Online shopping is the new trend. In fact, it is the obvious alternative of conventional store hunting. According to a recent survey by PwC, more than 50% of all shopping in a month will be online and one-third of the total online purchase will be made through mobile phones. So, if you are planning to set up a store/business – think again before selecting the conventional store method. Even if you already have a conventional store you should start an online outlet of the same. Why? Because this is the future of shopping!
Basic Steps to build an online store
It is ok to be puzzled while setting up an online store; especially if you are not tech savvy. In order to build an online store you first need to create a website. A WordPress website is just ideal for the business as the WooCommerce – the WordPress online store plugin comes free.
This affordable option is easily customizable and ideal for displaying thousands of products without an error. Here are the easiest steps to create an e-commerce site with WordPress:
Find the ideal host
First, you need to buy a domain name. Try not to choose free hosting services as most of them are fraud. However, good hosting comes at affordable price. Most of the premium hosting services come with an option for buying a domain name. Website hosting providers like WPEngine and Bluehost are offering starter packs from $29 per month and $23.20 per month respectively. Apart from that, you can also get excellent hosting services from HostGator, SiteGround, Cloudways and A2 Hosting.
Add SSL certificate
While many e-commerce sites offer SSL or Secure Sockets Layer certificate for free, this WordPress online store plugin doesn’t offer the same.
Hence, while using the WooCommerce system, you may need to buy SSL certificate from the hosting providers. When a website has an SSL certificate, it is reflected in the URL as “https://” along with a green lock symbol. SSL set up is pretty easy and you may not need help from the WordPress experts.
This SSL certificate is considered as a standard security protocol that ensures the transmitted data between the browser and web server remain encrypted. An SSL certificate is must for the e-commerce site to encourage people to share debit/credit card details during purchase.
To implement SSL, first purchase an SSL certificate from a recognized CA (Certification Authority). You can obtain single domain certificates, multi-domain certificates, wildcard certificates and extended validation certificate depending on your needs. Then activate and install the obtained SSL certificate. After activating SSL certificate update your website from HTTP to HTTPS and you are ready to go!
Select Store Theme
The WordPress website users have the pleasure of selecting a variety of themes to set up a stunning WordPress website. With WordPress, you can design your store like anything with the long list of WordPress themes. Luckily, integration and the settings of the WooCommerce theme is easy. You can find both premium and free themes with a number of templates. Some of the most beautiful and widely praised themes are Shapely, Tyche, Ascendant, Sparkling, Dazzling, Total, Chic, Storefront and Shopkeeper. Although the premium themes cost little high, these are the absolute beauty.
Integrate WooCommerce Plugin
After developing a WordPress site, the main task is to install WooCommerce plugin and build a WooCommerce online store with WordPress. Installing WooCommerce is the easiest task.
You can download the WooCommerce plugin from WordPress.org – it’s free. Just enter into the WordPress dashboard and click on the Plugin. Click the Add New option and search for WooCommerce. When WooCommerce pops up in the search result, click the Install Button.
After installation click on the Activate Plugin option. The appearance may look like this:
Just click on the Let’s Go button and you will be directed to step by step page setup procedure. You have to check settings step by step – Page Setup > Store Locate > Shipping & Tax > Payments.
The Shipping and Tax setup process is a little bit complex. The shipping charge will be set depending on your country and business location. In that case, you may need assistance to learn the shipping rules and payments. Same goes for taxation. If you are selling any physical product, the taxation rule will be different from that of the virtual products/services.
For the payment section you can choose PayPal – this is the easiest and widely accepted payment method. However, WooCommerce also has several built-in payment options like bank transfer, check and cash on delivery. You can also use other payment gateways (premium extensions) like Stripe and Authorize.net.
After completing payment set up just click on Continue to enjoy the newly created online store. Further, WooCommerce may ask you for additional information, but this is up to you whether you want more customization or not.
From the dashboard, you can make further changes.
Once the store set up is done, you can start adding products. While adding products first create some categories. Creating categories will help you to present the product items more tidily. WooCommerce can use category name as a slug, hence you may don’t have to select a slug for the URL of your own. A parent category, category description and a genuine image of the product is required to create the online store (rather decorate!).
Don’t forget to add tags! Only accurate tags can help your product to be found in the search result. Once you have selected the tags, let’s start adding the products.
Enter into the dashboard and click on the Products. Select Add New to add the products. You will be asked to write the product name, add tags as well as images of the products you aspire to showcase. You can also add long texts for the Description section. This description will be added next to the Review section. In the second box, more product descriptions could be added (in bullets), which will be added beside the product image.
For an actual product, you have to select the “Simple Product” setting where you can add SKU and price. If you are adding downloadable products click on the “Downloadable” option which will add a download option for the customers. You can also select “Virtual” box if you are selecting virtual items. In that case, you won’t need a shipping tab.
Under the “Product Data,” you will find options to manage the inventory. However, you may don’t need this space while selling digital products. Don’t forget to check additional shipping option where the product dimensions and weight could be specified.
Add a personal purchase note through advanced settings and disable or enable the product reviews.
To build an online store with WordPress is easier than it sounds like. If you are a start-up entrepreneur and have a limited budget then build your e-commerce site with the WooCommerce plugin, which is absolutely free! Vast editorial options and easy installation process make this e-commerce platform ideal for business. So, if you wish to build an online store with a cutting-edge look install WooCommerce now and find an awesome digital marketing team to support your business.
But, don’t forget to overlook security issues while designing your store as hackers love to target them. Check the WordPress maintenance services designed especially for E-commerce sites.