There’s never been a much better time to open an online business, and WordPress makes it easy. WordPress has many tools to help website owners set up a complete eCommerce site for selling products of all kinds.
Whether you’re an experienced web developer or a complete newcomer to online selling doesn’t matter. You can turn your WordPress website into an online storefront in just a few steps.
And the best thing is that many options suit every budget.
Can WordPress be used for eCommerce?
WordPress can certainly be used for e-commerce, making it an ideal solution for small businesses looking to expand their online presence. With the integration of popular e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce, you can effortlessly transform your WordPress website into a fully functional online store.
WooCommerce offers a seamless way to showcase products, set up a shopping cart, manage inventory, and process secure payments. It provides customizable templates, allowing you to design your store to align with your brand’s aesthetics. Furthermore, its user-friendly interface empowers you to manage orders, track sales, and engage customers effectively.
By leveraging the power of WordPress and e-commerce plugins like WooCommerce, you can create a robust and scalable online store, enabling you to tap into the vast world of online retail while retaining the familiar WordPress environment you’re accustomed to.
Why use WordPress for your eCommerce business?
WordPress powers nearly 43% of the world’s websites, from personal blogs to many of the Internet’s top 100 websites. This free and open-source platform consists of a set of core codes that defines the basic framework of a website.
You have virtually limitless ways to create unique sites from this basic website framework. And that’s all thanks to the help of thousands of WordPress themes, plugins, and plugin extensions.
The “mix and match” versatility of WordPress makes it possible for users of all skill levels to build a fully functioning online storefront. You can even transform an existing WordPress site into an online store in almost no time.
Because WordPress is the world’s most popular site builder and content management system, there’s a massive community of users, contributors, and developers behind it.
They come together and develop many premium and free WordPress themes and plugins. Anyone can use these tools to optimize any WordPress site for showcasing goods, services, and memberships.
Another essential benefit of having a large community is the available resources and help. Should you need any help with setting up an online store, you will certainly find it online. In addition, many online courses, forums, blog posts, and webinars are waiting for you to check them out.
At Bluehost, we also write a lot about e-commerce for WordPress sites, and our experts at Blue Sky are always available to answer your questions.
Setting up an online store: The storefront essentials
The configuration of your WordPress eCommerce website depends on the nature of your business, your goals, and the kind of products and services you plan to sell.
Generally speaking, a full-service e-commerce website needs a set of core functions that make it easy for site owners to manage the store. And it should also be easy for visitors to find and buy what they’re looking for.
For that, your WordPress e-commerce website should offer the following:
- Easy to manage product pages, with options for promoting featured products and special opportunities.
- Product description, images & product categories.
- Shopping cart and checkout pages that include essentials like currency converters, shipping calculators for physical products, or download links for digital products.
- Secure payment portals that protect buyers’ payment information.
- Design that reflects the business brand.
- Contact features include contact forms, live chat, or a support number for handling customer issues and questions.
- Mobile responsiveness to reach the growing number of users who shop from tablets and smartphones.
- A link to social media to share content and allow your users to engage with your brand.
- A secure website with an SSL certificate.
The best e-commerce setup for your WordPress site will depend on your budget, technical skills, and the scope of your venture.
How to build an online store on WordPress
It’s easy to do so, especially with a quality hosting provider like Bluehost. Bluehost offers special hosting packages for WordPress users and WordPress e-commerce website runners. To build an online business on WordPress, check out the WooCommerce hosting packages.
Besides the basics like buying a domain name and hosting plan, these offers are equipped with features specifically for online stores. These features include discount code creation, product reviews collection, payment processing, and many more.
Once your domain name and hosting provider are sorted out, you can start building your online store on WordPress.
- Pick a WordPress e-commerce theme.
Themes are a core component of the WordPress system. Thousands are available in both free and premium versions.
You can get themes directly from the WordPress theme directory or from third-party developers worldwide. Themes define a site’s appearance and layout, and some themes are designed to support specific functions, including e-commerce.
Related: View our recommended WooCommerce themes.
Free and eCommerce-friendly themes offer users various ways to showcase products. They can add landing pages, display featured product images in galleries, and even run a blog. Premium versions of these themes include more features to round out the essentials of an online store.
However, users may still need to add some essential functions using plugins, such as shopping carts and payment portals. Some, such as the Storefront e-commerce theme, are directly compatible with WooCommerce – the most popular WordPress e-commerce plugin. If you need help selecting a theme for your online store, check out our article on the best themes for an e-commerce website.
- Choose the right WordPress e-commerce plugins.
Along with themes and the core code, e-commerce plugins for WordPress round out the list of essentials that make up a site. And like themes, countless plugins are set to perform specific functions on a basic WordPress site.
E-commerce-related plugins for WordPress range from full storefronts to dedicated plugins that allow you to set up individual features like shopping carts, payment portals, and more.
Of course, we can’t talk about e-commerce plugins without mentioning WooCommerce. It is the most famous WordPress e-commerce plugin and powers over 8.7% of all known websites. WooCommerce is popular because it can be installed on any compatible WordPress site.
It adds the full spectrum of e-commerce-related features to a basic WordPress website and theme. The free version of WooCommerce offers all the essentials, and the premium version adds additional features plus extended support.
WooCommerce may be the best-known and most widely used WordPress e-commerce plugin, but it isn’t the only one. Many other plugins, such as WP eCommerce and EStore, add a fully functioning online store to WordPress sites. Some, like Easy Digital Downloads, support a particular product or service, while others are designed to build a membership or subscription site.
- Add Security Features for Your WordPress Site.
Every online business must deal with a certain amount of sensitive customer data, such as identity, location, and credit card information, and your customers need to trust that this information will be protected from theft and hacking.
Your WordPress eCommerce solution includes tools for safeguarding payment information and storing credit cards for future purchases, and your website hosting service also provides basic security features. You can also take additional steps to protect your customers’ personal information.
Consider adding an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate (designated by HTTPS) to the site, and keep your site and all its related eCommerce plugins updated, too, since WordPress updates are often aimed at fixing security issues, both large and small.
Common questions regarding building an eCommerce website with WordPress
WordPress eCommerce is a method of building an online store using WordPress, typically by integrating eCommerce plugins like WooCommerce. It’s a flexible platform allowing customization of storefronts, products, and user experiences.
WordPress is excellent for eCommerce due to its flexibility, extensibility via plugins like WooCommerce, and wide range of customizable themes. It can scale from small to large eCommerce operations, making it a versatile choice.
Yes, you can sell digital products on a WordPress eCommerce site. Plugins like WooCommerce allow you to list digital products, set a download method, and manage access after purchase.
Secure your WordPress eCommerce site by regularly updating WordPress, themes, and plugins, using secure hosting, implementing strong login credentials, installing security plugins, and ensuring your site has an SSL certificate for secure transactions.
Online shopping is the fastest-growing retail sector worldwide. Many users say they’d never shop any other way.
Now, anyone with products to sell can set up an online store. If you want to do so as well, consider using WordPress. WordPress makes it easy for you, with e-commerce options to suit every budget and level of expertise.