Planning on building an online shop using WooCommerce, but not sure if you can afford the e-commerce plug-in for WordPress?
Learn how much WooCommerce costs and discover additional expenses you may not be aware of. Find out if WooCommerce is the right digital tool for your small business.
The WordPress-WooCommerce Connection
The good news is that WooCommerce itself is free to use.
However, there are other factors to consider.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS). You use it to publish posts, design your site and do maintenance work. You use WordPress plug-ins to add features that aren’t available out of the box.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plug-in: You can’t use it with any other CMS.
According to W3Techs, more than 30% of all websites use WordPress and about 15% of WordPress sites are using WooCommerce.
Although WooCommerce is free, there are associated costs tied to using WordPress, including hosting and domain registration fees. (You also can buy a WordPress theme, though some themes are free.)
Web hosting makes it possible to launch a website. It stores the files and assets your site needs to run.
There are a number of hosting platforms that work well with WordPress, including HostGator, A2 Hosting, DreamHost and GoDaddy.
There also are WordPress-hosting companies that offer WooCommerce bundles.
One example is SiteGround.
BlueHost offers a similar package.
Hosting prices will vary depending on the service provider. In general, the more features you require, the higher the cost.
Finding the right hosting plan for first-timers can be confusing as most web hosting providers will offer multiple types of plans.
Going back to SiteGround, it offers web hosting, WordPress hosting and WooCommerce hosting.
Notice that the prices for each plan as well as the features included are the same.
No matter which you choose, it should allow you to install both WordPress and WooCommerce. But if you select any of the plans under WooCommerce, it would come preinstalled with all the tools you’ll need to get up and running.
Note that most hosting companies offer plans at a discounted rate. However, that amount can double or triple once your plan is renewed.
Tip: Since you’re looking to start an e-commerce site, you want to look for a hosting platform that offers SSL certification. It’s an internet protocol that increases security while browsing the web. It’s a must-have for any online store. You see it in action whenever you encounter uniform resource locators (URLs) that start with HTTPS:// instead of HTTP:// (which is becoming less common).
You can’t launch a site without a domain name.
There are web hosting plans that include one free domain. GoDaddy’s Economy web hosting plan provides this perk.
But that isn’t always the case. You will have to buy a domain if the plan you select does not cover it.
Domain names with common words or phrases can cost more than those that are unique. These expensive domains are referred to premium domains. According to A2 Hosting, reasons include:
- Length — Shorter domain names are easier to remember. That’s why they’re worth more.
- Branding — If a domain name is suited for easy branding, its price will go up.
- Keywords — If a domain name includes sought-after keywords, that will affect its price.
What domain extension (.com, .net, .biz, etc.) you use will also affect pricing.
According to NameCheap, registries (or companies that sell domain names at wholesale prices) set the price for registrars (companies that sell domains at retail).
However, a nonprofit organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) regulates the prices of old domains (.com, .net. and .biz). That’s why they’re cheaper.
But new domain extensions such as .club, .shop and .news are unregulated at this time. That’s why wholesalers can mark up the prices. The same can be said for country domain options such as .us for the U.S. or .ca for Canada.
Also, some registrars sell domains at a higher price than others. For example, GoDaddy sells fastcarheaven.com for $11.99.
But the same domain can be bought through NameCheap for $8.88.
You also need to take into consideration how much the domain will retail when you renew your registration.
WooCommerce can work with pretty much any WordPress theme. The problem? Not every theme is suited for an online store.
That’s why there are developers who sell themes that are built specifically for e-commerce.
WooCommerce offers free and paid themes that work with their platform.
You’ll want to pay attention to their Storefront theme, which is designed with online retailers in mind.
Storefront is free. But you’ll have to buy extensions to unlock some of its other features.
There’s no set price. Some extensions can be used for free. Others cost anywhere from $19 to $59.
You can use third-party themes such as those from Theme Forest. There you can find themes that are sold for less than $50.
It’s important to mention that while premium WordPress themes aren’t free, the cost of hiring a web designer and building a site from scratch can be much more expensive.
Hiring an experienced designer will cost thousands of dollars.
WooCommerce: Pricing for E-Commerce Basics
A simple online store can probably get by without relying on other WooCommerce features. But if you want to unlock the plug-in’s other features, you’ll have to start spending money.
As previously mentioned, the WooCommerce plug-in is free to install and has a number of basic features:
- You can use it to add a store section to your site with no limit on how many products you can sell.
- There’s an option to add product variations such as size and color.
- You’re able to track product inventory, set your prices and categorize products.
- Customers can leave reviews. You can track coupon usage. It can do a lot of things.
What it doesn’t do, however, is process payments.
You will have to connect to a payment processing provider such as Square, PayPal or Stripe so customers can pay you through WooCommerce.
Depending on the provider, you may end up paying for their service.
You can install Stripe, Amazon Pay, Square and PayPal at no cost.
But if you’re using PayPal Pro, First Data, Sage Pay or Worldpay, you will have to spend $79 for each extension.
This is on top of the transaction fees that each provider sets for its users. Square, PayPal and Stripe get 2.9% (plus 30 cents) per transaction.
Your free WooCommerce plug-in comes with direct connections to United States Postal Service (USPS) and Canada Post. Using either service will mean spending cash on shipping fees.
If you plan on using another shipping service such as United Parcel Service (UPS) or FedEx, you’ll need to buy extensions.
Note that buying a shipping method extension doesn’t mean you get features such as shipment tracking. That may require an additional cost.
For example, USPS is included in your WooCommerce installation, but if you want to show your customers accurate shipping rates in real-time, you’ll need to buy an extension.
WooCommerce: Pricing for Marketing Features
WooCommerce comes with extensions for marketing as well. How much you spend on marketing extensions will depend on what integrations you need.
Let’s start with email marketing. Services such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor are free, but other extensions aren’t.
Tools such as Follow-Ups, which automatically contacts customers after they buy your products, costs $99.
If you want to automatically attach invoices to processed orders, you’ll have to pay $79.
WooCommerce also sells social media extensions, though choices are limited at this time.
WooCommerce’s Facebook extension is free. This allows you to use the Facebook Ads extension and launch a store on your Facebook page.
The Instagram and Pinterest extensions will cost you $29 and $79, respectively.
The Share Your Purchase extension lets customers share their purchase on their social media accounts. It costs $29 to activate.
To keep track of analytics, WooCommerce provides its users with Google Analytics and other relevant tools.
While Google Analytics integration is free, a Pro version can be purchased for $79.
Other marketing tools such as KISSmetrics and Mixpanel can cost more than $100.
You’ll also need to manage your site’s search engine optimization (SEO). Yoast is 1 of the most popular SEO plug-ins around for WordPress.
There’s a version that can be integrated with WooCommerce. It’s called Yoast WooCommerce SEO Plugin and it’s available for $49 per site.
It has a number of features, such as having information on pricing and available stocks show up on social media posts. A link brings Facebook and Pinterest users straight to your store.
Yoast also has features that help search engines find and share your pages when users search for relevant terms.
WooCommerce Pricing for Expanded Functionality
Launching a fully functional e-commerce site will mean you have to invest in other crucial features. If you have physical stores on top of an online shop, there are extensions you can install to integrate the physical and digital realms.
You can use WooCommerce Memberships ($149) to offer loyal customers exclusive deals or offer targeted products.
The WooCommerce Checkout Add-Ons ($79) presents customers with relevant products before they finish their transactions.
A similar extension called Product Add-Ons ($49) gives customers a chance to add services such as gift wrapping and special messages to their order.
There are more extensions in the WooCommerce library that improve your customer experience and promote your products.
Visit WooCommerce’s extensions page and see which ones you think you’ll need.
Visit our blog for other marketing tips for small businesses.