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What are WooCommerce extensions and what are they for

Since WordPress was launched on May 27, 2003, this content management system (CMS) has become the most popular choice for creating websites, with millions of active portals continuously growing. This tool has had further success thanks to the release of WooCommerce, launched in 2011, which allowed users to create not only traditional websites and blogs but also fully-fledged eCommerce platforms easily and quickly.

But what is WooCommerce? WooCommerce is an extension of WordPress (often called a plugin) and is one of the tens of thousands of extensions currently available for this CMS. In this article, we will explore what WooCommerce Extensions are, how they can help you create your website, and how to make your choice among all the options available online.

If you are looking for a guide on how to create an eCommerce from scratch using WordPress and WooCommerce, we recommend you take a look at the dedicated article titled “How to create an eCommerce store on WordPress with WooCommerce“.

What are WooCommerce extensions?

WooCommerce extensions, commonly referred to as plugins, are additional tools that can be installed on your website to introduce functionalities that are not included in the base CMS. These originated as add-ons for WordPress and we can say there are now tens of thousands of extensions available online.

How do WooCommerce Extensions differ from WordPress ones? While they all fall under the same category, WooCommerce Extensions are a specialized subset that offers features dedicated to online selling.

To give a simple example, a plugin that allows you to translate your website into multiple languages and so add more languages to it introduces a function that is particularly useful regardless of the nature of the site, benefiting both blogs and eCommerce platforms. In this case, we are talking about a WordPress extension.

On the other hand, a plugin that allows you to add wishlists to your WooCommerce store will require the presence of WooCommerce and will be used in an online store. Therefore, this is a WooCommerce extension.

WordPress and WooCommerce are based on ease of use and accessibility, catering to a wide audience without requiring any programming skills. This is why WooCommerce extensions follow the same path: in most cases, a simple click is all it takes to install a plugin and access its features.

Additionally, since both WordPress and WooCommerce are open-source tools, their extensions can be developed by virtually anyone with the skills to do so. This is the reason behind the huge number of plugins available online. However, it is also the reason why we need to be cautious about which extensions we install, as not all of them are of the same quality or receive regular updates.

Despite this, it is undeniable that WooCommerce and WordPress extensions are essential for the success of a website built on this CMS.

Difference between WooCommerce extensions and plugins

Although two different words are used, extensions and plugins are actually synonyms. In most cases, you will see the term “plugin” used more frequently online, but they’re both correct.

Advantages of WooCommerce Extensions

There are countless advantages to including some WooCommerce extensions on your online store. Let’s see some:

  • More functionalities – By combining WordPress and WooCommerce, you can create a fully functional eCommerce store. If you have a WordPress website built using this setup, you may already know that the store design can be quite minimalistic. Although WooCommerce includes the most basic features such as shipping costs, product page creation, cart, and checkout, most online stores will require extensions to incorporate advanced functionalities. These are not limited to specific features for particular types of stores but also include the ability to accept multiple payment methods, customize customer emails, create advanced promotion systems, and much more.
  • Wide selection – As mentioned before, since WordPress and WooCommerce are open-source tools, countless developers are offering their own WordPress plugins to the wider public. This has allowed a diverse range of developers to contribute and enhance the functionality of these platforms resulting in a wide range of solutions to choose from. Sellers can easily find a plugin that introduces the functionality they need and meets their own personal criteria (such as the price of the tool, the reliability of the developer, its compatibility with other plugins, etc.).
  • Flexibility – Thanks to the fact that you can choose which features to include in your store, sellers can transform their websites into whatever they need. Therefore, from the common base of WordPress and WooCommerce, you can create any type of eCommerce, from traditional online stores to marketplaces (like Amazon or eBay), from booking and rental sites to catalogs based on quote requests. There are truly few limits to what you can achieve considering the tens of thousands of extensions available.
  • Integrations and compatibility – Since all these extensions start from the same common ground, it is easy to find two different plugins that work seamlessly on the same website. This is even more common when choosing plugins developed by the same company, as compatibility with other products is one of the key aspects they focus on during the development phase. Not only that but some plugins, when integrated, unlock new and even more advanced functionalities, allowing you to create an efficient, optimized website with very high conversions.

We could list other advantages of these tools, but we believe it’s more important to share some examples to help those who are choosing which features to introduce on their website for the first time (since we often don’t realize how important a function is until we find it is missing) and those who have an established WooCommerce store and want to enhance it with the right tool.

Let’s take a look at five essential extensions that your WooCommerce-powered eCommerce website should have.

The best WooCommerce extensions by YITH

1) YITH WooCommerce Wishlist

This is one of the most highly sought-after extensions due to its popularity among customers, to the point where it is now considered essential in many cases. The functionality of this plugin is easily explained: it allows you to add the Wishlist feature to your WooCommerce store.

Wishlist feature

This feature became popular thanks to Amazon, where you can create multiple wishlists and send them to your friends and family to help them choose a gift. Today, wishlists can be found in many online stores, as they provide an advantage for both sellers and customers who can take advantage of this additional functionality.

In fact, with shareable wishlists, you can attract new customers to the website and significantly increase your sales, especially on celebrations when people exchange gifts, such as Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, or Valentine’s Day.

Not only that: with wishlists, users can save products to purchase later in case they cannot purchase at that moment, increasing the likelihood of converting users into customers.

Finally, with Wishlist, you can effectively see in how many lists all the products are, so that you can have a clear understanding of your audience’s interest and create successful promotional strategies.

As an extra note, wishlists simplify the decision-making process for those who need to buy a gift, while still maintaining the element of surprise for the recipient, as they won’t know which item has been bought for them.

Create a wishlist

2) YITH WooCommerce Ajax Search

The search bar is a commonly found tool on websites of all kinds, often underestimated. However, it can be the key to significantly increasing your sales.

Most users who buy online (from 30 to 60% of them) have used the search bar while browsing stores. However, the search bar provided by WordPress for sites built on it is far from optimized.

When it comes to searching for articles on a blog, this tool may be sufficient. However, when it comes to catalogs with numerous products, it needs an upgrade. Luckily, we have the perfect solution for this.

With YITH WooCommerce Ajax Search, you can replace the default search bar with an optimized tool that can search for words entered in different places on the site (product name, description, categories, tags, etc.). It can also display suggestions to your customers and auto-complete searches to speed up navigation and save valuable seconds of user attention.

Ajax Search feature

In addition, you can add synonyms to ensure that no search fails, incorporating common variables and typical typos to meet your customers’ needs.

Ajax Search backend

3) YITH WooCommerce Gift Cards

In line with Wishlist, another highly appreciated plugin when it comes to giving gifts is undoubtedly Gift Cards. Digital gift cards work just like physical ones that can be bought in all kinds of stores (even at supermarkets).

With this tool, customers can buy and personalize gift cards, receiving a code that can then be given to a friend, family member, or anyone they choose. The recipient of the code can then use it in your store to make purchases for the value of the gift card.

One of the benefits you can get from this is having the first purchase guaranteed (that is, the gift card), no matter if the recipient uses it or not, it already represents an income. If the end customer does not use the gift card, you will have gained a profit without any extra expenses. If, on the other hand, they do use it, you will still have attracted a new customer to your store.

Don’t underestimate this tool! Gift cards are used by 98% of eCommerce businesses and are projected to reach a billion dollars in revenue in the coming years.

And even if they’re digital gift cards, customers can choose to print and deliver them personally or send them in virtual format without any effort.

Virtual gift card

4) YITH WooCommerce AJAX Product Filter

Although the name may sound similar to one of the plugins we previously analyzed, both are equally important and essential. That’s why they are often used together.

Think of how you typically use an eCommerce platform. Let’s take Amazon as an example: if you need to buy a new computer, you visit Amazon’s website, type keywords into the search bar (like Asus, laptop, MacBook, etc.), and you are shown a catalog of products that match your search — thousands of products for you to choose from.

Which tool would you use to navigate through all these products? Easy: Amazon’s filters. You would filter the products based on their memory, the quality of the processor, the price, and any other factor that may play a crucial role in your final decision.

The absence of these filters on WooCommerce is a huge obstacle between your customers and their final purchase. You cannot expect them to analyze every product in your catalog to make their choice. Remember: the average user dedicates between 40 seconds to 1 minute and 10 seconds to your store.

This is where YITH WooCommerce AJAX Product Filter comes to the rescue. With this extension, you can include a convenient real-time filtering interface based on different product attributes, making your product catalog immediately navigable and creating a shortcut between your customers and the products they are looking for.

Ajax Product Filter categories

You can even customize the filters and place them wherever you want so they perfectly match the style of your eCommerce store.

5) YITH WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing and Discounts

Finally, let us recommend an extension to create different types of promotional strategies. As you may already know, WooCommerce has built-in features that allow you to generate discount codes, which can then be manually sent to customers or displayed on social networks.

Although useful, this system is also highly restrictive as it does not allow for the creation of advanced promotional strategies.

We’re talking about strategies such as 3×2 promotions, special discounts on events like Black Friday, quantity-based discounts (ideal for B2B), free products on certain orders, discounts for specific user roles, and more.

All of these advanced features can thankfully be introduced with extensions. And even more conveniently, you just need a single WordPress plugin to create all of these promotional strategies.

With YITH WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing and Discounts, you can create several different types of promotions. You can choose to base the discount on the number of products, create special offers, set global discounts, give away products as a result of certain actions, apply the discounts to product categories, and so much more! This extension can give you the flexibility to customize your promotions and discounts according to your specific needs and preferences.

In fact, the plugin already includes several templates to assist you in creating promotional rules:

Dynamic Pricing and Discounts rules

For instance, if you want to create a BOGO rule (Buy one, get one free), simply click on the second option and you will quickly create a product like this:

Dynamic Pricing and Discounts BOGO feature

In connection with this, we have also written a guide for creating this type of offer. If you’re interested, feel free to read the dedicated article.


Whether you refer to them as WooCommerce extensions or plugins, one thing is for sure: how important they are for your online store. Carefully selecting certain extensions to integrate missing functionalities into your eCommerce can be the turning point between a failed business and a successful one.

In this article, we have shared five essential extensions that we believe are suitable for any type of store. Some of these options (specifically the first four) have a free version (besides the premium one) with limited features, so you can try them out before investing part of your budget in them.

When it comes to online sales, don’t settle for the bare minimum. Instead, consider investing to increase the success and revenue of your store.

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