One of the most common myths about the (FREE) WooCommerce plugin is that it cannot scale. This makes people wanting to start an online shop with WordPress wary of using WooCommerce, despite its popularity. After all, everyone wants to grow their business and generate as much revenue as possible. Well, we’re here today to tell you that WooCommerce can scale and that handling a huge number of daily transactions is totally possible, if you know what you’re doing.

Can WooCommerce Scale?

We recently came across an interesting WooCommerce support thread labeled, “WooCommerce can hold 1 million products.” In it, someone wants to upload a whopping 1 million products to their WooCommerce shop before going live. And he wants to know if it’s possible. Piping in to answer is Automattic Happiness Engineer, Doug Aitken. Although he admits this is not an easy question to answer, he does claim that WooCommerce is capable of holding 1 million products. But he goes on to say that there’s more to it than simply uploading products to your shop. In fact, he states that the main concern anyone wanting to scale WooCommerce should be centered around whether the server/hosting you use can handle the daily influx of traffic and order processing you’re likely to have. So, the short answer is yes: in theory, WooCommerce can hold an enormous amount of products. But if you’re looking to grow that big, it’s important to arm yourself with facts about scaling an online business so you do it right. In the end, it won’t matter how big you grow your WooCommerce shop if no one buys anything.

What Does it Mean to Scale a Business?

According to WooCommerce, scaling your eCommerce shop means being able to grow without negatively affecting your store’s performance. In addition, they claim that there are four factors affecting an online store’s ability to scale:

  • The amount of traffic your site sees and how evenly distributed that traffic is
  • The WooCommerce plugin code
  • Other system code being used on your website
  • Web hosting services and resources available

WooCommerce has seen online shops with upwards of 100,000+ products listed and thousands of transactions processed a minute – without any problems. If this is something you want to do for your own WooCommerce shop, keep reading for some of the best ways to scale an eCommerce shop and maintain loyal customers.

1. Enable Smart Caching Procedures

40% of people will abandon your website if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. That’s a lot of lost opportunities (and money) for something as simple as site speed. If you don’t know already, enabling caching on your WordPress website is one of the best ways to improve its speed and performance. And the faster your web pages load for customers, the better the user experience. The problem is, online stores are dynamic. In other words, they are constantly changing as customers add products to their shopping carts and process their orders. If you enable caching on shopping carts, user accounts, and checkout pages, you could end up accidentally displaying one customer’s personal and financial information to another as a cached page. This is not the way to keep loyal customers. If you want to enable caching on your WooCommerce website, you can, but do so with care. For example, enable caching on static pages such as your product category and catalog pages so they deliver instantly to return customers. In addition, enable caching on your customer’s past browsing history. This is helpful for those that abandon your site before finalizing a purchase.

2. Optimize for SEO

By optimizing your online store for SEO, you create a more user-friendly website for your customers and help improve your search rankings, which can drive more traffic your way and secure you more sales. Although there is lot to SEO optimization, here are some of the most helpful tips:

  • Research your industry and find the top keywords
  • Monitor your website’s speed and performance on a regular basis
  • Check the functionality of your website on all device types
  • Start a blog and publish consistent and valuable content
  • Work on building backlinks to your site to boost your authority

The more work you put into your site’s SEO, the easier it will be to grow your audience base and your sales.

3. Use a Content Network Delivery (CDN)

Many WooCommerce hosts offer integrated CDN services. A CDN is network of servers that store copies of your website on multiple servers across the world. Then, when a site visitor lands on your website, the server geographically closest to the site visitors delivers your site’s content instantly. This strategy if great for reducing loading speeds, even as your traffic grows. It also helps reduce the chances that your online store will crash with an unexpected spike in traffic.

4. Create a Clear Sales Funnel

If you want to attract new customers and expand your business, it’s important to develop a clear sales funnel for them to follow. Here are the three main stages to focus on:

  • Stage One (Awareness): this is where you introduce new customers to your brand. Here you’ll need to acknowledge people’s pain points and show them how you can solve their problems.
  • Stage Two (Interest): once people have interacted with your brand, you need to keep them engaged through email marketing and advertisements to bring them back to finalize a purchase.
  • Stage Three (Decision): this is when you turn a browsing customer into a paying one. This includes things like on-site optimization to push people to product pages, abandoned cart emails, and remarketing campaigns.

If you engage people at all stages of the customer journey, you increase your chances of instilling trust in potential customers, turning casual site visitors into loyal ones, and securing more sales than ever.

5. Invest in Reliable, Scalable Hosting

Remember the story about the guy wanting to add 1 million products to his WooCommerce shop? If you want to add even a fraction of that amount to your own online shop, you’re going to need to invest in web hosting that can handle a scaling eCommerce shop. A good web host, especially one that specializes in WooCommerce, will make it easier for you to optimize your site for speed and performance. Plus, it will be able to handle the growing influx of traffic. If you’re wanting to scale your eCommerce shop, and are in need of a reliable hosting provider that can scale with you, check out our managed WooCommerce hosting. We provide a highly scalable platform that enables smart caching. Plus, we use the popular docker container technology to scale your store across hundreds of servers – without manual configuration. Lastly, we protect your site from malware, bots, and DDoS attacks so your site is always up and running, and automatically update all software so you don’t have to. Scaling a business requires that you optimize your site for speed and performance so you can make the best first impression on site visitors you can. Using a trusted web host to handle your site’s performance at every stage, you have the chance to grow your business, generate more revenue, and establish yourself as competitive online business that others will need to contend with.