How to Add an Online Store to your WordPress Site
With 1,000 or so ecommerce plugins to choose from on WordPress.org alone, any discussion of adding an online store to WordPress will be limited in scope.
We’ll look at the most popular option and go through the steps for adding an online store (an ecommerce plugin) to your WordPress site. The most obvious choice is WooCommerce, which powers more WordPress-based shops than all others combined.
Worth considering is Ecwid, an extremely easy to use shop that can also allow you to sell on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram or even your own mobile app. We’ll cover that elsewhere.
This how-to assumes you’ve already got WordPress installed, configured and running to your satisfaction.
Adding a WooCommerce Shop to WordPress
Part 1 – Plugin Install
Login to the WordPress admin panel and choose Plugins → Add New.
In the Keyword search box at the top right, put WooCommerce and press Enter.
The first result should be WooCommerce. Click the Install Now button, then click Activate.
Part 2 – Plugin Configuration
Follow the WooCommerce Setup Wizard (which follows immediately after clicking Activate above.
Store Details – Add your address details and click Continue.
Build a Better WooCommerce – Tick the checkbox if you’re okay sharing information with the team so they can better understand usage, patterns, etc, then click Continue.
Industry – Select your business niche from the list or click Other and fill in the blank before clicking Continue.
Product Types – Choose the type of products you’ll be selling. Physical and Downloads are standard/free, while other types will have an annual fee as shown on the wizard screen. Click Continue.
Business Details – Choose the appropriate answers to the 4 dropdowns then make sure MailChimp, Facebook and Google Ads are activated via the sliders (drag right). You can deactivate later, but it’s good to have the initial integration available right from the start.
Theme – Use your current one, pick a free one or paid one from the options shown or upload a theme if you have it on your local machine as a file.
Part 3 – Optional Plugin Install
If you’d like to collect tax, print labels via USPS (discounted), quickly setup PayPal Express or Stripe, adding Jetpack and WooCommerce Services. These are optional, but if you think you’ll be wanting it, do it now so the store setup is completed up front.
Those selling in the United States will likely want to enable this given the fairly recent changes requiring online sellers to charge sales tax.
In WordPress admin click Plugins > Add New
Search for WooCommerce Services and click Install Now then Activate.
Install Jetpack by visiting the below URL and clicking the FREE – GET JETPACK button. woocommerce.com/products/jetpack/
Click Continue on the next Cart screen.
Complete the signup process for “Sign up for WooCommerce.com with a WordPress.com account”. If you’ve already got Jetpack, you’ll be prompted to Connect to WooCommerce.com so the accounts are linked.
Getting Started with WooCommerce
Beyond the initial installation, there are still several tasks ahead before a store is fully operational and ready for making sales. Initial tasks include:
- Making sure backups are actively running regularly (part of your hosting account)
- Configuring Jetpack and WooCommerce Services
- Choosing a theme and customizing it
- Setup payment processing options
- Define shipping terms and rates
- Adding supporting pages
- Adding categories and products
- Add other extensions to help with
- backups, in case you’d like local copies in addition to server backups
- brands, so visitors can shop by brand names
- bulk product importer
- currency switcher for international sellers
- email marketing
- live chat support
- security, two factor authentication via WordPress plugin
- social media
- subscriptions, bookings or auctions if any of those apply to you