In order to be able to sell something online, you need to have a few things in your arsenal: you need a great product or a service as well as a demand for that product/service, you need an equally great marketing strategy, you need a sizable amount of people to sell your product to, you need to be able to pitch your idea how to make e-commerce website to these potential buyers or clientele, deliver on your promises and be able to close deals.
How to start a successful e-commerce business
You need to be good at marketing and have all the qualities of a good salesman.
And perhaps one of the things that you now need, is to have a strong online presence in order to market and sell your products or services.
This can be achieved easily through an online portal – a website – which you can use to market and sell your products, such as an e-commerce website.
One of the things I really like about WordPress is that it provides you a great platform to build just about any kind of website – including an e-commerce website. And that’s exactly something that we’re going to be looking at today.
E-commerce websites used to be tough to build. Before the advent of WordPress, the procedure usually involved getting in touch with a web-designer (an individual) or maybe even a team of designers, depending on how ambitious your project really was and paying them a huge sum of money to build, develop, and set-up an e-commerce website for you.
But not anymore.
Thanks to WordPress, getting an e-commerce website is easier than ever.
Here’s how to start an e-commerce website on WordPress and start selling your products or service to your customers and clientele:
Starting and setting up WordPress E-commerce websites
We’ve spoken about starting a WordPress blog at length before.
Basically, what you need is a domain name (choose wisely), good web hosting, and a free installation of WordPress (how to install WordPress via FTP, and how to install WordPress via a one-click script installation).
Once you have all these, what you have with you is a WordPress-powered barebones website, which you can then easily convert into a powerful and fully-functional e-store. Let’s find out how.
eCommerce website UI
Before we begin though, it is essential to have at the very least a rough idea of the different components that make up an e-commerce website.
First and foremost, you need a UI that lets customers look at the products and services that you are offering at a single glance. All items on your website will need to be ordered and displayed in categories – which is where WordPress really excels as you can do this easily in WordPress.
You’ll need a shopping cart solution, that – either as an all-in-one package or as a combination of many different plugins – lets visitors add items (products or services) to a shopping cart, checkout using that shopping cart, make the payment and receive the items that they ordered. For you, this means that you need a mechanism that lets you accept payments, make sales, close sales, ship items, track shipments, and most importantly, track inventory as well as do book-keeping and manage finances.
This is where the magic happens. Choosing and installing a good e-commerce WordPress theme will instantly give you a functional e-commerce website within a matter of minutes, AND with minimal effort!
The beauty of WordPress is that when it comes to themes, there’s plenty (and I do mean plenty!) to choose from.
There’s an abundance of e-commerce and e-store themes on WordPress. Let’s have a look at some of the options available at your disposal here:
- ThemeForest: ThemeForest remains my go-to website when it comes to finding or choosing a good WordPress theme. They have a large selection of excellent WordPress themes to choose from, and the great news for the folks reading this is that they have a whole section of WordPress e-commerce themes and templates as well. There are as many as 137 e-commerce themes at the time of writing – including a very diverse selection and many great themes – so take your time and have a look at some of the themes. Chances are that you’ll find a good theme for your online store.
- 60 Best E-commerce themes by Tripwire: Tripwire Magazine put together this great list of 60 of the absolute best e-commerce themes for WordPress. Definitely worth going though, as the list contains many real gems as far as e-store templates for WordPress are concerned.
eStore by Elegant Themes: I am a big fan of Elegant Themes, and I use them for a lot of my personal blogs, as well as the websites that I set up for my clients. The Elegant Themes theme-pack contains many different types and kinds of themes on the cheap, and the themes are extremely easy to set-up and customize, as they all come with very user-friendly dashboards. Elegant Themes also has an excellent theme for e-commerce websites called eStore, which also provides a great option when it comes to setting up your online store. The theme looks really beautiful too and gets bonus points for that.
- E-commerce theme gallery at PremiumWP: Another excellent e-commerce theme gallery for WordPress for you to go through. Contains many excellent, cherry-picked WordPress themes for e-commerce websites.
WooCommerce by WooThemes – a complete e-commerce solution
Instead of going for a WordPress theme, how about getting a complete e-commerce package instead?
WooThemes is a popular WordPress theme developer that is known for making some great WordPress themes. In addition, they also specialize in an e-commerce toolkit for WordPress blogs called WooCommerce.
This toolkit lets you turn your website “into a thorough-bred eCommerce store for free. Delivering enterprise-level quality & features whilst backed by a name you can trust” which is just what the doctor ordered.
WooCommerce comes with many themes and extensions that help to extend your WordPress website with e-commerce facilities allowing you to sell digital or physical products online with ease.
WooCommerce claims to be vendor-friendly, customer-friendly, and developer-friendly, and while I haven’t personally had the pleasure of giving it a run myself, it does seem to offer a bunch of excellent features, and you can’t really go wrong with free, can you?
However, while the downside to using WooCommerce is that you’ll have to purchase many of the themes and plugins/extensions that work with the framework in order to fully utilize it’s potential and end up with a fully-functional e-commerce website yourself.
WooCommerce Plugins and extensions
Speaking of plugins and extensions, once again, plenty to choose from on WordPress.
For instance, there are tons of shopping-cart and check-out solutions available for your e-commerce setup. Hongkiat for instance compiled this great list of plugins and extensions, definitely worth looking at.
In addition, I also recommend checking out some of the solutions provided by WooCommerce as well – which include many excellent solutions (as many as 261 extensions at the time of writing!) for e-commerce websites for accepting payments through different methods, shopping cart solutions, tracking sales, shipment and delivery, and other extensions that are crucial to the success of any good e-commerce website.
Speaking of shopping cart solutions, one great tried-and-tested plugin for adding a shopping cart to your website is Cart66. Get it if you’re looking for a great stand-alone shopping cart solution for your website.
Feel free to add your valuable comments and feedback to this article in the comments section below, I would love to hear from you.
In addition, watch this space for tips on how you can optimize your e-commerce website in order to maximize sales and improve your CTR and conversions very easily.