This post was updated in July 2017 to add new options, and update information about existing options.
Just like WordPress itself is capable of transforming into many forms, so is WooCommerce.
WooCommerce is a great plugin for running a web store on WordPress, however, it is not just a web store, it is quite a versatile plugin that can be used for a variety of other purposes.
The reason WooCommerce can do so many things is that it has an excellent built-in payment engine, which other plugins can tap into. So even if you’re not actually selling products, you can still use this engine and its many different payment methods.
Transforming your WooCommerce website into something different is done by using additional plugins or extensions as they are often called.
In this article, I’ll cover 10 different WooCommerce extensions to give you some ideas of what you can do with WooCommerce, with one recommended plugin for each purpose. Feel free to Google around and see if there’s an alternative plugin that may better suit your specific needs. And with the July 2017 update, I’ll also add five additional items that you can take a look at!
Whether you are selling hotel rooms like in the demo, or tickets to your very own stand-up comedy show, using a bookings plugin takes care of it. It uses a date and time calendar to allow visitors to select the time they want to place a booking.
The plugin is quite ingenious by giving you enough ways to control your calendar, preventing over bookings or no shows. You can even have a customer check availability with you first. The plugin also takes care of the invoicing, using the WooCommerce payment option.
Plugin: WooCommerce Subscriptions
Subscriptions are used for allowing recurring payments. This plugin is simple yet powerful to sell subscriptions for newspapers, online access, products etc. It even synchronizes with many popular payments gateways. So when a customer cancels his subscription with the provider itself, the subscription gets cancelled in your store as well.
It doesn’t matter if you are selling physical or online products with monthly or yearly subscriptions. As long as it is recurring, this plugin will fit the bill.
Plugin: Groups for WooCommerce
WordPress already has an excellent Groups plugin which can be used to define membership levels. Combine that with the Groups for WooCommerce plugin and you can begin selling paid memberships. Add the aforementioned Subscriptions plugin and you can even sell recurring memberships.
Paid memberships are very popular with mastermind or study groups. This way a new member needs to pay for a membership, after which they get access to the premium content the author is providing. Coupled with subscriptions, the author is assured of a recurring income from their group.
4) Facebook Store
WooCommerce offers a free plugin to connect your web store to Facebook. This plugin allows you to setup a shop on your Facebook page, and synchronise your products between your web store and your Facebook page. Also included is a Facebook ads extension, which you can use to (re)target your visitors on Facebook by using a pixel.
Setting up is very convenient. After you install the plugin, you are guided though a process in which you can select the relevant page. The Facebook pixel is made on the spot, and the products are imported to your Facebook page right away. You then only have to wait for Facebook to process the images, texts, and links after which you’re done.
This is one of my personal favorites when it comes to originality. By adding a few extra functions to WooCommerce you are suddenly capable of becoming ‘the new eBay’. This plugin allows you to run one or more auctions for your products, including bid history and countdown timer.
After a winning bid is decided, the bidder can pay for their article right away, of course all managed by WooCommerce. There’s even a ‘My Auctions’ section so bidders can keep track.
All sounds pretty obvious for an auction site, but don’t forget it is still WooCommerce we’re talking about. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
At first this plugin looks like a very simple way of notifying drop-shipping companies you work with of new orders. This way you can sell their products as your own in your web store, and when it comes to an order, an email gets sent to the supplying company.
But this plugin takes the process a bit further, by also accommodating for status updates. It does depend on the willingness of the supplier to cooperate, but if they do, you will only need to spend limited time on managing orders. The plugin even keeps track of the amount of money you owe the supplier.
7) Amazon Store
I mentioned this one before but it is such a great plugin it’s worth mentioning again. It uses Amazon’s API to fully integrate its products into your web store, in such a way visitors won’t even know it’s Amazon.
You can even use the reviews placed on Amazon itself and it’s ‘Frequently Bought Together’ recommendations. Only when a customer decides to checkout they are taken to the checkout page on Amazon.
Because it’s just a WordPress plugin you still can use the native functionality. This way you can run a separate blog on your site, or combine the plugin with other WooCommerce/ WordPress plugins and functionality. This plugin is perfect if you want to gain experience in running a web store, without worrying about stock or payments.
8) Affiliate Store
Demo: WooCommerce Demo Product
Plugin: WooCommerce (built-in)
This specific feature is one of the reasons why WooCommerce is so popular, since it is another (free) way of selling products without keeping an inventory.
Granted, you aren’t actually selling anything since you are referring customers to a different company to make the sale. However, you can give you visitors a shopping experience, use cross-sells and/or up-sells and easily combine affiliate products with your own if you’re up to it.
It is a perfect way of testing the waters, you can even combine it with the Amazon store mentioned above. It is built-in, so you don’t need additional plugins.
As you can see from my example in the demo and screenshot, it’s very simple to set up.
There are cases when you don’t want to sell a product right away, but would like to have a customer ask you for a quote first. For example, when a customer wants to order in bulk. Instead of using email or phone to negotiate the sale you can use this plugin, which adds an extra option to the WooCommerce product listing page.
You still need to follow up outside of your web store, but it sure saves you the hassle of discussing a large order with different products by phone. You only need to confirm the price and close the deal.
10) Paid Job Listings
This plugin requires the free WP Job Manager plugin to work and has a paid extension to it. It allows you to sell job listings for recruiters looking for candidates. Unfortunately, the demo hasn’t included this actual extension.
If you want to run your own job board with only minimal costs this is a great way of doing it while still using all the power of WooCommerce.
Bonus Recommendations From 2017 Update
11) Name Your Price
The plugin can be used if you want to take a more liberal approach for selling your products, by letting buyers decide how much they want to pay. You can also specify a fixed price, with a variable component on top of it, if you want to earn at least a minimum price for your product.
The plugin can also be used if you want to receive donations, and want your visitor to specify what to pay.
If you want to create your own marketplace, where you act as the middleman, the “Product Vendors” plugin is an excellent solution. You can have your vendors manage their own stock and listings, and you get a commission for every sale your make.
While this may look similar to drop-shipping, it’s actually even better. But having your vendors doing the tedious work of managing inventory, you can focus on building and promoting your web store. You can also choose to display your own products on your marketplace along with the vendors, to get an even bigger share of the pie.
If you can find the right vendors to go for this model, this plugin allows you to run a full-blown web store with a relative low risk. You take in the payments, deduct your commission, and pay the vendors their share.
13) Design Your Own Product
Have your customers design their own mugs, t-shirts, business cards; basically any product that can be customised. This plugin gives your customers an easy to use tool to upload their own images, and to add any text they like in various colours.
The plugin allows for dynamic pricing based on the elements and materials used, and the amount of layers. You can specify the amount of flexibility you want a customer to have, based on your own production process.
If you want to build a relationship with your customers, it’s perfect to have a CRM to keep track of communication and orders. Especially with large ticket items, keeping in touch is key in both getting the order, as maintaining the relationship for future orders.
This WordPress CRM integrates nicely with your web store, keeping track of customer’s orders, email and chat logs, and status. It can also be used as stand-alone CRM, without the need to sell anything from your web store.
15) Point of Sale
This Point of Sale (POS) plugin shows the enormous flexibility of WooCommerce, and it’s capability to transform in anything sales related. By using this plugin you can sell the same stock in both your physical store, as well as in your web store. This way you can never run out of inventory without you knowing, along with stock notifications. You can even run multiple outlets, and still stay in sync across all venues.
The plugin is compatible with multiple types of hardware, like bar code scanners and payment gateways. It also has excellent customer management, so you can keep track of returning customers.
As you can see WooCommerce is capable of doing way more than just selling products!
The open architecture of WooCommerce allows for many variations in functionality, which all of these plugins make excellent use of.
If you have the skills, you can even build something yourself, as it comes with extensive documentation.
Please let me know in the comments what you think of using WooCommerce this way, or even add new suggestions to this list.