How to Use WordPress as an eCommerce Site: Choosing the Right Plugins
As you probably know, WordPress is one of the most powerful and most flexible content management systems out there. Not only can it do a lot of stuff, but you can retool it so that it works to serve your business goals.
In other words, WordPress can also be used to create a fully functional e-commerce site.
That’s what we are going to discuss in this post: how you can employ WordPress as an e-commerce site.
A website that gives off the “ka-ching!”
When you want to make a living off the Internet, one of the best things you can do is to create a fully functional and reliable e-commerce site. There are lots of tools out there that you can use as building blocks to create an online store, but most of them can only offer you so much.
With WordPress, you have the tremendous advantage of being able to use a very flexible and ultra-reliable content management system that does the right job for you. It also has a suite of efficient and powerful plugins that enable you to do all kinds of stuff.
If you pick the right set of e-commerce plugins, such as shopping carts and checkout/payment systems, and if you implement the ensemble properly, you’re well on your way to creating a site that will provide a great means of living off the Internet.
Creating a fully functional e-commerce web property
Before setting out to create an e-commerce site based on the WordPress platform, you must first determine the type of online sales site that you want to work with to achieve your goals. That will help you figure out all the other elements the site will need.
- Are you creating a web portal for services?
- Are you selling tangible goods?
- Are you marketing information products?
- Have you accurately determined a workable cost for your services?
- If you are selling tangible goods, have you worked up a plan to deliver them?
- Will it be convenient for your customers to get in touch with you?
- Have you come up with a strategy for returns and replacement?
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it offers a good starting point.
Once you’ve decided that WordPress is going to be the platform for your web store and figured out the basic logistics addressed by the bulleted questions above, what comes next?
At this point, it’s essential to pick the right plugins that will provide full functionality to your e-commerce store. WordPress is replete with plugins that will make your web business operate right.
Lots of e-commerce site owners swear by this plugin, and for very good reasons. WP e-Commerce is one of the most complete shopping cart plugins for WordPress. It’s regarded by many as elegant and extremely easy to use.
If you are looking for a complete set of functions to sell your products and services, you should try out this plugin recommended by most web store owners who run their online stores through WordPress.
PHPurchase is a paid plugin ($49) for the standard version, and as might be expected, it offers better features than the free e-commerce plugins for WordPress. One of the great things about this one is that it’s flexible, so it can accept a wide range of payment gateways, including PayPal Website Payments Standard and PayPal Website Payments Professional.
PHPurchase also accepts Chase Paymentech, Authorize.net, and Quantum Gateway. This plugin is perfect for online stores that cater to a wide range of market segments.
This plugin offers only a few features, but they are very powerful. Among other functions, it allows for WordPress posts and pages to be used to create products, and to list multiple products with add-to-cart forms. It also gives you the opportunity to gather valuable insights about your traffic: you can view your store’s statistics, sales data, and other tools that are useful for computing shipping charges.
There are lots of other tools available to you if you want to build a fully functioning online store based on WordPress, but the plugins described above should be enough to get you started.
With WordPress, the right e-Commerce plugins, and careful planning to roll out your Internet business, you will be well on your way to challenging even the best bricks-and-mortar operations out there.
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