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WordPress is a popular CMS web platform and blogging platform which can be extended thanks to its large library of plug-ins. In this use case we will explore using WordPress to host and manage an e-commerce website.
Use Case: Using WordPress to Power an E-Commerce Site
WordPress is widely known as a powerful and flexible content management system (CMS). In this use case we will explore the case of a user who has worked with WordPress in the past as a CMS and blogging platform, and would like to set up an e-commerce site using WordPress.
Scenario 1: Choosing an E-commerce Plug-In
In order to set up WordPress to run an e-commerce website, the user will need to choose an e-commerce plug-in. This plug-in is the core element of using WordPress as an e-commerce platform.
There are dozens of popular e-commerce plug-ins for WordPress. When researching a plug-in, be sure to consider:
- What kinds of goods the plug-in is designed to sell. Many plug-ins are designed to specialize in e-commerce for digital goods and downloads. Others are designed for physical items and shipping in mind.
- Which payment gateways are compatible with the plug-in. If you are planning to use a particular payment gateway, be sure the plug-in you choose is compatible with that provider.
WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress e-commerce plug-in, partly because it is owned by the same company which owns WordPress. WooCommerce:
- Has hundreds of themes and extensions available
- Supports the sale of both digital and physical items
- Is compatible via plug-ins with over 100 payment gateways including Square, Visa, Bitcoin, Authorize.net, and PayPal.
Scenario 2: Choosing a Theme
When choosing a theme for your WordPress e-commerce site, you will need to ensure that the theme is compatible with your e-commerce plug-in.
This can restrict the available choices, so the user in our example will need to decide where they are willing to compromise. Will the e-commerce plug-in or the theme take priority in your decision-making process?
In this example, the user has chosen to use WooCommerce, which recommends the use of the free Storefront theme which is designed with WooCommerce integration in mind.