You have your new site up and running and your design is awesome except for one thing, a shopping cart. More often than not when people are converting a new site to wordpress or creating one for scratch they focus on design before function. Especially when it comes to selling products or services on their new wordpress website. Focusing on the shopping cart at the last minute can cause un-foreseen delays and expenses, not to mention the occasional crossed eyes if you are dealing with anything that requires shipping.
So, the question is when should I use a wordpress shopping cart and when should I do something different like making a wordpress site and a separate site running something like magento for my store?
The answer to this question is not always simple, so please keep in mind that this is just a guide.
When should I use a wordpress shopping cart?
- You should use a wordpress shopping cart if you are selling simple products with simple pricing and shipping. Most wordpress shopping carts can handle any basic shopping and shipping transaction.
- You should use a wordpress shopping cart if you are selling all digital products. Digital products are the easiest product to sell with most wordpress shopping carts. They work by allowing the customer to pay and then the system automatically emails the buyer the download link.
- You should use most wordpress shopping carts if you are integrating with a marketing service or auto responder service like aweber, mailchimp, get response, or infusion soft. Setting up a system like this makes it easy to get people on your marketing lists and most wordpress shopping carts have this feature built in.
- You should use a wordpress shopping cart if you are going to do simple discounts on either prices or shipping. You can easily do coupon and basic shipping discounts with wordpress shopping carts.
- If you are going to offer a simple affiliate program with your site. Most wordpress shopping systems allow for the integration of a single or 2 tier affiliate marketing system.
- If you are going to have a integrated membership program with your site. If you are going to build a wordpress membership site, a wordpress shopping cart is the easiest way to stream line the process and allow the ability to sell products as well.
When Should I use an ecommerce system with wordpress instead of a wordpress shopping cart?
- You should use a system like magento or opencart etc. when you have a very large number of products. Most ecommerce systems are easy to load large numbers of products and descriptions into as well as quantities, and pricing.
- You should use a different cart if you have complicated shipping options for your products. This by far is the most disappointing thing when dealing with wordpress shopping carts. Most people are forced in one way or another to make shipping work as opposed to have shipping work for you. If your shipping is very complicated choose another platform than wordpress!
- You should use a different shopping system if you require detailed customer information and log-ins similar to amazon etc. Typical wordpress carts are designed to push most of the transaction out to a places like paypal. This makes security less of an issue but limits the amount of information you can collect from an individual.
- If you have Multiple payment systems or options with direct sales on your site. If you are going to offer multiple payment options with direct payment (they never leave your site) then typically a larger cart system is right for you. The same goes true if you want to offer payment plans as well.
For the average website a wordpress shopping cart and extended plug-ins will cover all of your needs. However, if you are on the path to building a large scale ecommerce site we recommend going into more robust ecommerce platforms like magento, open cart, or oscommerce.
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