There’s an adage saying: “if you build it, they will come”. This might be a great advice for some, but in a business perspective it can be disastrous, especially for an ecommerce business.
With all the awesome technologies we’ve got today, building an ecommerce store from the ground up may not be a tedious task. However, the toughest part is building a solid brand and acquiring new customers for your store.
And that is why many online retailers find it easier to integrate a store on a well-established website or blog rather than starting a new online store from the scratch.
If you’re looking for an inspiration of pairing a storefront with an established blog, Nautilus blog is a great example.
As they update the site with great content on a regular basis, it encourages their potential customers to keep visiting their site, which likely drives these same visitors to the store to purchase merchandise that mirrors the type of content they love.
In this post, I’ll explain everything you need to know to get started with integrating an ecommerce store with your established blog. You’ll also find why Easy Digital Downloads is the best option, necessary add-on plugins and how to choose a theme that fits your business goals.
Let’s get started…
Building a storefront on WordPress
WordPress is no longer just a blogging platform. According to Datanyze, WordPress is the CMS of choice for almost 23% of ecommerce websites in the Alexa Top 1 million sites.
As the ecommerce industry is booming quickly, you can find a lot of plugins that allows you to easily add a storefront to your WordPress installation.
Below are a couple of benefits of using WordPress for building a digital store.
- No learning curve: As you’re already a WordPress user, managing your storefront can be easier.
- Flexibility: Unlike a hosted platform such as Shopify, WordPress gives you can expand the features of your website to any extent.
Although there are some popular plugins like WooCommerce that lets you easily create any kinds of storefront with WordPress, it comes bundled with tons of different options that most of the digital goods store will never need. On the other hand, Easy Digital Store plugin is dedicated to create digital storefronts with ease. So its usability is great and you don’t find any unnecessary options while listing your products.
Recommended reading: 7 Reasons Your E-commerce Blog isn’t Responding
Below are a few additional benefits of using EDD:
- Lightweight: By default, it comes as a lightweight plugins. You can always extend the functionality by installing add-on plugins.
- Extensive payment options: Despite being a light weight plugin, it comes bundled with the ability to accept major credit cards.
Choosing a theme that supports EDD
With that said, not every WordPress theme might be a good fit for an EDD powered ecommerce website.
So once you installed the plugin, you might want to find a matching supported theme for your store. Even if you’re running an established blog, you don’t necessarily need to change the entire theme just for adding a storefront. All you need to do is to start the storefront on a subdomain, install WordPress and choose the right theme that fits your business and matches your blog’s brand.
Here are a few tips that might help you find a theme for your ecommerce business
Brainstorm your ideas: Before choosing a theme, write down the features you’re looking from a theme. Make a note about the tweaks you’ll possibly need to make on it, so it fits your business goals.
Free theme vs. premium theme: Some store owners prefer using a free theme to a premium theme. For getting a more professional look for your store, alternatively you can choose a premium theme or custom built design. In fact, spending a few bucks on your theme can be a nice investment. For example, if you’re using a premium EDD theme like Olam you can build a highly customizable website with ease, so you don’t need to hire an agency to build a storefront.
Plus, you’ll find priceless ecommerce features like product search functionality, custom shopping page builder, and many more.
Check the theme before making it live: Nothing can be worse than installing a theme with some random free stock photos. So before installing it on a live server, make sure you test it on a local WordPress test environment and make any necessary changes or tweaks on it.
If you’re building a fully featured digital ecommerce store using EDD plugin, chances are you’ll need to install some EDD extensions that could enhance the functionalities of your site. Let’s take a look at a few popular EDD extensions that you might find useful.
EDD Recommended products: Cross-selling to existing customers is a common tactic in the ecommerce industry. It is a tactic of selling an additional product or services that are related to the product they purchased recently. Recommended Products extension shows customers products that are previously purchased by same customers.
EDD Stripe: Stripe addon plugin allows you to accept credit cards through your Stripe account. If you’re not a Stripe user, you can still find many payment gateway extensions for EDD
EDD Wish Lists: This plugin lets customers save the products they find interesting on your store. This helps your customers to buy your products later.
Before launching your store
Before launching your store, it’s better if you spend a significant amount of time on walking through your competitors’ websites. Write down every usability features you’ll need and figure out how to extend your EDD platform with those features and whether you’ll need to buy extensions or hire an expert to build it for you.
If you’re looking for inspirations, you may take a look at a site like Ecomm.Design that shows you tons of different options.
With that said, if your initial budget doesn’t permit this type of investment from the outset, you can always the launch the store and can be extended it later once it starts generating revenue.
Even if you’re planning to launch your store with fewer features, writing down the features you may conceivably need in the future can help the development process to be streamlined and focused in the long run.
Over to you
One of the best things about integrating a storefront with your well-established WordPress blogs is that your new storefront can be easily branded to blend into your website. It can also be helpful when it comes to customer acquisition.
Have you ever thought of turning a blog into an ecommerce storefront? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments section below.
About author: Shahzad Saeed specializes in content marketing for startups and small businesses. He writes on CRO, ecommerce, marketing and design. You can hire him for your next writing project.