WooCommerce, Shopify, Wix: A Step-by-Step Guide to Launching Your Ecommerce Business

Almost 25% of retail sales are expected to happen online by 2026, so you should create a web store if you run a small business. With the right tools, any merchant can start selling online. 

A good ecommerce website-building platform will let you list products, process payments, and organize shipping without leaving your home or store. 

But with so many platforms – WooCommerce, Shopify, Wix, and more – choosing the right one can feel overwhelming.

This guide focuses more on the steps that are required to publish your first ecommerce website with any of these solutions, so you can hit the ground running and start selling today!

1. WooCommerce

Most ecommerce platforms excel when they’re used to building your entire online store rather than merely adding the capability to process payments. 

A unified dashboard for all operations simplifies management. However, you might already have a WordPress website. In such cases, WooCommerce is an ideal solution. This ecommerce plugin integrates seamlessly with your existing site, eliminating the need to start from scratch. 

The key is to select a theme that supports WooCommerce, which is known for its high quality and affordability compared to similar tools. Here’s a simplified guide to get started:

1. Assess Your Current Website

Ensure your website runs on WordPress, as WooCommerce is a plugin designed specifically for WordPress sites.

2. Choose a WooCommerce-Compatible Theme

Not all WordPress themes support WooCommerce, so it’s crucial to select one that does, ensuring a seamless integration. Here on Business Bloomer we’ve talked about Storefront, Shoptimizer, Flatsome, and more.

3. Install WooCommerce

Navigate to your WordPress dashboard.

Go to the ‘Plugins’ section and click ‘Add New‘.

Search for ‘WooCommerce’ and click ‘Install Now‘ on the plugin.

Once installed, click ‘Activate‘ to enable WooCommerce on your site.

4. Configure WooCommerce Settings

After activation, you’ll be guided through a setup wizard to configure basic settings, including store location, currency, payment methods, and shipping options.

5. Add Your Products

From the WordPress dashboard, navigate to ‘Products’ and then ‘Add New‘.

Enter your product details, including title, description, images, tags, and categories.

Set pricing and inventory details.

6. Customize Your Store

Utilize WooCommerce’s customization options to adjust your store’s appearance and functionality to match your brand and meet your needs.

7. Consider Switching to a Better Hosting

For example, GreenGeeks offers proper web hosting for WooCommerce, with a managed platform specifically designed for WooCommerce.

8. Manage Your Store

WooCommerce integrates directly into the WordPress backend, allowing you to create coupons, manage orders, and view sales reports all from one place, mirroring the simplicity of adding a blog post to your site.

By following these steps, you’ll effectively set up WooCommerce on your WordPress site, enabling you to manage a comprehensive online store with ease. 

This integration not only simplifies the management of your eCommerce activities but also leverages the familiarity and flexibility of WordPress, making it a preferred choice for many online retailers.

2. Shopify

Millions of ecommerce platforms have been built on Shopify, so if you want to set up an online store and quickly start operating it, it’s an excellent option. 

You don’t need prior experience to build a website with Shopify. It’s highly intuitive, with comprehensive help docs and setup guides. Designing a store, creating discounts, configuring payments, and checking sales results is easy. 

Shopify’s app store has any app and plugin you might need, but using too many can quickly hike up fees. 

Here’s how you can get started:

1. Sign Up for Shopify

Visit Shopify’s website and sign up for an account.

Start your journey with a free three-day trial to get a feel for the platform.

Enter the required details to create your account.

2. Set Up Your Online Store

Once you’ve created your account, Shopify will guide you through the initial setup process.

This setup wizard helps you add products, customize your store’s appearance, link a domain (if you have one), and set up payment processing.

3. Customize Your Store’s Appearance

Explore Shopify’s theme store or external marketplaces like ThemeForest to find the perfect look for your store. With nearly 2,000 themes available, you’re sure to find one that fits your brand.

Customize your chosen theme to match your brand’s aesthetics. Shopify’s customization tools are intuitive and require no prior web design experience.

4. Add Products to Your Store

Use Shopify’s straightforward interface to add products to your store.

Include descriptions, prices, and high-quality images to entice customers.

5. Configure Payment Processing

Set up payment gateways to accept payments from customers. Shopify supports a variety of payment methods, ensuring you can cater to a broad audience.

6. Link Your Domain

If you have an existing domain, Shopify allows you to link it to your new store for a seamless brand experience.

Alternatively, you can purchase a new domain directly through Shopify.

7. Explore Shopify’s App Store

Enhance your store’s functionality by installing apps and plugins from Shopify’s extensive app store.

Be mindful of the apps you choose, as using too many can increase your operating costs.

8. Launch Your Store

Once you’re satisfied with your store’s setup, launch it to the public.

Utilize Shopify’s marketing and SEO tools to attract your first customers.

3. Wix 

If you want to develop a website fully with an online store as an element, Wix is the best option. Among its most basic features are automated sales tax, order tracking, and abandoned cart recovery. You can even open a retail store on Wix with its point-of-sale solution.

A chatbot handles registration on Wix, and it works sufficiently well, which indicates the availability of the right apps and default pages for an online shop. You might benefit from other AI features, like an app that generates text for product descriptions.

It takes seconds to add products, set up shipping options, and configure payment methods on Wix. It will take a bit longer to build a full site. The exact duration depends on how many products you have and how much content you want to add. 

When you’re done, all you need to do is link a custom domain and launch your site. Wix will help with both of those. Here’s how you can get started: 

1. Register Your Account

Utilize the Wix chatbot for a quick and efficient registration process, ensuring you have access to the right apps and default pages needed for an online shop.

2. Plan Your Site

Decide on the scale of your website and the number of products you plan to offer. This will help you determine the content and features you need.

3. Add Products

Navigate to the products section in your Wix dashboard.

Click on ‘Add Products‘ and fill in the details, including descriptions, images, and prices.

Configure shipping options and payment methods according to your preferences.

4. Customize Your Website

Use Wix’s website builder to customize the appearance of your site, ensuring it aligns with your brand identity.

5. Leverage AI Features

Take advantage of Wix’s AI tools for generating product descriptions and creating SEO-friendly meta tags.

6. Select Extensions and Apps

Browse the Wix app store for useful extensions that can enhance your site’s functionality, such as accounting software integrations.

7. Link a Custom Domain

Acquire a custom domain (if you haven’t already) and link it to your Wix site for a more professional appearance.

8. Launch Your Site

Once everything is set up and you’re satisfied with your site’s look and functionality, go ahead and launch your site online.

As one of the best-known website-building platforms, Wix has a well-stocked third-party extension and app store. You can integrate your platform with QuickBooks or another accounting service via an intuitive one-click install app.

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Rodolfo Melogli

Business Bloomer Founder

Author, WooCommerce expert and WordCamp speaker, Rodolfo has worked as an independent WooCommerce freelancer since 2011. His goal is to help entrepreneurs and developers overcome their WooCommerce nightmares. Rodolfo loves travelling, chasing tennis & soccer balls and, of course, wood fired oven pizza. Follow @rmelogli

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