What is WooCommerce?
That is a good question and one I would like to explore in-depth. The short answer is, WooCommerce is a popular free plugin for WordPress that will bring eCommerce functionality to a WordPress site.
How Popular is WooCommerce?
Taking a quick look at the download stats at the WordPress plugin repository, as of today, WooCommerce has been downloaded just shy of 15 million times. I would say that WooCommerce is probably the most popular shopping cart software on the market. As of March 16th, 2016 according to BuiltWith, WooCommerce is the leading out-of-the-box eCommerce solution and is second only to custom shopping carts. Magento is the only other out-of-the-box eCommerce solution that even comes close to WooCommerce.
Why is WooCommerce So Popular?
This can be answered pretty quickly. First, WooCommerce out-of-the-box is ready to sell products and accept payments through Paypal. A person can literally install WooCommerce on their WordPress site, add a few products, get a Paypal account and they are opened for business relatively speaking. Anybody who have been in the eCommerce business for any length of time knows there is a lot more to selling online than just opening a store. But, in theory, you are only out of pocket whatever you paid for your domain name and hosting, if you installed WordPress and WooCommerce yourself. You may be out of pocket more money if you hired out the building of your site and store.
Regardless, reason #1 WooCommerce is so popular is because it is capable of selling without you spending a dime!
The second reason WooCommerce is so popular can be summed up in one word, Extensibility. WooCommerce is opensource. Therefore WooCommerce has created a thriving community of developers. There are hundreds of plugins for WooCommerce that can make your store do those things you need it to do. Whether you have complicated shipping rules or need a special payment gateway and everything in-between, you are sure to be able to find a plugin that will meet your needs.
Final Analysis of WooCommerce
WooCommerce has the power and customizability of an eCommerce platform that would otherwise cost thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop from scratch. Plugins are plentiful and the development community is huge. Because the plugins are licensed under the GPL license, we are able to offer many of them right here on PluginForage.com at a fraction of what you would pay to purchase them directly from WooThemes and other places.