E-commerce pages are arguably the most important pages on your website. After all, these are the pages which directly generate revenue for your business. It’s no surprise then that you want to ensure your e-commerce pages will be able to scale alongside your business as it grows. So just how scalable is the e-commerce platform WooCommerce? Can it keep up with your growing inventory and site traffic?
What is Scalability?
Before getting into the specifics of how scalable WooCommerce is, it’s important to have an understanding of what scalability is and why it matters for your business. Simply put, scalability is the ability for your website to keep up with the increase in pages, content, and traffic that are inherent with growing a business. If a website isn’t scalable, then it will become sluggish, or even go down entirely, when high volumes of content need to be served. And, as you may know, site speed is an important factor, not just for ranking on search engines, but also for user retention.
The Most Popular E-Commerce Platform
Now that we know what scalability is, it’s time to back track a bit so we can answer the question, “why use WooCommerce in the first place?” WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce platform out there. That’s a bold claim to make, but considering 28% of all online stores use their platform it’s not an unfounded one. It’s also no coincidence that WooCommerce is the most customizable e-commerce platform available too. Customizability and popularity tend to go hand-in-hand — just ask WordPress.
WordPress Integration with WooCommerce
WordPress is the most scalable content management system available. And WooCommerce was built directly on WordPress to take full advantage of this impressive distinction. All the benefits of WordPress are retained by WooCommerce. There are thousands of optional plugins and extensions, a variety of different payment options to choose from, and it’s completely open source so changes can be made on the fly. No other e-commerce platform can match the customizability and flexibility of WooCommerce.
But how does customization affect scalability? With WooCommerce you can add functionality that you want, and remove what you don’t. This may seem like a no-brainer, but other e-commerce platforms take a more all-or-nothing approach when it comes to functions due to the fact that they aren’t open source. You don’t want all those unnecessary functions you never use to be slowing down your site when traffic increases. On the other hand, sometimes you want to incorporate additional functions into your online store as your business evolves. Perhaps you only accepted credit card as payment to begin with, but now you want to expand to PayPal as well. Scalable online stores are made easy with WooCommerce.
If you want to build a truly scalable e-commerce storefront, it’s best to start on a truly scalable platform.
WooCommerce: Scaling to the Limit
One of the most common questions about the scalability of WooCommerce, or any platform, is “what is the maximum limit?” The short answer is that we don’t know, but not because nobody has ever tried to figure it out. Rather, we don’t know because nobody has ever hit the limit of WooCommerce’s capabilities. There are multiple business using WooCommerce with over 100,000 products listed, and which make thousands of sales every day. And if that’s not impressive enough, Dave Hilditch tested the capabilities of WooCommerce with 1,000,000 products! We don’t know why you would ever need that many products, but it’s nice to know the option is available.
In fact, the only things limiting WooCommerce’s scalability are external factors. These include your server hardware, site speed issues due to too many plugins or poor site optimization, and bottlenecked site traffic. All of these negative influences can be effectively managed or eliminated entirely.
How WooCommerce Stacks up to the Competition
Although WooCommerce controls the largest share of the e-commerce market, there are two major competitors we believe should be mentioned. These are Magento and Shopify. While WooCommerce handles 28% of all e-commerce sites, the next largest is Magento with a measly 8%. So why would anyone consider using those platforms over WooCommerce? They must have some sort of advantages in order to stay relevant, right?
In fact they do. Magento and Shopify are easier for an independent user to get up and running with a large scale online store. However, you have to pay for “enterprise” versions of both platforms if you want a truly scalable e-commerce site, and neither are cheap. On the other hand, WooCommerce is completely free, meaning it doesn’t have an expensive enterprise version. Some competitors will point to this lack of an enterprise version as evidence that WooCommerce is only for small scale stores, but this is false. The reason there’s no enterprise version is simply because the base version of WooCommerce is scalable enough to do it all.
Experience Matters when Creating Online Storefronts
Unfortunately for a beginner building their first website, WooCommerce has a bit of a learning curve. To take full advantage of all this powerful platform has to offer, experience and expertise are required. There are thousands of extensions for WooCommerce, and unless you know what you’re doing it can get overwhelming. Because of this, there are better options for small scale entrepreneurs attempting to create their own e-commerce sites from scratch. However, WooCommerce is by far the best option for any business looking for a professionally crafted online storefront.
Choose Media Proper for your Online Store
Media Proper has crafted perfectly scalable e-commerce sites for a variety of clients, including Awesome Foods and Fizzano Brothers. To learn more about how a Media Proper-built website and online storefront is the right choice for your business, contact us today!