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Consumers spent more than $1 trillion on online purchases in 2022. eCommerce accounts for roughly one in five retail purchases and continues to trend upward. 

The growth of eCommerce represents an increased opportunity for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Setting up an online store requires a smaller initial investment than traditional brick-and-mortar shops. 

This comprehensive guide covers the ins and outs of creating an online store, including a focus on the best WordPress eCommerce plugins.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • What you need to open an online store
  • How to find the best WordPress eCommerce plugins
  • Free and premium eCommerce plugins to use on your WordPress website

WordPress website basics

WordPress is a widely used website builder in the world—the platform powers more than 40% of websites online, from blogs to online shops. 

Creating a WordPress website is free, but that’s not the only reason it’s popular. WordPress uses an intuitive, beginner-friendly approach to website building. However, users can design and customize more advanced websites, such as an eCommerce store, on WordPress using themes and plugins. 

Themes are code packages that define a WordPress website’s look and feel with qualities like colors, layout, and font. 

Plugins are software pieces that add functionality to your website. For example, you can use plugins to add forms, calendars, and security features.

There are thousands of themes and plugins built for WordPress, including free and premium options. 

What do you need to build an eCommerce website?

Building an eCommerce website takes more effort than creating a blog or personal page. But tools like WordPress make it simpler. 

Related: How to Build an eCommerce website on WordPress

Let’s look at the must-haves for your online store. 

Reliable and secure web hosting

Website hosting refers to the services you use to store and access the files needed for your website. Anyone who wants to publish a website needs to purchase website hosting services

However, if you want to create an eCommerce website, there are some things to consider when choosing a hosting provider. 

First, you need fast and reliable hosting services. If a customer goes to your website and it’s down or takes too long to load, that’s bad for business. 

Second, you need to find a secure hosting provider.

Think about it. 

Your website collects and processes personal and financial information when a customer buys an item. You need a hosting provider to help keep your data and customer information safe. Service providers like Bluehost offer free SSL certificates and malware scanning tools. 

Domain Name

Your domain name is your address (URL) on the internet. 

Once you’ve chosen a web hosting provider, you need a domain name to publish your eCommerce store. 

Many hosting providers offer domain search and registration services. You can save money on your domain by registering with your hosting service.  

In most cases, your domain name should be as close to your brand name as possible. To learn more, you can check out our guide on how to pick a domain name.

eCommerce platform/payment processor

Finally, your website needs to be able to handle all the tasks involved in an online purchase. 

An eCommerce platform gives your website the core functionality required for online transactions. These platforms include features such as:

  • Product page design
  • Inventory management 
  • Payment processing 

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform built on WordPress. It is also available as an eCommerce plugin that can be integrated easily into WordPress websites. A WooCommerce online store aids in providing users with a personalized and powerful shopping experience.  

Read more about why WooCommerce is the right choice for your online store.

What to search for in an eCommerce platform

There are a handful of popular eCommerce platforms available. 

So how do you pick the right choice?

The answer depends on your business. You don’t want to choose the most popular option. You want the best platform for your business. 

Here are a few essential things to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform for your WordPress website.

  • User experience/user-friendliness
  • Customer support
  • Security 
  • Scalability
  • Mobile-friendliness

The eCommerce platform you choose affects your customer’s experience and your business’s success. 

The right platform should meet your current needs while allowing you to grow without breaking your budget.

WooCommerce and WordPress

With WooCommerce powering 30% of the internet’s online stores, it’s hard to argue with the fact that WooCommerce is one of the best ecommerce plugins for WordPress. WooCommerce is flexible and designed with the user in mind. It gives you complete control over your ecommerce site. But the best part? It’s free.

The WooCommerce plugin has a lot of great features. Let’s look at some of our favorites:

1. Ability to update your inventory quickly. All you have to do is set up your product features once. When you get more products, you can quickly update your inventory.

2. Sell downloads. The plugin supports selling downloads (e.g. music from your album).

3. Affiliate sales. If you work as an affiliate for different merchants, you can easily set up WooCommerce to sell other products on your site as well.

4. Robust payment options. WooCommerce integrates well with PayPal, credit card merchants and more. This will give your customers more convenient payment options. You can even offer your customers the ability to pay by check or cash on delivery.

5. Shipping and tax costs are easy. WooCommerce automatically calculates taxes and shipping costs for you. This means you don’t have to do any fancy coding to make sure you are charging the correct amounts.

6. Inventory tracking. Inventory tracking is built right into the plugin, so you don’t have to manually keep track of your stock.

7. Mobile access. Do you need to check your WooCommerce stats on the go? No problem. WooCommerce allows this option with their mobile app.

8. Style. You can easily customize the style of your storefront.

9. Integrations. WooCommerce integrates well with several platforms like Google Analytics, PayPal, and hundreds of other popular systems.

10. Built with developers in mind. The plugin is extendable and adaptable, so developers can customize as needed.

Top WordPress eCommerce plugins to explore

An all-in-one eCommerce solution like WooCommerce will give you many of the features you need for your online business.

But you may want to explore other eCommerce platforms and plugins that add more capabilities to your WordPress website.

Here are some of the top WordPress eCommerce plugins to use when customizing your online store.

Easy Digital Downloads (EDD)

If you are not sold on WooCommerce, another great option is EDD. Easy Digital Downloads is another free plugin with simple features and an intuitive system. It’s a great option if your online store is smaller and more focused on selling digital goods. The plugin is a little barebones, but also easier to navigate. Rather than having to sort through hundreds of features, EDD offers the simplest and most common features that ecommerce websites generally tend to need.

Key features of Easy Digital Downloads:

  • Product pages
  • Customizable checkout 
  • Stripe and PayPal integrations
  • Digital file protection
  • Customer management
  • Discount codes

Another great feature of EDD is its reporting tools. The plugin has a strong reporting system that helps you easily see all of your earnings and sales, and quickly understand your analytics. If you’re looking for something simple, straightforward and easy to use, EDD is a great option.

Yith WooCommerce plugins

To offer your customers a great experience on your WooCommerce web store, you should consider installing Yith’s WooCommerce plugins. They currently offer four amazing plugins: 

  • YITH WooCommerce Wishlist allows your customers to create lists of products they want to buy. They can even share these lists with family and friends. In addition, you can greatly benefit from this plugin by analyzing your users’ most popular products in their wishlists.
  • YITH WooCommerce Gift Cards does exactly what it says on the tin. With this plugin, you can sell gift cards in your shop. This is especially useful during the holidays! Your customers can give a gift card to friends and family without stressing out about searching for specific products.
  • YITH WooCommerce AJAX Product Filter allows you to build a powerful filters section on product pages. This will help your customers easily filter your products based on their requirements. You can also customize the style of the filters so they match the layout of the theme you’re using. Moreover, the plugin allows you to show filters on custom pages, not just the standard WooCommerce pages.
  • YITH WooCommerce Customize My Account Page does what it promises. When you install this plugin, you can customize the My Account page of your customers. You can create custom sections with promotions and ad-hoc content, such as coupons, surveys, video tutorials, news, and notifications.

Bluehost Online Store product now comes pre integrated with all these amazing YITH plugins.

WP eCommerce

WP eCommerce is quite simple to use, but the features are powerful. For example, with WP eCommerce, you can completely control the style of your eCommerce site. 

With this plugin, you can also easily sell physical products, downloads, memberships, subscriptions, or a combination of these options.

Additionally, this plugin integrates well with many payment merchants, giving you multiple quick and easy payment options.

AMP

While it’s not a specific WooCommerce plugin, AMP helps optimize your mobile website’s loading speed, which is an important part of every website, especially web stores. 

Nowadays, a lot of people browse and buy on their phones. Your customers’ experience will greatly improve if you have a fast website. Your customers will be happier, thus making them more likely to buy from your store.

eCommerce Product Catalog

eCommerce Product Catalog is a WordPress eCommerce plugin that helps you easily create your online product catalog. This plugin covers you, from your product image and description to categories, searches, and tags.

Key features of eCommerce Product Catalog:

  • Customizable product displays
  • Multi-level categories
  • Product tags
  • Product search and filters
  • Import and export products with .csv

    WP EasyCart

    WP EasyCart lets you sell various product types on your WordPress eCommerce website, including subscriptions. With the WP EasyCart plugin, you can edit your products, process payments, and manage shipping and fulfillment all in one place. 

    WP EasyCart is an excellent WooCommerce alternative for those selling subscription-based products.

    Key features of WP EasyCart:

    • Order fulfillment
    • Customer account management
    • Marketing tools and discounts
    • Tax management
    • International support

    WP Product Review Lite

    WP Product Review Lite adds user review and rating capabilities to your eCommerce store. Its interactive user experience makes it easy for customers to leave feedback, and you can choose from multiple layouts to find the best match for your website.

    Key features of WP Product Review:

    • Affiliate links
    • Pros and cons
    • User reviews
    • Review widgets
    • Product review comparison tables

      Constant Contact

      Constant Contact is a flexible email marketing software that offers tools for eCommerce businesses. Email is essential to running an online store, whether you use it for order confirmations, lead generation, or both. 

      Key features of Constant Contact:

      • Drag and drop email builder
      • Library of email templates
      • Sign-up forms and landing pages
      • Email automation
      • Audience segmentation

      As e-commerce continues to take the retail world by storm, more people can open their businesses.

      Choosing the right tools for your website to give customers a safe and positive user experience is essential.

      Find the perfect home for your eCommerce website with Bluehost’s fast and reliable WordPress hosting services.

      • Minal Agarwal

        Minal is the Director of Brand Marketing at Bluehost. With over 15 years of business experience in the technology industry, she strives to create solutions and content that fulfill a customer's needs. She is a dog mom and a stickler for calendaring.

        Education
        Masters in Marketing Management
        Previous Experience
        Strategic Partnerships, Customer Success, Events and Community
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