Should I use WordPress for eCommerce?

Powering more than a quarter of all the world’s websites, WordPress has become far more than just the blogging platform it was originally conceived as.

Today, the world’s most popular content management system (CMS) is widely used for blogs, news websites, single-page websites and e-commerce stores. The open-source nature of WordPress has also given rise to an enormous global community of developers who regularly publish plugins and themes for the platform. With thousands of customizable themes and plugins available as well as the ability to alter the core of the WordPress platform itself, no two websites running on the CMS ever have to look the same. As such, it’s ideal for creating a unique, branded website experience for any e-commerce startup.

Aside from being completely free (save for some premium themes and plug-ins), the main benefit of using WordPress to power almost any type of website is that it is extremely easy to use once it’s up and running. No knowledge of HTML is required, and the learning curve is minimal and comparable to using a word processor such as Microsoft Word.

Introducing WooCommerce – the #1 eCommerce platform for WordPress.

WooCommerce is one of the most popular WordPress plugins of all as well as one of the world’s most popular e-commerce platforms. In fact, almost a third of all online stores run on the WooCommerce system, which is exclusively available to WordPress users. For almost any e-commerce startup, having a website powered by WordPress and WooCommerce is the obvious solution for a number of reasons.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of using WooCommerce is that it is completely free and open-source, meaning that you can use and modify it without any restrictions whatsoever. By comparison, popular e-commerce software Shopify costs from £29 to £179, depending on the particular package you go for. However, those using WooCommerce will still need to sort out their own hosting and domain registration whereas with Shopify, all of this is included. Certain other apps, themes and plugins for WordPress and WooCommerce are also paid options. Ultimately, however, WooCommerce is the more versatile option since it is highly scalable, making it suitable for everything from small startups selling only a handful of different products to much larger-scale e-commerce stores.

Although most e-commerce platforms, including Shopify, have plenty of themes and templates available for them, WooCommerce sports several free themes and almost 50 premium ones, which you can either buy individually or as a complete package. However, due to the entirely open-source nature of WooCommerce, you are free to develop a unique theme specifically for your business.

How WooCommerce and WordPress help you sell.

For most e-commerce startups, an affordable, scalable and extensively customizable system like WooCommerce is ideal, since it doesn’t have to cost anything to start with, and its versatile nature allows it to scale with your business. All you need is a website running WordPress, which is also completely free, and you can install WooCommerce. In fact, almost anyone can build a simple e-commerce store with WooCommerce, even if they don’t have any knowledge of HTML and the inner workings of Web design. In other words, its beginner-friendly nature means that you’ll be able to get your online store up and running and selling in less time.

Using WordPress and WooCommerce allows you to easily modify and add new items to your product inventory. In other words, once you have the system up and running, managing your product inventory is a quick and straightforward process.

Thanks to the versatile product inventory system, you can use WooCommerce to sell anything you want, whether they be physical or digital products or even things like online courses. You can also take advantage of additional plugins available for the platform to further boost your sales. Many of these are also available for free, although there are a number of premium options as well. Following are some of the most popular:

> YITH WooCommerce Featured Video is a free plugin that allows you to embed videos from YouTube or other online streaming services in your product pages.
> Yotpo Social Reviews allows you to allow reviews on your product pages. Studies have consistently shown that on-site ratings and reviews greatly increase sales and customer satisfaction, so this functionality is too important to pass up. This plugin is also available for free.
> WooCommerce SEO Plugin by Yoast is a specialized version of the most popular WordPress plugin of all. It provides a number of useful features to help you increase your website’s visibility in the search engines. This premium plugin is priced from £49.

Final Words.

Technically, WooCommerce is just one of countless free and open-source plugins available for the world’s favourite content management system. Nonetheless, there is simply no other option, at least not for WordPress users, that offers the same degree of potential. With 1.6 million downloads, WooCommerce has become one of the most successful e-commerce platforms of all. Its user-friendliness, vast customization potential, integrated analytics, availability of themes and plugins and, of course, the fact that it is free, make WooCommerce the obvious choice for any e-commerce startup.