The Google definition of eCommerce is: ‘commercial transactions conducted electronically on the internet.’
For most people, though, eCommerce means online shopping — buying physical goods from Amazon is the textbook eCommerce example.
Looking at it through the WordPress lens, however, eCommerce is synonymous with one plugin: WooCommerce.
This article actually feels rather timely, with Automattic’s acquisition of WooCommerce just last week. In the aftermath of the acquisition, one particular statistic caught my eye: WooCommerce powers over 650,000 storefronts.
Those storefronts sell all manner of physical goods: socks, furniture, dolls, sport equipment — you name it, it’s sold with WooCommerce.
It’s easy to forget that you can sell far more than physical goods with WooCommerce, though. Today, I want to discuss what else you can sell with WooCommerce.
Let’s start with a simple one: services.
You can actually use the core WooCommerce plugin to sell services: all you need to do is add your services as products — hey, it’s not sophisticated, but it works!
If you’re looking for a better way to sell services, though, it’s possible to extend the core WooCommerce functionality by installing a plugin. Personally, I’m a fan of the WP Estimation & Payment, available from CodeCanyon for $19.
This plugin is ideal for selling services with big variations — for example, web design projects. Customers build their custom projects by selecting from the variables you offer, then the plugin provides them with an estimate. By integrating the plugin with WooCommerce, the customer can then proceed to the checkout to make a payment.
2. Digital Products
WooCommerce can also sell digital products – including eBooks, MP3s, videos, and software.
Again, this can be done using the out-the-box WooCommerce plugin.
When creating your product, simply check that that product is downloadable. When a customer makes a purchase, WooCommerce will make the digital product available for download immediately.
3. Subscription Models
eCommerce stores are increasingly tapping into the potential of a subscription-based business model. The logic is simple: it costs less to retain customers than it does to attract new ones.
Want an example of this business model in action? Then consider a coffee club: customers are sent a new coffee each month so they never have to worry about running out.
You can automatically schedule recurring payments with the official WooCommerce Subscriptions extension. The extension, costing $199, allows you to collect recurring payments every week, month, or year.
What use is an appointment-based business without appointments?
Good news: the WooCommerce Bookings extension adds appointment-taking functionality to your website.
The extension allows prospective customers to schedule their preferred time and date, with WooCommerce automatically blocking out unavailable slots to avoid double booking. With their preferred slots reserved, customers can make payments by following the usual WooCommerce checkout procedure.
You can buy WooCommerce Bookings from WooThemes for $249.
5. Membership Websites
By integrating the Groups plugin (free) and the official Groups for WooCommerce extension ($79) with the core WooCommerce plugin, you can sell access to your premium content — otherwise known as a membership site.
Let’s take a quick look at how this combination works in practice:
- The Groups plugin restricts access to content depending on a visitor’s membership level.
- The Groups for WooCommerce extension lets you put a price tag on certain membership levels.
- WooCommerce handles the payments.
6. Photographs and Artwork
Looking for the perfect way to sell your photographs and artwork? WooCommerce can help with that, too, by extending the plugin’s core functionality with WooCommerce Photography.
Just drag-and-drop your photographs or artwork into WordPress, then let WooCommerce takes care of the rest — it turns each image into an individual product available for purchase. The official WooCommerce Photography extension is available from WooThemes for $79.
Hopefully today’s post shows you just how versatile the WooCommerce plugin is. The core plugin itself is fantastic, but by adding functionality through one of the many WooCommerce extensions, WooCommerce can sell just about anything!
What type of products do you sell with WooCommerce? Share your experiences in the comments section below!