When you are looking to set-up an e-commerce site for your business you need some basic features in the platform you use. The list of features will look something like this:
|Backend: Convenience for You||Frontend: Convenience for Your Customer|
Coupon Codes / Discounts / Promotions
Control Over Tax/ Shipping Calculations
Reports / Admin Dashboard for Sales Overview
Basic Inventory Control
Import/Export of Product List
Configurable Email Template
Store Credits Availability
Cross Page Promotion
New Products Widget
Multiple Layout Options
|Customer Account Area
Product and Category RSS Feeds
Gravity Forms Integration
Now the question arises which platform can give you the features you desire, efficiently and effectively? A platform developed specifically for E-commerce like say Shopify or Shopp or should you stick to good ol’ WordPress which has a plethora E-commerce themes and E-commerce plugins?
The balance tips heavily towards the latter – pick WordPress for E-commerce Websites. And here’s why:
You already use WordPress and know how to work your site using the backend. You don’t have to get out of your comfort zone. Remember, you want to do the out-of-the-box thing for your products, not the software that manages product sales. Even if you are not a WordPress user yet, it is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) out there.
Themes and Plugins
WordPress themes and WordPress plugins incorporate best of both worlds. You can use plugins made specifically with E-commerce in mind and be with what works best for your site, that is WordPress.
As far as WordPress E-commerce plugins go, it is relatively easy to pick the top two contenders for you to choose from – WP e-Commerce and WooCommerce are clear winners as far as the variety of features they have on offer. More specifically, the interface they use to help you set-up your E-commerce site is very intuitive. In addition, anything you don’t see in their basic offering is available either in their premium version or as an extension, either free or premium, either by the plugin creators themselves or by third parties.
Maintaining a WordPress site in general, is at the click of a button. All updates – whether it is themes and plugins or a WordPress update itself – they are very easy to implement. Of course, you have to make sure that you have the latest versions but you would have to do that irrespective of what platform you use.
Security is cited as the biggest argument against WordPress, especially for an E-commerce site. The case being that WordPress is the most popular CMS and therefore hackers attack WordPress the most. However, the same argument can be made for WordPress. Since the most popular CMS security attacks are defended immediately and more swiftly.
Other than that, simple steps can be taken to make your E-commerce site even more secure:
- Keep your site updated – Update to the latest versions of WordPress, themes and plugins. Hackers keep track of logs and the bug fixes in a new log are used to attack site that haven’t been updated.
- Secure your admin access with a strong password.
- Secure users’ access by making strong passwords compulsory.
Again, there are WordPress plugins to help you with security too.
WordPress’ popularity as a CMS ensures that the future is taken care of by the developers. As E-commerce grows, we are bound to see better and better plugins and themes to cater to the growing needs. And E-commerce is certainly here to stay.
E-commerce plugins and themes WordPress are already pretty evolved and can carry as much depth as you would like. It is unlikely that you will need a feature which the popular plugins don’t cater to as a plugin extension, if not as a basic feature.
So go ahead, create a list of features you want on your E-commerce site and prioritize the needs. Pick a plugin that best provides for the features according to your priorities. When in doubt, look up the rating and the number of people who rated the plugin vis-a-vis the number of downloads. The beauty is that you are not alone.
Are there any features not listed above? Is there something you are looking for your E-commerce site that you haven’t found in WordPress?
PS: A word of caution for whatever you pick on as a payment gateway. Make sure it is PCI compliant.