While it was initially built for academic and research purposes, our ingeniousness has led to us finding new ways of using the internet. We use it in numerous ways in the modern age, with one of the most significant ways we do so being for e-commerce. E-commerce is the sale of products online, and it is propelled by easy access to the internet, how easy it is to build e-commerce platforms, and digital payment options including debit cards, credit cards, and online wallets.
E-commerce has taken off in the last two decades or so and has become a lucrative business for entrepreneurs who sell anything on the internet, from books and cosmetics to software and cars. The most popular tool for building the e-commerce platforms entrepreneurs rely on is WordPress.
The Rise of WordPress
WordPress was initially built as a blogging content management system (CMS). However, developers started building other types of websites around it, with plugins that enhance its functionality enabling them to do much more with it other than blogging.
Since people discovered how easy it is to build their platforms using the CMS and its numerous benefits to publishers, businesses, and customers, it has become the leading tool for building websites. WordPress is now used to create everything from small blogs to massive news and e-commerce websites.
But how does the CMS empower e-commerce entrepreneurs?
Flexibility and Customisation
WordPress only allows users to create simple blogs and websites when installed as-is. However, it can be customised using themes and plugins that massively increase its versatility and flexibility. WordPress themes enable users to design and create websites that align with their brands, with plugins adding the functionality required to turn a WordPress website into any website a user wants.
For e-commerce, entrepreneurs use WordPress alongside WooCommerce, the most popular ecommerce WordPress plugin. Specific WooCommerce themes provide added functionality, such as the ability to create product and category pages, shipping and checkout pages, filtered pages, and much more to create full e-commerce websites.
There are also specific WooCommerce plugins that help entrepreneurs sell digital and physical products, integrate different services, such as print-on-demand and dropshipping, calculate shipping costs and taxes, and accept numerous payment options from around the world.
When running a business, you want the tools you use to help you when you need them rather than getting in your way as you do so. WordPress provides entrepreneurs with an easy-to-use and user-friendly interface that gives them everything they need to run successful ecommerce businesses without overwhelming them. They get access to all the functionality the content management system provides, but they can also choose not to use some of the functionality if they do not want to.
The WordPress dashboard is intuitive to use, and users can learn everything they need to know to run a successful business in an hour or two. The content management system of WordPress also makes it easy to create and manage typical pages, posts and custom pages, such as product pages, if the entrepreneur has an ecommerce plugin installed.
If you install WooCommerce and other e-commerce plugins, the CMS also helps you manage critical aspects of your business including inventory, products, customer orders, payments, returns, and refunds.
WordPress Has an Extensive Plugin Ecosystem
As mentioned, plugins are the primary way entrepreneurs add functionality to their WordPress websites; the other being custom WordPress and WooCommerce development done by a web developer. Because custom development is costly for most businesses, it is not a viable option for many entrepreneurs, especially those with small budgets to work with.
WordPress has an extensive plugin ecosystem that stretches far beyond the e-commerce plugins discussed above. Once you install the CMS and the e-commerce plugins you want, you should look at the numerous security plugins that help keep WordPress websites safe. Because you will be storing personal customer details, you must protect your website from common threats like cross-site scripting (XSS) and malware attacks.
Another important category of plugins is SEO plugins. Although WordPress developers have made WordPress as SEO-friendly as possible, you can still use plugins to include additional functionality that helps your website perform better and that enables you to tweak different things for better SEO.
SEO plugins work together with analytics plugins that give you data such as visitor numbers, referring pages, the time visitors spend on the website, the pages people visit most, and so on. These analytics tools can be used alongside link-building tools because if you know which pages people are visiting most and which ones they are not reaching, you can align your link building strategy accordingly.
WordPress also has a rich ecosystem of marketing plugins. These include social media sharing and posting plugins, email marketing, customer service and chatbot plugins, messaging, and customer relationship management plugins.
In almost all cases, entrepreneurs have at least one tool they use outside the WordPress ecosystem. But what happens if you would like to use it within the ecosystem?
As the most popular content management system, almost all tools and services entrepreneurs need have plugins that help integrate them into WordPress. Do you use Google Analytics? There is a plugin for its integration. Use a customer relationship management platform? There is a WordPress plugin for its integration. The list goes on and on.
Scalability and Growth Opportunities
WordPress is a very scalable content management system that is constantly being tweaked by developers, with new features added regularly to make it more secure and stable. It is its stability that allows it to scale so well.
If installed on infrastructure that allows it to scale, WordPress can handle millions of users at any one time. Since you have this headroom, you do not have to worry about your e-commerce website losing sales by being unavailable in periods of high demand.
Such headroom also allows you numerous growth opportunities as it allows you to expand your product catalogues. The only limitation you would have is your database and hosting not being able to keep up. That said, there are hundreds of websites that have tens and hundreds of thousands of products that scale well on WordPress and the right infrastructure.
WordPress is an excellent option for entrepreneurs who want to use it as a foundation for their ecommerce businesses. Its rich ecosystem of themes and plugins allows you to customise your website and have it functioning however you like. WordPress websites also scale very well, and the right plugins let you integrate the external services your business relies on so you can manage them on one dashboard.