Is WordPress good for eCommerce?

Jul 23, 2013 by

WordPress has been around since 2003, and may be best known as a blogging platform. But a growing number of users are finding that WordPress has evolved into a full content management system and is increasingly used for e-commerce.

“WordPress is a great platform for e-commerce for businesses that don’t have access to a lot of developing expertise,” said Chris Kent, ecommerce SEO at KentKinetic.com. “WordPress sites are easy to design by themselves, and most e-commerce plugins can be set-up and running in less than a day.”

When the query of whether WordPress makes a good e-commerce site showed up on Quora, Greg Hill, SEO Strategist at Excellira, responded: “The correct answer depends on your workflow, scale, budget, security, hosting and fulfillment requirements. The type of items you sell are also a consideration. Simple carts tend to fair more poorly when handling a large volume of product transactions but some can easily handle very large volumes of digital product sales.”

According to the website VibeThemes, some of the features that make WordPress an ideal eCommerce site include:

  • Sales and inventory chart
  • Social integration
  • Multiple Payment gateways integration {from Paypal, 2CO to CCAvenue}
  • Credit/Debit/Net Banking Direct integration
  • Save Cart/Publish Cart/Share Cart on social platforms

In the past, WordPress was buggy from time to time, but with the rise of hosting companies dedicated to WordPress like page.ly and WPEngine and companies like WooCommerce and SquareSpace, that problem has largely been alleviated, according to Kent.

“To start using WordPress for ecommerce all you need is a credit card processor, a wordpress theme, hosting, and an ecommerce plugin. With the WooCommerce plugin once the plugin is installed adding products is just like adding a blog post,” said Kent.

“We’re seeing websites that help users with decision making profit,” Eric Silver, CEO/Founder of WebKite, added. “Plugins help WordPress add the capability to guide a user’s decision to help make WordPress sites become an ecommerce portal. However, without a dynamic store or decision making tools, a WordPress site is too static and separate from the purchase funnel and may be missing out on significant revenue.”

To use WordPress for ecommerce does require a plugin, which can be installed manually or from the WordPress plugin menu, according to page.ly’s instructions. The plugin will work with any WordPress theme and supports a variety of WordPress widgets.

It’s understandable if you are concerned about turning to WordPress to handle e-commerce. Yes, security is a concern, as the platform has been under a botnet attack recently. And WordPress plugins aren’t all equally as good, which could cause problems. Yet, as Jesse Friedman wrote at .netmagazine.com: “WordPress wasn’t made to manage products and stores. Here’s a little secret: the CMSs and systems that were made specifically for creating online stores aren’t very good. [However] there are several plugins and frameworks that transform WordPress into a reliable and easy to use ecommerce solution.”

For a small business with a tight budget or a business that is just starting out, WordPress could well be the right option for an ecommerce site.

Sue Poremba is a freelance writer focusing primarily on security and technology issues and occasionally blogs for cloud service provider Rackspace Hosting.

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