is maintained by one of the world’s largest open-source communities, but from the lack timely updates to the site that allow hackers and so on to access your site.
If you do not have technical skills and do not hire someone or take steps to prevent this, it can cause problems down the line.
WordPress is a good eCommerce platform with the right plugins if you are looking for a solution for your content heavy website, or you have highly technical requirements and prefer not to spend a lot of money on other commercial solutions.