If you’re in eCommerce, you’ve no doubt heard about scalability for your website. It’s undoubtedly a good thing to have, but some solutions are better than others at coping with it. We’re going to have a quick look at scalability in WooCommerce to find out whether it should be a candidate for your eCommerce CMS if you’re planning to grow.
Tl;dr: the answer is yes.
What is scalability?
First up, we need to be clear what scalability is in the digital context. If you imagine a corner shop, it’s easy to see how it can quickly reach capacity – there just isn’t the shelf space or the service space to keep growing forever. You might be able to open new corner shops, but that would be expansion rather than scalability. Even supermarkets have their limits, and since they wouldn’t be very efficient if they only stocked a small amount of product, they’re not particularly scalable either.
With eCommerce, however, there are no theoretical limits to the amount of stock you can hold. As long as customers like your website and get their products, they’re happy. As the seller, you can keep sourcing new products, strike deals with suppliers and third-party logistics partners, and you can keep growing forever.
That is, until your website can no longer cope with demand. This is where the limits of scalability are reached. The back end can struggle to cope with the number of orders being processed, your bandwidth can become a bottleneck, and customers get frustrated with the service and look elsewhere.
Sure, you can completely rebuild the website to deal with the bigger numbers, but that has costs associated with it, and you risk affecting the fine balance that has made your site such a delightful customer experience thus far. It would be much better to start with a site that can grow with you, i.e. one that’s just as suited to the small operation (mainly regarding running costs and ease of use) as it is to the large site making multiple sales per second.
The Woo Factor
So does WooCommerce meet the criteria to be called a fully scalable eCommerce solution? The simple answer is yes. As it’s based on WordPress, probably the most successful CMS in the history of the internet, you know that the back end is going to cope with whatever your customers throw at it, and it’s only getting better with each new update.
Some of the busiest websites in the world use WordPress. There’s a host of technologies like caching and super efficient search that makes it ideal for high-volume traffic demands.
Hosting is your only potential squeeze on capacity, but if you switch to a good cloud hosting package, you’ll have no problem dealing with demand, whether that’s a seasonal surge or continued growth. When you’re starting out, and still building a customer base, any decent hosting package will do the job, and WooCommerce will be more than capable.
If you need help with building – or scaling – your WooCommerce site, we’d be delighted to help.