One of the main goals of the WordPress project is to democratize publishing. That means anyone can use the software for any purpose. Considering its dominant market position, the free, open-source content management system has lived up to that lofty ideal.

And, when you add WooCommerce to the mix, one can make the case that eCommerce has been democratized as well. It’s possible to run an attractive and functional online store for little more than the cost of a web hosting plan.

That’s a terrific selling point for small, uncomplicated shops. But more advanced projects aren’t so straightforward.

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Bertha is an AI-based writing assistant that has been trained on hundreds of billions of lines of content to help you write better content on your WordPress website.

At times, assessing the requirements of a WooCommerce project can feel like walking a tightrope. One mistake and you could lose money, a client – or both. But with the right approach, it’s possible to navigate these difficulties.

Let’s take a look at what makes the process so tough for freelancers. Along the way, we’ll share some advice for accurately determining project needs and how to communicate them to clients.

A Dizzying Array of Options

When it comes to functionality, WooCommerce employs a piecemeal approach. It relies on a massive ecosystem of extension plugins. Some come from WooCommerce itself (owned by Automattic), while others are published by third-party developers.

And then there’s the opportunity to extend functionality with custom code. If you know your way around PHP, the plugin has plenty of hooks you can tap into.

All told, this opens up a world of possibilities. But it also presents just as big of a challenge. Not only does it require a keen understanding of the ecosystem, but an ability to determine which extensions will fit a project’s needs.

Last but not least, it takes the skills to effectively communicate this virtual jigsaw puzzle to clients without overwhelming them. Oh, and we can’t forget about staying within budget. Got all that?

Choosing the Right WooCommerce Extensions is Difficult

Because there are so many WooCommerce extensions and they’re strewn about the universe, just about every choice we make becomes tedious. We want to be sure that the solutions we pick fit with our client’s needs both now and in the future.

To be sure, there are a lot of choices to be made. They cover everything from shipping methods, payment gateways, to cart enhancements like wish lists and product filtering.

Going beyond WooCommerce’s default behaviors requires a separate extension for each of these areas. And the extensions themselves may need to be customized to achieve the desired result.

Then there’s the potential cost. Many extensions have a yearly subscription fee. Costs can add up quickly for projects that require a lot of bells and whistles.

There are some free options, but there’s always a risk of relying on a plugin that may vanish into thin air should the developer lose interest. For key functionality, this has to be a major consideration.

And going outside of the official extension store means having to keep track of multiple points of purchase and support. This differentiates WooCommerce from proprietary software like Shopify, where add-ons are more centralized.

Therefore, choosing the right extensions from the start is crucial. In many cases, swapping them out after the fact isn’t easy. It may mean moving data around (always a tough task in WordPress) and potentially impacting existing customers.

How to Make a Compelling Case to Your Clients

In a way, building a WooCommerce site is akin to going to a restaurant that specializes in a multitude of food types. The menu is huge, the print is small, and the experience can be overwhelming. And if you feel that way, just imagine what your clients are thinking.

But part of a web designer’s job is to take a complicated subject and simplify it so that others can understand. With that, here are some tips for figuring out what your clients need and educating them on the process.

Explain the Benefits

Yes, WooCommerce can be a complicated platform to work with. But there are also real benefits. Thus, it’s important to point out why you’re recommending it over other eCommerce plugins or SaaS providers.

Among the biggest selling points of WooCommerce:

  • Data ownership and portability;
  • Being open-source means an almost infinite ability for customization;
  • It’s stable, actively maintained, and constantly being improved;
  • A large market share and dedicated community;

In addition, you might want to point out your level of experience. After all, a seasoned WooCommerce developer can often avoid many of the potential pitfalls that trip up newbies.

It’s also worth noting that some providers have launched managed WooCommerce hosting. They aim to give projects a boost by providing access to a variety of popular extension types. This could be a compelling option for some clients.

Ask Plenty of Questions

One of the more common pitfalls is discovering that an additional extension is needed in the middle of the site-building process. This is usually the result of not being on the same page with your client.

To avoid this situation, ask plenty of questions regarding their needs and expectations. An in-depth understanding is a key to determining the project requirements.

Of course, clients may not fully know what they’re looking for. As such, it may take a bit of back and forth to get the information you need. Encourage them to provide details and share other eCommerce sites they want to emulate. This will help you get a clearer picture of what needs to be done.

Stress the Importance of Maintenance

All WordPress websites need some form of maintenance. This is especially important when running a WooCommerce store.

It’s something clients need to be aware of. And there are a couple of key concepts you’ll want to share with them:

Software Updates
The first is routine software maintenance. Themes, plugins, and WordPress core must be kept up to date. This keeps the site secure and compatible with an ever-changing landscape.

But it goes deeper. Not only does regular maintenance need to be performed, but it should also be tested on a staging environment before being deployed to a production site. This helps to prevent problematic code from negatively impacting customers.

Setting up a staging environment may require more money. But that’s better than losing sales due to a buggy update.

Ongoing Costs
Speaking of money, the other concept involves the costs associated with maintaining a store. For example, some clients may balk at yearly subscription fees for extensions.

However, there is a great risk in letting these licenses lapse. You may miss out on support, security fixes, or new features. Not to mention the possibility of losing compatibility with future versions of WooCommerce.

The costs of maintaining a site are well worth it. Clients just need to know what they’re getting and what’s at stake.

Sponsored by

Bertha is an AI-based writing assistant that has been trained on hundreds of billions of lines of content to help you write better content on your WordPress website.

Selling WooCommerce Gets Easier with Experience

WooCommerce is a vast eCommerce platform. That may sound scary – and sometimes it is. But it also holds the potential to build some incredibly diverse websites.

The capability to add niche functionality is part of what separates WooCommerce from most proprietary services. The others often require that you settle for what’s being offered. Woo, on the other hand, provides you with the tools to make it your own. In the right hands, it’s powerful stuff.

This isn’t always apparent to clients, though. That’s why selling them on it can be so challenging.

Thankfully, you have a secret weapon at your disposal: experience. This enables you to educate clients on why WooCommerce is a fit for their organization. And you can also demonstrate what they can accomplish with it.

WooCommerce projects are not the most straightforward. But with practice, you can develop a process that simplifies even the most complex online stores and convinces clients to buy in.

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