Have you done your research or feasibility studies and have decided on what product(s) you’d like to sell to the world? Then an excellent way to start selling your products in this 21st century is by opening an online store, and this can be done in less than 7 hours. Arguably, you must have heard about WordPress (WP), and want to leverage on this platform for your new online store? Here’s the complete guide to getting your products online and in the shorted time possible!
WordPress is highly customizable to the extent that you can use the CMS plus a solid WordPress hosting to create or design any website/blog from scratch. However, most people that design e-commerce sites (or online stores as many may call it) tend to use Shopify and WooCommerce because of their e-commerce-friendly features. Nevertheless, it is very much possible to design professional, classic, fast, and highly interactive online stores with WP + WooCommerce plugin.
Tips to Design an Online Store with WordPress
To get started, the first thing to do is to get an SEO-friendly Domain Name, then a reliable and secure web hosting plan. Many top hosting companies offer WordPress hosting packages that let you install WordPress in a single click.
When you’ve got a domain name and a suitable hosting plan, it won’t take longer than 30 minutes of dedication and your online store would be up and running on Wordpress.
Getting started with WP
Install Wordpress on your hosting server: WP is listed in the Softaculous Apps Installer for cPanel users. Some hosting companies install WP by default; so, you may need to check if it is preinstalled or you need to fix it by yourself.
Carefully enter all the necessary details on the WP setup page; create your admin username and password, as well as set a name for your new website.
Set up SSL
Before money transaction (shopping) can be done on a website, the website’s domain must be running on https protocol. The https protocol proves that your online store is secured. To make your online store run on https protocol, you need a valid SSL certificate. This certificate can be bought and renewed periodically; however, you can get a valid SSL certificate for free from CloudFare.
To configure SSL, you have to set your website’s domain (URL) to load in https when installing WordPress on the new host.
Notwithstanding, you can still perform this action even after installing WordPress by going to WP admin dashboard >>> settings >>> general.
WooCommerce happens to be the most flexible plugin (or framework) to design professional online stores with WordPress.
To install the WooCommerce plugin; simply go to the “Plugins” menu of WP admin dashboard, select “Add new plugin” and search for WooCommerce by using the search bar. Locate the plugin and click on “Install Now” (as seen in the screenshot below) and begin to configure your store.
Set up your online store with the WooCommerce plugin
After installing and activating the WooCommerce Plugin on WordPress, click on the settings option to configure your store. Firstly, WooCommerce recommends you create the four vital pages of your online store, which are Shop, Cart, Checkout, and My Account pages. It helps you creates these pages automatically, simply click “Continue” to automatically create these pages and continue.
In the next configuration wizard, you will now set the country where your online store is located. Also, you will have to set the currency to be used in buying goods from your store and some other important parameters.
Next is to configure the shipping and tax features of your new online store. Interestingly, WooCommerce supports both digital downloads sell and physical shipping. Carefully tick the box that applies to how you will run your online store. Also, WooCommerce can automatically calculate and add taxes to your prices.
After shipping and taxes, next is the payment setup. Here, you have to set up how payments will be processed on your store and which platforms to use. You can choose to use PayPal, PayPal Standard, or Stripe. Also, WooCommerce supports bank transfers and some other offline payment methods.
Yeah, after configuring the payment gateways for your online store, there’s nothing else to do. Your online store is about 90% complete.
However, you can continue to customize your online store features by adjusting the extra WooCommerce parameters in the plugin’s settings. To customize your online store further, go to WP admin dashboard >>> WooCommerce >>> Settings.
Get a good WooCommerce theme and install useful plugins
Depending on your taste (or how you want the online store to look), there are tons of good WordPress themes that are perfect for designing online store interfaces. Some of these themes are available for free, while lots of them go for a purchase fee. You need to choose the best theme for your online store and go ahead to customize the theme so that the different interfaces of your store will be distinctive and user-friendly.
Also, you need to install some e-commerce/online store plugins to further customize user behaviour, user experience, and other aspects of your new online store.
Adding your first product
Now that your online site is up and running with elegant, user-friendly interfaces, the next thing to do is to upload your products. To add a product go to WP dashboard >>> products. While adding your products, you can create different categories and tags.
Also, there are a variety of handy parameters to configure to offer your potential customers with ease of access to all products on your store. Remember to add photos of the product, and also write the product data.
Your store is now ready and to get people to buy your products; you need to run some advertisements and reach potential customers to know about your store. Thus, after your online store is ready, you need to run viral marketing campaigns on different platforms.
Note also that apart from managed WordPress hosting (that’s a bit pricey), those on a lean hosting budget can opt for free hosting or unmanaged VPS servers that let you run WordPress with Woocommerce.
Furthermore, it is advisable to offer discounts, daily deals, and other enticing offers to grab the attention of more potential online shoppers. Free chatbots (such as collect.chat, manychat.com, etc.) are a great way to offer help, discounts, and tips to your buyers, thereby making your shop engaging and more interactive.