WordPress’ capabilities have grown proportionately with its popularity. It’s way more than a mere blogging platform’ today; it is a full-fledged Content Management System (CMS) that can give enterprise-grade solutions a solid run for their money. It is also immensely customizable, which is why you can use it to run everything from a simple 5-page website to a scalable Ecommerce store.
If you’re thinking of starting an Ecommerce site, you’d be foolish to not give WordPress a serious consideration. Below, we’ll look at 6 reasons why WordPress Ecommerce trumps most retail Ecommerce solutions when it comes to selling online:
1. It’s Free
Not just WordPress itself, but plugins like WooCommerce, Shopp, and WP Ecommerce are as well. It doesn’t matter whether you host 1 or 100,000 products, you’ll never have to pay anything (besides hosting and any custom design or development — which isn’t always required) for a WordPress Ecommerce site.
This may not seem like a big deal, but scaling with most commercially available Ecommerce solutions can be terribly expensive. As a comparison, consider the costs associated with leading options:
|Shopify||$14 - $179 per month|
|Volusion||$15 - $135 per momth|
|BigCommerce||$24.95 - $299.99 per month|
In contrast, WooCommerce, one of the leading Ecommerce plugins (and my personal favorite!) for WordPress Ecommerce based sites, is completely free to download and use.
This chart shows a typical WordPress Ecommerce site from a client and it’s associated costs:
|Stripe for WooCommerce||$79.00 / One Time|
|Theme from WooThemes||$99.00 / One Time|
|Site Setup from a Developer||$2500 / One Time|
|WP Maintainer||$99.00 / Per Month|
|SSD VPS from StormOnDemand||$65.00 / Monthly Average|
So while you’re initial setup is more expensive (unless you DIY – and some of it definitely is possible if you’re even just slightly tech savvy), you end up with a greater end product that you control in every way.
2. You Get Access to a Huge Repository of Plugins
As I type this, the official WordPress plugin library counts 30,128 plugins, which is around 30,128 plugins more than any retail Ecommerce solution. ;) This means that whatever be your need, there’s bound to be at least one plugin that will meet that need.
To understand why this is important, consider the following scenarios:
Better SEO: SEO is the cornerstone of a successful Ecommerce store. Yet, most retail as well as self-created Ecommerce solutions are woefully lacking in this department. Thankfully, WordPress and its army of developers have hundreds of fully-featured SEO plugins you can use to make your website Google compliant, such as Yoast SEO Plugin, All in One SEO Pack, WordPress SEO, etc.
Better Social Sharing: A robust, quick-loading social sharing option is essential to growing your blog. Retail Ecommerce solutions either bundle slow, broken social sharing plugins with their software, or charge an arm, a leg and a spare kidney to create something that actually works. With WordPress, however, you can use just one of the thousands of existing social sharing plugins to boost your content pages on Google and get more of that sweet, sweet traffic.
Improved Website Speed: Just like LT Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, websites too have a need for speed. With retail Ecommerce solutions, you are limited by the speed and capability of the built-in caching and CDN (Content Delivery Network). With WordPress, you can fine-tune and customize these as per your requirement, which, in the right hands, can mean blazing fast speeds.
3. Better Themes
WordPress was designed from the ground up for customization. Hence, there are hundreds and thousands of existing themes for WordPress, many of which can be retro-fitted for WordPress Ecommerce shops. Throw in the thousands of WordPress Ecommerce-only professional themes (many of which are free or retail for a few dollars) and you can see why WordPress is quickly becoming the preferred solution for online sellers.
If you’re unhappy with existing themes, you can also hire a WordPress website designer to create a customized theme.
4. Your Choice of Payment Gateway
With a retail Ecommerce solution, you are limited to the payment gateways bundled into the service or software. This means you can’t swap in your own payment gateway which might offer cheaper transaction charges. For businesses with high sales volume, a 0.5-1% change in transaction fee can often turn into thousands of dollars in lost revenues.
With WooCommerce or just about any other WordPress Ecommerce plugins, you can use almost any payment gateway you want. Integrating the gateway might require a little more work upfront, but you also get the option to choose something that fits your budget and requirements perfectly.
5. Bring Your Own Hosting
WordPress is an open-source CMS software, not a retail Ecommerce solution. This means you have to host it on your own web hosting. While this may requires some degree of technical competence and know-how initially, it can turn into massive savings and better performance in the long run.
Let me illustrate with an example: Let’s suppose you have a website that gets 10,000 visitors per day and consumes around 10GB of storage space. Going by the rates for, say, Shopify, you’ll have to shell out $179/month for this much storage space.
If you were to use WordPress with a hosting solution like, say, StormOnDemand’s SSD VPS, the same setup would run you about $65/month + bandwidth. You can also choose a faster VPS to bring out even more performance. Sure, you’ll have to set up the VPS initially, but the long-term savings can be immense and it’s scalable if you ever need more disk space.
Besides, you can choose your own caching plugins (like W3 Total Cache) and a CDN (like MaxCDN) to boost your website performance. You can also leverage that CDN to reduce your bandwidth costs.
6. Better Content Management
With the rise of content marketing, every business Today, needs to become a publisher. Writing a regularly updated blog is not just desirable, but almost mandatory to get traffic from search and social sources. Google loves fresh content, but more importantly, so do your visitors and customers.
This is where WordPress absolutely shines. Some of the biggest blogs in the world use it to host and manage their articles, including TechCrunch, Mashable, etc. As you expand your digital footprint and create blog posts to get traffic and grow your brand, you’ll find WordPress’ blog post management capabilities indispensable.
WordPress is a powerful, robust and highly scalable solution that can be customized to fit almost any requirement.
7. Huge Community of Developers and Designers
If your not tech savvy, getting started on just about any platform can be difficult and often times any of the easier solutions can back you in a corner with bad SEO practices or by marrying you to their service. With WordPress there are tons of developers, designers, and agencies that specialize in building WordPress Ecommerce sites for clients.
If you know a bit about WordPress and feel confident enough, you can probably get close to a finished product and only need minimal help, thankfully there’s a huge community of people sharing knowledge in this space. So you’re bound to find plenty of walk-throughs or questions that are already answered by multiple sources. Not to say you should Google your way through it, but it’s certainly an option if you don’t have a budget to spend on design and development.