WooCommerce is the power behind an amazing 35% of all E-commerce websites on the internet (according to Built With). It’s popular for a reason, it’s ease of use, it’s price (free) and the incredible support behind it. When you mention WooCommerce, the first thing which springs to mind is a shopping cart but thanks to WooCommerce product add-ons there are many more possibilities of usage for this versatile platform.
As you will see below, there are other WooCommerce plugins (and add-ons) available beyond the standard E-commerce website setup. This article reviews a number of already existing solutions that can be used to spark your next big idea. Here are the top 5 alternative uses of WooCommerce besides a shopping cart.
1. Booking and Scheduling Appointments
If you provide a service it is possible as an alternative use of WooCommerce to allow visitors to your site to schedule appointments and bookings using WooCommerce bookings or similar plugins. You can offer time slots and a calendar as a booking possibility and set different prices depending on the day of the week, time of day, resource to use and other parameters related to the booking. You can allow bookings of differing lengths and have options for selling your service as part of a bundle.
WooCommerce Bookings and similar plugins can integrate directly with your Google Calendar allowing a 2-way sync, so you don’t get any double bookings. Customers are able to reschedule if they need to, and you don’t need to do anything to make sure there’s not a conflict. Customers are able to search through booking dates to check if you have availability when they need it.
Really and truly, besides this being more convenient for your customers, you may also reduce overhead and resources associated with reservations.
WooCommerce product add-ons recommendation: WooCommerce Bookings
2. Running a Membership Site
If you have a hobby, passion or interest, run a club or organization that you are expert in, or you run a store and you want a VIP section with extra special products and discounts – a membership site is a great possibility to make some income (or boost the income of your club). Whatever your scenario, you can create a membership site around both to help other people and monetize as you do so.
Membership sites allow you to charge recurring fees for access to your content, content which is locked away behind a paywall (monthly, annually, etc).
WooCommerce has a solution for membership integration allowing you to set different prices for different tiers of access. You can set up recurring payments and set how long a membership lasts. It also allows integration with Paypal, Stripe and many others.
Membership integration, and the alternative use of WooCommerce, allows you to automatically send out customized emails when someone joins and renewal reminders if you aren’t using recurring payments.
WooCommerce product add-ons recommendation: WooCommerce Memberships
3. FBA Business Using WooCommerce
Just in case you haven’t heard of FBA before, it stands for ‘fulfillment by Amazon’. FBA allows you to leverage Amazon’s advanced order fulfillment network to remove the biggest headaches from selling online. It makes reaching more customers easy, allowing you the chance at greater profits by efficient scaling.
Essentially, the idea behind FBA is you handle the marketing, selling and order-taking, whilst Amazon handles the actual fulfillment (i.e. delivery of the goods).
Amazon will take care of packing, shipping and the tracking of orders for you. This leaves you to focus on the more important and less mundane aspects of running an FBA business, such as product selection, marketing … and profiting!
The alternative use of WooCommerce in your FBA business allows you to automatically fulfill orders from your website, and let Amazon deal with any issues which may arise from the sale. Customers will automatically be able to benefit from the normal Amazon shipping options, including the very fast delivery times for Prime members.
Customers and you will receive email notifications when products are ordered and shipped, and your stock levels will automatically be synced between Amazon and your store when items are sold. Your customers can then track their package through an order page in a similar way to how the Amazon site would allow.
Essentially, this is a full store, without the logistics of sourcing, stocking, storage, shipping, and handling.
WooCommerce product add-ons recommendation: WooCommerce Amazon Fulfillment
4. Amazon Affiliate Site
One of the easiest ways to start an E-commerce business online is through an Amazon affiliate website. Earnings in Amazon’s affiliate program vary depending on the product categories you are promoting but you can earn from 3 percent when linking to toys, and up to 8 and even 10 percent for furniture sales and tech for example.
If you are an Amazon affiliate, the alternative use of WooCommerce can make things easier and more profitable for you by doing all of the hard work on integrating with Amazon products.
There are Amazon affiliate plugins that make adding Amazon products to your blog simple and fast. Plugins that automatically add descriptions, the live price and stock numbers to your site. All you need to do is search for a relevant product category, and products will be populated on your site to your specifications.
You are able to show shipping, delivery times and inventory for multiple countries, as well as showing the prices in different currencies. It also gives your site the ‘Frequently Bought Together’ and similar product upsell options, all done automatically.
WooCommerce product add-ons recommendation: WooZone Amazon Affiliates
5. Create a Subscription Box Business
The idea of subscription boxes has been around for a while, with thousands of companies catering to almost every niche under the sun. You can offer customers a recurring plan where you send out a package of items at regular intervals, typically once a week or once a month.
The most successful of these businesses focus very closely on a particular niche.
The idea of this business is to get people a selection of products that they will like, at a very reduced cost. As the business is buying items in bulk you are able to get big discounts from suppliers when you scale the business up. Purchasing discounts can also be achieved because it is a means of introducing new products to a relevant customer base, so suppliers will be keen to do a deal with you. Essentially, it’s a different form of marketing.
Your job is to increase your customer base and source the different products.
The WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin allows you to manage billing, the creation of trial periods and gives your customers the ability to manage their subscription to your company. This allows for a customer to upgrade or downgrade their subscription plan at any time.
This plugin also gives you the option to email your customers with special offers or discounts, in addition to informing them that they need to renew their subscription. You will be given a detailed sales analysis of your subscriptions at the end of each month.
Although there is more logistical work involved in this business, the value of such companies and business models is huge. Given that customers are paying on a regular basis, if you keep your customer churn low, the rate of growth and profit of such businesses can get very significant very quickly. Visit The Ultimate Guide to WooCommerce Subscriptions for further information about the WooCommerce subscription model.
WooCommerce product add-ons recommendation: WooCommerce Subscriptions
Conclusion: The Top 5 Alternative Uses of WooCommerce Besides a Shopping Cart
As we’ve shown you in this article, with the use of WooCommerce product add-ons and plugins, the platform is more than just a shopping cart. These are just 5 of the possibilities, or alternative uses of WooCommerce, for extending the scope of WooCommerce. Other notable plugin options include auctions, design your own product and job listings.
If you are already using WordPress for your content management, WooCommerce is very easy to integrate – it’s just the download and installation of the plugin. And remember there is a very wide variety of plugins to suit your needs – both for WordPress itself and for WooCommerce.
Golden Oak Web Design can also help you set up any of the above use-cases with expertise in both the WordPress and WooCommerce niche.
Contact us today to see how we can help you get started.