Though there’s no real way to determine an exact count of ecommerce websites online today, data from 2014 suggests there are anywhere from 12 to 24 million stores online worldwide. Though this sounds like a saturated market, less than ¾ of a million of them are earning more than $1,000 year in sales.
When you consider that WordPress now powers 30% of websites across the entire internet – of course, those are not limited to ecommerce – it’s no real surprise that WordPress has such a wide array of ecommerce options, too.
Start with Your eCommerce Platform
The platform you use determines how easily you can manage your WordPress ecommerce. Certain platforms, like BigCommerce or WooCommerce, will more easily integrate with WordPress to make it easier to operate your site and store than others. If you want to use WordPress for your website for content, but want to add a shopping component, you don’t want to use a hosted solution that doesn’t allow for smooth integrations via plugins.
Use the Right Theme
In WordPress, your theme is everything. It’s what controls the look and feel of your website, so you don’t want to change it often, but you want to use a theme that makes it easy to add and remove products from your store, and automatically deliver digital products. While there are thousands of free themes for WordPress, many of those are less than ideal for WordPress ecommerce.
Instead, look to premium themes specifically designed for ecommerce store. You can even dig deeper and find ones that are niche specific, such as fashion, digital products, and more. These themes often have built-in features that reduce the need for additional plugins, making it easier to run your site smoothly.
Some good ecommerce theme options include:
Use the Right Plugins
WordPress plugins add functionality to your site – so you’ll likely use one from your eCommerce platform of choice to make it work on your site. But, too many plugins, and you will find your site bogged down, loading slow, and damaging the customer experience.
You’ll want to minimize the number of plugins you use where you can. Instead of relying on plugins to make it easy to integrate your Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel, insert those manually into the theme. If you don’t have the know-how to handle it yourself, you can reach out to someone on Fiverr or another outsourcing platform to help you get the job done. Save plugins for things like email marketing and opt-in forms to enhance the customer experience.
Some useful plugins for stores include:
- MemberPress: for building a membership subscription service with content exclusives
- Envira Gallery: for advanced image gallery creation to really show off your products
- BackupBuddy: automatic website backup on off-site cloud storage
- Quick and Easy FAQs: makes it quick and easy to add a FAQ section for improved customer support and improved conversion.
Leverage WordPress to Simplify Your Workflow
The theme and plugins you choose enable you to create a customized WordPress dashboard that can simplify your entire workflow, from the time the customer places an order to the time you ship the order. With the right system in place, you’ll be able to track the number of orders, and the status of those orders from directly within the WordPress dashboard.
Some may require you to install a separate inventory management or shipping module, but the more you can do from the website, the better it is for you in terms of managing the backend. Streamline that process so that anyone can jump in and know what needs to be done to get orders out the door.
If you sell digital products, make sure the system allows for automatic email delivery after the customer pays. The system should also allow the customer to create an account on your website, so they can access their purchases and re-download them a certain number of times.
Pay Attention to Product Imagery
Humans are highly visual creatures, so your product imagery will make a major impact on your sales. When you take photos, consider things like lighting and composition, but also think about the differences between marketing and storytelling. When possible, make your images tell a story about how people’s lives will be better or easier with the products. If you can use product videos, that’s even better.
Consider that your product imagery will be used across social media platforms when people pin it to Pinterest or share it on Facebook or Twitter. If your budget allows, hire a professional to take photos of your products, or use stock photography from the manufacturer. Don’t be afraid to include user generated content if people provide it for you, too.
Write Killer Product Descriptions
Your product descriptions shouldn’t be plain, bland, and boring. They need to use keywords to describe the product attributes and such but do so in a way that engages the reader, so they’re interested in not only learning more about the product, but actually buying it, too.
Maintain a Blog
WordPress is first and foremost a content management system, that makes it incredibly easy to start a blog, too. No matter what products you sell, you can create a blog that’s full of useful content related to those products. Content is a vital part of SEO and ranking, so the blog gives you a way to add bulk to your website for more ranking opportunities.
For example, if your store sells beauty products, you could blog about things related to makeup and haircare, or self-care. Topics could be as simple as: How to Color Match Your Skin for a New Foundation, to more complex video tutorials about how to contour, or choosing the right shampoo for your hair type.
You don’t have to have a new blog post every day, but you do need to post new content on a regular basis. If you decide to post one post a week, always make sure you do that. If you write three posts a week, then keep up with that. WordPress has scheduling features that make it easier for you create your content in bulk and schedule it to go live on certain days.
Building a successful WordPress ecommerce website isn’t something you’ll be able to do overnight. But, with how easy it is to work with WordPress, you’ll be able to focus your efforts on all other areas of your marketing and sales funnel.