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Creating Unique Store Types Using WooCommerce Extensions – Part 2

Posted on April 3 by in Resources | 44 comments

Creating Unique Store Types Using WooCommerce Extensions – Part 2

On March 28, we published part 1 of this article, which covered unique stores that your could make with WooCommerce extensions, especially when selling in bulk, working with multiple providers or using complicated distribution methods.

This article is part 2 of the series. We’re going to cover some unique WooCommerce store types for items you probably wouldn’t normally sell with e-commerce. For example, services or items that don’t have pre-defined pricing because they need quoting first, come in multiple parts, or don’t exist yet. We’ll also look at interesting ways to use common e-commerce implementations, such as subscriptions or deals.

Here goes!

Freelancer project payments store

woocommerce-freelancer-store-img

Image by Goodluz / shutterstock.com

Sometimes, us freelancers think e-commerce is not for us because we don’t sell products with absolute prices and pre-determined costs – we sell services. This can be the case for freelancers of any type – writers, web developers, business coaches, translators, consultants and so on.

But the idea of easy online payment and automated orders sounds nice, doesn’t it? There are a few WooCommerce extensions that help freelancers accept payments and take orders for their services right on their own websites:

Offer a quoting option: While this plugin mostly allows shoppers to request a quote based on already-priced products, it can be handy for setting realistic expectations with sales leads. For example, they may want to buy a website from you. But they may not realize how much their list of requirements will take out of their budget. By using the Request a Quote extension, they can add items to their “Quote list” (like adding items to a cart) to get a running tally, then send off a message to you to get a more accurate quote, or ask for pricing on specific customizations.  (Note: there is a similar plugin with more features undergoing crowd funding right now that you can support.)

Charge for payment gateway fees: One thing I hate as a freelancer myself are the enormous charges on electronic forms of payment, especially with credit cards and international payments. With the Payment Gateway Fees & Restrictions extension you can make your client projects downloadable e-commerce products (if they are file-based) and then require the purchaser to cover the payment gateway fees. You can also use the Restricted Category Access plugin mentioned in our last article, to make sure only certain users can access those files for purchase.

Set up recurring payments: If you have monthly clients that you service with a set number of hours each month, or with a retainer, you can use the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin along with IgniteWoo’s Subscriptions Sync plugin to get all your clients on a regular billing cycle, charging their credit cards automatically. More on this is discussed below.

Prices based on ‘how much you need’ store

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Image by Sebastian Duda / shutterstock.com

Some people sell products that they traditionally didn’t think could be sold online because their prices vary based on customer need. For example, selling flooring, wires, or fabric. With the Measurement Price Calculator, you can solve this dilemma and enter the world of e-commerce, finally!

You won’t have to feel restricted to packaging your products in pre-set amounts, which may turn customers away if their needs are not going to be accurately met by packaged pricing. For example, let’s say you sell fabric. If you didn’t have a measurement calculator, you’d have to sell your fabric in pre-set lengths. But what if a customer needs a fraction of that length, or needs the fabric to not be cut at a certain length? They might just go somewhere else where they can buy the product in store and have it cut to size.

This Measurement calculator, or allowing people to sell by customer-defined units, is obviously useful for construction and trades materials (like floor boards, baseboards, and so on). But there are other creative ways it can be used. Such as:

Catering: With catering sometimes the price depends on a quantity. That quantity could be the number of people for things like wedding parties. But what if you are selling snacks and appetizers for a party and want to sell based on the weight of the cheese wedges and prawn skewers you are making? You can let your customers pick how much they want.

Farm food sales: Some farms sell their produce, dairy and meat fresh from the source. Using e-commerce, they can ship or allow for pre-paid pick up. For example, farms can continue to sell produce, meat and things like flour, nuts or sugar by weight, and not have to worry about carefully pre-packaging products for sale. This way the customer can order what they need, as they would in a grocery store.

This idea would work with any food store that sells in bulk, such as candy, coffee or spices.

Fabric and craft material: a clear choice for selling fabric without the overhead of needing a ‘real’ store to do so. If you import fabric with neat patterns and accessories such as zippers, lace and yarn, you can allow people to buy based on yard, as they traditionally have done.

Tradeshow and market space: Tradeshows traditionally sell by booth, and if you want to make a big impression at a popular tradeshow, you can rent more space.  Local markets or pop-up shops can be the same way. With this plugin, you can sell space at your event based on square footage.

Commissioned art: Sometimes you want your own masterpiece, but painting on a small canvas is not the same price as hiring a painter to do a wall mural for you. With a measurement calculator, artists can allow their commissioners to price their projects based on the surface size of the painting.

Build-a-product store

woocommerce-composite-bundle-products-img

Image by Robert Kneschke / shutterstock.com

Sometimes when you sell a product, it has many components that a customer has to pick from in order to complete the purchase. Creating variations of all the possible scenarios in WooCommerce is possible, but not really feasible to manage, and certainly harder to use. But you don’t have to let this hold you back from pursuing e-commerce sales. You can use extensions to solve and automate the ordering process for you! No more “call us for more info” messages on your website!

For example, let’s say you sell a woodwind instrument like a saxophone or a clarinet. The buyer needs to pick a reed to go with it, as well as a case and probably a mouthpiece. But the buyer has options – how thick do they want their reed to be? And what color case do they want? If selling a guitar, the guitarist will need a pick and capo, but there are different ones to choose from that will have different effects and probably come at different price points.

The Composite Products extension will allow you to create complex scenarios for selling multi-part products that have to go together, but depend on customer choices. Like SLR cameras and their lenses, dolls and their dresses, gift baskets and their bows or paint roller frames and their covers.

Using the Force Sells extension, you can automatically add additional items to a user’s cart that will be needed for a product in question, but that don’t come with options. For example, gift wrapping on a gift basket, or, as WooThemes explains, “if you are selling iPad glass repair as a service, you can link a new glass window as a forced sell product.”

Other times, multi-part items are not dependent on each other, nor do they require configurable options. However, you’d want to encourage sales by bundling static items together at discounted rates, since it would make more sense. For example, selling coffee with a coffee maker and coffee grinder. For instances like this, the Product Bundles extension for WooCommerce would be easier to use than Composite Products.

In another example, you may want to offer a needed item for free with a core product, or just as a “gift with purchase.” For example, free ink with a printer, or free lipstick with a perfume bottle. To do this, you can use the Chained Products extension. But remember, this is for offering free items after a customer purchases something else.

To understand the differences between these ‘build a product’ extensions and their possibilities with WooCommerce, check out their comparison chart here (which also explains how the “Grouped Products” feature works out of the box in WooCommerce).

Note: Along these lines, you may also want to check out the Fancy Product Designer plugin to allow people to make their own designs on customizable products.

Startup-style stores

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Image by docstockmedia / shutterstock.com

This one comes in what I like to call two ‘styles’: Lean Startup style and Kickstarter style. Thankfully, there are WooCommerce extensions that can do something similar to both.

If you’ve read The Lean Startup by Eric Reis or even The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, you will have heard of the idea of selling a product before you’ve made it. It sounds crazy but it can work, and usually more effectively than ‘guessing’ what people will buy first.

AppSumo calls this “validation” and they did it with one “wantrepreneur” by using Craigslist. But you don’t have to use Craigslist. You can get more real than that. You can set up a store and, using the WooCommerce Pre-Orders extension, you can get an idea of how many people would actually buy your product before you make it. That means you can sell an e-book before you write it, or test out a new color of an existing product you sell before you start manufacturing it, plus more.

The great thing about this extension is that it doesn’t charge your customers until you “release” the order, so you don’t have to worry about refunds if the project doesn’t end up going through.

This might also work in place of a deal-style store, where the ‘deal’ doesn’t happen until a certain number of people buy into it (the traditional Groupon model).

But let’s say you want to take a twist on the “validation” technique and instead of pre-orders, you’d like to fundraise investment into a product using multiple backers, much like on Kickstarter. You can do this with the Name Your Price extension. With this extension, users can enter what they want to pay, not a pre-set amount that you set up for a product.

Note: the Name Your Price extension is not specifically designed to attract project investments, so if you want to show the total amount raised on your site, you may need to do this manually or have it specially coded for you.

Aside from the above, you can also use Name Your Price to fundraise for a charity or to sell gift-certificate-style vouchers for in-store usage later (as seen on its sales page). Museums that are by-donation for entry can also use this extension for example, as an incentive to pre-sell tickets to their venue so people could then avoid lineups.

Limited or daily deals store

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Image by Champiofoto / shutterstock.com

We’ve all been amazed by the success of sites like Groupon and Living Social. Since then, many upon many daily deal sites have popped up around the web. Are they still as big of a trend as they once were? Well, the quality ones may still be. But the idea here can go beyond just copying what the daily deal sites are doing. With the Limited Deals extension for WooCommerce, you may be able to set up expiring deals within your existing store, or set up a single product on your entire site that has an expiring deal.

The timer countdown on products can be a motivator to buy before the deal is up. That’s also why products like Scarcity Samurai were created. This is a great strategy for selling intangible products like a software package, training or a download of some sort. You can see this being applied by Neil Patel on his Quicksprout sales pages too.

Another neat thing to do with this extension is to target niche territories in the daily deal marketplace. For example, sites like AppSumo or ethicalDeal (which first opened up in my hometown of Vancouver, woo hoo!) cater to specific types of people. Yes, that means their marketing turns some people away.

AppSumo deals are clearly geared towards ‘geeks’ and entrepreneurs that dig technology. ethicalDeal offers discounts only on items that are eco-friendly, or just generally good for humanity. These sites have a clear target market and aren’t trying to be the ‘every-kind-of-coupon’ store that competes with large companies like Groupon and Living Social (which probably wouldn’t be a smart move at this stage in the game). These are just two niche marketing deal site examples for you to be inspired by (and no, they are likely not using WooCommerce, but that doesn’t mean you can’t!).

Subscription-based stores

woocommerce-subscription-img

Image by serdar bayraktar / shutterstock.com

Ahhh, subscriptions: the most popular way to make passive recurring income, right? Well, sometimes. Having a recurring stream of revenue is always going to be easier than continually investing and re-investing into making the sale or attracting new customers. It’s a great business model, especially if you have a product your customers can’t live without (or think they can’t, I should say!). And subscriptions don’t only work with magazine-style content or intangible products like training platforms and software access. They work with services (discussed above) and products too.

Here are some ideas: people need coffee (and other groceries) every month, so they could set their order to arrive regularly, without having to manually do their online shopping (which would likely cause them to forget, or go shopping elsewhere!). This could work with toothpaste, shampoo and beauty cream too! Or painting supplies for painters, or even inventory to stock up retail stores (see part 1 of this series for other plugins that cater to bulk ordering).

But subscriptions aren’t that unique, and we were almost going to exclude the topic from this article. However, we found some neat WooCommerce plugins that can make subscriptions highly customizable and flexible, which makes them worth mentioning.

First off, we should mention that yes, you can handle subscription payments with WooCommerce, using the Subscriptions extension. Keep in mind however, that this extension is going to be limited by PayPal’s subscription rules. The biggest hurdle I have found to this so far is that if someone adds both a subscription and a non-subscription based product to their cart, they won’t be able to check out in the same transaction (because PayPal doesn’t work like that). Also, if you want to offer a product as both a one-time purchase and a subscription option, you need to create two separate ‘products’ in the WooCommerce back end to do this.

People can log in to cancel their subscriptions, either on your WooCommerce cart or in PayPal. Also, if you want to use subscriptions with an affiliate program, some of the ones that integrate with WooCommerce can give out monthly recurring affiliate payments, or do so automatically. So if you don’t want this feature, make sure to contact your affiliate plugin author to find out how their commissions are triggered, or how to limit them to a first-time purchase only.

If you want customers to be able to say what day of the month, or how frequently they would like to make payments towards product purchases, or let’s say for a donation, you can also add in the Name Your Price extension mentioned above.

If you want to get all your clients on a same-day billing cycle, you can use the Subscriptions Sync extension by IgniteWoo (which requires the Subscriptions extension to work!)

If you are selling memberships and want to charge by subscription using WooCommerce, you should check out the Groups extension (which requires the Groups plugin from WordPress.org). Since some of you might be asking, keep in mind that while the Wishlist membership plugin is popular, its integration option with WooCommerce cannot take recurring payments, unfortunately.

Note: If you are aiming to sell training programs on WordPress, consider using a learning management system (LMS) that can integrate with WooCommerce or another paid membership style plugin. For example, try Sensei (which is made by the same company as WooCommerce), LearnDash integrations, or WP Courseware. You’ll need to check which ones can handle monthly payments if you do go this route and want to stick with WooCommerce.

To conclude: WooCommerce can do more than we think!

Have we covered every type of unique store you can make with WooCommerce? Certainly not! WooCommerce has become so extensive as an option for conducting e-commerce that the exploration of possibilities only seems to open more and more possibilities. And hey, it’s quite possible that shortly after writing this post, even more solutions will have been released! That’s the exciting part about it, and a great reason to choose WooCommerce for your online purchasing needs. Not only does it offer plenty of options, it also won’t compromise the e-marketing side of your business, which you can do exceptionally well right within WordPress.

If you have more ideas of how to use WooCommerce extensions, or experience with any of the plugins listed in this article, let us know in the comments below!

And be sure to check out part 1 of this series here!

Article thumbnail image by woaiss / shutterstock.com

44 Comments

  1. Hi, nice article although I would rather see some tips on how to include Jigoshop for example than WooCommerce…

    Like many people I’ve stopped using WooThemes because of their massive “policy and price changes” each month….

    Did you actually count how much it costs on a yearly basis (license) for a small store to use WooCommerce and extensions, it’s ridiculous.

    The amount of blog posts you guys are putting up is amazing and we love it, but please stop “promoting” WooCommerce or WooThemes as a decent store solution because they suck. So that’s said :-)

    • Hi,

      I think they plug Woocommerce because it is the main ecommerce solution ET include/recommend with their themes.

      I totally agree with what you are saying. Woocommerce really try to gouge people with ongoing expense. At times it even feels like they don’t really care about their customers. I imagine they provide better service & more effort if you are a paid member?

      Though it is a free product … although they are trying to do the direct upsell.

      On my site: http://affinityshop.com.au/

      I have managed to avoid paying huge fees for heaps of addons.

      One thing that is cringe worthy is their price discounts plugin (dynamic pricing) … rip off & they should have integrated it in their plugin. $129 per year to maintain any level of support for their product? Wow… when it should have been included in their product to start with.

      I found Bulk Pricing though which is a nice alternative (has gone up in price since I purchased it). But third party plugins often don’t integrate as well.

      Love the information ET provide.
      Nice article though Joyce! :)

    • Hello Andy and Chris,

      Thanks for your comment. WooCommerce is probably the most widely used e-commerce system for WordPress. Since this is a WordPress blog, it makes sense for us to mention it here. Many themes include WooCommerce support out there. I do think it would be valuable to have some discussion about Jigoshop, but I doubt Jigoshop is expanding at the rate of WooCommerce (though correct me if I’m wrong).

      Regarding price and quality, I should say I have used or been exposed to other e-commerce systems before, both for WordPress and those that are separate commercial products. I don’t think the price with WooCommerce is high at all. For what they offer free out of the box, it is amazing. It is foolish to expect that you get preferential treatment for something that is free.

      Also, many of the e-commerce systems out there that are as powerful as what WooCommerce can do with customized extensions bill monthly. Those prices are cumbersome and are raised based on things like site visitors or products or things like that. I would much rather have the control that WooCommerce extensions provide, so I only pay for what I need and am not restricted by visitor counts or something else. I also get the full power of a widely used CMS.

      Regarding their service, in my experience with WooCommerce compared to other WordPress e-commerce plugins, I have BARELY had to submit support requests, which reduces my own unbillable time with my own clients. And when there is a problem, they fix it. And they get back to you right away. And there are no limits on support. All that for a $50 or $100 extension? That’s peanuts.

      I am learning that in this industry, you get what you pay for. If paying $100 for an extension on a free product is too much for you, you might be in the wrong industry :)

      • Let’s not be under any illusion Joyce ….

        If you have to pay $129 per year for 1 website to be connected to a dynamic pricing plugin that is already offered on other free ecommerce options like WP Ecommerce … then that is expensive.

        So that one plugin means you are paying $10.75 per month … for one additional feature that should already be included?

        Woocommerce has finally sorted itself out in the main … in the past it has been riddled with silly bugs. If you don’t buy any of their paid products what support do you get then?

        As I said .. I applaud them & respect them for providing such a great free product. Though their business model is slightly warped … gouging people with addons is not smart. Why not just charge a decent price upfront & give people the features they need?

        Bigcommerce … @ $24.95 per month … & look at everything they provide (yes there is a cap to 100 products). Free exporting your products if you want to move. Hosting, Themes are not cheap though quite a few free ones.

        Shopify @ $29 per month with 2% transaction fee. Hosting, SSL heaps of payment gateways, 100+ themes, great support included.

        To buy all of the woo themes $399 … wowsers! Or to buy 1 theme … with 1 year support $99 (yes u get 2 free themes apparently).

        So if you want to get:
        Dynamic pricing $129
        CSV product export plugin $79
        Paypal Express/Advanced $79/$99
        Anz Payments $79
        Woo Subscriptions $199
        PDF Invoices $79
        Table Rate Shipping $199

        So all for a bargain basement price for 1 website for 1 year of updates/support $843!!!!

        $70.25 per month …. & they are what i would consider fairly basic features.

        Yes there are some free options or you might not need it all …. but seriously.

        The competitors are offering hosting … world class support teams …. etc ! ?

        So let’s not beat around the bush Joyce …
        Please correct anything if I have made an error or if I am unaware of anything.

        But yes I am content to stay with woocommerce! lol
        All I can say is lucky they have companies like ET helping people through, providing support & solving heaps of the woocommerce issues.

        • Hi Chris,

          I’m not beating around the bush at all, I’m just telling you what I think.

          So if you want to calculate all those things and if they come out of the box with the monthly subscription type of e-commerce stores, and you don’t care about blogging or the power of using WordPress for your site, then yeah, maybe those other systems are cheaper and you should go with them. Who am I to stop you?

          I’ve never had a client need that many extensions and that’s the beauty of WooCommerce to me – you only take what you need.

          In my own experience, I haven’t had hurdles with WooCommerce the way I’ve experienced them with other WordPress e-commerce plugins. The countless hours I had to spend troubleshooting with WP E-commerce and Shopp were very painful, endless days and since I’ve switched to WooCommerce I’ve barely had to submit any support requests. Certainly not with it’s core, maybe with a few of it’s extensions. But they are so minimal I can’t even count them on one hand. So for me, my time is valuable, and worth money too. So I’m saving by paying the $100 or whatever to get support and a system that doesn’t give me problems. And really, it’s not me paying for it, it’s my clients’. I believe it should be their license anyway, just like their site is their site after they pay for it. They buy their own hosting and stock photographs too – I want it all to belong to them. I only provide a service.

          If I went with the commercial subscription type of e-commerce solutions I would lose the power of WordPress being integrated with my client stores, which for me, is necessary as an e-marketer, if not just really useful.

          It’s a time saver in itself to have them be in one system too. Even if I used WordPress ‘on the side’ as a sub domain, I wouldn’t get the full effectiveness of it. For one, the UI and design would be hard to make seamless with that of the store and there would always be two logins. Not ideal for my needs at all.

          So there is value to me in paying for WooCommerce and some extensions, as needed. I’ve never had it come to $800 though, as you’ve calculated. Maybe if I came across one of those situations and if it were really a problem with my client, we would look into other options.

          But so far, I’m happy with it.

          No beating around the bush….that’s truly how I feel.

          If you want to go for something cheaper, that’s fine. No one is stopping anyone from making that decision.

          This article was just about the extensiveness of what is possible with WooCommerce, not about the price of anything. So we’re really off topic here.

          • We are in agreement. I am a happy woocommerce camper … mainly because of ET.
            I was responding to your comment: “I don’t think the price with WooCommerce is high at all.”
            I think other people have been valid in saying it’s probably not wise for ET to put all their eggs in one Ecommerce basket … though I would hate to think of the complexity & workload that could be introduced.
            The day WooCommerce decided to leave out some core functionality & introduce it as paid, expensive plugins was the day their business model went down hill.
            But it is insanely good, what they offer anyway. :)
            Thanks for the discussion Joyce. I really like your writing style. Thank you for all the great information.
            Keep it up please!
            <3 :D

        • If you did a little research, you would find that there are many alternatives to the “official” extensions that tend, in fact, to be even better, offer more functionality etc. For example, you can trade the “official” WooCommerce Subscriptions extension with Subscriptio which does not look worse:
          http://codecanyon.net/item/subscriptio-woocommerce-subscriptions/8754068

          Almost any extension has alternatives developed by various companies.

    • Yes,

      Guys at Woo charge a lot, but the fact is that in the long term their products help you to save money and make money all at the same time. In the grand scheme of things that prices of their extensions and themes are minuscule when you compare to how much value guys at Woo provide.

      I look after a lot of websites and a lot of them are in multiple six figure / seven figure range. We use ET + Woo on all of them.

  2. Great article. You make a great point with your example for use as a freelancer payment portal.

    You wrote this post just as I was struggling to solve a problem with a woocommerce/elegant themes website I developed for a client. I would be ever so grateful if you could help me out here: My client http://www.whatwater.com sells waterproof device cases but they want to add on warranties as well. They want these warranties to show up as products but without the option to add the warranty items to cart or checkout. Is there a simple way to hide the add to cart button for only those items?

    • I would probably use the Force Sells extension with this, see above in the article.

      • That’s a great idea. I just looked at the sales page for this extension and it doesn’t specify whether or not the forced addition can have variations. Basically, I want to include a free warranty by default but leave the option to upgrade to a paid warranty. Any idea if that would work?

        • I think they do have an “option” there, or you may be able to use the cross sales or up-sells function within a product. I would check with WooCommerce on this one. Especially if you plan to use it with variations, that might get more complicated. Or you could try composite products extension, and the warranty can be a choice for them. Maybe it will work in conjunction with the optional form of “Force Sells.”

  3. Excellent article, I never knew half of these extensions existed and you’ve just solved a variety of requests by my clients who use woo! I’m off to read Part 1 to glean even more goodness from the awesome @ElegantThemes peeps!

  4. Great in depth article and very informative.

    However I have to agree with Andy above…
    Have you seen much each extension costs??

    Subscriptions – $199
    Measurement Price Calculator – $129

    Luckily ‘Request a quote’ is only $14 lol

  5. Agree with Andy. Now, maybe ET has a lot of high-end companies that can use all of the power and the flexibility of WooCommerce, and are willing to eat the cost and that is great. I cannot do that. If ET caters to them, fine. But there are a lot of us out here who are perfectly happy with WP Simple Paypal Shopping Cart and would appreciate some help making our sites, perhaps meager by comparison, look good, too. I have known several people who have dove into WooC with both feet and been stunned by the amount of customization necessary to make it work. Good system, yup. Small-time entrepreneur friendly, nope.

    • Is WooCommerce the new Apple … drum roll … as I type away on a macbook pro.
      Woops .. I didn’t mean it .. seriously I didn’t. :D

      • Hi Chris, I actually like using that example when explaining it to my clients. In a way, WordPress itself is the same way. The idea is that you don’t overload the base product with too many features that not everyone will use. You allow the users to decide how they want to customize their experience. It’s a great model.

    • Hi Tim, if you want to use a PayPal button you won’t get the extensibility of using an e-commerce system. That is totally different. E-commerce systems allow you to much more complex sales, like variations, and, as you can see in both part 1 and part 2 of this article, many more scenarios.

      A PayPal button would be simple for a very, very simple purchase option. It wouldn’t work if you have a large inventory or many SKUs to operate. In fact I would argue it is not really a “store” in that sense. Updating the PayPal buttons for each product is very cumbersome and manual when you do it that way. I would not recommend it for complicated product types.

      If you are looking for something free….well, you will get free :)

    • We chose WooCommerce because we think it is the best plugin on the market. Purchasing these extensions is not necessary to use the theme, and without them you are still getting more functionality than Simple PayPal Shopping Cart. For those who run their business on WooCommerce, hopefully these business expenses would be worth it.

    • Although I’m currently using WooCommerce and am relatively happy with it. I keep it light by avoiding extras so as to keep my clients ‘happy’. Its is good to know the potential like the articles mentions but I do concur with Andy and Tim above. … Small-time entrepreneur friendly store plugin integration would be great and helpful (too).

      • Hi Serge, WooCommerce is fine for a light and simple e-commerce store, and it’s free for its base version, so you should be fine with that.

        If you want to run a business using any kind of e-commerce anywhere, then you won’t get good quality for ‘free’ anywhere, at least not that I know of.

        Shopp recently started offering their plugin for free, but you have to pay for yearly support, and in my experience with their system, you will always need support, so going without it is not an option. But with WooCommerce, even at its free version, I rarely ever need support.

        WP E-Commerce as far as I know has a free version but I would never use them personally because historically they have been very, very, very bad at support, even with paying customers.

        But even with these other WordPress e-commerce plugins, you need to pay for something more than their base.

        There is also iThemes Exchange and WP eStore by Tips and Tricks for digital products.

        If you want to be entrepreneur friendly and want to also have more power and complex e-commerce abilities, your other option is to go with something like Shopify or BigCommerce or the like, and pay at least $30 a month.

        While it would be nice to have everything for free, we have to remember that somebody’s gotta get paid for their work….

        • Hi Joyce,

          Yes of course there other options out there and in a way you get what you pay for, point taken. :)

          I think some of us a just saying; any chance you guys could add other light eStore plugin integration with ET’s? …and I hear you have considered some… and I too hear the reasoning why some are left out.

          I certainly have looked and looked around what would work best for my last client for example; An artists Coop none profit organization. So yes I’ve considered many; Cart66, Jigoshop, MarketPress, SShop, eShop, … and then some, but my decisions came down to its compatibility and integration with ET’s. Cart66 was by far my preference but it did not work well with DIVI so I gave it up and chose WooCommerce.

          Anyway, there you have it. :)

          PS. CodecCanyon.net has some good priced plugins for WooCommerce… not sure about the ones you mention in your article mind you, but there are some if one digs around.

    • “appreciate some help making our sites”
      Elegant themes is a theme/plugin developer , maybe you should consider hiring a web developer?

      “perfectly happy with WP Simple Paypal Shopping Cart”
      Fantastic keep using your solution, what is the problem then if this works for you?

      “stunned by the amount of customization necessary to make it work.”
      So why not use your choice of WP simple since apparently it requires no customization. Problem solved.

      “ET caters to them”
      Your more than welcome to integrate other e solutions yourself if you find it so easy.

  6. Thanks for those wonderful articles.

    I have a question. But it is not related to the subject. I spent good time on it to find answer but until now I still searching. I’m looking for Support Plugin (with functionalities similar to ET support form, for ET members). From your experience, can you please suggest some plugins? Most importantly, I need it to work well with Divi. Because I tried many but they are not fully shortcode supported which mean cannot be used with dynamic pages. Please help!

    • Hi MBT, I often see support forums run by a third party service like Zendesk, so you may want to look into that as an option. IgniteWoo has a support option, but I am not sure how it works. Also there is BuddyPress, or bbPress to look into. As for their integration with Divi, I’m not sure myself. I would check out the docs, but you probably won’t get a good answer here on a post about WooCommerce :)

      • Thanks for your prompt response and suggested solutions. You’re completely right!!

  7. Good article, Joyce.
    The possibilities for using WooCommerce have become really extensive. I particularly like the paragraph to pre-order and to the subscription order.
    I’m looking forward to your third Atikel to this series .

  8. Interesting read Joyce and shows the flexibility that’s there.

    I hadn’t really needed to use ecommerce up until a very recent project and as Divi is my choice of theme for all of my recent sites (great job ET its truly amazing!) then Woo was a contender.

    I looked through many options from simple shopping cart, jigoshop and loads of the others you mentioned above – mainly because I had been very incorrectly led to believe you could barely do anything with Woo out of the box. However, I’d also noticed a course on Lynda.com about using Woo – http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-tutorials/tour-WooCommerce/122464/134028-4.html. I duly watched the course and couldn’t believe how many options and how powerful it is without buying anything!

    I appreciate that Woo have been given a lot of stick recently for changing prices etc. and have agreed with a lot of the sentiments I’d read (lifetime means lifetime etc. – although I’d also see that they’d backtracked and grandfathered that in). Sadly this kinda led to me avoiding them and having an unfairly negative opinion having never really used their stuff much before.

    What I watched on the Lynda course has brought a total turnaround to my attitude and I think WooCommerce is without a doubt one of the best made and feature rich free plugins I’ve ever seen (the course is also an excellant and very thorough introduction to it and ecommerce in general as well).

    Admittedly I’m further swayed by having a really nice easy overview of how to use Woo from watching the video versus having to read an awful lot of documentation but I’m certain that Woo is the right solution for us at this point, not least as everything we need for now is free. As mentioned by others if we needed to add other features then I’d be happy to pay the fees in return for ease of use and seamless integration with WP – if I didn’t think I’d gain more than it would cost me then as a rule I wouldn’t buy the extension.

  9. “then require the purchaser to cover the payment gateway fees.”

    Be careful with this one. I know passing credit card fees was once illegal in the US, but I’m not sure with court cases and rulings from 2013 where it may have changed in some locations.

    I believe it is still illegal to pass on payment processing fees in 10 states. It may also be against the card issuer’s agreement with the merchant or customer.

    http://knowyourcard.org/articles/checkout_fees

  10. So happy to have found your excellent post! Am new to WooCommerce and have a client meeting about a storefront site next week. I was nervous about the amount of development needed, but the “Build a Product” composite plugin is the perfect solution.

    My only question is about how easy it is to style the look and feel of the product pages for more complex plugins. A post about optimizing UI and UX would be really appreciated.

    • +1

      Divi and WooCommerce, layout and styling pls

  11. Hello Joyce, I have found http://www.sellfy.com to sell on-line only, I will sell courses, it is simple and just 5% of each digital product, do you have and opinion? Thanks for your great articles.

  12. I’m having problems setting up a basic store. Any resources you recommend to assist with this?

  13. Hi, great post! Thanks for sharing!

    Do you know any extension that can turn a store into coupon site: each product will have another (lower) price until a certain day? This is an idea we’re after: http://remtsoy.com/tf_templates/koupon/

    Thanks.

  14. Hello Joyce,

    Thank you for outlining unique Woo Commerce options. It was very helpful. I’m not sure that either Composite Product or Product Bundles is going to work for my particular product. I want to sell a custom vegetable box. So, one would select Small Veg Box, then add 7 vegetables to their box. I can imagine how Composite Product might work: Choice #1 (drop down list of 50), Choice #2, etc, but that feels clunky. Is there a better way? And then, what if I want to offer a Large Veg Box, with 15 items. I’d be so grateful if you could make a suggestion.

  15. After I installed the latest theme update, I can’t remove the shopping cart icon from the primary menu? We are planning to sell our products on request-a-quote basis and I don’t need the shopping cart link anywhere on the page. Please suggest a way to remove it.
    Thank you very much for this article. It’s been very useful.

    • If you need help with anything, please open a ticket in our support forums so that our team can assist you.

  16. Comparing WooCommerce to either X-Cart or Magento. The cost of fairly common addons for either get very expensive. X-Cart only recently moved to having a core, otherwise all of your addons were intergrated into the core. So you had to pay a pretty hefty amount to update all of your custom changes each update release. So even when you add up cost for a decent theme, most common payment gateway plugins, shipping plugins, CSV import suite and so on. It works out being very well priced.

    X-Cart or Magento are not the most out of the box logical for setting up an ecommerce site.

    Really impressed with WooCommerce so far, have around 35k products in a dev site for testing. Migrated products from an X-Cart site.

    Cheers
    Luke

  17. Great article, Joyce !

    WooCommerce has really made the life of ecommerce developers easy. have become really extensive. I have a client meeting about a storefront site next week. I was nervous about the amount of development needed, Because he want to set Separate Banner and Background for each of his pages so that his pages look more attractive to his buyers and “Custom Background and Banner for WooCommerce” plugin is the perfect solution for my need and made my work lot more easy.
    http://codecanyon.net/item/custom-background-and-banner-for-woocommerce-/6568775?ref=expertpro

    My only question is about how easy it is to style the look and feel of the product pages through custom coding and how supportive is woocommerce for huge number of products ?

  18. Hi Joyce,

    Some great extensions to woocommerce, but I’m still searching for something slightly different which I can’t believe isn’t possible! Do you know of any way to set up woocommerce to display products only on certain days? E.g. Monday Products 1-4, Tuesday 5-10 etc, repeating the cycle weekly/monthly – The closest thing I can find is a daily deals plugin – but that will be designed to work alongside the catalogue as a whole I’m guessing – Do you (or anybody) know of an extension that would enable something like this?

    Thanks,

    Andrew

    • Hi Andrew, thanks for the suggestion. I’m not sure if there is something out there than can do this, but if you do find it, let us know here! There are schedulers in WooCommerce that you can use, but probably not to automate the days of the week like you seem to want to do it.

      I think when a need is this specific and not necessarily something the masses would use, it becomes a question of whether it’s worth a developer’s time to make a plugin for it that can be re-sold at a profit. So in these cases you might have to go with something custom-made, which will be a lot, but would probably meet your needs more specifically.

      It’s an interesting concept, I’m just not sure the benefit or real-life scenario of how or why products would only be sold on certain days of the week. Maybe you can elaborate more and we’ll better understand the idea behind it :)

      Also, if you think it’s something more people would like to use, perhaps you can consider investing in producing the plugin and start a little side business for yourself :)

  19. Hey Joyce..
    great information here.. i just don’t seem to be able to find my solution :( maybe you could make a suggestion?

    I’m a novice building a site where I need to offer services that are “Name Your Price” for the customer. I believe, I need to set my service provider up as a product that can have variable non-static pricing. Basically a customer names the price that they are willing to pay for our service and we shop it with our providers. When we find one that accepts we want to load a shopping cart with that provider (as a product) with the agreed upon price and send the shopping cart link back to our customer so they can check out.

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