If you want to sell products or services online, getting started may be a bit intimidating. E-commerce is a complex field, and it can be difficult to know where to begin when setting up your online storefront.
The good thing about e-commerce’s popularity is that it’s resulted in a wide array of tools and services for helping you jump in. Whether you already have a website or not, creating a full-scale store or selling just a couple of products is easier than you might expect.
In this post, we’re going to talk about two of the best tools out there for e-commerce sites: Shopify vs WordPress. Let’s get going!
In order to sell anything online, it helps to have a dedicated web page or site. This can serve as the central hub for your business. It will provide visitors with information about each product or service, along with a way to make purchases.
Of course, there are a lot of ways to build an e-commerce website. Right now, we’re going to focus on two of the most popular options. First up, let’s talk about WordPress:
This is a Content Management System (CMS), which means it’s a platform for creating content and making it available online. It’s most often used for building websites of all types, including stores.
WordPress’ chief benefits as an e-commerce platform include:
- It’s free, and easy to start using.
- You have a lot of control over your site’s appearance and functionality.
- Your site will be able to scale up over time, as your business grows.
- There are lots of themes and plugins you can use to customize your site.
- The platform is built to be secure, and you can enhance its security further.
The primary downside is that WordPress isn’t built specifically for e-commerce. This means you’ll need at least one additional tool to add the necessary features, such as WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads. Installing one of these plugins isn’t hard, but it does mean you’ll have to deal with more initial setup. Plus, you’ll need to find and pay for your own hosting and domain name.
Next up, we’ll look at Shopify:
This is a website builder, which means it’s simpler than WordPress and is hosted online. In other words, instead of downloading software and installing it on your own hosting plan, your store will be hosted through the Shopify service.
The main advantages of using Shopify for your online store are:
- It’s built for e-commerce, which means you’ll have access to all the features you need upfront.
- You don’t need to purchase hosting or go searching for any additional tools or software.
- The platform is extremely simple to pick up and start using.
- It will handle payment processing and other key tasks for you.
On the other hand, it’s a more restrictive option. You’ll have a lot less control over your store’s look and functionality with Shopify. In addition, it can potentially be more expensive than using WordPress, starting at $29 per month plus payment fees (although there is a stripped-down ‘Lite’ plan for $9 per month).
Why You May Want to Combine Shopify and WordPress to Create Your E-Commerce Store
If you want to create a large and highly-customized storefront, and especially if you’d like to combine it with a business site or blog, WordPress is probably your best bet. On the other hand, Shopify requires less work, and makes the process of getting your store up and running quick and simple.
While there’s merit in discussing the benefits of Shopify vs WordPress, a third option is to combine both platforms. This enables you to access some of the benefits of each. You can do this by adding a Shopify ‘Buy’ button to your new or existing WordPress website:
This method may be ideal if:
- You already have a WordPress site, but you like the look of Shopify’s payment, checkout, and shipping features. Alternatively, you’re already selling products through Shopify, but you want to display them on a WordPress blog or site.
- You’re looking to handle payments through a third-party system, rather than your website itself.
- You’ll only be selling one or a handful of products or services, instead of creating a full storefront (so a simple Buy button is all you need).
Another nice thing about this particular strategy is that it’s straightforward to implement. Let’s take a look at how the process works, so you can decide if it’s right for your business.
How to Use Shopify and WordPress to Create Your E-Commerce Store
Before we get to what we originally recommended here, we’ve since written about ShopWP, a way to fully connect Shopify to WordPress. Now back to the original idea…
You’ll need two things to integrate WordPress and Shopify to create your online store.
Then, log into your Shopify dashboard, and check out the left-hand sidebar. Under Sales Channels, you should see an option labeled Buy Button:
Click on Create Buy Button, and a prompt will appear that enables you to choose one of your products (or create a new one):
Select the product you want, and an editor will open:
Here, you can choose from among a few styles for your Buy button. You can also adjust its size and alignment, and add custom fonts, colors, and text. You can even decide what will happen when a customer clicks on the button (it may add the product to their cart, for example, or merely display product details).
Along the way, you’ll be able to see what your button will look like in the preview window. When you’re done customizing it, select the Generate code button in the top-right corner of the screen:
This will provide you with a fairly lengthy bit of HTML code. Don’t worry if you’re not too code-savvy – you don’t need to understand what all of it means. Simply copy it, and then head over to your WordPress site.
Now, all you have to do is paste the code wherever you’d like it to appear on your website. This could be on a post or a page, for example, or in a sidebar widget. To add it to a product page, open the page up and switch over to the Code Editor:
Then paste your code in wherever you’d like the button to go, and save the page:
You can repeat this process to create as many Buy buttons as you’d like. You can even create buttons for entire collections of products, rather than just a single item. Using this method, you can add Shopify features to your WordPress site in no time.
Since both are such popular platforms, it’s common to hear people debating whether to use Shopify vs WordPress. Each has its place – but you don’t necessarily have to choose between the two.
Instead, you can get the best of both worlds by adding Shopify Buy buttons to your WordPress website. This enables you to sell directly from your site, without having to create a full store or handle payments. All it takes is signing up for a Shopify account, creating a button, and adding its HTML code to one of your site’s pages.
Do you have any questions about using Shopify in combination with WordPress? Ask us in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.