Ecommerce for WordPress in 5 simple, efficient steps

What is Ecommerce?

Ecommerce is the electronically buying and selling items over the internet. This can be business-to-business, business-to-individual, and individual-to-individual. This article will be recommending plugins for ecommerce for WordPress, but these methods will work on other platforms as well. The items can be anything from physical items, like pet toys, kitchen appliances, socks, computer parts, etc. (Woocommerce is a popular-plugin); recorded lessons (LearnPress works for this and its free-version works fine) or other presentations; and downloads for eBooks, PDFs, pictures and graphics, etc. (Easy Digital Downloads works well for digital only stores).

What do I need to do?

There are many options to pick to perfect the ecommerce for WordPress process for your special goals and business.

Pick a business model

First, you need to pick a model for your business: are you going to put all your time into this, or is it just a hobby? Also, keep in mind what products you will be stocking, where you will be keeping them, how much of your products you will keep in stock, and how you will be sending your items to your customers.

Define Your Audience

Who are your customers? This is crucial since you should be targeting everything (except maybe the exact price) to your customers and what they want: the design of the website, the items you stock, the words used to describe them (do they know their stuff or do you need to explain things), etc. 

Don’t target all of your customer demographics; start with one or two and make your best guess about where they are coming from and what they want. Make this choice before even picking or making a website.

Make and Organize products

If you’re making the products yourself, this is the hard part. You need to figure out how much you can make and how fast (and inexpensively) you can make it. Remember to add shipping and material costs to this. Even if you’re making digital products, you still need software and hardware for this.

If you are using a platform like Printify, which can attach to Woocommerce, you just choose the makers, design the products, and connect the production platform to your ‘presentation’ platform of choice (this is called drop shipping).

For organizing products, you can choose to group or bundle the items or sell them individually. For those that want to go a step further, on the product page or during check-out make suggested add-ons (or, in other words, up-sells) for items that are often bought together or if an add-on improves an item.

Pick a Payment Method

Cartoon with man standing near phone with credit card inside it

This is the part that scares some people. As long as you are taking precautions in securing your and your customers data, it will be fine. Electronic payments work like this: a payment goes through a website to a payment gateway that checks for a few crucial things like if the account actually has the money to buy the items (and takes a percentage of the payment) before the payment goes on to the account for the business.

Stripe is a popular plugin for this, and other options include PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Wallet, and Apple Pay – these options are good for international orders.

At this point, you should start calculating your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), which is an estimate of your profit from each customer over their lifetime. Your cost of acquisition (total expenses when you acquire a new customer; this includes marketing expenses, maintenance, making and shipping expenses, etc.) should be less than your CLV. This matters since it is 5-25 times more expensive to acquire a new consumer than keeping a repeat one, so try to keep your customers long term.

Pick a Shipping Method

If your items are all digital, you don’t need to worry about this; just make sure all your links and downloads work. For the shops with physical items, shipping can be done a few different ways. There is flat-rate shipping where  the shipping cost is the same for all orders or items. There is live-rate shipping where the shipping cost depends on the shipping provider’s current rates; this requires setting up, but it will change on its own.

Finally, there is free-shipping; you could estimate what the shipping would cost and include that in the price to begin with, or you could make the shipping-free when a customer buys a certain amount (e.g. orders over $120 will receive free shipping). Do this to increase profit by making the amount about $10 more than your average order amount.

Taxes are the other thing to be aware of: do the right thing and consult a tax consultant. Don’t try to guess what taxes and how much you will be liable for your ecommerce for WordPress site.

What elements do I need?

Domain name

You need an electronic base of operations to present your products for consumers to find and buy from; in other words, you need a website with a domain name that your customers can find and (hopefully) remember. Remember that mobile users will be using your store as well so make sure it is mobile friendly!


HTTPS stands for ‘Hypertext Transfer Protocol’. Basically, it helps keep communication between servers safe and private by transferring encrypted data to the user’s browser from the web server. Since it needs SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to encrypt the data, HTTPS requires a SSL certificate to work.

This sounds overcomplicated, but it is critically important! Not only do your customers run the risk of having their credit card information stolen without it, but Google automatically declares sites that don’t have HTTPS insecure and unsafe and warn users that the website is as such.

Product pages

The website needs a way to present your items to users. Product pages usually consist of the title of the item, a description of it, an image of it or representing it, the current price, and an ‘add to cart’ button. Don’t forget your technical writing techniques for making it user friendly!


Carts are an expected part of ecommerce platforms, but have you ever wondered why? Not only does the cart show all the items that the customer is planning to buy, but it also keeps track of each individual user’s carts! In some cases, a customer can be emailed about ‘lost carts’ that they put items in but didn’t buy. This will increase revenue and CLV.


Ecommerce is the electronically buying and selling items over the internet. Ecommerce for WordPress can be created by following these steps: pick a business model, define your audience, make and organize your products, pick a payment method, and pick a shipping method. There are 4 main elements to an ecommerce for WordPress store: a helpful, easily-remembered domain name, secure HTTPS pages, product pages, and a dependable cart. Ecommerce sales are expected to grow to more than $6.5 trillion by 2023. Now, come on and jump on the ecommerce for WordPress growth train!

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