WooCommerce is a free open-source plugin or functional extension built for WordPress. Thus, it allows you to avail all the features of WordPress, arguably the best Content Management System (CMS) and use it to run your store online.
As WooCommerce is an open-source plugin, you can customize every aspect of it and even build custom extensions for it.
Taking the statistics from official WooCommerce website into account, With 42,842,572 downloads, WooCommerce powers over 28% of all online stores. This makes WooCommerce the most popular e-commerce platform on the web.
How WooCommerce Works?
WooCommerce can help you create an online store and sell a variety of products and services that include digital goods, physical products, memberships and affiliate products.
Using WooCommerce is as simple as it can get. All you’ve to do is log in to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to the ‘Plugins’ menu and click ‘Add New’. Type “WooCommerce” in the search field, and click ‘Search Plugins’. You’ll see WooCommerce at the top of the list and you can view all the details about the plugin such as the description, rating and active installs. On the right side, just click ‘Install Now’ and WooCommerce will be added to your WordPress website.
After the successful installation and activation of WooCommerce plugin on your website, it adds in shopping functionality, product management, payments and checkout functionality on your website.
The core WooCommerce plugin can easily handle all the essential features of an e-commerce website like inventory management, tax calculations, shipping costs and payment options. Further, when combined with other plugins/extensions available (300+ free and premium plugins) in the WordPress environment, WooCommerce’s core functionality can be extended so as to provide users additional features such as booking appointments, selling digital products, offering LMS courses, returns, and warranties etc.
So far all of us here have discussed What’s and How’s of WooCommerce platform and we have realized that it is a wonderful platform and it deserves at least a try. However, one of the most frequently asked questions by any store owner about WooCommerce is “How many products can WooCommerce handle” or “The exact upper limit of products that WooCommerce can handle”?
Well, in my belief, this is not a well-framed question. What you or any store owner should be asking is “Is WooCommerce a right choice for Large-Scale Stores” or “Is WooCommerce Store Scalable”?
The short answer is- Yes.
WooCommerce Stores are Scalable and can handle an unlimited amount of products as long as those products don’t make your website slow. To ensure this, one should concentrate on optimizing their website’s speed, page load time and database queries. Another thing one should focus on is choosing the right Web Hosting company and Hosting plan as that’s where major scalability problems arise from.
What Does It Take To Scale WooCommerce?
Here I would like to point out a post by the leading WordCamp speaker, Chris Lema- Can you scale WooCommerce? According to Chris, the answer is always ‘yes’. What a user/developer needs to figure out is which areas should be scaled in order to get maximum out of your WooCommerce store. Some of the popular areas which you should concentrate on are Postmeta table, caching strategies, my accounts page, and post-store browsing.
What Does WooCommerce Team Say About Scaling?
Next, I want to discuss WooCommerce Scaling FAQs by the WooCommerce team.
The WooCommerce Scaling FAQs page clearly states ‘it is a myth that WooCommerce and WordPress do not scale’. To further prove their point, they mention that they run WooCommerce.com store on WordPress and WooCommerce and handle a large number of transactions on a daily basis.
Commenting on ‘How many products WooCommerce can handle’, they say “Sky is the limit” and they have seen stores having 100,000+ products and handling thousands of transactions. One thing which all of these stores had in common was great hosting support and in-house developer team constantly working on the optimization of the store.
Reading these statements from the developers of WooCommerce does give us assurance, don’t they? But still, I wanted to conduct a full statistical research on this for our readers.
In my research, we took into consideration, several famous WooCommerce based stores having more than 10,000 products. We analyzed how their website works and handles such large amount of transactions taking into account several factors such as GTMetrix Score, Caching Plugins, number of products in their arsenal, loading time of their website, the theme they are using and Payment Gateways.
Before I present you with my results, we want to dig a little deeper into ‘What Large-Scale WooCommerce Stores’ exactly means, and ‘What factors affect/influence the scaling of the WooCommerce Stores’.
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What Are Large-Scale WooCommerce Stores?
Large-Scale WooCommerce Stores are online e-commerce stores based on WooCommerce platform and they host a large number of products or orders say over 5000+ or 10,000+. I would like to point out here that the number of products is not directly proportional to the number of orders. It is entirely possible that a store has 100 products, but has more than 100,000 orders while another store has 10,000 products but the total number of orders are only 20,000. But in any case, if the number of orders or number of products is huge enough (say about, 5000+ or 10,000+), then that store is classified as a Large-Scale WooCommerce Store.
What Factors Affect/Influence The Scaling Of The WooCommerce Stores?
By scaling of the WooCommerce stores, I mean, how effectively can our store grow without negatively altering its performance i.e. without having an effect on the page load time, and website speed.
There are basically 4 factors that alter/influence the scaling of the WooCommerce Stores. Let’s discuss them.
- Server Hardware: You should always spend a significant time in choosing the right Hosting company and Hosting package as it is where the scalability problems begin for any WooCommerce Store. Make sure that your hosting package provider can handle a large amount of traffic effectively and can support you in times of emergency. Everything else is secondary.
- Traffic: Make sure that the amount of traffic you get on your WooCommerce store is well distributed.
- WooCommerce Code: For any WooCommerce Store that wants to work well on the internet, the developers should remember to update the plugin at a regular amount of time or as soon as the updates are available. Since these new updates always come with optimized code, it will help your store to work efficiently even if you have a large number of products.
- Other Plugins on Website: We know that a store doesn’t only depend on WooCommerce. So, it is advised, to make sure that all the other plugins and themes you’re using have the well-optimized code as it will help you in scaling your WooCommerce store further.
Now, that all of us are clear on what Large-Scale WooCommerce stores are and the factors influencing the scalability of WooCommerce Store, I can safely move forward to presenting my results of analysis of famous WooCommerce store having more than 10,000+ products in their arsenal.
Analyzing 10 WooCommerce Stores Having 10,000+ Products
Inter Shop is an electronic store that imports and sells products of various Greek companies. Their online store is based on WooCommerce platform and has over 158,000 products varying across categories like electronic gadgets, electrical items, automobile tools etc. The Inter Shop runs out of Greece and caters to consumers across the globe. Although, the shipping charges vary according to countries.
Their website inter-shop.gr is based on Flatsome WordPress Theme. According to statistics from WPThemeDetector, this WordPress Theme by UXThemes is ranked as #13 on the list of top WordPress themes. Flatsome is a highly customizable theme, very well designed primarily for WooCommerce users.
According to WhoIsHostingThis, Inter Shop is using Cloudflare which is popular for its speed and performance related services thus making it a reliable web performance and security company and giving us more reason to believe that WooCommerce is easily scalable if you go with right web performance company.
Inter Shop also has W3 Total Cache Plugin, which helps in enhancing the speed and performance of the website, thus giving the user, overall a better experience of the website.
Further, the payment processing is made very easy for the users by giving checkout options like PayPal Payment Gateway, Cash on Delivery and Direct Bank Transfer.
|Fully Loaded Time||6.1 seconds|
|Caching Plugin||W3 Total Cache|
|Payment Gateway||PayPal, COD and Direct Bank Transfer|
|Number of Products||158,000+|
|Theme Used||Flatsome WordPress Theme|
Coming to the loading speed of the website, according to GTMetrix’s Score, the Fully Loaded Time of the website is 6.1 seconds which is pretty good considering the number of products on the website. I analyzed 3 pages of Inter Shop store: Homepage, Shop page and one product page to see the overall functioning of the website. I found it to be pretty smooth and awesome as the shop page was fully loaded in 6.1 seconds while the product page stood a step ahead by loading in 4.4 seconds. Thus, giving the user an outstanding experience of buying products.
Taking into account the PageSpeed score which is a huge 93%, I can safely say, that Inter Shop is a perfect example of WooCommerce for Large-Scale stores. The website is optimized regularly and the developers are putting a constant effort in providing a great experience to users.
Gifts and Jewels is another WooCommerce store having over 51,300+ products ranging from Computer tablets and networking, electronics, sporting goods to health and beauty. It is based out of Guam and it also delivers products to the United States.
This WooCommerce store is made on top of Custom WordPress Theme (giftsjwelz) developed using Underscores.me starter theme.
Further browsing the website, I found the design to be user-friendly. The process of adding items to cart and checking out was smooth. PayPal payment gateway was integrated into the website which made the payment processing easy.
When I checked WPThemeDetector, I found that no caching plugin was being used on the website. While I couldn’t figure out the reason for this, I didn’t face slow page load speed of the website. The page load speed was quite up to the mark considering the number of products listed on the website (51,300+).
|Fully Loaded Time||4.0 seconds|
|Number of Products||51,300+|
|Theme Used||Custom WordPress Theme|
But to dig deep and get an exact statistic for our readers, I checked the website on GTMetrix and got an exact fully loaded time of 4.0 seconds for a page size of 6.46MB which is great considering the page size and absence of caching plugin.
In my analysis, I considered three pages of the website: Homepage, Shop page, and one product page. The homepage as stated above loaded in 4.0 seconds whereas shop page and product page took 7.9 seconds and 4.6 seconds respectively.
Although the PageSpeed score is quite low at 9%, the shop page and product page score was 31% and 72% in GTMetrix’s report. This is definitely better than the homepage and that is because some of the latest images on the website’s homepage are not optimized. I know that the developers are constantly working on it and this issue would be resolved soon thus increasing the load time further.
Overall, this website is a great example of how you can scale and manage your WooCommerce store having a large number of products without having an effect on the speed of the website.
Tarox.co.uk is a WooCommerce based online store selling automobile parts with product count ranging over 40,000+ items. As the link to the website suggests, this store is based in Great Britain, UK and deliver automobile parts to almost all the famous countries in the world. The shipping charges vary according to the country and you can check that on the checkout page when the shipping cost changes according to the country.
While researching on WPThemeDetector, I found that Tarox was made on a custom WordPress Theme fully designed with WooCommerce store on top. The custom WordPress theme was designed by the GoMySites team which has developed several other famous WooCommerce stores like Snackums etc. It is hosted by LeaseWeb Hosting, a 20 years old hosting company having clients like Heineken, Hallmark, and Kaspersky Lab.
The Tarox WooCommerce store processes payments via SagePay (Credit/Debit card option) and Direct Bank Transfer (Euro only). SagePay is a simple, reliable and secure payment gateway which processes payments in real time without affecting the speed of the website.
The astonishing fact we found was the lack of a Caching plugin on the website. I was shocked to see the page load speed of the website without the presence of a Caching plugin.
|Fully Loaded Time||13.1 seconds|
|Payment Gateway||SagePay and Direct Bank Transfer|
|Number of Products||40,000+|
|Theme Used||Custom WordPress Theme|
According to GTMetrix, Tarox.co.uk loaded a full webpage of 3.25 MB containing 40,000 products in around 13.1 seconds which is not so great even after considering the lack of caching plugin and the huge number of products. The PageSpeed score is usual but I was more concerned about the full page load time. Since the Homepage load time was not up to the mark, I decided to also analyze the Product page of the website. The result came out to be 11.2 seconds and this is certainly not acceptable for a single product page.
According to page load time statistics from Machmetrics, an average page should load in about 9.3 seconds. Anything above that can be considered for improvement. So, it is clearly visible that there is a significant room for improvement at Tarox.co.uk when talking about page load time. Thus, if the developers can give a constant amount of time for maintenance of the website then Tarox.co.uk can successfully handle a large number of products and can be scaled further.
4. Soul Brother
Soul Brother is an online store having a collection of some awesome t-shirts and music of different genres varying from singles to Jazz and Pop. Overall, Soul Brother is estimated to have over 28,000-30,000 products in their arsenal, combining both t-shirts and music items. And the best part about it is even though they are based in London, they ship to almost all countries in the world just to ensure that no one misses out on some awesome music.
According to the results from WPThemeDetector, the online store of Soul Brother is made by using the WooCommerce plugin on top of Canvas WordPress Theme. The Canvas Theme was primarily designed for WooCommerce stores and was hugely supported and distributed by WooCommerce.com until it was officially retired on October 24, 2017. But it is still a hugely popular theme ranking on #20 position among all the top WordPress themes.
Coming back to Soul Brother, I spent a good amount of time browsing through the website to get an idea of how the UI and UX felt like. What we liked was the incredibly smooth process between adding items to cart to checking out. They even had a 3-point troubleshoot guide on the checkout page in case someone fails to the payment. Coming to Payments, the payments processed on Soul Brother were extremely smooth, reliable and secure, thanks to SagePay and PayPal Payment gateways.
The speed of the website was phenomenal considering the number of products on the website. It was no suspense that Soul Brother is using a Caching plugin. We again checked WPThemeDetector’s report from earlier and found that W3 Total Cache plugin was being used to speed up the website. Also, Soul Brother, like Inter Shop, is using Cloudflare CDN to boost the performance of the website.
|Fully Loaded Time||3.3 seconds|
|Caching Plugin||W3 Total Cache|
|Payment Gateway||SagePay and Paypal|
|Number of Products||28,000-30,000|
|Theme Used||Canvas WooCommerce Theme|
According to GTMetrix report, the full page load time was 3.3 seconds for a total page size of 3.05MB which is great considering the 30,000 products present on the website. The other pages whose analysis was done were the shop page and the product page. They performed even better than the homepage by giving a result of 3.0 seconds page load time respectively.
The PageSpeed score is 61% for the homepage, 78% for shop page and 81% for the product page, which is good according to the standards. What we should focus on here is that the developers have still maintained the speed of the website while scaling the WooCommerce store to occupy a large number of products and still give users, a great browsing experience.
ShoppersPk.com is a WooCommerce based online wholesale store selling everything from baby care, home appliances to computer and hardware tools. It has over 25,000+ number of products. ShoppersPk is a local store that runs out of Pakistan. They don’t ship products internationally.
This online store is made on top of Flatsome Child theme. This parent theme, Flatsome is highly customizable is mainly designed for WooCommerce Stores. Overall, this Flatsome Child theme is ranked at #79 among the top 100 WordPress themes available.
Thanks to WooCommerce, the process of browsing the website to selecting a product and finally checking out has been made fairly easy. ShoppersPk.com provides users 3 payment modes to ensure smooth transactions even in times of high traffic. The three payment modes available are Cash on Delivery (COD), Western Union/Bank Transfer/Xoom and easypaisa.
The speed of the website was fairly good and I was confused regarding the presence of a caching plugin. So I checked on WPThemeDetector to get an exact answer. According to WPThemeDetector, there was no caching plugin being used on the website. However, the website was hosted on Cloudflare, which is a known and reliable content delivery network thus enhancing the speed and performance of the website further.
|Fully Loaded Time||10.7 seconds|
|Payment Gateway||Direct Bank Transfer/Western Union/Xoom and Easypaisa|
|Number of Products||25,000+|
|Theme Used||Flatsome Child WordPress Theme|
According to GTMetrix, the full page load time of the website is 10.7 seconds. Since the load time was higher than the average, we also analyzed the shop page and a product page of the website. It turns out that the shop page was fully loaded in 9.1 seconds while a product page took 11.3 seconds to fully load.
The PageSpeed score is 91% for the homepage, 89% for the shop page and 85% for the product page which is great and also gives us an idea that the developers have been constantly maintaining and managing the website. While the 10.7 seconds homepage load time is a little high, yet it didn’t affect the overall user experience and the website was able to handle a large number of products without compromising on the smooth processing of the transactions and user experience.
Bible Land Pictures contains over 10,400 pictures covering a wide range of Bible-related subjects: Historical and Archeological sites, aerial and close up views, museum objects, coins, inscriptions, mosaics etc. The pictures showcase daily activities and festival ceremonies of different religious groups.
Bible Land Pictures’ store is based out of Israel and they don’t ship anything. It is a digital store. Once you place an order for the pictures, they are made available to you for downloads.
This online picture store is made using Storefront WordPress theme designed and developed by WooCommerce.com, which is one of the top 10 theme providers out there. It is one of best themes specifically designed for WooCommerce stores and fully supported by the developers of WooCommerce.
Bible Land Pictures is hosted on servers of Bezeq International, a local web hosting company from Israel. While spending a significant amount of time on the website, I got to know an interesting fact: there is no payment gateway on the website. All you have to do is simply place an order on the website and the people from Bible Land Pictures will contact you for the payment after some time.
Since there were no transactions taking place and speed of the website was quite up to the mark, there were no surprises when we saw the absence of a caching plugin.
|Fully Loaded Time||6.0 seconds|
|Number of Products||10,400+|
|Theme Used||Storefront WooCommerce Theme|
The PageSpeed score was a low 31% for the homepage but as I analyzed the shop page and product page, the PageSpeed score came out to be 70% for both of them which was pretty good. The surprising fact was that the images were neither optimized nor compressed. Yet the WooCommerce based store managed to provide a smooth order processing to users. This speaks volumes about the ability of the WooCommerce to handle a large number of products even when there are not optimized and up to date and yet provide the developers an option to scale/grow further.
Blackred.id is a WooCommerce store selling various products of differing categories varying from clothes, accessories to baby care, stationery and mobile covers. Based out of Indonesia, it has over 8,500+ products in its arsenal and it only caters to the people living there.
Blackred again is based on Flatsome Child WordPress theme. As I have mentioned earlier in this analysis, Flatsome child WordPress theme is one of the most popular WooCommerce themes out there and its parent Flatsome theme is ranked at #17 among all the WordPress themes out there.
The experience at blackred.id from adding a product to the cart to checking out was smooth, thanks to Cloudflare CDN service. Further, there was no payment gateway activated on the website. There were only 2 payment modes available: Direct Bank Transfer and Cash on Delivery (COD).
There were no caching plugins being used to speed up the website. The reason might be that Blackred doesn’t have to deal with payment transactions and further, the Flatsome child theme is also designed and optimized for WooCommerce. This clearly explains the lack of cache plugin on the website and yet, a good performance from the online store.
|Fully Loaded Time||11.5 seconds|
|Number of Products||8,500+|
|Theme Used||Flatsome Child WordPress Theme|
When I checked the GTMetrix analysis report of blackred.id/shop, I got a full page load time of 11.5 seconds for a page size of 1.4MB. The homepage and a product page were loaded in 8.8 seconds and 3.8 seconds respectively.
The PageSpeed score is 67% for shop page, 71% for the homepage and 75% for a product page. The shop page load time is a little high considering the page size but overall is pretty good as suggested by the PageSpeed score considering that ‘Leverage Browsing Cache’ has a low score. Overall, I can say that all the products are managed very efficiently managed and the WooCommerce based store yet again testifies our statement that WooCommerce can handle a large number of products easily and is scalable.
Branded Biker is an online store based in Boston, Lincolnshire selling all the major motorcycle products and accessories across the UK. They have over 7437+ products listed on their WooCommerce store.
The Branded Biker website is made on top of a Custom WordPress theme designed and developed by Dualcube team.
The experience of browsing through the website was pleasant as the products listed had all the required info and the redirection to checkout page was smooth. SagePay was used to process the payments and complete the transactions. SagePay provided us 2 options for payment- credit card payment or Pay via PayPal.
When going through WPThemeDetector report, I found there were no caching plugins installed. This surprised us as the website gave pretty good speed overall. But then I found, Jetpack was installed. I can’t categorize Jetpack as a cache plugin as it doesn’t have a full caching system like W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache but it has Image CDN, a service that host and serves images from WordPress.com’s CDN (Content Delivery Network). The advantage of this was the images on Branded Biker were loading faster than other websites which didn’t have Caching plugins, thus improving the overall speed of the website. We also found that Branded Biker was hosted on Host Europe GmbH, a web hosting company that mostly caters to clients across the UK.
|Fully Loaded Time||4.4 seconds|
|Number of Products||7437+|
|Theme Used||Custom WordPress Theme|
When I thought of speed, I directly went to GTMetrix and did a full analysis of Branded Biker. The full page load time was 6.7 seconds for a page size of 1.11MB which aligned well. Further, the homepage and a product page stood out with a page load time of 4.4 seconds and 4.5 seconds respectively.
The PageSpeed score was 95% for the homepage, 49% for the shop page and 93% for the product page which is great considering that some images on shop page were not scaled while some had similar content yet were served from different URLs. But the positive effect of Jetpack was clearly visible as all the images were pretty much optimized and loaded in an instance. The online shop of Branded Biker clearly rode on the path to success with WooCommerce and we’re sure that they will scale even further.
MCudstodning.dk is Denmark’s largest supplier of motorcycle exhausts. They supply these exhausts to various countries like UK, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Germany. They have over 6000+ products on their WooCommerce store.
This store is made with WooCommerce plugin installed on top of Divi WordPress theme which is ranked among the top 10 WordPress themes out there.
The experience I had was okayish while browsing the website. The website loaded quickly but some of the products were not exactly organized. The process of checkout was smooth and there were 2 payment gateways- PensoPay and ViaBill installed to handle the transactions. Further, Direct Bank Transfer option was also available to the users.
MCudstodning.dk is hosted on Stofa Web Hosting, a Denmark based company. I couldn’t find any caching plugin installed on the website. I don’t know the exact reason for this but the website wasn’t necessarily slow due to the lack of the caching plugin.
|Fully Loaded Time||12.8 seconds|
|Payment Gateway||PensoPay, ViaBill and Direct Bank Transfer|
|Number of Products||6000+|
|Theme Used||Divi WordPress Theme|
When checked on GTMetrix, the full page load time was 12.8 seconds for the page size of 3.35MB. This was not good, so we went on to check the page load time of shop page and a product page which came out to be 12.6 seconds and 13.9 seconds respectively.
The PageSpeed score was found to be 22% for the homepage, 32% for shop page and 27% for the product page. The page load time is okay considering the number of products on the website, absence of caching plugin and unscaled images. Combining all the factors and the user experience of the website, we can safely say that the website’s efficient performance in handling products and carrying out transactions is a testimony to the WooCommerce, as the developers haven’t exactly put an effort in the maintenance of the website.
10. Hennings Wine
Hennings Wine is an online wine store which was launched in 2015. The store has varieties of wine available with over 1100+ wines in its armory. They are based out of Sussex and deliver wines across the United Kingdom.
This WooCommerce store using Hennings Wine custom theme is made by Strawberry Soup team using Storefront WooCommerce theme as its base. Storefront theme is made and supported by the creators of WooCommerce, thus making it one of the best themes to make your online store on.
Hennings Wine is hosted on Amazon Web Services which provides one of the best hosting solutions to the clients. The website is one of the best websites which I have analyzed in this article, as it has a good user interface, sleek adding to cart and checkout process. The checkout page asks for your details in an organized way. Further, the payments are processed using the SagePay payment gateway, thus ensuring simple processing of transactions.
There were no caching plugins found on the website but considering the parent theme used (Storefront WooCommerce theme), we can say that the code was already optimized and regularly updating the theme would have minified the need of caching plugin.
|Fully Loaded Time||10.4 seconds|
|Number of Products||1100+|
|Theme Used||Custom WordPress Theme made on Storefront WooCommerce Theme|
While dissecting the website on GTMetrix, I found the page load time to be 10.4 seconds for a page size of 1.32MB. The homepage was fully loaded in 9.5 seconds while the best performance was of product page which was able to load in 6.6 seconds. Further, investigating the report, we discovered that the images were not scaled and some of them had same content yet were served from different URLs which led to a PageSpeed score of 56%.
All in all, we can say that the page load time is less due to the non-optimization of the website and number of products doesn’t have an effect on it. WooCommerce has handled the number of products very well and the website can be very well scaled in the future.
After successfully researching and analyzing the above WooCommerce stores having a huge number of products, I can now safely say that the number of products doesn’t necessarily have an effect on the website. The website speed and page load time were mainly affected due to the themes used, unscaled, unoptimized images and images serving same content from different URLs.
I saw that if the website/store has had regular updates over a constant period of time and the traffic was distributed evenly, then the WooCommerce store has had high PageSpeed score.
Thus, I can conclude by saying that WooCommerce is the right choice for Large-Scale stores and yes, any WooCommerce store can handle an unlimited amount of products if it is well optimized, well maintained and has distributed traffic over the course of time.
I would also like to know your experiences with working on large scale WooCommerce stores. Do you know of any such stores? I would love to include them here and analyze them.