WooCommerce A ‘Free’ Plugin
Right before I begin this is not a hate post against WooThemes and their fork of JigoShop. No this post serves to highlight what you can expect from setting up your very own WooCommerce powered online store. Sure it may make you think twice before using WooCommerce for your next project.
However if your a web design company or an independent and your creating a store using WooCommerce for a client then this could save you a lot of time by highlighting the true cost of getting a WooCommerce store online. I have nothing against WooThemes, however I am a little miffed at the constantly growing cost of plugins to extend the plugin.
There are a wealth of options available to you to get your store up and running, systems that are specifically geared for the creation and administration of an online store. They are not WordPress centric (lets get that out of the way) and will have a wealth of options that are part of their core. WooCommerce does not.
Lets delve into the cost of setting up a WooCommerce store, bear in mind that not all of the plugins I list are essential. However most are of major significance and offer functionality that should be part of their core offering.
Payment Systems On Installation
Available free from the WordPress repo, the basic install offers a wealth of features which is great. In terms of payment gateways (online ones) it offers PayPal as an online payment system. Not everyone wants to use PayPal because of their fee structure it also supports Mijireh Checkout for credit cards (never heard of it before, does not mean to say it’s not good though!).
WooCommerce also supports other payment options include, pay on delivery, direct bank transfer and cheque payment. That’s about it, guess what you use another payment method your have to pay. Use HSBC, pay, use SagePay, pay.
WooCommerce Payment Solution Extensions
- Simplify Commerce – Free
- First Data Merchant = $79.00
- Alipay – $79.00
- Sage Payments – $79.00
- eway – $79.00
- Authipay – $79.00
- Clickandbuy – $79.00
- Amazon Payments– $79.00 (free version as well)
- Stripe – $79.00
- Authorize.net – $79.00
- hipay – $79.00
- Novalnet Gateway- Free
- Total Web Solutions – Free
- PayWay – $79.00
- evriPay – $79.00
- Pin Payments – $79.00
- Pay Ex – $79.00
- Pay U – $79.00
- WePay – $79.00
- BitCoin – Free
In fact there are over 110 payment solutions offered for WooCommerce which is fantastic, however a vast majority are paid for solutions. Using the example above lets say we want to use 2 paid for and two free solutions as they are essential to our on-line proposition, that’s a cost of $158.00, and so it begins.
Basic Shipping Options With WooCommerce
WooCommerce offers shipping solutions that are enough for most people, however those looking to offer different shipping costs per country for weight and dimensions etc might want to read on. Basic settings allow you to set shipping per country based on per order, per item, per shipping class.
If however you want to offer shipping on dimensions, weight, number of items, by class and price then you will need an extension called Table Rate Shipping to offer this functionality. For a lot of people this will be essential to their carts success as proper shipping costs need to be covered. The cost of this is$199.00
Total Costs So Far? = $357.00
By now some of you might think I am being nitpicky or perhaps even an a**hole and am deliberately trying to make WooThemes and WooCommerce look bad.
in fact this theme is the Canvas theme by WooThemes * (*edit 2016: Now use Schema theme by MyThemeShop) so I can vouch for their themes! However what I do not like is the additional costs of setting up an online store with WooCommerce. Better transparency of exactly what you will need to make a fully functional online store is needed. That is what I am trying to offer you as a consumer, web developer or agency.
Have A Store Already Thinking Of Moving To WooCommerce?
Let’s assume in this instance you have. You have heard nothing but great things about WooCommerce. Someone has extolled the virtues of WordPress and you want to import all your products and create a new store using WooCommerce. Great.
If you have hundreds of product lines already then you might want to rethink this as to import products quickly and easily you will need to purchase the Product Import Suite. Which allows you to import (and export) directly from a CSV. The cost of which is $199.00.
Total Costs So Far? = $556.00
Have complicated products?
Do you offer products that have many different elements to them? I.e colors, sizes, range of options etc, etc? Then you will need to purchase the Product Add Ons extension which allows you to do just that. The cost of this plugin? $49.00
Total Costs So Far? = $605.00
Want to offer subscriptions on your site for digital downloads?
If you offer subscriptions on your store for digital goods or perhaps would like to at some point then you will need to purchase WooCommerce Subscriptions. This plugin allows you to do just that, offer payment for subscriptions to those who wish to subscribe a snap at only $199.00.
Total Costs So Far? = $804.00
Customer Returns Management
Hey you know what the customer is always right! Fancy offering a decent returns and warranty system for your customers. Yes of course you do. How much does it cost? $79.00
Total Costs So Far? = $883.00
Complicated products made up of other parts
Selling products that consist of other products? Perhaps you are selling PCs and need the ability to add custom components so customers can create their very own to purchase. Lets call that Composite Products, cost = $79.00.
Total Costs So Far? = $962.00
So the above just serves as a gentle reminder of the cost of setting up with WooCommerce. It’s not intended to be a slight on WooThemes themselves far from it. What I wanted to do was to offer visibility of what you can expect setting up a WooCommerce store and what you may/may not need.
In fact some of you may well be happy with the basic install of WooCommerce. It is an awesome system however for me the following should be part of the core.
Table Rate Shipping costs $199.00 this for me if I was running a physical goods store and shipping Worldwide (which I can imagine a very large percentage of people do) is by and large essential.
Personally I think it is outrageous it is not included as part of the core. This is offered in pretty much most of the open source ecommerce solutions and is dare I say it a little devious that after installing you are expected to pay $199.00 for this function.
Also bear in mind this plugin was originally considerably cheaper in its first iteration. In fact looking at the most expensive plugins for WooCommerce they are the ones that should be included.
Product import is a deal breaker for those with an existing store. You want people to use WooCommerce? Then make this plugin part of the core, the more people able to import products into a new install of WooCommerce the more custom you will have!
Product options and composite products should also be part of the core. Not everyone is simply selling a book with no options. People want flexibility when purchasing they want the ability to choose elements to purchase. Granted this is not for everyone, make it available in the core. More people will use it.
So in conclusion if your looking to use WooCommerce and want some of the functionality (not all) of the above you will need to budget for at least $500.00 to give you what you need. This might not sound like a lot to bigger companies, but for small businesses or sole traders a $500.00 set up cost is a heck of a lot. As new functionality via plugins/extensions comes from WooCommerce expect your costs to go up as well.
Did I forget to mention?
All the costs above are for a one year licence and support for one year. Spent XXX amount on plugins for WooCommerce? Just gone into month 13 of your licence and update is needed? Pay again and you will get it you will get a discount of 50% if you renew within 60 days of licence expiration. So bear in mind the actual cost of running your WooCommerce store could be $250.00 per year (if not more depending on what plugins you go for).
So what alternatives to are there to WooCommerce?
If the functionality you are looking for is out of your budget worry not. There are plenty of different eCommerce providers out there that may cater for your needs and may well end up coming in under budget. If you want to host the system yourself then obviously there are self hosted solutions both open source and off the shelf systems.
Open Source solutions
OpenCart – an extremely popular open source eCommerce solution that offers a wealth of options right out of the box. Definitely worth taking a look at when researching setting up your online store.
PrestaShop – Growing year on year PrestaShop has some great features as standard and like WooCommerce can be extended if needs be.
Magento – Overkill for some but with the right server set up Magento will give you more options than you could ever need. Slated for speed, but it’s all down to your server at the end of the day.
Zen Cart – Another oldy but a goody and well worth taking a look at. With a thriving community (still) Zen Cart is a robust solution for setting up an online store.
OsCommerce – A great solution, whilst it may look older than the hills it’s all down to your skills in terms of design on how to make it look. But the features themselves are worth looking into.
Shopify – This one comes up a lot in blog posts usually along the lines of WooCommerce Vs Shopify. Shopify is relatively inexpensive to get up and running and offers a raft of features. Packages start from $29.00 per month and there is a 2.4% + $0.20 transactional charge. Take the free trial here and decide for yourself.
BigCommerce – Another hosted solution again this one has plenty of options to get your teeth into. Packages start from $29.95 per month with a 1.5% transactional fee. A free trial of BigCommerce is available here, take it for a test drive.
3DCart – It’s hosted sure, however if you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive way to get up and running packages start from $19.95 per month. Again they have a free trial available for you to test it out here.
PinnacleCart – I used to use this way back in the day before it became a hosted solution and half to say I rather liked it. PinnacleCart also has a free trial which is available and no credit card is needed to try it. It’s available from $29.95 per month.
This is my personal opinion on WooCommerce, like I said earlier I used the Canvas theme from WooThemes and it’s great in fact I use WooCommerce for the theme store here on WPin. I bought Canvas from ThemeForest and am probably on an out of date version I guess I will never know as they have withdrawn it from ThemeForest which is kind of helpful. If this post sounds like I am attacking WooThemes, that’s your opinion. I am not.
What I am a little upset by is the way WooThemes have offered their fork of JigoShop. How they have gone about their business in terms of keeping the extensions which should be part of the core so expensive (what’s to stop them putting the price up again?) and the running costs of a WooCommerce store.
If this post has highlighted what you can expect in terms of costs of running a store with WooCommerce then I am pleased that you are now more educated/aware of the implications.
If you’re unsure as to whether you should use WooCommerce don’t rule it out completely, but have your eyes open. You know your business needs better than most when setting up an on-line store, visit WooThemes go and learn more. Just be wary of what to expect.
New for 2017:- Ask For WooCommerce Help!
WooCommerce help & advice
Looking in to WooCommerce? Want advice on WooCommerce or have questions? Well if you do you are in luck! Take a look at my WooCommerce help clinic and let’s see if I can help you get the most out of WooCommerce on a budget!
Update June 2017
It would appear WooCommerce have ditched there 50% renewal discount for renewing WooCommerce extensions, you can read more about this here.