WordPress powers nearly a third of the world’s websites. It is the world’s most popular site builder and content management system, so it’s no surprise that its
WooCommerce: A Complete Online Storefront
More people are shopping online than ever before, and they expect to visit online businesses that are attractive, efficient, user-friendly, and secure. Online entrepreneurs value the same things. Today, it’s easier than ever to start an online retail business, and there is no shortage of platforms offering a variety of services to help new business owners get their sites up and running.
Paid ecommerce platforms, such as BigCommerce and Shopify, offer store space plus a variety of support services for a monthly or annual fee. But these are hosted services with shopping cart and payment structures already in place, and they can close up shop at any time, taking all the stores on the site along with them. WooCommerce eliminates those concerns by making it possible to host your store on your own territory: your WordPress site.
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that can quickly turn any WordPress website into a fully functioning online store, or add an online store to other functionality on the site. With WooCommerce, both new shop owners on a tight budget and those with more resources can create and customize an online shop that syncs with their brand identity and offers all the features that savvy online shoppers have come to expect. And with a number of recent, highly publicized instances of data theft from major online outlets, one feature that is high on the list of things online customers want to see is a convenient, secure way to pay for their purchases. Choosing the right payment gateways for your site can help boost sales and keep customers coming back.
How Do Payment Gateways Work?
In the world of online shopping, a payment gateway is an intermediary between the customer and the site, a tool for ensuring that funds pass safely from the buyer to the seller of goods and services of all kinds. But an online store’s payment gateway also involves the customer’s lending institution, because the payment gateway must send a request to the customer’s selected fund source, such as a bank or credit card company, which then determines whether the customer has the request funds available. If so, then they authorize the request and release the money back through the payment gateway to the merchant.
Up to 17 percent of online shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if they have a bad experience with any aspect of the checkout process, especially with payments. Because you, not an ecommerce platform, are in complete control of your WooCommerce store, it’s up to you to choose and install the right payment gateways for your business.
Choosing the Right Payment Gateways for Your WooCommerce Store
Payment gateways come in a variety of forms, with very different fee structures and capabilities. Some are free to install and use, but they take a percentage of each transaction made. Others can be installed and maintained on a subscription model, with an annual or monthly fee paid to the provider of the gateway. Other features can include options for setting up automatic recurring payments, managing subscriptions, or handling installment plans. The right gateways for your WooCommerce site should also support payments in the currencies you want to receive – including Bitcoin.
Payment gateways can be integrated into your WordPress site, so that the customer can complete the whole transaction without leaving your site, or they can be hosted elsewhere, so that the customer is routed to the gateway’s home site to complete the transaction and then returned to the WooCommerce site for a confirmation that the transaction was successfully completed.
Secure payment gateways also need to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), a set of standards a gateway must meet in order to handle credit card transactions. Leading gateways like Stripe are ranked at the highest level for the most stringent security protocols.
WooCommerce comes prepackaged with support for PayPal, but not everyone chooses to use that option. Adding more than one gateway to your store makes it easier for customers to select the solution that works best for their circumstances, and you can set up those options with the click of a mouse, thanks to the availability of WooCommerce plugins for all major payment gateways.
Installing Payment Gateways in WooCommerce
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin, designed to be installed into an existing WordPress site – but plugins can also have their own plugins, and that’s how WooCommerce can offer multiple payment gateways into a single online store.
To add a payment gateway to your WooCommerce store, browse the available plugins in the official WordPress directory, or from the WooCommerce home site. PayPal, Amazon, and Stripe are among the most popular and widely used of these, but the WooCommerce site also offers many other gateways, including some for foreign currencies and
Install the gateway plugins you want through your website’s dashboard and activate them. Some can be configured and operated right inside your WordPress site, but others, such as Stripe, may require you to set up an account on the plugin’s home site, with directions where to direct payments once they’re collected. To make plugins work securely and safely, you may need to install an SSL certificate on your WordPress site and to add an explicit notice that your site complies with the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation designed to protect the personal data of EU citizens everywhere in the world.
Free and fully customizable, WooCommerce is the most popular