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Scaling Your WooCommerce Store: A Comprehensive Guide

Jun 26, 2024

WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, with an impressive global market share of approximately 39% in 2023. There are many reasons for this: 

  • It’s very easily customizable. 
  • It has an open-source foundation. 
  • It’s supported by an active community. 
  • It has an extensive ecosystem of plugins. 

You might be wondering, however, is WooCommerce suitable for businesses that are scaling up? 

The answer is absolutely yes! WooCommerce is a flexible platform with a wide range of optimization capabilities that allow it to support growing businesses with no problems. Common issues such as effectively managing a rise in website traffic, expanding product catalogs, and preserving site speed can be easily taken care of with the right preparation. 

In this guide, we’ll show you how to optimize your WooCommerce store for scalability and manage increasing demand and expanding inventory. 

Additionally, we’ll introduce a powerful plugin solution designed to improve WooCommerce data management, address a common bottleneck in eCommerce scalability, and provide the tools necessary for your venture’s growth and success.

Can WooCommerce handle large-scale stores? 

WooCommerce is a platform built to scale. Yes, it’s great for startups and small stores, but it can also handle powerful stores with hundreds of thousands of products and an increasing flow of traffic. 

Now, the mandatory question comes in: How many products can WooCommerce handle? 

The answer: Unlimited!*

*Or, at least, there’s no known limit. 

Unlike many other platforms, WooCommerce allows you to create as many products as you need with no extra charge, customize your storefront through themes and custom CSS, and integrate different payment options in a matter of clicks. The Woo team is very committed to supporting scalability and has stated that they’ve spent much time optimizing their code to make it happen. 

Still, it’s important to mention that unlocking these scalability powers depends on your choices of a hosting solution, database optimization tools, and plugins and themes, all of which we will cover in more detail later in the article. 

For now, let’s move on to some WooCommerce success stories that show its scalability potential. 

Success stories: Large-scale WooCommerce stores

These companies clearly show WooCommerce’s adaptability and how it functions under the weight of massive inventory and customer demand. To show you their performance in more detail, we also tested each site with GTmetrix

Let’s take a look: 

Taps Empire ~25,000+ products

Taps Empire landing page.

Taps Empire is a great example of how WooCommerce can effectively scale an online retail operation. Established in 2010, this independent retailer has grown into one of the UK’s leading bathroom retailers. With a vast inventory exceeding 25,000 products, Taps Empire offers an extensive range of bathroom and kitchen taps, showcasing top brands such as Grohe, Ideal Standard, and Armitage Shanks

This extensive selection demonstrates WooCommerce’s capability to handle a large and diverse product range, supporting Taps Empire in providing high-quality products and becoming a go-to destination for bathroom fittings​. 

Here are the performance test results: 

Performance score for Taps Empire

As you can see, Taps Empire scores highly across the board for performance – 99%, structure – 99%, and the core web vitals are all in green.

Soul Brother ~30,000+ products

Soul Brother online shop products page

Celebrated for a distinctive collection of over 30,000 records, Soul Brother has used WooCommerce to curate an inventory that spans cult classics to contemporary sounds. By leveraging WooCommerce’s product tagging and categorization, they’ve created a user-friendly browsing experience that pays homage to music’s rich legacy. 

Here are the performance test results:

Performance score for Soul Brother

Even though the performance here is 87% and the structure 86%, considering the amount of product they have on their website, these are still very impressive results. 

ShoppersPK ~25,000+ products

Shoppers PK homepage

This one-stop shop, with its inventory of over 25,000 products, stands as a blueprint for variety in eCommerce. ShoppersPK employs WooCommerce’s advanced sorting and filtering capabilities to help customers navigate through the diverse range of offerings. The store reflects WooCommerce’s proficiency in accommodating a variety of products while maintaining an orderly and efficient user shopping journey.

Here are the performance test results:

Performance score for ShoppersPK

Here, we have an overall score of B, with 72% for performance and 92% for the structure – again, very impressive for a site of its size. 

Optimizing your WooCommerce store for scalability

As we mentioned earlier, many factors are involved in making your WooCommerce store fast, responsive, and scalable. In general, there are three main areas, which are often interconnected: Your website’s base infrastructure, optimizing content for speed and size, and making smart choices regarding what to add to your website. 

Base infrastructure

  • Choosing the right hosting provider: Research the providers and their offerings. The most popular choices for eCommerce stores are usually either a dedicated server or a VPS hosting plan. This is because they provide dedicated resources crucial for handling the high volume of transactions and traffic that come with a growing WooCommerce store. 
  • Implementing a Content Delivery Network (CDN): A CDN, like the Jetpack extension’s CDN, which is recommended by WooCommerce, can significantly reduce loading times by serving content from servers closest to your customers. However, keep in mind that most high-quality hosting providers will come with a content delivery network and caching, which we’ll explore in just a second. 

Optimizing your content

  • Database optimization: When you want to squeeze out every bit of performance, consider cleaning up data that no longer serves a function. This can include old customer orders, expired temporary data, and discontinued products. A cleanup like this makes the WordPress database work faster and helps your website run more smoothly. You can also use plugins like WP Sweep and WP Optimize to assist with cleaning up and optimizing your database.
  • Maintaining updates: Consistent updates to WooCommerce, and your themes and plugins are essential for improving your site’s functionality and security. Before applying updates to your live site, thoroughly test them in a staging environment to ensure they don’t negatively impact performance.
  • Caching: WooCommerce-optimized caching plugins like WP Rocket, W3 Total Cache, or WP Super Cache can speed up your WooCommerce store and make it more responsive by saving and reusing frequently accessed information, reducing the time it takes for pages to load. That said, good hosting providers will take care of caching for you, so you may not need to look for a separate solution depending on what the plugin caches for you.
  • Media optimization: Use image compression tools, like TinyPNG or ShortPixel, and consider adopting modern formats like WebP to significantly reduce file sizes without degrading quality. This approach results in faster page loads and an improved customer browsing experience. For larger sites, consider adopting lazy loading for images, which ensures images are only loaded when required, further improving page load times.

These tips cover the essential areas of optimization that will benefit most growing stores. While further optimization can be pursued, it’s often a specialized effort with diminishing returns, so it’s best justified when your store reaches a scale that warrants such detailed attention. Ensuring you have a hosting provider capable of scaling with your needs will help you reach the point where finer optimization details become worthwhile.

Selecting plugins and themes wisely

Check your plugins and remove any that do the same thing or that you no longer need to keep your website running smoothly. Choose simple, fast themes and plugins that help your online store succeed. 

Besides that, you need to make sure they are always up to date and not too bloated with code, as this can slow down your website significantly. We recommend testing themes and plugins in a separate environment to ensure they function properly. 

If you want to learn more about preparing your website, check out our in-depth guide on scaling your WordPress site.

Unlocking scalability in WooCommerce with Admin Columns

Admin Columns Homepage

Making sure your WooCommerce store is set up optimally from the start helps it grow and reach more people. But as you add more products, get more orders, and have more customers, managing all your store’s information gets harder. Admin Columns helps by making it easier to handle these growing pains with the ability to manage large volumes of product, order, and customer data easily and directly from your list tables. 

Here’s how it helps:

  • Bulk editing: With this feature, you can bulk edit data from almost every column in your WordPress and WooCommerce list tables, including Products, Users, Orders, Posts, Pages, and Media. The number of items you can edit is not limited, unlike the default WooCommerce bulk editing feature, which allows you to edit only the products that show up on the current page, effectively limiting you to updating 999 products at once. For stores with tens of thousands of products, Admin Columns’ bulk editor can therefore provide a huge time save!

    Bulk editing action bar in the product list table
    Bulk editing action bar in the product list table
  • Sorting and filtering: Admin Columns’ smart filtering allows you to easily find what you’re looking for in a big list of products. Add multiple filters at once and segment by any data type, including custom fields. You can also save filter combinations for future use and sort column data with one click.

    Applying multiple filters to the product list table
  • Exporting data: Admin Columns’ powerful exporting feature allows you to export your information to CSV format directly from the list table. This is great for transferring data, in-depth analysis and reports.

    Exporting product data from the list table with Admin Columns
  • Integrations for high performance: Admin Columns is built to fully integrate with your growing WooCommerce store, allowing you to add unlimited WooCommerce-specific columns to your list tables. All columns support High-Performance Order Storage (HPOS), ensuring you get the most out of your online store when managing the data.

    Example of custom product fields in Admin Columns
  • Ready for big stores: There is no known limit to how much data Admin Columns can handle, but just to give you an idea of what you can expect, the plugin has been successfully tested on data sets of more than 100,000 records.

There are endless possibilities with Admin columns and how it can help your WooCommerce store management process. Here are just a couple of ideas:

  1. Creating seasonal sales across a line of products or updating the pricing of your full product catalog.

    Example of creating a seasonal sale with Admin Columns
  2. Setting up a special offer for certain customers. For example, you can filter customers with more than ten orders from a specific area, export their information, and then import the CSV to a third-party mailing software for a targeted email marketing campaign.

    Example of putting multiple filters to segment customer information
  3. Using smart filters to add specific products to a new category. Maybe you’re creating a new shipping class category in your store and want to apply it to hundreds of products at once. You could add filters to find the products that fit into the new category, then bulk-add the category to all the products that show up in the results.

    Adding filters to products in order to add them to a new shipping class
Changing the shipping class to filtered products

Take your WooCommerce store to the next level

WooCommerce is one of the most, if not the most, flexible and scalable eCommerce platforms currently. 

It’s affordable for new businesses and allows them to scale without problems as their audience and product catalog grow. Still, despite its powerful native features, you need to combine it with high-quality plugins for security, front-end customization, and data management. 

Admin Columns is one of these useful plugins, transforming the management of large-scale WooCommerce stores with features like bulk editing, advanced sorting and filtering, and comprehensive CSV exports. These tools ensure that whether your store is just starting out or has thousands of products, Admin Columns enhances your WooCommerce experience, making it an ideal companion for store owners focused on streamlining their data management for better scalability.

Don’t wait!

Try Admin Columns today to unlock the full potential of your eCommerce business!

Admin Columns Homepage