WordPress has grown into one of the most stable platforms available for building an online store. If you’re thinking about building an online store of any size, WordPress should be your first choice.
The basic requirements for setting up an online store on WordPress include:
- A shopping cart plugin
- A good e-commerce enabled theme (optional as some plugins work with any WordPress theme)
- Online payment service (PayPal is sufficient most times)
That’s all fine and good. but why is WordPress the best platform to make your online business happen? In this article I’m going to address four of the most compelling reasons.
1. WordPress is Free
It costs virtually nothing to setup an online store on WordPress.
In reality, you may have to spend a few hundred dollars on plugins, security certificates, and other tools, but the costs don’t compare to other popular options; especially managed e-commerce services.
WordPress itself is free; all you need is good hosting and you’re good to go. From there, you need a shopping cart plugin – of which there are plenty of free options – and you’ll have a fully functional online store.
2. WordPress is Easy to Use
If you’ve built a blog on WordPress, you probably already know how easy it is to setup any type of website on the platform.
In most cases you’ll not have a need to hire a developer, as most shopping cart plugins are straightforward to use and come with plenty of documentation. (That being said, you may find that hiring a professional WordPress developer may save you lots of headaches and money in the future resulting from a poorly setup site.)
The bottom line is that WordPress is easy to use – even if you don’t have technical skills.
3. WordPress Offers a Variety of Shopping Carts
When it comes to shopping carts, there are countless options for WordPress. No matter what product you want to sell, you will find a shopping cart that meets your needs. Most are free, but there are premium options that bundle many of the features you’d buy as add-ons on the free versions.
Some popular shopping cart plugins for WordPress include:
With more than one million downloads to date, WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress. Out of the box, it is lean but incredibly powerful; you can use it with or without add-ons to sell anything online, whether physical or digital.
The WP Online Store plugin is based on software for the popular OS Commerce plugin and offers a range of features. It’s easy to install and can be live and operational within minutes. It comes with a built-in mass product uploader, SSL-enabled transactions, multiple shipping and currency options, and social sharing functions for products, among other features.
Cart66 is a complete e-commerce suite that comes with everything you need to run a self-hosted e-commerce store on WordPress. Monthly plans cost $30, while the annual plan costs $300. If you don’t want to deal with buying add-ons, Cart66 is a good premium option. Moreover, they are planning a fully managed solution soon according to the official website.
You can start with the free ‘Lite’ version to test-run the basic features, and once you’re satisfied, upgrade to the full premium version.
MarketPress is another free option you can use to setup a shop on a WordPress site. Developed by the WPMU team, the plugin’s main aim is to provide a shopping experience like no other. It’s easily customizable, comes with a host of powerful widgets as well as plenty of solid shortcodes. And there’s a premium version if you want to take things a notch up.
4. WordPress is Compatible with Countless Add-ons
Many shopping cart plugins are freely available in their basic form – such as WooCommerce. To unleash their true power, however, you need to take advantage of the multiple add-ons. While many add-ons are not free, they allow you to extend the functionality of your store with ease and at any time you want.
The WooCommerce plugin comes with at least 100 add-ons that can work globally or at product level. You can also have some custom functionality built by a developer. There’s basically no limit as far as add-ons are concerned.
If you’re still not convinced that WordPress is a viable option for your online store, it’s time you tried it out. As mentioned in the post, you don’t have to pay a penny for most of the tools you need. You can minimize costs and only extend your shop as you grow, which is the real beauty of WordPress e-commerce plugins. Why wouldn’t you put WordPress through its paces?
Photo Credit: Chris P Dunn