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Launching your online store is an exciting journey with all the pleasures and challenges of running a business. Anyone can now build a store thanks to eCommerce, no storefront required. But you still need the right tools to build a store with an eCommerce solution that fits your budget and business.
WooCommerce is a great place to start. It's is a powerful yet easy-to-use solution to setting up an online shop, powered by the same WordPress tools that you've likely already used to build a blog. It powers over 28% of online stores worldwide today. And since it’s a free WordPress plugin—or a paid add-on to a WordPress.com site—you can set up an eCommerce store and start selling in minutes.
If you already have a WordPress-powered blog or site, you can install WooCommerce and have a store without much extra work, inside your existing website. Or, you can start a new self-hosted or WordPress.com site, and use WooCommerce to build that site as a store from the start.
WooCommerce's best feature is how it manages to simplify product and order management. Adding products to your site is as simple as writing posts on your blog. You'll click the Add Product button, enter the product description instead of a blog post, then add tags, categories, pricing, preview images, and more in standard WordPress fields. When you want to tweak more, there are more advanced features to group products according to type and/or shipping method, automatically calculate shipping rates, and offer items as a bundle to increase sales.
The next important step is to ensure your customers can easily pay for your products and select the shipping option that’s best for them. Out of the box, WooCommerce is bundled with your basic payment methods: PayPal (for credit card and PayPal account payments), BACS (for direct debit and deposit transactions), and cash on delivery. For shipping, you can decide whether to offer free shipping or flat rate shipping, or shipping to specific countries.
WooCommerce’s core features give you the main eCommerce features you need to start your online business. For more features, you can download free WooCommerce extensions or purchase paid ones to make your site work like you want. You can provide subscriptions and/or memberships, accept additional payment gateways and shipping services, create appointment bookings, provide real-time shipping rates via USPS, and more. If there's not an extension you need, check for WordPress extensions that have similar features—odds are, you'll find something to customize your store the way you want. The same goes for themes. You can use WooCommerce's built-in free themes, design your own, or use any free or paid WordPress theme to customize your site.
You need an eCommerce system that lets you focus less on the technology and more on the important aspects of your business. WooCommerce does just that. If you're already used to using WordPress for your blog, WooCommerce might be the easiest way you could start selling stuff online, too.
- Learn how to start your own business and online store with Zapier's The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Software book, which includes a complete guide to starting a store with WooCommerce.
Originally published February 12, 2016; updated June 25, 2018 with new features and pricing.