Not everyone thinks e-commerce applies to their business. Traditionally, unless a company sold items like t-shirts or tech gadgets, most wouldn’t need a section of their website dedicated to an online store. However, times are changing.
Entrepreneurs, small businesses, and even big companies are utilizing the ability to grow their revenue by selling creative additions to their business product line—think e-books, webinars, courses, and other e-learning methods. How might customers buy those types of products without having a brick and mortar?
You guessed it: an online store. By providing your online customers with clear, simple access to filling up their shopping cart with your knowledge-filled goodies, they will buy and hopefully buy some more. This kind of passive income is growing in popularity and now is the time to learn how to incorporate an e-commerce model into your business plan.
Whether you sell traditional products or aim to create products like I mentioned above, WordPress has your back with a wide variety of plug-ins that allow you to create an online store. As Design Wall reminds us, “There is no single best WordPress e-commerce plugin. Every store will have different needs and every store manager will have a preferred way of working.” With that in mind, let’s get our feet wet by looking at a few of the most popular options.
E-Commerce Plug-ins for WordPress
By far the most popular plug-in to use if you want to add a shopping cart to your existing WordPress site, its basic store is free and simple to use. As your store grows, they have a huge amount of premium options to consider buying, but “if you want to quickly build a basic online store that can list products, accept and manage orders, and take payments,” this one is for you. Anyone trying to sell and manage physical inventory should choose WooCommerce.
This plug in is also a popular choice, proudly being able to help businesses “sell digital downloads, physical inventory, or subscriptions and memberships.” Even more, Catalin Zorzini points out that this special plug-in has a “streamlined check out process that dramatically increases you store’s conversion rate,” which is an incredibly important but overlooked piece of the e-commerce puzzle. More on that later.
This plug-in focuses on selling downloads versus actual products. This would be great for an e-book, a song, or any other file that you want to smoothly send to someone’s inbox. List, sell, and deliver downloadable files and content with Easy Digital Downloads.
“But Jocelyn…I Have No Idea!”
Still not feeling completely sure about what direction to go with your e-commerce plug-in? Chris Lema made a fantastic list of questions to ask yourself before you start (pasted below), reminding us all how important it is that we do our homework and learn about everything involved with trying to sell products online:
- Am I technical?
- How much money do I have? Can I afford a developer’s help?
- Am I selling downloads? Or shipping products?
- If I’m shipping products, do I know my tax and inventory needs?
- Am I protecting content?
- Am I creating a marketplace, where others provide the products?
- Will I be creating a set of shops (using multisite)?
Optimizing Your E-commerce Site
For my more advanced readers who may already have a shop in place, this next section is important. Be sure you optimize your website to maximize website conversions! Our friend at Ivy Cat recently posted an incredibly useful list of WordPress plug-ins that can help. He also shed light on the amazing studies on Optimizely about companies who spent the time making small changes to focus on conversions: “Black & Decker got a 17% increase in clicks by changing their button to say Buy Now instead of Shop Now, and Insound found that changing their checkout button text from Continue to Review Order increased clicks by 39.4% – helping solve a big cart abandonment problem.” Amazing, isn’t it?
And if all of this is completely over your head, have no fear! Mozak Design can help you with all of your e-commerce needs. Give us a call if you are ready to set up shop and make it easy to sell.