WordPress is a popular content management system used to create everything from blogs to online communities. Depending on your needs, it can also be an excellent option for eCommerce sites.
There are countless options for building an eCommerce website, but WordPress is among the best. This open-source Content Management System (CMS) was created in 2003 and has helped people develop and host websites ever since.
While WordPress is often associated with blogging, the truth is that its high level of customization, ability to integrate with various platforms and plugins, and ease of use mean the platform can be a good fit for any type of website, from portfolios to news sites to online communities.
Is WordPress Good for ECommerce?
Yes, WordPress can be good for eCommerce, but it all comes down to your specific needs. WordPress’ customization, plugin integrations, and scaling options mean the platform is suitable for all sorts of websites and businesses, including eCommerce, but it may not be the best choice for everyone.
WordPress is best for those who aren’t afraid to dive in and learn the ins and outs of the platform. After all, creating the perfect eCommerce website with WordPress usually means taking advantage of its many integrations and customization options — and you can’t do that if you aren’t familiar with everything WordPress offers.
Who Can Use WordPress for ECommerce?
While anyone can use WordPress for eCommerce, the platform works best for businesses and sites that offer physical or digital products, services, or subscriptions. You can quickly turn your website into a beautiful, easy-to-use eCommerce store with a few simple integrations.
What’s more, WordPress is an excellent option for small and large businesses alike. So, even as your business grows, you can continue to rely on WordPress for your eCommerce shop needs.
Pros and Cons of Using WordPress for ECommerce
Like any platform, WordPress has its advantages and disadvantages, so you need to brush up on them before deciding whether or not WordPress is best for your needs.
Five WordPress Pros
WordPress is a popular choice for those with eCommerce websites — and with good reason!
- Easy to use
While you need at least a few technical skills to successfully work with WordPress, it’s not as difficult to use as you might think. Plenty of drag-and-drop tools and WordPress eCommerce plugins can make building and managing your eCommerce site much faster and easier. Plus, since WordPress is so popular, you can find answers to anything on the internet, and if you hire a web developer, chances are they’ll already be well-versed in using WordPress.
- Customizable and Flexible
WordPress is highly customizable and flexible. With over 8,000 themes and 1,200 eCommerce-focused templates to choose from, you can build the eCommerce site of your dreams. When you use WordPress to create your site, you’ll be able to develop a site that meets your business’ unique needs and encapsulates its style.
- Can Easily Integrate with Various ECommerce Platforms and Plugins
WordPress is also compatible with many eCommerce platforms and plugins, including WooCommerce, so you can efficiently run a fully functioning eCommerce store from your WordPress website or turn an existing blog or website into an online store.
Plus, with all the integrations available, you’ll be sure to find one that meets your business needs. So, whether you want to add online forums and video channels to an online store to drive traffic, combine affiliate income and physical product sales in one website, or sell products through print-on-demand suppliers or dropship vendors, WordPress and its many integrations have you covered.
- Provides a variety of themes and plugins
WordPress also offers many themes and plugins so you can completely customize your site to meet your needs. With different layouts, designs, and styles for shopping carts, product categories, prices, and more, your storefront will be uniquely you in no time. Your customers won’t be able to resist!
SEO matters — and WordPress knows that. That’s why WordPress offers fast page loading speeds, SEO-friendly themes, and optimization for mobile users.
To further increase your website’s ranking, you can install a plugin like Yoast, which offers automated technical SEO improvements (think meta tags and canonical URLs), faster loading times, advanced XML sitemaps, and much more.
Three WordPress Cons
WordPress has plenty to offer, but there are also a few drawbacks you need to be aware of, including:
- Security Risks
Since WordPress is an open-source platform, its source code is available for everyone — including cybercriminals who can quickly find vulnerabilities in the code. As a result, it will be much easier for them to damage sites or access sensitive data. Luckily, you can add security plugins to your site to mitigate security issues down the line.
- Limited Plugin Compatibility
There are countless plugins on WordPress, but not all play well together. Some are incompatible with one another, which could mean selecting compatible lower-quality plugins, forgoing some features, or hiring a skilled developer to help sidestep any problems.
- It Wasn’t Specifically Built for ECommerce
It’s also worth noting that WordPress isn’t an eCommerce site builder. Sure, you can make eCommerce websites with WordPress, but the platform isn’t as complete as platforms specifically designed for eCommerce. While an eCommerce platform has things like cart abandonment plugins already integrated, you’ll need to specifically install plugins with WordPress.
Does WordPress Have Free ECommerce Features?
Yes, WordPress has free eCommerce functionality. There are several wonderful free shopping cart plugins and well-designed WordPress themes, so you can get your eCommerce website up and running with minimal funds. For example, WooCommerce is a free eCommerce plugin that can completely transform your site.
You may consider using free WordPress themes and shopping cart plugins, accepting payments through PayPal instead of additional payment gateways, and doing the installation and setup yourself to keep costs down.
WordPress & WooCommerce: a Powerful Duo
Using WordPress with WooCommerce is a good option if you’re trying to build an eCommerce site. Built for WordPress and initially released in 2011 by WooThemes, the WooCommerce plugin offers plenty of add-ons, capabilities, and customization options.
For example, you can easily customize product pages and add themes to help your products stand out. Several themes are available on the official WooCommerce marketplace, but plenty of resellers also offer thousands of quality WooCommerce themes.
You can also select different payment methods, optimize your pages for search engines, calculate sales taxes, set your shipping options, and add further extensions (such as WooCommerce Bookings, Square, and WooCommerce Payments).
While WooCommerce doesn’t have many marketing features straight out of the box, there are plenty of marketing extensions available, from Mailchimp to MailPoet. Plus, since WooCommerce is built on top of WordPress, marketing via a blog will be super easy.
What’s more, WooCommerce fully integrates with WordPress, meaning you can manage your site from one place, unlike external platforms like Shopify, which require you to manage your store on Shopify and your blog or website on WordPress.
WooCommerce also looks similar to WordPress, so if you’re already familiar with WordPress, you’ll pick up WooCommerce in a jiffy. With its simple setup wizard and similarity to WordPress, you can start building your eCommerce website in minutes. Honestly, WordPress with WooCommerce is a winning combination!
WordPress is a popular platform for building eCommerce sites, but there are plenty of alternatives — and Mejix can help you take advantage of them. Our team is ready to design and develop superior eCommerce websites that will convert your traffic into customers using WordPress or alternatives like Shopify and Magento.
Unlike WordPress, Shopify was built specifically as an eCommerce platform. It was launched in 2006 and powers nearly 4 million stores today. Since Shopify is a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering, people’s sites are hosted by Shopify, meaning they just need to pay a monthly fee to take advantage of everything Shopify offers.
Magento was also created as an eCommerce platform, though it’s open-source software and is best suited for large websites. As such, it has many powerful eCommerce features built in, so you can hit the ground running. Magento is also great at driving sales, though it can take some getting used to.
WordPress vs. Shopify & Magento
Shopify and Magento are both dedicated eCommerce solutions with plenty of features, but how do they compare to the extremely versatile and customizable WordPress?
WordPress vs. Shopify
As a dedicated eCommerce solution, Shopify has plenty of tools and in-house solutions to common eCommerce problems, including built-in payment systems, inventory management tools, dropshipping vendor integrations, built-in shipping label printing, abandoned cart recovery, and built-in integrations with Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and eBay. It’s ideal for sales-focused businesses looking for ease of use, a pack of ready-to-go eCommerce features, and increased automation.
What’s more, Shopify takes care of hosting your site and handling security. Straight out of the box, Shopify is PCI-DSS compliant and offers SSL certificates and 2-factor authentication. It’s also pretty SEO friendly and makes managing eCommerce operations simple. With Shopify, you can quickly automate order processing tasks and update inventory counts. You can even use the mobile app and built-in virtual assistant to check orders and inventory status or contact customers, no matter where you are.
Shopify falls behind in the WordPress vs. Shopify faceoff because it lacks the versatility and extreme level of customization that WordPress offers. Whereas WordPress will allow you to create any kind of website, from news websites to educational portals, and add online sales capabilities via eCommerce plugins, Shopify is specifically for eCommerce sites, which means limited content creation and management features.
Shopify also has fewer store theme options. Instead of having thousands of eCommerce store themes to choose from, you’ll only have hundreds. Additionally, you’ll have to pay $29, $79, or $299 each month, depending on your needs, and you may be stuck with additional fees if you don’t use Shopify Payments when processing order payments. If you want to tie any in-person POS sales to your eCommerce store, you’ll be stuck with Shopify Payments.
WordPress vs. Magento
Magento is another powerful tool for building eCommerce websites. Like WordPress, Magento has a free version and optional paid versions, though you’ll still need to pay for hosting. However, while plugins add powerful eCommerce features to WordPress, Magento is already equipped with all the features you need to build an incredible eCommerce shop, from recently viewed and compared products to multiple images per product listing to one-page checkout, so you don’t have to install everything individually as you do with WordPress.
Magento is also great at driving sales and is far more scalable than WordPress. After all, Magento is an enterprise-level eCommerce platform, so it’s perfect for large websites. Plus, it’s equipped with elegant ready-made themes and powerful content marketing features (though they aren’t as comprehensive as WordPress’). Another thing that differentiates WordPress vs. Magento is that Magento isn’t as user-friendly as WordPress. You’ll either need to gain some technical skills or hire a Magento expert to help create your site.
Let Mejix Build You the Perfect WordPress ECommerce Website
WordPress has many themes and is compatible with countless WordPress eCommerce plugins, including WooCommerce, making it a powerful tool for building beautiful and functional eCommerce sites. With WordPress, you can create unique eCommerce shops that customers will love. However, you really need to know the ins and outs of the platform to get the most out of WordPress.
If you’re not already a WordPress pro, don’t worry! Mejix can help. We know all about building WordPress eCommerce websites that attract and convert customers. Contact us today to get started!