If you know anything about web development, you know about WordPress. WordPress is now the most popular Content Management System (CMS) in the world, powering over 31% of websites globally. In fact, WordPress is the software behind the very website you’re currently on!
As an everyday WordPress user myself, I can say with confidence that WordPress is a great CMS for many purposes, including online selling. The software is open-source and popular, meaning that itâs fully customizable and that there are plug-ins available to extend the functionality of the software.
While itâs true that WordPress was originally built as a blogging platform, several eCommerce plugins make it possible to transform your website into a full-fledged online store. In this article, weâll be taking a look at three of the most popular eCommerce software systems that work with WordPress.
But first, letâs take a look at WordPress as a stand-alone software.
Is WordPress Easy To Use?
WordPress is a very learnable software. The software is fairly easy to use once you get the hang of things. However, this initial learning process may take some time.
This is particularly true if you are new to web development. As open-source software, WordPress is not exactly plug-and-play. In order to get your site online, youâll have to find your own web host and then install WordPress on your hosting account. In addition, you will be responsible for maintaining your siteâs security.
Once youâve finished setting everything up, you will find that when it comes to daily operations, WordPress is very usable.
As you consider using WordPress for your online store, youâll have to keep in mind the pros and cons of the software. Hereâs a quick breakdown of those advantages and disadvantages:
- Open Source: Because WordPress is open source, you have the freedom to modify the software however you choose. In addition, you can choose to sell your modifications to other users!
- Free: WordPress is free to download and use. However, you should note that operating a website comes with other expenses. Take a look at our âConsâ list for more information.
- Large User Community: With so many bloggers, sellers, and developers using WordPress, you can expect to find lively community forums in WordPressâs support resources. Get help from fellow users or purchase plug-ins from a wide range of developers.
- Reliable Software:Â You can depend on WordPress as a glitch-free CMS.
- Lots Of Plug-Ins Available: WordPress and third-party developers alike have put out thousands of plug-ins that you can purchase and install to add features to your platform.
- For Do-It-Yourselfers Only: When you use WordPress, you will be responsible for managing your web hosting and site security.
- Some Experience Required: You either must have some experience editing HTML/CSS or you must be willing to learn.
- Limited Technical Support: WordPress offers some support via email and live chat. However, for the most part, youâre on your own when it comes to technical issues.
- Common Target For Hackers: Open source software is often the target of security attacks. Youâll have to keep an eye out for any new security patches.
- Difficult To Estimate Total Costs: Although WordPress is free to use, you will still have to pay the typical costs of operating a website. Youâll need to pay for hosting, an SSL certificate, a theme, and any plug-ins you choose to use.
Now you know a bit more about the usability of WordPress, letâs start talking about our favorite eCommerce plug-ins for WordPress! All three of the following plug-ins are affordable, easy-to-use, and easy to integrate with any WordPress website.
Letâs get started!
WooCommerce is a free, open source eCommerce plug-in that is designed specifically to be used with WordPress. WooCommerce fits businesses of all sizes, from startup to enterprise. In fact, WooCommerce has been downloaded over 48 million times, making it one of the most popular eCommerce solutions in the world.
WooCommerce is easy to incorporate into your WordPress site. All you have to do is install and activate the WooCommerce app in your âPlug-insâ tab. Activating this plug-in turns your blogging back-end into an online store admin. Take a look:
In this dashboard, you can manage everything for your online store. For example, you can create products, access pending orders, adjust shipping setting, enter product information, and set up inventory tracking.
WooCommerce provides enough features to handle all the basic operations of online selling. Everything else is available as an extension. Here are a few of the features built-in:
- Sell Digital & Physical Products
- Inventory Management Features
- Shipping Calculator & Shipping Options (Pickup, Local Delivery, Calculated Shipping)
- SEO Features
- Coupons & Discounts
WooCommerce offers lots of themes to choose from. Most of these are designed by third-parties; however, WooCommerce also creates its own designs called âWooThemes.â We recommend you stick with these WooThemes as they tend to work best with WooCommerce updates. For the most part, in order to change large aspects of these designs, you will be required to edit the HTML and CSS.
Like WordPress, WooCommerce offers very limited customer support to their customers. You are mostly on your own. Fortunately, WooCommerce does have a detailed knowledge base as well as a supportive user community to help you through any difficulties.
We love WooCommerce for its customizability, its scalability, and of course, its price. To learn more about WooCommerce, take a look atÂ our full review of the software. Or, download WooCommerce today to test it for yourself.
Another plug-in you might consider using is Ecwid. Ecwid is an eCommerce software that lets you incorporate shopping cart widgets–such as buy buttons or a full online store–into any pre-built website. Ecwid is a perfect solution for small to medium-sized businesses that want a simple way to add an online store to their website. Over one million merchants currently use Ecwid for their online selling.
Ecwid is a SaaS (software as a service) solution, which means that although you have to find hosting for your WordPress site, hosting for your Ecwid store is already included. Instead, you’ll just have to pay a monthly price to use the software. This price depends primarily on the number of products you plan on listing. Each step up in pricing also includes more advanced features. Take a look below for a quick breakdown of pricing:
- Free Plan: $0/Month
- 10 Products
- Venture: $15/Month
- 100 Products
- Business: $35/Month
- 2,500 Products
- Unlimited: $99/Month
- Unlimited Products
To add Ecwid to your WordPress account, sign for an Ecwid account at ecwid.com. Then, install and activate the app in your WordPress dashboard. Completing these actions will let you make changes to your Ecwid store from WordPress.
Hereâs a look at Ecwidâs dashboard within WordPress:
Alternatively, you can choose to manage your store from Ecwidâs own dashboard. Since the two programs are now connected, every change you make in Ecwid will be reflected in your WordPress site. Here’s Ecwid’s dashboard:
We recommend using Ecwidâs dashboard to manage your online store. We think Ecwidâs dashboard is more intuitive and easier to use in general.
Using Ecwid will give you access to many of the necessary selling features. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Buy Buttons
- Multi-Channel Selling
- Real-Time Shipping Rates
- Promotions & Discounts
- Sell Digital Products
- Mobile Management App
Ecwid supplies users with one Starter Site theme that you can use to develop your storefront using drag-and-drop tools. There are also third-party themes available as well as HTML and CSS editors for more in-depth customization.
As is typical with SaaS solutions, Ecwid provides technical support through several channels. Your pricing plan will determine how you are able to reach customer support, whether that is through email, live chat, or phone. Everyone has access to a knowledge base and community support forums. Remember, Ecwid can only help with issues related to their software. They do not provide WordPress support.
Ecwid is a great solution for any merchant whoâs looking for a simple way to sell products on their website. The app is easy to use with WordPress, itâs affordable, and it works. For more information, read our full review or sign up for Ecwidâs free plan to try it out.
Selz is another SaaS shopping cart solution that plugs into any website. Like Ecwid, Selz offers users both ease of use and versatility. Selz gives merchants the option of adding eCommerce features to any website in a variety of ways. You can choose to add an online store to an established website, embed buy buttons for select products, sell directly on social media, or set up a fully hosted online store.
Selz is designed for startups, artists, writers, and musicians, and the platform currently serves over 100,000 merchants worldwide. Ease of use is Selzâs strongest feature, which is wonderful for many beginning merchants.
On the other hand, sometimes Selzâs ease of use can be a limiting factor for sellers who are looking to grow. Selz does not offer many advanced features or integrations. Nevertheless, many sellers find that Selz fits their needs perfectly.
As a SaaS solution, Selz charges a monthly fee for the use of their software. There are four plans to choose from. These plans are organized by the number of products you plan to list. Additional features are available on higher level plans. Hereâs a quick overview of pricing:
- Free Plan: $0/Month
- 5 Product Maximum
- 2% Transaction Fee
- Lite Plan: $19/Month
- Unlimited Products
- 2% Transaction Fee
- Standard Plan: $29/Month
- Unlimited Products
- 1% Transaction Fee
- Pro Plan: $49/Month
- Unlimited Products
- 0.5% Transaction Fee
- No Transaction Fee If Using Selz Pay
To add Selz to your WordPress site, youâll have to create a Selz account and then install and activate the Selz app in your WordPress dashboard.
Then, head back into your Selz dashboard. Using this dashboard, you can create products and discounts, process orders, and manage shipping settings. In order to test your setup with WordPress, you should add at least one or two products.
Now, you can decide how youâd like to add eCommerce to your site, whether that’s via buy buttons or an entire online store. When you make your decision, youâll just have to follow Selzâs instructions to add products to your WordPress site.
During my testing, I decided to add my entire Selz store to WordPress. I looked into Selzâs instructions, but I had a bit of difficulty locating the correct buttons. I eventually figured out that WordPressâs new Gutenberg editor was complicating the process. Selz has not yet updated their support documentation to provide instructions for this new WordPress version. When I switched back to WordPressâs older Classic Editor, I was able to quickly integrate my store.
While both WooCommerce and Ecwid give you access to store management features within your WordPress dashboard, this is not the case with Selz. In order to add new products, process orders, etc. you will have to log back into your Selz dashboard.
Selz offers the basic features you need for online selling. Although Selz focuses mostly on the basics, they do include a few advanced features such as abandoned cart recovery and digital downloads. Take a look at a few of Selzâs features:
- Sell Anywhere
- Sell Physical & Digital Products
- Real-Time Shipping Rates
- Pay What You Want
- Discounts & Coupons
- Multi-Currency Capabilities
- Abandoned Cart Recovery
When it comes to web design, Selz users are all set. There are 25 beautiful, image-focused designs to choose from, and theyâre all free. Users can customize these designs by using the drag-and-drop editor or the HTML/CSS editors.
Support is available for all Selz users in the form of 24/7 live chat and email. There is also a Help Center full of useful documentation for users who prefer a do-it-yourself approach. As always, youâll have to keep in mind that while Selz representatives love to help you use their software, they canât help when it comes to WordPress difficulties.
Selz is a perfect solution for makers and startups who want to get their online stores started quickly. In particular, Selz works well for merchants who want to offer lots of digital products. If this sounds like you, head over to our full Selz review for more information. Or, you can take a look at Selz yourself.
So, is WordPress easy to use for eCommerce? We certainly think so, especially when you use the right eCommerce plug-in.
Take a deeper look at any of the three options we present above, and donât be afraid to test out the plug-ins before you commit. All of these eCommerce solutions offer a free platform (or free download) so you can integrate the software with your WordPress site without paying a dime. And if you decide it isnât a good fit for you, itâs easy to deactivate the integration. In fact, it just takes a few clicks.
So, what are you waiting for? Head over to our reviews or sign up for one of these shopping carts and get testing!
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