Jan 29 2021

WooCommerce for Large-Scale Enterprise: What You Need to Know

AnnexCore

WooCommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce plugins for WordPress websites. Different estimates suggest that this free, open-source plugin powers almost one-third of all the e-commerce stores operating on the web. While small businesses are making the most of WooCommerce, several large-scale enterprises believe that this e-commerce plugin doesn’t offer the value and competence that their extensive operations need. 

We consider it a mere misconception and base our judgment on a list of reasons. WooCommerce has all the features and capacity to support the operations of a large-scale enterprise. In this post, we will make a detailed case to establish that WooCommerce is equally good for large enterprises as it is for small businesses and budding startups. We will also talk about how big organizations can make the most of WooCommerce use.

First, let’s look at how WooCommerce is a perfect match for your large-scale online operations. 

Is WooCommerce Scalable?

One of the most recurring concerns that large enterprises have about WooCommerce is its scalability. Stakeholders at large organizations believe that they can’t scale their online storefront if WooCommerce is at its backend. Before giving a detailed explanation, we’d like to clearly state that WooCommerce is scalable.

WooCommerce has been supporting online businesses with hundreds and thousands of listed products in successfully completing numerous successful transactions happening every minute. It wouldn’t have been possible if WooCommerce was not scalable. 

So, why did this perception of WooCommerce not being scalable form in the first place?

In the next section, we will discuss two major reasons why large organizations fail to scale their WooCommerce operations.

2 Reasons Why Large Enterprises Fail to Scale WooCommerce Operations

Over the years, we have identified two reasons why large enterprises can’t make the most of WooCommerce. 

Poor Choice of Hosting Service

Your choice of host for your WooCommerce-powered operations plays a decisive role in how you get to use WooCommerce. Large-scale organizations usually get a great start at WooCommerce since they are still in the budding phase. The majority of hosting services also manage to provide the required support in that initial stage. 

However, when requirements start increasing, hosting services fail to manage their pace with that uptick. Such hosting services don’t have additional server resources for managing the growing traffic, or they don’t recommend measures like shifting to a different package, using a different set of plugins, customizations, etc., to their clients on time.

An increasing load not met with necessary backend support from the hosting service results in the website performing poorly. These hosting service providers don’t take responsibility and blame “WooCommerce constraints,” presenting WooCommerce’s scalability features as poor to their clients.

No Focus on In-House Optimization

There’s a misconception that by using WordPress and WooCommerce for online e-commerce operations, there won’t be a need for any optimization or investment post-launch. In reality, WooCommerce development is not a one-time investment. A passive approach to managing WooCommerce can’t lead to smooth operations, and this is particularly true for large enterprises that receive a lot of web traffic and have to manage numerous transactions.

Enterprises need to continuously work with WooCommerce development experts to ensure that their online sales operations work like a well-oiled machine. WooCommerce operations don‘t run on autopilot and require continuous optimization. WooCommerce itself has employed four full-time developers and a designer for the continuous optimization of its online store.

Scaling Factors that Large Enterprises Need to Watch Out for

Scaling WooCommerce operations does not happen in isolation. Multiple factors collectively affect the scalability of a WooCommerce store.

Uneven Distribution of Traffic

Normally, a website doesn’t get even traffic on all its pages. When there is a traffic surge on the site, it will be on particular pages. For instance, if a store sells some products at a discount, those product pages and carts will attract more traffic. 

Hence, your team has to specially optimize such pages to manage the increased load. If you don’t take that particular pages into account and just generally optimize the entire website for increased traffic, you might not be able to get the scalability results you are looking for.

Non-WooCommerce System Codes

A large-scale organization’s e-commerce front can’t just run on the WooCommerce plugin. It will also require a customized theme and a range of other plugins. All these backend elements come together to determine how your online store performs during ongoing scaling. In other words, you have to keep tabs on the e-commerce front and optimize all system codes powering your enterprise website along with WooCommerce to scale-up successfully.

Digital Infrastructure

The digital infrastructure on which you lay the foundation of your WooCommerce operation plays a very critical role in your scaling efforts. Servers, bandwidths, SSL certificates, PCI integrations—many infrastructure elements need to be updated and upgraded with time as your online operations grow. If you manage to adjust, modify, and expand your digital infrastructure in line with your scaling needs, then the sky is the limit for your WooCommerce operations. 

Innovation, or the Lack of It

Large enterprises are the torchbearers of innovation in their respective niches and industry trailblazers. This spirit of innovation should come into when they improve and scale their WooCommerce operations. With its open-source nature, WooCommerce offers large enterprises a lot of room for innovation and scaling up. 

For instance, you can extend the functionality of existing plugins with the help of seasoned WooCommerce developers. Similarly, you can get custom plugins tailored exactly in line with your requirements. Similarly, there is a lot of potential for API integrations and developments that you can tap into for improving your WooCommerce store for growing requirements.

2 Ways to Improve Your WooCommerce Performance

As reiterated several times, WooCommerce performance is not just a function of WooCommerce activity. There are multitudes of other factors that determine how your WooCommerce-powered store works. Here, we’ll discuss two key measures you can consider to improve the WooCommerce performance of your large-scale business. 

Use Content Delivery Network (CDN) 

A content delivery network is essentially an extensively distributed platform running from multiple servers. The primary objective of establishing this network is to improve the loading speed of web pages by cutting down the physical distance between users and the server. Large-scale enterprises with a worldwide audience can improve the loading rate of their WooCommerce store’s content by using CDN. 

For instance, a large-organization based in California with a WooCommerce website can serve better to European and Asian users if it opts for a CDN instead of solely relying on US-based servers. Besides improving your service to a global audience, CDNs also work well as a server network if your store has a lot of content or frequently gets high traffic.  

Adopt Load-Balancing Protocols

Load balancing entails the traffic distribution of a single IP across various nodes to ensure that a single server doesn’t get overburdened and result in the website’s poor performance. The load-balancing activity involves a load balancer located between clients and backend servers of a server farm. This balancer takes incoming client requests and distributes them among available servers capable of executing those requests. Large organizations with a WooCommerce-powered front need to adopt load-balancing protocols to scale their operations in light of growing business needs. 

Choosing the Right WooCommerce Hosting Service: A Must for WooCommerce Success

By now, it has become pretty clear that a good hosting service is essential for WooCommerce success. There is little doubt that any large organization can benefit from the full potential of WooCommerce without getting a seasoned WooCommerce hosting service on board. Large enterprises looking to partner with a hosting service for their WooCommerce operations need to consider these things. 

Scalability

Scalability is the first thing you need to consider when choosing a WooCommerce hosting service. You must know the extent of their services for large-scale WooCommerce organizations. Since no hosting provider will say that they are not good with scaling, a good way to determine their scaling capability is to look at their portfolio. 

If a certain hosting service works with WooCommerce stores with 10,000+ products and 1,000+ daily transactions, you can buy their scalability claims. 

Support and Maintenance

The support and maintenance protocols are often the deciding factors between a good and poor WooCommerce hosting service. Large enterprises need continuous support. Moreover, they can’t afford extended downtimes, so they need maintenances at a quick turnaround. As a large enterprise, you need to work with hosting services that can assign a dedicated representative to take care of your support and maintenance requirements.

Security 

Security is another important factor that enterprises need to consider when choosing a WooCommerce hosting partner. Large businesses are always a target of cybercriminals. Moreover, websites with a large bulk of traffic are intrinsically more susceptible to security glitches. Therefore, organizations should know beforehand how good a WooCommerce hosting service is with its security measures.  

From providing software security to managing active malware scanning and establishing a sturdy firewall, hosting providers use a mix of solutions to provide a robust security cover to large-scale organizations’ WooCommerce operations.

Uptime Assurance 

Uptime is an important yardstick for determining WooCommerce performance. It represents the time during which a website remains up and running. Decision-makers need to temper their expectations and understand that no WooCommerce store can operate with 100% uptime. A store might not load in certain instances due to several reasons. On the other hand, achieving a 99% or even 99.9% uptime is possible. 

Any reputable WooCommerce hosting service guarantees uptime north of 99%. 99.9% monthly uptime is equal to approximately 45 minutes of downtime. In other words, a WooCommerce hosting service that assures an uptime of over 99% makes it certain that your WooCommerce store doesn’t have more than an hour of downtime in an entire month.

Tracking and Testing the WooCommerce Performance

There are some solid ways to determine how your extensive WooCommerce store is performing. 

Use Chrome DevTools

Chrome DevTools is a set of functions built directly into the browser that helps web developers track and improve the performance of webpages. Enterprises can use the Timeline panel of DevTools to get a bird’s eye view of how long their WooCommerce pages take to load. The Timeline tool also breaks down the loading time of individual elements. This information is useful for identifying the items taking the most time and fix them.

Track Add to Carts Rate

Note down your current volume and start tracking your add-to-cart rates to determine your WooCommerce growth. Depending on your store’s size, you can determine this rate on a daily, monthly, and hourly basis. WooCommerce has also launched a Google Analytics extension to find out add-to-cart rates.

Final Words

Picking a good hosting service, leveraging CDNs, load balancing, and continuous performance tracking are necessary for optimally using WooCommerce for a large-scale organization. By taking care of the things mentioned in this article, you will succeed in scaling enterprise-level WooCommerce websites without a hitch.

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