As the most popular Content Management System (CMS) available, WordPress has made a name for itself as a content marketing platform. Unfortunately, this fact can deter business owners from taking full advantage of WordPress and the many features it has to offer.
In reality, WordPress is versatile enough to be used for just about any business setup, including an eCommerce store. This means you can create a fully-functioning, all-in-one eCommerce shop with WordPress, along with a bit of help from the platform’s many themes and plugins.
In this post, we’ll discuss the use of WordPress as an eCommerce platform. We’ll then highlight a few of the more popular tools you can use, and talk about how you can choose the right one for your business. Let’s get started!
Why Choose WordPress for eCommerce?
WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (CMS) with an array of uses and functionality. Its most popular use is as a blogging platform, but its customization and extendability make it an excellent option for nearly any type of website.
As an eCommerce platform, WordPress offers much in the way of integrations and customization options. There are a variety of themes and plugins you can use to add eCommerce features to your site, and the platform’s ease of use and scalability make it a viable option for businesses both large and small.
Who Uses WordPress for eCommerce?
While WordPress can be expanded to fit almost any eCommerce needs, there are a few types of businesses and websites it works best for. These include stores that offer physical or digital products, services, or subscriptions.
However, businesses small, medium, and large can benefit from the numerous eCommerce features made available to WordPress users. To get access to this functionality, you’ll need to integrate WordPress with one or more external tools.
WordPress eCommerce Integrations
One of the best things about WordPress is its ability to integrate with various eCommerce platforms and plugins. These enable you to run a fully-functioning store from your WordPress website, or even integrate certain eCommerce features (such as a shopping cart) into your current blog.
What’s more, the variety of integrations on offer means you can choose the one that’s right for your business needs. The best option will vary based on your business size, product type, and overall goals, but there’s bound to be a choice that’s right for you. Let’s look at a few of the top platforms now.
WordPress and WooCommerce
WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress eCommerce integration, and there are many reasons for its status. Foremost, it has an extensive list of add-ons and customization options. It can also be added to your WordPress website in minutes, and getting started is easy thanks to its simple setup wizard.
Shopify for WordPress
Shopify is best known as a standalone eCommerce platform. As such, it doesn’t offer a way to fully integrate with WordPress. However, you can use the Buy Button plugin, which will enable you to collect payments right from your site.
Ecwid and WordPress
Unlike Shopify, which has its own platform, Ecwid is an eCommerce option you can fully integrate with your current WordPress website. Using Ecwid, you can set up your store in minutes, and the Shopping Cart plugin makes getting started even easier.
WordPress and BigCommerce
BigCommerce is a unique eCommerce option, in that it enables you to handle various online shops via one comprehensive solution. Similar to Shopify, it also has limited WordPress integration options at the moment. However, you can still easily run a WordPress blog alongside your BigCommerce store.
WordPress and Magento
Similar to Shopify and BigCommerce, Magento is an eCommerce platform focused on its standalone offerings. However, a few third-party integration options do exist, which make it possible to add a WordPress blog to your Magento eCommerce shop.
WordPress eCommerce Comparisons
WordPress/WooCommerce vs. Shopify
When determining which eCommerce platform to use, you may find yourself choosing between two of the most popular options – WooCommerce and Shopify. While both platforms do offer similar features, there’s one major distinction between the two. Shopify is an external platform, while WooCommerce can integrate with WordPress fully.
When you choose to use WooCommerce and WordPress, you can handle all of your website’s needs in one place. If you opt for Shopify, on the other hand, you’ll be managing your store on one platform (Shopify) and your blog or website on another (WordPress). This makes WooCommerce a top choice for most users.
WordPress vs. Magento
If WooCommerce and Shopify aren’t the platforms for you, however, Magento is another option worth considering. As we mentioned earlier, this is an open-source software that’s similar to WordPress, but with one major difference. Magento can support eCommerce shops by default, while WordPress websites requires a bit of tweaking to get a store up and running.
Both WordPress and Magento support blog posts and pages. They can also handle eCommerce functions – including shopping carts and customer accounts – although you’ll need the help of plugins to achieve this with WordPress. Ultimately, WordPress requires a little more work to get up and running, but it also offers much more in the way of customization options.
eCommerce Plugins & Themes
As we’ve mentioned, it’s entirely possible to use WordPress as your one-and-only eCommerce solution. This requires a bit of tweaking, which can be done with the help of dedicated plugins.
Some of the more popular eCommerce plugins include WooCommerce (which we’ve already discussed), Easy Digital Downloads, and Shopp. Each can be used to add simple shopping carts and buy buttons, or to create a more robust eCommerce setup.
To improve the look and functionality of your WordPress eCommerce shop, you can also use an eCommerce-specific theme. There are lots of options available, and they can range in cost from free to hundreds of dollars.
WordPress Payment Forms
Stripe for WordPress
Stripe is an eCommerce payment solution that focuses on open-source tools and Application Program Interfaces (APIs). This means it can easily integrate with various platforms, including WordPress.
WooCommerce Payment Gateways
As the most integration-friendly eCommerce solution for WordPress, it makes sense that WooCommerce would have multiple payment gateways available. Just a few of its options include PayPal, Stripe, and Square.
You can add as many payment options as you like, using both free and premium extensions. After downloading one of these extensions, it will be integrated into your WooCommerce store so you can begin accepting payments immediately.
If you’ve decided that WordPress is the right eCommerce solution for you, it’s now time to consider which host you should use. WP Engine is one of the most versatile WordPress hosting providers, with a variety of plans (and even enterprise options) to choose from.
As such, WP Engine can help you create a successful and fully-functioning eCommerce store on your WordPress website. You can also learn more about WordPress and the many solutions offered by WP Engine in our Resource Center!