The eCommerce market is projected to grow to $8.1 trillion by the end of 2026. So, if you want a piece of that, having a captivating online store is more important than ever.
With your storefront as the bustling hub of your business, your choice of eCommerce platform is as essential as the products you sell.
It serves as the foundation for your entire online business, dictating everything from the customer experience to backend management.
WordPress emerges as a familiar name in this space. Renowned for its versatility across countless websites, using WordPress for eCommerce is a common choice.
But is it the right fit for your online store?
- Why WordPress?
- 1. Free and Easy To Use
- 2. Extensive Customization With External Plugins and Services
- 3. Variety of Themes and Design Options
- 4. SEO-Friendly Structure
- 5. Efficient Product and Inventory Management
- 6. Support for Multiple Payment Gateways and Currencies
- 9. You Own and Control Your Data
- 10. Strong Community Support
- Drawbacks of WordPress Worth Considering
- Can WordPress Be Used for eCommerce? Yes It Can!
Today, we’ll provide our opinion and insight on whether using WordPress for eCommerce is a good idea or not.
First up, let’s address some of the key benefits of WordPress for eCommerce.
There are many reasons why WordPress is so popular for building an eCommerce website.
Here’s just a few:
One of the most compelling reasons to consider WordPress for eCommerce is its cost-effectiveness and user-friendliness. The software is completely free and that price is hard to beat!
This alone makes it an attractive option, especially for small businesses or startups looking to minimize initial expenses.
You will need to purchase web hosting and a domain name to get your new website off the ground, but with no other mandatory costs, it’s a very cheap way to get online.
But the appeal of WordPress goes beyond just being free.
Its popularity as a content management system is also due to its simple installation process. Some web hosts will even install it for you as part of the service!
If you play around with WordPress for even a short time, it’ll become abundantly clear that plugins and integrated services are central to how it works.
Each plugin is designed to enhance different aspects of your website. And in your exploration, you’ll likely come across many eCommerce plugins.
They cover everything from product display to customer engagement, payment processing, and marketing. It’s entirely up to you which you use and which you don’t.
Two plugins very relevant to this discussion are SureCart and WooCommerce.
A new option for WordPress eCommerce is SureCart. It’s a complete eCommerce platform like WooCommerce, only easier to use.
It’s changing the way we do eCommerce and is proving immensely popular!
It offers many features to streamline your online sales, including:
- Drag and drop checkout and custom forms: Enables effortless creation of custom checkout forms, enhancing the customer experience.
- Diverse payment options: Supports a variety of payment methods and processors, including Stripe and PayPal, offering flexibility for global transactions.
- Subscription management: Offers innovative flexibility in subscription payments, including installment plans and the ability to upgrade or downgrade subscription services.
- Marketing and conversion tools: Includes features like order bumps, advanced coupons, and integrations with external services to boost sales.
- Global reach: Manages EU VAT compliance and real-time tax calculations, with multi-currency support coming soon, making it ideal for international sales.
- Automation and integration: Automates repetitive tasks and integrates with third-party services and WordPress plugins, enhancing efficiency and connectivity.
- Developer-friendly: Offers extensive developer support with tools like webhooks, REST API, and license key integration, catering to custom development needs.
This level of customization and control is invaluable for an eCommerce platform. It means you can tailor your site to meet specific business needs and customer preferences, ultimately driving sales and growth.
WooCommerce is used by a staggering 20.6% of all WordPress websites. It’s a complete eCommerce plugin that delivers all the features you need to run a store.
It seamlessly integrates eCommerce capabilities into your site, allowing for easy product management, payment processing, and much more.
A standout feature of WordPress is its wide variety of themes, particularly for eCommerce.
They often come packed with many features suited for different types of online stores, each one ready to showcase everything from quirky gadgets to sleek digital downloads.
Whether you’re selling physical goods, digital products, or services, there’s a theme that can cater to your needs.
The beauty of WordPress themes lies in their customization. You can choose a theme that resonates with your brand and then tweak, twist, and tailor it until it screams your brand’s personality.
This flexibility ensures your online store stands out and provides a unique shopping experience to your customers.
The right theme can significantly enhance the user experience, influence customer perceptions, and even affect conversion rates.
Using WordPress for eCommerce is a solid bet given the variety of themes available.
And they not only look good — many also perform efficiently, aligning with both your brand identity and business objectives.
Take the Astra theme for example. It’s one of the most popular themes for WordPress, with over 250 pre-built templates suitable for different industries.
It also offers integration with popular plugins like SureCart, WooCommerce, Spectra and Elementor for added functionality and design freedom.
WordPress is also well-respected for its SEO-friendly structure. This makes it an excellent platform for eCommerce sites aiming to rank higher in search engine results.
A few features worth noting include:
- SEO-optimized navigation: The platform allows for SEO-optimized navigation, letting you create descriptive URLs that improve your site’s search ranking.
- SEO plugins available: You can extend WordPress via plugins such as SEOPress. This simplifies SEO optimization, allowing you to manage keywords, meta tags, and sitemaps.
- Content management: WordPress’s user-friendly CMS makes it easy to keep your site fresh with new content, which is a key element of a successful SEO strategy.
- Link-building features: WordPress makes playing the link-building game a walk in the park. Dofollow/nofollow links? You’ve got complete control to sculpt your link profile to perfection.
- Sitemaps and content syndication: WordPress makes it easy to create sitemaps to improve discoverability by search engines and users. Content syndication via RSS and Atom feeds help distribute your content more widely.
- Customization for SEO: WordPress allows for customization of permalinks, anchor text, and image optimization, all of which are a must for effective SEO. Customizable URLs, keyword-rich anchor text, and ALT tags for images enhance your site’s search engine relevance.
WordPress lets you take advantage of these SEO features to increase your site’s visibility, drive more traffic, and ultimately boost your sales — a win all-round!
Inventory management tools are another essential for successful online stores. Fortunately, platforms like SureCart and WooCommerce make this a less daunting task.
You can set stock levels for products, monitor stock quantities, and even set low stock thresholds using built-in tools.
This is particularly useful for keeping track of individual products and variations. With built-in tools, your inventory count is always spot-on, making stock-outs and overstocking things of the past.
For those looking for more advanced capabilities, third-party plugins can greatly enhance inventory management.
They can offer bulk editing of products, powerful reporting tools, and more efficient systems for updating stock values.
This translates into major time savings, especially for stores with a large number of products!
With the rise of global eCommerce, supporting multiple payment gateways and currencies has become vital.
Using WordPress for eCommerce is a smart way to handle it. Plugins like SureCart and WooCommerce natively support multiple payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe.
They also allow easy product uploads, order management, and SEO optimization, making them robust options for global sales.
Since many online retailers accept international payments, multi-currency options are a good idea to have on hand too.
This feature allows customers to see prices in their preferred currency, enhancing the user experience and potentially reducing cart abandonment rates.
While WooCommerce only allows one base currency by default, you can add extensions to it to facilitate this. This feature is on the way in SureCart.
Offering multiple payment gateways and currencies is a must for attracting international customers and growing your customer base.
With WordPress, data ownership is a fundamental principle. Everything you publish on your website is 100% yours and doesn’t belong to the platform it’s hosted on.
But what does this mean, specifically, and why does it matter?
- Full ownership: Using open-source platforms like WordPress ensures you have complete ownership of your content and data. This is a significant advantage over many hosted eCommerce solutions where data ownership can be more ambiguous.
- Data control and security: Your data is exactly that — yours. WordPress emphasizes that user data belongs to the store owner. Even if you choose to share usage data with a plugin, it’s anonymized and kept secure. You can opt out of data sharing anytime without affecting your store’s functionality.
- Future-proofing your data: One of the key benefits of eCommerce plugins is the ability to export content and take your site to any platform you choose, without restrictions. This flexibility ensures your online store is future-proof and adaptable to changing business needs or technologies.
Owning and controlling your data is essential for long-term business security and flexibility. It allows you to make independent decisions about your store, from how you manage and use your data to how you might want to expand or migrate your business in the future.
WordPress’s strength lies not just in its software but also in its community. After all, we can achieve more together than we can alone.
Here’s how this benefits eCommerce site owners:
- Community-based forums: WordPress.org hosts community-based support forums that are an excellent resource for learning, sharing, and troubleshooting. They provide a platform where you can get help from other WordPress users and developers, ask questions, and find solutions to common problems.
- A wealth of resources: The WordPress community is known for its active participation and willingness to help. From developers and business owners to hobbyists, the community comprises a diverse group of individuals who contribute to the platform’s growth and knowledge base.
- Regular meetups and WordCamps: WordPress communities often organize meetups and WordCamps, events where users and developers can connect, learn, and collaborate. These events are invaluable for staying up-to-date with the latest WordPress developments and best practices.
Strong community support is invaluable, especially when trying to get a foothold in eCommerce.
Whether you’re encountering technical challenges, looking for advice on best practices, or seeking new ideas for your online store, the WordPress community can help guide and support you along the way.
Even the most versatile platforms have their limitations and WordPress is no exception.
While it offers a range of advantages for eCommerce sites, there are some drawbacks worth considering before you fully commit:
WordPress, by itself, isn’t a dedicated eCommerce platform. It requires plugins like SureCart to add eCommerce functionality.
SureCart is powerful and can certainly help you create a fully-fledged store. It’s still worth noting that WordPress by itself lacks some advanced features offered by specialized eCommerce platforms.
Since WordPress is primarily a content management system, its core focus isn’t on eCommerce. This might mean missing out on some essential eCommerce-specific features that dedicated platforms provide.
Some shoppers hesitate to buy online due to security concerns. This makes it essential to actively secure your site to build and maintain customer trust.
Since WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, it’s a prime target for hackers and cybercriminals.
This risk is amplified for eCommerce sites, where data breaches can have severe financial consequences.
A single data breach can cost an average of $117,000 for small businesses. Yikes!
To mitigate security risks, you will need to rely on your web host’s security and security plugins to keep your site secure.
Ensuring the security of a WordPress eCommerce site requires proactive measures. That’s not always something every store owner is up for.
WordPress is known for its flexibility and user-friendly environment. And technically using WordPress for eCommerce sites with massive product catalogs is possible.
However, this higher capacity depends heavily on the hosting service and the optimization of the website.
For smaller businesses, WordPress works great but as your business grows, the limitations of your hosting platform might become apparent.
Larger eCommerce stores require robust infrastructure to manage increased product listings and visitor traffic. Invest in a good hosting package early on to simplify scaling up later.
Shared hosting might lead to slowdowns due to resource sharing, making VPS (Virtual Private Server) a viable option for growing stores.
However, managing a VPS might require technical expertise or hiring someone for server maintenance.
Database management also plays a role. Large-scale WordPress eCommerce sites might experience database jams, requiring a move to dedicated servers with solid-state-drive (SSD) technology for better performance.
The overwhelmingly good news here is that since SureCart is a headless option, it doesn’t have the same impact on site performance as something like WooCommerce.
Good hosting is still a must, but since transaction processing is handled by SureCart servers, the higher volume won’t impact site performance.
Plugins and themes are the primary way to add new functionality and customization options to WordPress sites.
However, conflicts between plugins or between plugins and themes can range from minor styling issues to significant problems like site crashes.
If such an issue occurs, you’ll need to identify and resolve these conflicts, typically by deactivating all plugins and then reactivating them one by one.
Using incompatible plugins can slow down your site and make it more vulnerable to security breaches as well.
We recommend using a limited number of essential plugins to maintain site performance and security.
This is, of course, a maintenance task, and a necessary one, at that. But with a regular schedule, you shouldn’t have to dedicate that much time to managing updates and potential conflicts.
Using WordPress for eCommerce is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. It demands ongoing effort in selecting and maintaining plugins, customizing themes, and ensuring high-level security.
These tasks, while essential for optimal site performance, can be time-consuming and require technical expertise.
The reward for this extra effort is a highly customizable, cost-effective eCommerce platform. This may not suit everyone, especially those looking for a more hands-off approach.
While WordPress itself is free, creating a professional eCommerce site can involve additional costs, such as premium plugins, themes, or hiring developers.
This hidden expense can add up, making the platform less cost-effective than it initially appears.
They are optional though.
The question of whether WordPress is the right platform for your eCommerce needs isn’t black and white.
We’ve talked about many aspects of WordPress eCommerce, from its built in features to potential scalability challenges for larger stores to the technical demands of plugin and theme management.
Each point underscores a consistent theme: WordPress offers a robust, flexible foundation for eCommerce, and it’s not without its potential issues.
But in nearly every case, WordPress can be made the ideal eCommerce solution when paired with SureCart.
It offers a streamlined, user-friendly solution for eCommerce, potentially easing some of the burdens associated with stores built on WordPress alone.
For businesses willing to invest time and effort, using WordPress for eCommerce can be highly rewarding. You can truly make it yours.
Ultimately, your choice depends on your business’s unique needs, resources, and long-term goals. Just know that SureCart might be just the thing to bring your eCommerce dreams to life. Good luck!
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