I have been developing WooCommerce shopping carts for the past three years. I find it easy to use as well as develop for clients with a business model that will support it. I find it to be a great low-cost alternative that allows business to continue using WordPress for the content management and be able to seamlessly manage their cart in the same administrative area.

As with any of these free software packages, it is important to define any of their functionalities up front as modifications that are not supported by third-party plug-ins can be prohibitively expensive. WooCommerce is the most popular shopping cart in use on the internet today.  Its popularity is driven by its ease of installation and use.

WooCommerce is a third-party plug-in that will turn a WordPress site into a full featured shopping cart. While WooCommerce is free to be downloaded, many features required paid plug-ins to add the required functionality. This functionality ranges from how product functions and displays, all the way to hooking up to any of the major payment gateways.

A major advantage of WooCommerce is that it makes use of the WordPress theme system so that the modification of the look is relatively easy to achieve as it is using native WordPress pages to create the functionality. Another advantage is that, because it is integrated seamlessly into WordPress, “product Widgets” can be easily added and managed. Additionally, there are a number of available plugins to purchase that can enhance its functionality.

The number of available plugins is driven by WooCommerce’s popularity. In just over three years, WooCommerce has had around 2.5 million downloads. This will continue to drive features due to its increased demand and popularity.

However, WooCommerce sits behind functionality when it comes to tying into 3rd party systems like you would expect with a larger cart system such as Magento. The lack of reporting tools means that in most cases WooCommerce is more suited for the needs of startup stores and small to medium sized businesses. Any amount up to $500,000 a year would probably work fine for WooCommerce.

As WooCommerce is not a standalone piece of software like Magento or X-cart, it takes more to maintain not only the WordPress installation, but any of the plugins that have been installed. This means that as the cart fills up with data, doing backup to do these upgrades becomes more cumbersome. Another disadvantage is that WooCommerce is subject to all the vulnerabilities of the WordPress site it resides on.