Lesson 9: Introduction to eCommerce

Want to sell physical or digital products on your site? Here are some ways to get started.

Why set up an eCommerce feature

There are many examples where you might want to sell a few items on your website, without transforming your whole site into a store. 

If you self-publish ebooks or manuals, you may want to sell those on your store. Or like, me, sell courses! You could also sell merch, sell consultations in person or over Zoom as a professional in your field, or your digital art. Whatever it is, there are a few ways to do this. 

Selling through direct money transfers

I’ll start with the easiest, no-frills way. That is to simply create a PayPal or Venmo account and ask that people send you payments that way. You can create a page with photos of your items and add a form below. People then message you and you can coordinate how they pay you. The upside: this is a pretty easy way to get paid since most people can do bank Interac transfers or use Paypal and Venmo. The downside: it’s extremely manual since you’ll need to reply to each person and coordinate the payment and delivery of goods or services. It’s also a little unprofessional. If your site were to take off, this isn’t something you could easily scale up without eating up a lot of your time. 

Use Jetpack Payments

The second-easiest way is to upgrade your Jetpack account to a paid plan and use the Stripe payment tool to create and sell products. This gives you a bit more flexibility with how you present products, as well as add the feature to take payments through Stripe, which works with multiple credit cards. It’s a totally secure payment processor and also looks really polished. 

Use WooCommerce

The third and most advanced way is to install a free eCommerce plugin called WooCommerce. Now, just like WordPress itself, WooCommerce itself is free, but the features that come with it have limits. To build on those features, you have to add extensions to your WooCommerce shop. Extensions are often paid add-ons that will add custom features like different product customizations, smart coupon and upsell systems, to cart-abandonment emails. If you’re looking to sell lots of products, products with variations and customizations, subscriptions, or want to be able to charge taxes and shipping for customers, WooCommerce is the way to go.

Like WordPress itself, you can also pick up and move your whole site to another host whenever you want and switch up your extensions if you find a better one as you grow. Other store solutions like Shopify are a proprietary platform, so you’re locked into their platform and fee structure. 

Again, building a WooCommerce store would be a whole course itself, but I’ll give you the basics in the video. You can also follow the steps from the WooCommerce blog.

And that’s it, I hope this helped you get started with selling online.