WooCommerce – what is it, development history, features
WooCommerce is an open source plugin designed for e-commerce websites built on top of the WordPress CMS.
The first version of WooCommerce was presented in September 2011. From the time of its creation to the present day, the plugin has undergone many evolutionary changes and has quickly taken its niche among e-Commerce sites.
The plugin has gained its popularity among website developers primarily for its ease of installation, ease and speed of setup. An important argument in favor of WooCommerce is that it is free and can be installed by anyone.
In terms of the scale of e-business, solutions based on the WooCommerce plugin for WordPress allow you to easily create e-commerce sites for small and medium-sized ones.
WooCommerce development history
The origins of the WooCommerce plugin were developers Mike Jolley and James Koster, who were hired by the owner of WooThemes. Essentially, WooCommerce became a final product that was developed as a separate branch of development called Jigoshop.
In the first three years of its existence, more than 380 thousand sites were built on the basis of the WooCommerce plugin. (data as of August 2014) As a percentage, this number accounted for about 18% of sites that were engaged in e-commerce on the Internet.
Since then, the project has continued its development and in November 2014 the first conference dedicated to the WooCommerce project was held. The event took place in San Francisco, California USA. The conference was attended by about 300 people from different countries.
The WooThemes and WooCommerce projects were spotted and bought by Automattic in May 2015. As a reminder, Automattic Inc. is a web development corporation founded by Matt Mullenweg. The company is affiliated with the operator WordPress.com.
Using the WooCommerce eCommerce plugin
Statistics show that the WooCommerce plugin can be used even on highly loaded sites, the Small Press Expo being a prime example. As of 2015, at least 30 percent of sites were known to be powered by WooCommerce. The number of active installations at that time was in the millions.
The field of e-commerce is constantly growing. As of 2018, the number of e-commerce sites powered by the WooCommerce plugin has surpassed 3 million sites. With 40 million downloads, WooCommerce was the most popular ecommerce website builder in 2018.
Another striking indicator of the popularity of WooCommerce is the fact that around 4% of sites have pages that rank in the Top Million Best Pages. If before you doubted the advisability of using the WooCommerce plugin, now you have learned about some positive aspects that will allow you to make the right choice.
The development of any platform on the basis of which websites and e-commerce sites are built is impossible without customizing projects using themes and templates that would be suitable for a specific topic.
The development of templates for Woocommerce is carried out by a fairly large number of developers and often, themes are sold on their own sites. In view of this, it is quite difficult to count the number of templates that are somehow associated with Woocommerce.
The degree of saturation of the template market can be estimated according to the statistics of large Woocommerce theme providers. Below are some numbers:
ThemeForest catalog has over 1135 Woocommerce templates
WordPress.org repository contains 548 WooCommerce themes
Mojo Themes has about 240 WooCommerce templates
Extensions for WooCommerce
WooCommerce has gained significant popularity among users due to the fact that its base component is free and available for everyone to install. The commercial component of the platform is manifested in the availability of paid extensions and plugins for the WooCommerce plugin.
As of 2018, there are over 300 different extensions and over 1000 plugins developed for the WooCommerce plugin. Apart from this, there are a large number of add-ons that are sold at a fixed price.
The popularity of the WooCommerce plugin has been facilitated by the evolved templates developed for WordPress. Most of the premium themes have WooCommerce support. Plugin development follows a similar scenario, many of them are compatible with WooCommerce.