eCommerce Solution Overview

Getting an online store set up and launched isn’t always an easy task. Now you can launch a store on WordPress faster than ever before with WP Engine’s eCommerce solution.

This eCommerce solution will help set your store up for success with an eCommerce-ready theme, content, automated plugin updates, instant store search, and much more. All of this while continuing to take advantage of the same WP Engine performance, security and Support that you know and love.


eCommerce Solution Features

Each eCommerce solution builds off of our existing shared plans and includes all the same great features (like StudioPress and CDN) but adds an eCommerce-ready theme, demo content, WooCommerce, demo products, and automatic plugin updates powered by Smart Plugin Manager.

Growth, Scale, Professional, and some Premium eCommerce solutions also include Instant Store Search search, powered by Elasticsearch.

To view more information around these plans, see eCommerce Solutions Pricing page here. If you’d like to convert an existing plan, please contact our team.

NOTE

eCommerce Solution features do not currently support WordPress multisite.

The eCommerce Solution features available to your plan and the current site utilization can be easily accessed through the User Portal. From any page, simply click eCommerce in the lefthand menu.

Or, use this link to go directly to the eCommerce page: https://my.wpengine.com/ecommerce


eCommerce View

To quickly see the status of your eCommerce Solution features by environment visit the Sites page, then click eCommerce View.


Quick Store Setup

The Quick Store Setup features let’s you launch faster by installing all of the eCommerce building blocks with one click! This feature will automatically install the following on a new environment:

* The eCommerce Startup solution does not include Instant Store Search.

If you are on an eCommerce Solution plan, you can find Quick Store Setup by going to the eCommerce page in your User Portal, then clicking Add Site.

Alternatively, when adding a site or environment through the User Portal, simply select Start with an eCommerce site on the the creation form.


WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a customizable, open-source eCommerce platform built on WordPress. The WooCommerce plugin allows you to set up a new store in minutes. Securely take payment, configure shipping options, and more right in the WooCommerce plugin.

To learn more about setting up and using WooCommerce features, check out the WooCommerce documentation here.

Just like we added demo pages to your new store, we’ve also included demo products. View your demo products to understand how products work in WooCommerce, or edit an existing product to get a head start. You can see all your demo products in your wp-admin dashboard by going to the Products section.

We also have a helpful article on adding products to WooCommerce.


Instant Store Search 

Included with the eCommerce Professional, Growth, and Scale solutions is instant store search powered by Elasticsearch. Instant store search is designed to help your customers find what they need faster, without bogging down the store with a bulky and slow search index.

NOTE

Instant store search is not available on eCommerce Startup solutions.

The instant autosuggest feature shows results that your users may be looking for as they type, while instant search results provide direct links to pages and products those visitors may be seeking specifically. By creating a modal of highly relevant search results, you can now cut valuable time between a customer visiting your site and making a successful conversion.

Weighting and Custom Results allow you to adjust what results appear depending on what viewers commonly look for or what you’d like them to see. Additionally, the search is offloaded to a secure external server so your page speed is never compromised by the added flexibility.

Instant store search helps your customers find what they are looking for faster and with less effort, and WP Engine manages and connects your site to the external search server. Keep your focus on running your business and let us manage the integration.

ElasticSearch is automatically installed and activated on new environments. Some settings may need adjustment based on your business model, however. See the recommended settings here.

NOTE

Instant search results requires ElasticPress 4.0+. When upgrading, we recommend testing on a Staging or Development environment first.


Smart Plugin Manager 

Smart Plugin Manager (SPM) is a WP Engine tool that keeps your environments secure by automatically updating all of your WordPress plugins to ensure that they’re always up-to-date.

Additionally, Smart Plugin Manager will check to ensure that the updates are working as expected, and that the update did not cause any visual problems on your site. If a plugin update causes issues, SPM can even restore the site and notify you there was an issue. No more worrying about missing sales from botched plugin update!

Learn more about Smart Plugin Manager in our Support article or read the press release.


Genesis Pro

When using the eCommerce Quick Store Setup we will automatically apply the Spend starter store theme. This theme has been built from the ground up to give you the best possible foundation for your online store. Start with Spend and then easily customize it for the unique needs of your business.

Spend is built on the Genesis Blocks framework, which is a powerful framework for helping you create compelling content faster, using pre-made design components that you can style to work with your unique store.

Getting the right look and feel is important. That is why we’ve made sure to include a few pages of demo content. These demo pages can be edited, duplicated, or removed easily in the Pages section of your wp-admin dashboard.

Your starter store will come with the following demo pages:

  • Home
  • Shop
  • About
  • Cart
  • Checkout
  • My account
  • Privacy Policy

If you prefer a bit more customization, all eCommerce solutions also include Genesis Pro. Genesis Pro provides you with a collection of advanced tools to build and create a beautiful and optimized theme.

Genesis Pro includes Genesis Blocks Pro, Genesis Framework, and StudioPress themes. Here is a great article on how to use Genesis Blocks.


Live Cart

WooCommerce “Cart Fragments” is an admin AJAX script which makes the shopping cart dynamic, with real-time totals and product count, but without the need to refresh the page each time. Real-time cart totaling improves the user experience, lowers cart abandonment, and increases conversions.

Many of the top performance benchmarking tools regularly highlight AJAX requests, specifically the Cart Fragments call wc-ajax=get_refreshed_fragments, as the source of page speed delays and instability on high-traffic eCommerce sites. This is because, in WooCommerce, the Cart Fragments request is made all the time, even when completely unnecessary, including pages without add-to-cart functionality, like an About Us page, Blog Posts, or on the Terms & Conditions page.

The Cart Fragments script presents a tradeoff between performance and dynamic functionality. Both are important and research shows they both contribute to higher conversion rates. This presents a site owner who may be experiencing performance issues on their store with two options: Disable cart fragments and lose out on the dynamic functionality entirely, or enable WP Engine’s eCommerce Solution Live Cart feature and maintain the real-time cart while simultaneously improving performance.

Live Cart is a proprietary performance feature built into WP Engine eCommerce plans that eliminates the AJAX call from happening at unnecessary times, and improves the scalability of the cart and page speed across your entire site without losing dynamic cart functionality. The biggest benefit is seen when items are added to the cart and during high-traffic events, like a special promotion or event (like Black Friday). When a customer adds an item to the cart, Live Cart loads pages on average 1.5 seconds faster than the default Cart Fragments script and helps keep your site from dropped connections under continuous load. Live Cart is not only faster, but it makes the server more stable and responsive in peak traffic.

Live Cart optimization is enabled on all newly created stores on an eCommerce Solution. If you are enabling Live Cart for the first time on an existing store, we recommend testing this out on a Staging or Development environment first, to ensure there are no unintended conflicts.

To enable Live Cart:

  1. Log in to the ​​User Portal
  2. Select your eCommerce site
  3. Locate Performance features
  4. Next to Live Cart click Install

EverCache® for WooCommerce

EverCache® for WooCommerce expands our proprietary cache engine to your store by leveraging cache in even more use cases. This custom caching configuration takes the guesswork out delivering your pages at peak performance and is included with all eCommerce Solutions.

More specifically, EverCache® for WooCommerce optimizes the cache settings of your cart. When you enable this performance feature, we no longer exclude a page from cache if there is an item in the user’s cart, only on user-specific pages like the checkout. As a result, your site can leverage caching more often, increasing scalability and performance.

For sites that provide a great deal of dynamic content, have disabled cart fragments, or have custom carts we recommend testing this feature on a staging or development environment before enabling it on your store. While Evercache® should not impact external items, such as API cart calls, we always recommend testing before apply updates to Production.

To utilize this feature you will need to have an eCommerce Solution plan and the WooCommerce plugin active on your website.

To enable or disable EverCache® for WooCommerce:

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Click into your eCommerce site
  3. Under Performance Features, toggle EverCache® on or off

Limitations

EverCache® for WooCommerce is compatible with most websites and features. The limitations are as follows:

  • Atlas websites – Headless sites use a different server configuration where EverCache® for WooCommerce cannot be applied.
  • Quick Store Setup – This feature cannot enable or disable EverCache® for WooCommerce. Stores created after June 2022 with have Evercache® for WooCommerce enabled automatically. Sites created before this time can toggle this feature on from their User Portal.
  • Instant Store Search – This feature offloads search results to a specialized server for performance increases. EverCache® for WooCommerce cannot be applied to that server.
  • Genesis Pro – Themes depend on UI elements for WordPress which are not included with EverCache® for WooCommerce.

NOTE

EverCache® for WooCommerce works with most caching plugins. If you do experience any conflicts, please reach out to our Support team.


Manage eCommerce Solution Features

Anyone with an eCommerce plan has access to the powerful tools you need to optimize your store, keep your site secure, and save you time. Current eCommerce features include:

Install eCommerce Feature

To use these features on any of your eCommerce sites, just go to the Site overview page for your desired site. From there you can select and install your desired features.

  1. Log in to the User Portal
  2. Select the environment name
  3. Select a feature you’d like to use
  4. Click Install selected features

Additionally, this view can be collapsed for a more compact view of the currently installed eCommerce features.

Uninstall eCommerce Feature

Each eCommerce feature serves a different function and therefore has its own method to safely remove. Use the instructions below to remove a specific feature from your website.

Be sure to make any necessary backups of the website before making any changes.

WooCommerce

To uninstall WooCommerce you will need to log in to WP Admin dashboard of the website and remove the WooCommerce plugin like normal.

Keep in mind uninstalling WooCommerce will remove all of the products and order information for the selected site.

Instant Store Search

To remove Instant Store Search:

  1. Log in to the WP Engine User Portal
  2. Expand Add-ons in the main menu
  3. Select Instant Store Search
  4. Locate the environment name in the list
  5. Toggle the switch off to remove Instant Store Search

Smart Plugin Manager

To remove Smart Plugin Manager:

  1. Log in to the WP Engine User Portal
  2. Select Add-ons from the main menu
  3. Locate Smart Plugin Manager then click Manage
  1. Select the sites you wish to remove this feature from
  2. With the appropriate sites selected, click the Edit settings button
  3. From here you can release the license(s) on the selected environments to remove the feature

Once a license has been released from an environment it can be applied to another environment on the account.

Quick Store Setup

Removing quick store setup involves a few steps.

  1. Removing Demo Products
    • In WP-Admin, find the Products tab under the WooCommerce side nav menu item. If you hover over one of your demo products (indicated by a Demo Product tag) you will have the option to remove all demo products.
  1. Removing Demo Content
    • Find your Pages tab in WP Admin. You will see a list of all the pages created for your site. Any pages created as demo content will have the author name matching the name of your site in WP Engine. This is how you can tell which pages were created as part of your demo content. To remove these pages, select and move to trash all pages with the author name matching your site’s name.

Genesis

To uninstall Genesis, go to your plugins page in WP Admin, deactivate and uninstall the plugin like normal.

Keep in mind that removing Genesis will also remove any themes, blocks, and styling provided by Genesis.

Live Cart

Live Cart functionality is managed via a WordPress plugin. The “Live Cart by WP Engine” plugin must be deactivated and uninstalled from the wp-admin area of your website to disable the Live Cart functionality.


NEXT STEP: 5 Steps to take your store live

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