WordPress is not the same as WooCommerce. WordPress is a content management system that is used to build websites and WooCommerce is a free open source plugin that is used to add eCommerce functionality to a WordPress website.
When deciding to start an eCommerce store with WordPress, some people get confused about whether or not WordPress and WooCommerce are the same platforms.
I would like to believe that this confusion stems from how WooCommerce is sometimes marketed as an eCommerce platform that is built on WordPress rather than an eCommerce plugin or extension for WordPress.
This type of marketing language then leads some people to believe that WooCommerce and WordPress are the same platforms However, as stated above, this is simply false.
What Are The Differences Between WordPress And WooCommerce?
As I mentioned in the introduction of this article, WordPress is a content management system. A content management system or CMS for short is a software that is used to create, manage and modify digital content without the need for in-depth technical knowledge.
WooCommerce on the other hand is a WordPress plugin. A WordPress plugin is a software that adds extra functionality to a WordPress website.
Plugins can range in their level of technicality. Some plugins may only perform simple tasks such as adding an image slider to your WordPress website. Other plugins are very complex and add a wide range of features to a WordPress website. These advanced features can range from a frontend webpage builder or in the case of WooCommerce full eCommerce functionality.
Since WordPress is a content management system it exists independently and does not rely on plugins to perform the tasks that it was created to do. However, since plugins are extensions they cannot function independently and require WordPress to work.
This means that you cannot install WooCommerce by itself and lunch an eCommerce store. To launch an online store with WooCommerce you will first need to install WordPress and only then you can install WooCommerce to add eCommerce features to your websites.
What Features Does WooCommerce Add to a WordPress Website?
WooCommerce transforms any regular WordPress website into a fully functional eCommerce store by adding the following features.
- Product-specific tags, categories, and attributes: WooCommerce extends the functions of the existing WordPress tags, categories, and attributes feature by adding product-specific versions of them. Customers can then use these tags, categories, and attributes to filter their search when shopping on an online store that is powered by WooCommerce and WordPress.
- Embeddable products and checkout: WooCommerce allows you to display products and links or buttons to the checkout page on any page on your website.
- Customer feedback: WooCommerce adds a robust customer review system on individual product pages.
- Location Specific Features: The plugin determines the location of your stores and sets the region-specific currency, language, and units of measurements.
- Multiple product types: WooCommerce allows you to sell physical products that you can ship, digital products that your customers can download, and affiliate products that you can receive a commission on.
- Ultimate product variations: This feature allows you to create multiple variations of the same product.
- Integrated payment processing systems: WooCommerce integrates your WordPress store with payment processing systems like Stripe and PayPal for faster and easier payments. The plugin also allows you to accept credit cards, Direct Bank transfers, checks, or Cash on Delivery payments.
- Customizable Shipping options and rates: The plugin allows you to set different shipping options like pick up, local shipping, or international shipping and different shipping rates like free or paid shipping.
- Geo-location: Determines the location of each customer and calculates their location-specific taxes and shipping rates.
- Customer accounts and guest checkout: Your customers have the option to create an account or check out as a guest.
- Inventory Management: Fully robust inventory management system.
- Refunds: Ability to give customers refunds.
- Order Management System: This adds the ability to manage orders, edit stock, mark items as shipped, manage fulfillment and add customer notes to orders.
- Discounts: This allows the store owner to create unique coupons and discount codes to reward customers.
- Detailed dashboards: WooCommerce adds a fully functional dashboard that allows the user to track sales, orders, revenue, and other important data that is collected from an eCommerce store.
These are just the main features that stood out to me, an extensive list can be found at the official WooCommerce website.
Do WordPress and WooCommerce Share Any Similarities?
Although WooCommerce and WordPress are different products they do share two similarities, these are:
- Both WooCommerce and WordPress are owned and developed by the same parent company Automattic.
- Since WooCommerce allows the user to easily create, manage and modify the products on their store without any technical knowledge, you can say that in a way WooCommerce acts just like a content management system.
WooCommerce may share the same developer and have content management features just like WordPress but in the end, we must remember that WordPress is a content management system and WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin. Therefore WordPress is not the same as WooCommerce.