In the world of retail, online shopping has quickly become one of the most important methods of expanding a business.
Whether you’re hoping to start your own business to sell your own products that you’ve made yourself, or you’re interested in expanding your local business into the online space, this guide on how to start an online store will help you get WooCommerce set up so you can start selling.
By 2023, eCommerce is expected to account for 22% of global sales. However, according to Visual Objects, despite the rapidly growing importance of eCommerce, more than one-third of small businesses in America still don’t have a website.
In 2020, a study revealed that online businesses were more resilient to the changing economic landscape caused by the pandemic. So, if you don’t have an online presence for your business, now is a good time to consider creating one.
With our guide on how to set up WooCommerce, you’ll be able to create a professional eCommerce business that generates leads and improves your conversion rate.
Here’s what we’ll cover today:
- An introduction to WooCommerce and why it’s a great eCommerce platform
- A step-by-step guide on how to start an online store and how to set up WooCommerce
- Tips on growing your business once you have WooCommerce set up
Why Choose WooCommerce for Your Online Store
WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin for WordPress websites. WordPress is a website builder that empowers you to create a streamlined, professional website and blog without any need for technical coding skills.
With WooCommerce setup, you’ll be able to create a transactional online business where you can upload and sell products.
Before we get into how to create an online store and how to set up WooCommerce, here are a few reasons why WooCommerce is a great choice for your online shop.
- WooCommerce integrates with WordPress and WordPress plugins. WordPress is an excellent website building platform. With WooCommerce, you’ll have access to everything it has to offer.
- You can sell almost anything with WooCommerce. WooCommerce is extremely versatile. You can sell physical products like clothing or makeup or services like in-person appointments.
- You’ll have access to WooCommerce’s intelligent analytics. In order to grow your business, you should keep track of metrics, such as conversions, clicks, and visitor demographics. WooCommerce offers exceptional analytics so you can keep on top of your metrics.
- WooCommerce is scalable. As your business grows, WooCommerce will always be able to keep up and support you.
- The WooCommerce content management system (CMS) is second to none. The user-friendly, intuitive WooCommerce CMS makes running your online store straightforward and quick.
- WooCommerce has multiple features that make selling products online easy. WooCommerce has loads of great features and add-ons, so every type of online store can thrive and offer its users a customized online shopping experience.
Ready to get WooCommerce set up on your WordPress website and start selling? Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to start an online store and how to set up WooCommerce.
How To Open an Online Store Step by Step
- Find a host
- Learn how to set up WordPress
- Learn how to set up WooCommerce
- Choose a website theme
- Add products to your online WooCommerce store
- Create an effective sales funnel
- Use extensions to improve your website
Find a Host
To figure out how to create an online store with WordPress and WooCommerce functionality, you’ll need to choose a host first.
Bluehost is one of the best-known WordPress hosts on the web. In fact, WordPress officially recommends you choose us. We offer an easy step-by-step setup with WordPress, a free domain name for the first year, and 24/7 customer support.
Discover more about our hosting packages to get started.
Learn How To Set Up WordPress
Once you’ve chosen a host, it’s time to set up WordPress as your website building platform.
With Bluehost, we offer automatic WordPress installation. All you need to do is log in to your Bluehost account and choose Log into WordPress under the My Sites tab. Then, click Create Site to start building.
If you’re with another website host, you may need to install WordPress manually. Every website host has a slightly different setup, so we recommend getting in touch with your host’s customer service to find out more about installing WordPress.
Keep in mind, you can always migrate your WordPress website from your current host to Bluehost.
Learn How To Set Up WooCommerce
Once you’ve set up WordPress, you’ll need to set up WooCommerce. Start by installing the WooCommerce plugin, which will enable you to start posting products and accepting customer payments.
Here’s a quick guide to WooCommerce setup using Bluehost.
- Open your WordPress dashboard.
- Select the Plugins tab.
- You’ll see the WordPress Plugin Directory. Find WooCommerce and select it.
- WooCommerce will install. When it’s finished installing, click Activate.
- You’ll then see WooCommerce in your active plugins list. Congratulations! You’ve got WooCommerce set up.
After you’ve installed and activated WooCommerce, you’ll have access to all of the plugin’s functions. You can now:
- Build website pages
- List products
- Set up payment methods
Choose a Website Theme
Choosing a theme or template is a good first step when building your online store. Customize the color scheme and your page set up to give visitors an instant idea of what your brand is about.
Choosing and customizing a theme that fits with your brand is relatively simple using WooCommerce. The default WooCommerce theme is called Storefront, and you can install it for free in the WordPress Theme Directory.
Storefront is a great option for most businesses — it’s a clean, professional theme that fits with just about every type of brand.
If you want a different look, you can also purchase premium WooCommerce themes or hire an external designer. Bluehost also offers a premium theme marketplace for our users.
Add Product Pages to Your Online WooCommerce Store
Once you’ve got WooCommerce set up on your WordPress dashboard and you’ve chosen a template, you can start building the actual pages that will make up your website.
Landing pages will be a key element of your online store. These are the pages that visitors will “land” on when they find your website through an organic Google search.
Use landing pages to:
- Highlight your best products
- Optimize for relevant keywords
- Encourage new visitors to learn more about your store
Product Listings and Product Pages
Product pages are among the most important aspects of any eCommerce website. These pages are for displaying and listing your products.
WooCommerce provides easy product page templates where you can customize features such as:
- Product photo
- Product description
Once you’re happy with your product page template, you can add all of your products in the Products dashboard. This dashboard lets you:
- Filter by product category and customizable tags
- Enter inventory and shipping information
- Link certain products together
Managing your products in this dashboard is quick and easy. Whenever you have a new product, you can quickly add it to your list, and it will instantly appear on your website.
If you want to make changes to a specific product, you won’t have to make complicated changes to a webpage — simply edit the settings in your dashboard.
Shopping Cart and Checkout
You’ll also be able to create high-quality shopping cart and checkout pages with WooCommerce.
In the Payments extension dashboard, you can quickly access information about purchases and returns and update factors such as shipping costs.
Tips To Grow Your Online Store With WooCommerce
Now that we’ve covered how to start an online store and how to set up WooCommerce, let’s discuss how to use the plugin.
Once your WooCommerce website is set up with your products and payment options, you can focus on your digital marketing strategy. An eCommerce website gives you a great opportunity to increase your conversions and introduce a whole group of new customers to your brand.
Here are a few tips on how you can get the most out of your WooCommerce website and start seeing results fast.
Create an Effective Sales Funnel
When you start an online store, you should focus on building a business plan that prioritizes using an effective sales funnel. This way, you’ll be able to guide users through your website from homepage to checkout.
- Use SEO (search engine optimization) keyword research and social media marketing to reach your target audience and improve your incoming organic traffic.
- Use opt-ins to generate an email list of leads.
- Implement automated email marketing to contact potential customers at key points in the buyer journey.
- Follow up with customers to encourage brand loyalty.
Use Extensions to Improve Your Website
WooCommerce comes with a wide range of extension options that can help you to further customize your online store.
Here are just a few examples of great WooCommerce extensions you can try.
- Increase your available payment methods. The Payments extension makes it easy to offer a range of payment gateways at checkout, including credit card payments, PayPal, and Stripe.
- Increase average order value by creating product kits. With the Composite Products extension, you’ll be able to create customizable product sets to encourage your customers to spend a little more each time they visit your website.
- Let customers make bookings and appointments. With the WooCommerce Bookings extension, you can let customers book appointments or make reservations.
We hope you found our guide on how to start an online store helpful. Starting a brand new WooCommerce store can be overwhelming — and that’s where we come in.
Bluehost is recommended by WordPress as the best web host. When you choose Bluehost, you’ll be able to start building a professional WordPress eCommerce store within minutes. We can help you install WordPress and get WooCommerce set up in no time.
Plus, with our 24/7 customer support, store owners won’t have to worry about navigating a new platform on their own. We’re here to help.
Check out our WooCommerce hosting plans to get started today.