From Magento to WooCommerce, 1 year on

Just over a year ago, I moved my site from Magento to WooCommerce. I explained my process of assessing and, finally, selecting WooCommerce at a 5-part series here on Practical Ecommerce. In this post, a year after making the change, I’ve come back to report my own experience.

First of all, I don’t have any regrets about moving to WooCommerce. Even though it has significantly fewer attributes than Magento, it’s still much better for the organization. Those last two words –“my company” — are a significant caveat. WooCommerce is not for everybody, just like Magento is not for everybody. WooCommerce is better suited to smaller companies with a fair array of inventory — not bigger businesses with thousands of lines.

WordPress and WooCommerce have more than lived up to their reputation for ease of use. It’s not hard to keep them up to date. This is unlike Magento, when updating made me worried that the website would break and need expert help. With WooCommerce, the update is the press of a button. Thus far, upgrading WooCommerce has been error free — nothing has gone wrong.

Rather than one large multi-store Magento website, I run several discrete WooCommerce websites. My yearly hosting invoice is exactly what I used to pay monthly with Magento. Yet my sites are significantly faster today than with the Magento website. (I ran version 1.8 of Magento, not 2.0, which is supposed to be easier on resources.) Nonetheless, the combination of WordPress and WooCommerce is much cheaper to operate than Magento.

The system maintenance is significantly easier, also. Whilst for Magento any update was a significant exercise, with WooCommerce it’s straightforward. Since WooCommerce doesn’t have the intricate layered navigation and super-menu attributes, I divide my inventory into different genres and have a web site for each. This should have made system maintenance more time consuming. Instead, I spend next-to-no time on system maintenance. It’s no longer a problem.

Keeping the stock current is also much easier. I haven’t missed the overly complicated”Add Product” procedure with Magento. Adding products fast on WooCommerce means I can spend more time getting the pictures right, which is vital for my high-value products.

Having orders spread across multiple sites would apparently be annoying. However, I use an order management system — Linnworks — which processes all orders and automates the WooCommerce processing. I don’t need to log into each website to manage each order.

Regarding plugins, after 16 months I realize some are essential and others I do not use as much as I’d initially planned.

By way of instance, the Yoast SEO plugin is indispensable. It continues to prompt me, to include and develop my onsite search engine optimization. I don’t spend nearly as much time on SEO as I should; the Yoast extension shows me this.

The Jetpack plugin, however, which I thought would be useful, with many features that I thought I’d use, I don’t use it whatsoever. The characteristic of publishing to Facebook is nice, but I found myself stopping its default activity and waiting until I had added a range of merchandise before posting manually one summary to Facebook. The other features I just never got around to using.

Other plugins, such as the grid-list toggle and the points and benefit systems, I haven’t used. There’s nothing wrong with them. I just don’t need them. The import plugin, although I highly recommend, isn’t really necessary after I went live.

In actuality, I’ve either disabled or removed over half of those plugins I initially installed.

Meanwhile, WordPress and WooCommerce have continued to grow and enhance their platforms. The last key WooCommerce release included an Ajax cart and checkout, making the cart and checkout process much more professional.

In the previous year, WordPress and WooCommerce have had many releases and upgrades. My plugins have experienced less regular releases and my subjects only occasional releases. However, all releases installed within minutes, no problem.

Maintaining WordPress and WooCommerce up to date is so effortless I’d consider continuing doing it on the Christmas sales period. I couldn’t do this with Magento.

In summary, the move to WooCommerce has been successful. I would never consider returning to Magento.