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In the old days, WordPress was primarily a platform for bloggers. Now, the platform has grown robust and flexible enough to handle just about any type of website – including e-commerce stores. However, it still doesn’t provide many of the features you’ll need to run an online shop.
As usual, the vast and talented WordPress community is here to help. Many developers have created plugins that add e-commerce functionality to your website, making it simple to display, promote, and sell products online. To get your store off the ground, all you need to do is select the right solution.
In this article, we’re going to talk a little about why it’s so important to choose your e-commerce tool carefully. Then we’ll introduce BigCommerce – a top solution for WordPress users – and discuss how it compares to other popular options such as WooCommerce. Let’s jump right in!
Why You Need an E-Commerce Solution for WordPress (And Why Your Choice Matters)
As a website-building platform, WordPress has a lot going for it. This Content Management System (CMS) is flexible, secure, and powerful – yet remains very accessible to beginners. These factors alone make it an excellent choice for your e-commerce site.
At the same time, WordPress is a very streamlined platform. Since it’s used to create so many different types of websites, the developers keep its default functionality limited. If you want to create a site with a very specific feature set – such as an online store – you’ll use themes and plugins to add in the functionality you need.
This means that one of your first steps should be to look for a plugin that will make it possible for you to sell online through WordPress. You’ll find that there’s no shortage of options available. Still, you don’t want to simply opt for the first solution you run across. Your e-commerce plugin will form the foundation for your entire store, so it’s vital to choose carefully.
This means looking for an e-commerce plugin that:
- Provides all the features you’ll need to display your products and/or services, and sell them to visitors.
- Helps you design a shop that encourages potential customers to buy.
- Includes lots of customization options, so you can set up your store however you like.
- Offers quality-of-life functionality to make running your store quicker and easier.
- Is able to effectively keep up with your site’s needs as it grows.
This may seem like an extensive wish list, but it isn’t that hard to find a tool that does all of the above and more. To illustrate the point, let’s look at one option you’ll definitely want to consider.
An Introduction to BigCommerce: A Fully-Featured E-Commerce Plugin
BigCommerce is designed to be a complete e-commerce solution. While the base service works with multiple platforms, there’s a dedicated plugin that enables you to add BigCommerce seamlessly to your WordPress website.
The primary benefit of BigCommerce is that it’s an all-in-one solution. In other words, this single plugin is all you’ll need to turn your site into a fully-functioning storefront with tons of features and options. This makes it a more efficient choice than many other e-commerce plugins (more on this later).
So, what exactly can BigCommerce do? Naturally, it handles all the basics needed to run an online store. It enables you to display products, include a checkout process for customers, configure pricing, shipping, and tax options, and so on.
However, this particular plugin offers quite a bit more as well. Some of its key features include:
- You can manage all your orders, shipping, and catalog updates from a single user-friendly control panel.
- The checkout process is streamlined and customizable, so you can offer a quality customer experience and increase sales.
- BigCommerce is a very ‘scalable’ solution, which means that it can handle both small shops and large stores with complex catalogs and high order volumes.
- You’ll get access to various options for keeping your store safe, including PCI-compliance features and tight security for the checkout process, customer accounts, and payment data.
- While this plugin is simple for beginners to pick up and use effectively, it’s also built with developers in mind, making it highly modifiable.
BigCommerce can be used to set up a brand-new WordPress store, or to seamlessly add a shop to your existing website (using any theme you like). Of course, this isn’t the only e-commerce option out there. With that in mind, let’s talk specifically about how it compares to one of the other big boys on the block.
What BigCommerce Offers Over Competing E-Commerce Solutions
When it comes to WordPress e-commerce, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about WooCommerce:
This is a popular e-commerce solution, and it does have a lot to offer. It quickly adds a storefront to your WordPress site, complete with a number of handy features, and it’s very accessible and easy to use.
However, it’s worth noting that WooCommerce has some significant limitations. This is especially relevant if you’re looking to build a highly-customized store and grow it into an e-commerce powerhouse.
Here are a few of the features BigCommerce offers that give it an edge over WooCommerce and similar plugins:
- WooCommerce only provides a few payment gateway options out of the box, while BigCommerce includes access to over 60+ choices.
- You have to manually set shipping rates in WooCommerce, while in BigCommerce you can enable real-time shipping updates to keep your rates current.
- With WooCommerce, you get a few basic choices for setting up coupons. In BigCommerce, you’ll be able to choose from 70+ options for discounting your products and services.
- As a traditional plugin, you run the risk of having custom modifications to WooCommerce get wiped out by new updates. BigCommerce takes advantage of WordPress functionality to enable you to customize product cards, lists, and cart features without worry.
- While WooCommerce offers limited support through email and tickets, BigCommerce users get 24/7 access to phone, ticket, and live chat support options.
Most importantly, WooCommerce’s default feature set is fairly restricted. That means you’ll have to install a lot of additional extensions if you want more functionality and payment gateways. BigCommerce includes most of those features right out of the box, so you don’t need any extra tools.
E-commerce is big business, so you’ll need to work hard in order to stand out and attract customers. Fortunately, the right combination of platform and e-commerce solution can set you up for success.
While a plugin like WooCommerce can be sufficient for smaller, simpler stores, you’ll want a more robust tool if you’d really like your store to grow. BigCommerce can provide just about all the features and options you’ll ever need, without requiring you to go looking for other plugins or extensions.
Do you have any questions about how to get started with BigCommerce? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: Flickr.