Seizing the opportunities offered by online retailing means setting up an eCommerce store that’s easy to use, efficient and secure. This article explains WooCommerce for Beginners and explores why WooCommerce is proving the ideal solution.
Online retailing was already a blossoming business opportunity. Then came a global pandemic, which created an even bigger reliance on home delivery and click&collect services.
To put that in context, in the three years to 2019, online sales grew 324%. Imagine what 2020 and 2021 are doing to that phenomenal increase!
This bludgeoning reliance on the internet to fulfil all our needs has led to massive interest in starting up eCommerce ventures. Other people are updating existing websites to add eCommerce capabilities.
Many of these entrepreneurs are exploring the advantages of the most popular virtual storefront – WooCommerce. Does it provide everything you need for a successful online retail venture? Our beginners guide to WooCommerce answers that question, and more.
What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is an ‘out of the box’ way to create an online store with no initial start-up costs. However, it’s only available if you have a WordPress website.
WordPress is the fastest growing website content management system on the planet, fuelling tens of millions of sites, including a sizeable chunk of the top-performing ones. So, WordPress is a highly recommended platform to build your business on anyway.
Once you set up a WordPress site, WooCommerce is a plugin – software you bolt on to take care of things like listing products, payments processing and delivery admin. It can be particularly valuable for small or medium-sized online retailers, as it simplifies and streamlines many of the activities you need to do.
WooCommerce is what’s called open source technology. That means it is free and available for anyone to use.
The basics of using a WooCommerce store
One of the many advantages of WooCommerce for WordPress is that it’s easy to install and set up.
If you’re starting from scratch setting up your eCommerce site, first you need to establish your store’s domain name (unique website address). Such as www.greenwidgets.com.
Step two is to install WordPress. You need to arrange for your website to be hosted. This is the sort of web hosting service Factory Pattern provides. It involves making sure your site is accessible and functioning properly on the internet. The cost is usually minimal.
When this is all done, step three will take just a few minutes. It involves selecting the WooCommerce plugin from the WordPress tasks and pressing the Activate button.
Keep in mind you will also need an SSL Certificate via WordPress. It’s a digital certificate to prove payment security. Google will not display unsecured eCommerce sites in results, and lack of the SSL key symbol creates distrust among consumers.
How to add products to WooCommerce
When you’ve completed the steps to set up an eCommerce store with WooCommerce, you start adding in your products. This is where this virtual store’s versatility becomes advantageous.
The left sidebar on WooCommerce takes you to all the back-office functions and tasks. Including ‘Products’. Dropdown menus help you to add in product profiles (including images) and set up things like:
- Add to Cart button
- Price details and discount info
- Out of stock flags
- Save to wish list button
- Shipping and returns info.
Setting up product pages does require an investment of time. Make sure your content offers a strong user experience (UX) that compels page visitors to pop items into their shopping basket and click on the transaction page. We made this easier for you, with our guide to create a website Buy Area, as part of our series of insights into successful eCommerce pages.
The best payment gateways for WooCommerce stores
One of the most important steps in opening a WooCommerce store is setting up an online payment system. There are default options in this software – PayPal and Stripe. A toggle button activates these and you will be asked for the email address linked to your accounts. You can add in your preferred payment gateways using Settings.
You can also tailor your shipping system, and add various other plugins to customise your WooCommerce.
Get help with online retailing
This is undoubtedly a quick and effective way to create an eCommerce website. One that you can stamp your own business identity on, and vary to suit your changing products. WooCommerce for beginners can be tricky to navigate.
However, to make your WooCommerce site stand out from the competition, and build your business success story, getting professional WooCommerce advice from Factory Pattern offers an exciting return on investment.