How Can I Use WordPress for eCommerce?

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So, you love WordPress, and want to launch an eCommerce site. You can do just about anything with WordPress. Should it be used for eCommerce, or is it better to use something designed from top to bottom for online shopping, like Magenta, Prestashop or OpenCart?

There are a wide range of eCommerce solutions out there, both hosted and self-hosted that are worth considering. But by adding an eCommerce plugin to WordPress, you get the same range of online shopping features, plus the familiarity and power of WordPress.

For most people, there are two WordPress eCommerce solutions I recommend. Many people would agree with me, since they’re two of the most popular options out there, powering half of the world’s online stores. They’re different, and appeal to different people—and one of them will likely appeal to you.

But they’re not the only options. If your needs are a little different, or you don’t like to follow the crowd, or you prefer to research all the options before making a choice, I’ve included a list of other alternatives.

So, which WordPress eCommerce solution is for you? Read on to find out.

Recommendation 1: Leverage Shopify to Power Your WordPress Store

Approach 1: Start with a proven eCommerce solution, and bring it into WordPress. One that’s well-known, easy to use, and simple to integrate into WordPress is Shopify.

Shopify is a popular hosted online shopping solution. It’s used by 400,000 businesses, and is listed in many Top 10 eCommerce solution roundups.

According to BuiltWith , Shopify is used by 5% of online stores in total, including 9% of the most popular eCommerce sites. That makes it the most popular hosted solution out there by far.

Shopify: The ecommerce platform made for you. Whether you sell online, on social media, in store, or out of the trunk of your car, Shopify has you covered.

So, is it worth choosing Shopify in preference to WordPress? You don’t have to. Shopify can be integrated into WordPress with the use of a plugin.

Why would you choose Shopify to power your WordPress eCommerce site?

  • It’s a great solution if you prefer ease-of-use, and like the idea of getting a head-start with your online store. It has been set up for you, and you just plug it into WordPress.
  • It’s reasonably affordable, and costs between $29 and $299 a month.
  • That price includes 24/7 support.
  • Shopify takes care of security for you.
  • There is more than 100 store designs to choose from, some of which cost.
  • Besides WordPress, Shopify has many other integrations, including selling on Facebook and Twitter.

Further Reading:

Recommendation 2: Configure WooCommerce to Power Your WordPress Store

Approach 2: Start with WordPress, and add eCommerce functionality with a plugin that you can customize. The best-known is WooCommerce, and we’ll round up a few other options in the next section.

WooCommerce is a popular WordPress eCommerce plugin that lets you host your own eCommerce solution. It has been downloaded almost 26 million times, and is listed in many Top 10 eCommerce roundups.

According to BuiltWith, WooCommerce is used by 41% of online stores in total, including 11% of the most popular eCommerce sites. That makes it the most popular solution on the web.

WooCommerce: The most customizable eCommerce platform for building your online business.

Why would you choose WooCommerce to power your WordPress eCommerce site?

  • WooCommerce is a great solution if you value configurability. You can set up security the way you like and are willing to commit the necessary time and effort.
  • You can extend WooCommerce’s functionality even further with plugins.
  • It’s free!
  • There’s no direct support, but there is a helpful community.
  • There is a wide range of themes out there (including many from third-party developers), some of which cost.
  • You choose and set up your own WordPress security. Learn how here.

Further reading:

Other WordPress eCommerce Plugin Options

While WooCommerce is a great plugin, WordPress has a very rich eCommerce ecosystem. Here are some other good options:

  • WP eCommerce (1 site $99, 2-5 sites $175, unlimited $250)
  • Cart 66 ($199/year)
  • Shopp (free download, merchant support $75/year, developer support $299/year)
  • MarketPress (free, Premium $49/month)
  • Easy Digital Downloads (free with no extensions, which can be purchased individually, or in a Starter Package $108.50 or Core Bundle $799)

Or check out over 500 eCommerce plugins listed by WordPress.

Further reading:

And Don’t Forget a Good Hosting Provider

Whether you value ease-of-use or power and configurability, WordPress makes a great choice for an online store. But for maximum success you’re going to need to install it on a good web hosting provider. Work through the checklists in our article The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Hosting Provider.

Or just go with SiteGround, Sitepoint’s preferred hosting provider. They are optimized for eCommerce and include free application installation, a free CDN and caching options along with great security and support. SitePoint fans currently receive up to 65% off the SiteGround hosting plan of your choice.

Have you already set up a WordPress-based eCommerce site? What were the choices you made and lessons you learned? Let us know in the comments.

We teamed up with SiteGround
To bring you up to 65% off web hosting, plus free access to the entire SitePoint Premium library (worth $99). Get SiteGround + SitePoint Premium Now