WordPress for eCommerce Everything You Need to Know

WordPress for eCommerce: Everything You Need to Know

While WordPress began as a blogging platform, it is now a high-capacity website builder you can use to create any eCommerce platform. You can set a store up without writing a single line of code. 

Since the basic WordPress software does not come with any eCommerce features, you can add them using a plugin. Popular WordPress plugins include WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Ecwid.

Getting started 

To start building an eCommerce store, you need to do two things: set up a basic WordPress site and install a WordPress eCommerce plugin. Then, you can develop the platform like any other WordPress site.

To set up a basic site, choose a domain name for your store (its address on the internet) and buy web hosting. Without hosting, people will not be able to access your website. You also need an SSL certificate to enable the secure HTTPS protocol.  

As this guide is on WordPress for eCommerce, it will not cover setting up core WordPress software. For the details on this crucial step, have a look at this WordPress install guide.

Activate an eCommerce plugin

WooCommerce is the most frequently used WordPress eCommerce plugin, but it’s not the only viable option. Let’s have a look at a few others so you know which one to choose. 


BigCommerce is a more advanced eCommerce tool, but it comes with a lot of flexibility. If you plan on launching one eCommerce platform, WooCommerce is preferable to BigCommerce. You would consider BigCommerce if you were selling on multiple platforms, i.e., eBay, Etsy, Amazon, etc. BigCommerce can be used to sync different sales channels in a central location, which is quite convenient.

Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) 

EDD is feasible if you’re selling digital products rather than physical ones. Its focus on digital goods creates a streamlined focus, making it preferable to WooCommerce even though the latter can also handle digital files. 


Ecwid is a dedicated plugin with WordPress integration. It is very simple to use, making it suitable for novices with very basic stores. It is less powerful and flexible than WooCommerce.

Set up the plugin 

For the purpose of this guide, we’ll go with WooCommerce, the most commonly used eCommerce plugin. Its setup wizard launches automatically. It will first ask you to provide details about your store’s location, followed by industry details. Then, you will select the type or types of products that you’re selling. 

If it’s only physical goods, check Physical products. Select Downloads if you’re selling digital products as well. 

In the second-to-last stage, you’ll be asked for a few more store details. Here, you can configure essential aspects such as shipping services. Ensure you set up accurate shipping zones, rates, and any specific shipping options your business offers, like expedited shipping or free shipping thresholds.

You can opt to add free business features, but we recommend sticking to the basics initially. These are sufficient to cover shipping, payments, etc.

Finally, the wizard will prompt you to install a theme. Click Continue with my active theme to skip this step. 

Activate a purpose-built theme 

You will have a functioning store at this point, but it will not resemble an eCommerce platform. To perfect your store, install a purpose-built theme. Look for a visually appealing design and basic features such as user-friendliness, the appearance of product filters, etc.  

Choosing a light theme is essential because it plays a crucial role in your website’s loading time and the store’s performance in general. 

Add products

It’s time to start adding your products at this stage. You can do that under Products → Add New. You’ll be asked for some product information. The most critical areas to consider are the title, prices, short and long product descriptions, product images, product categories, and product tags. 

The type of product is one type or variable. The latter would be a clothing item available in multiple sizes. You can select the product type in the menu at the top of the Product data box.

Finally, the tabs in this box can be used to configure additional details such as weight, size, inventory, similar products, and more.