If you’re looking to launch an eCommerce store with WordPress, you have two basic routes:
- A 100% self-hosted store where everything, including payments, happens on your site/servers.
- A hybrid approach where shoppers browse products on your store but check out on a cloud-based system.
Both approaches have their merits – the first method gives you 100% control over every part of the process, while the second keeps things super simple and makes it really easy to get up and running with a store.
In this Prodigy Commerce review, I’ll be looking at a new WordPress eCommerce plugin that uses the second approach. It can have you up and running with a secure, user-friendly eCommerce store in very little time.
Keep reading my hands-on Prodigy Commerce review for a look at everything this tool has to offer.
Prodigy Commerce Review: What Does It Do?
As I mentioned above, Prodigy Commerce uses a dual approach where part of the eCommerce process happens on your WordPress site and another part happens on Prodigy Commerce’s hosted servers.
To display products, you can add them directly through your WordPress dashboard and they show up on a dedicated “Shop” page on your WordPress site, along with a dedicated single page for each product. Customers can then add those products to their shopping cart, which is also 100% on your WordPress site.
Then, once a shopper goes to check out, they’ll check out on Prodigy Commerce’s servers.
So – what’s the advantage of doing things this way over an entirely self-hosted WordPress eCommerce solution like WooCommerce?
Basically, it’s a lot simpler. Prodigy Commerce has already taken care of…
- Payment gateway integrations
- Shipping calculations
- Tax calculations
So rather than having to set all that up from scratch, you can just enter some basic details and let Prodigy Commerce handle things for you.
But at the same time – you still get to use your WordPress site (and themes and plugins) for most of the eCommerce experience.
With Prodigy Commerce, you get…
- The ability to sell both physical and digital products
- Product management in your WordPress dashboard
- A hosted cloud dashboard for order management and fulfillment
- Built-in payment gateway to start accepting credit card payments right away
- Automatic shipping calculations
- Ability to create, pay for, and print shipping labels right from your dashboard
- Automatic sales tax calculations – all you do is enter the locations where you have a “nexus” and it’ll calculate everything for you
- A great-looking, streamlined checkout process, including one-click checkout for logged-in customers
- Option to refund items and manage returns
Prodigy Commerce Pricing: It’s Free
Creating a Prodigy Commerce store is free for both developers and merchants and the developer says that it will always remain so.
The Prodigy Commerce WordPress plugin is open-source and listed at WordPress.org, and the team is working on an open-source theme that will also be listed at WordPress.org.
Hands-On With Prodigy Commerce
Now that you know what it does, let’s go hands-on and I’ll show you how it works to set up and use Prodigy Commerce.
Sign Up for a Prodigy Commerce Account and Create a Store
To get started, you’ll need to register for a free Prodigy account at the Prodigy Commerce website. The process is easy – all you need to do is enter your name, email, and password.
Once you create your account, you’ll need to add a new store in the Prodigy Commerce cloud dashboard:
Configure Store Settings
Next, you can use the Settings tab in your store’s interface at the Prodigy Commerce website to set up basic details for your store like:
- Shipping methods
- Checkout behavior
Once you set your shipping origin in the Shipping tab, Prodigy can help you automatically calculate accurate shipping rates for popular shipping services including:
- DHL Express
For Payments, Prodigy has already set up payment processing – you’ll pay the standard 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction plus a flat $10 monthly fee.
To accurately calculate taxes, you can enter all the addresses where you have a nexus (e.g. a presence). Then, Prodigy will automatically calculate taxes for you when needed:
The Checkouts tab lets you choose how your checkout works, like whether or not to require account registration for people to check out and what the first page of the checkout process should be:
You can also customize the colors, fonts, and other style options for your checkout page to make it match your store:
And then some of the other things that you can do are:
- Emails tab – customize transactional emails for various actions, like order confirmations and shipping notifications.
- Order Return tab – choose whether or not to allow returns.
- Users – give other users access to your store’s backend, with different user roles depending on what level of access that person needs.
So that’s it for settings in the Prodigy Commerce website – now let’s switch over to WordPress.
Connect WordPress to Your Prodigy Commerce Account
Next, you can use the free Prodigy Commerce plugin at WordPress.org to connect your WordPress website to the Prodigy Commerce account that you just created:
When you click the button, it will take you to the Prodigy Commerce cloud dashboard where you can choose which store to connect to:
Then, you’ll go back to your WordPress dashboard where you can set up some basics for your store, like your locale, currency, and measurement units:
And you can finish things out by adding your logo.
Add Products in Your WordPress Dashboard
Once you connect your WordPress site to your store, you’ll be able to add and manage products directly through your WordPress dashboard using the Prodigy tab.
To add a new product, you’ll get the same familiar Classic WordPress editor at the top:
And then below you’ll get new meta boxes to control a product’s…
- SKU and stock status
- Up-sells and cross-sells (having these built in is nice)
- Shipping status, including its dimensions if it’s eligible to be shipped. Prodigy Commerce will use these for automatic shipping calculations
- Tax status
At the bottom, you can add product attributes and create product variations based on those attributes. For example, you can offer a product in different sizes or colors (or both).
If you use attributes and variants, you’ll be able to configure the details for each individual product variant:
Then, you just need to repeat the process for all of your products.
Prodigy also gives you separate areas to directly manage product categories, tags, and attributes.
Configure Some Other Basic Settings
Finally, there are also a few store settings that you can access from your WordPress dashboard by going to Prodigy → Settings.
Here, you can configure:
- What happens after a shopper adds an item to their cart (you can keep them on the current page or send them to their shopping cart)
- Whether to allow product reviews and product star ratings
And that’s it for the setup process – let’s check out how it works.
How Your Store Works – Shopper’s Perspective
When you sync the Prodigy Commerce plugin with your store, it will automatically create the key pages on your WordPress site.
Here’s what the default shop page looks like with the Astra theme:
If you’re a developer, you can customize the style of your shop pages by working with a template file in your theme, just like you’d work with any other template file.
Prodigy Commerce also includes a number of built-in WordPress widgets that you can add to your shop’s sidebar, including dedicated widgets for…
- Product categories
- Product attribute filters
- Product search
Users can click through to view the single product page:
And then they can use the shopping cart page to go to the checkout:
Up until now, everything has happened 100% on your WordPress site.
When a user clicks that Proceed to Checkout button, though, they’ll be taken to your store’s subdomain on the Prodigy Commerce website for checkout. This is what allows you to have a secure, simple-to-setup checkout process:
Remember – you can edit the style of this checkout via your store’s settings, so you have some tools to make it match your WordPress theme.
Shoppers will go through and pay:
If you’re selling physical items that need to be shipped, Prodigy can automatically calculate accurate shipping rates based on your item’s physical dimensions. For example, you can see how Prodigy automatically calculated all these shipping rates from USPS – I didn’t have to manually enter any of that:
Once a shopper places their order, they’ll be directed back to the “Thank You” page on your WordPress site, which you can edit like you would any other WordPress page.
One thing I like is that, if a customer chose to checkout as a guest, Prodigy will send them an email inviting them to create an account. From there, you’d be able to send marketing emails to them if they opt-in.
Shoppers will also receive other standard transactional emails, like an order confirmation email. And again, you can edit the content of these emails from your store’s settings:
Now, let’s switch over to the store owner’s perspective and I’ll show you how you can process and manage that order on the backend.
How Your Store Works – Owner’s Perspective
To manage your customers and orders, you’ll use the Prodigy cloud dashboard, not your WordPress dashboard.
The Dashboard tab gives you a high-level look at your orders and revenue for different time periods. You can also compare how things have changed over time:
The Orders tab lists all the orders that shoppers have placed at your store. For physical items that need to be shipped, you can also see the fulfillment status:
If you click into an order, you can see:
- Tags at the top to quickly see an orders’ status
- The items that a shopper purchased
- Customer details
- Payment methods
- A risk analysis feature to help you understand whether a purchase could be risky (e.g. fraud)
And then further down, you can:
- Refund an order
- Add tags or internal notes
- Click Fulfill to print the shipping label for a physical item that needs to be shipped (or you can just mark it as fulfilled if you want to use a different method)
Here’s what the fulfillment screen looks like – you can see how you have two options. If you opt to create a shipping label, you can print it out and pay right there:
You can also manage Returns from a sub-menu.
And then the Customers area helps you manage all of your customers. You can also see the order numbers and revenue for each customer:
If you edit a customer, you can add internal notes and tags to help organize them. You can also see whether or not that customer has opted in to receive email marketing:
And that’s it!
Final Thoughts on Prodigy Commerce
Like any hosted solution, I don’t think Prodigy Commerce is right for every single WordPress eCommerce store (there’s a reason why WooCommerce is so popular), but I think a lot of stores could benefit from this simpler hosted approach.
Many stores don’t need the flexibility that WooCommerce offers – they just need a simple way to start selling online.
Prodigy Commerce delivers on that.
First off, it handles most security and maintenance for you. Your checkout is the most sensitive part of your store, and Prodigy Commerce completely takes that off your to-do list.
Beyond that, it also handles nitty-gritty details like payment processing, refunds, tax calculations, shipping calculations, fulfillment, etc.
By taking all that stuff off your plate, Prodigy Commerce lets you focus on selling and growing your store.
It’s free and the setup process is painless. So if you’re interested, take it for a spin and see if it’s right for your store.