Starting a virtual store is not an easy task, especially if you are an entrepreneur who is starting your business. Although the options regarding websites to sell online and ecommerce platforms are vast, many of them can prove to be costly and unfeasible for the current stage of your business. However, this cost can be greatly reduced by working with WordPress, which allows you to create free virtual store.
Even if it was initially developed as a site to create blogs, this is one of the main myths unmasked about WordPress, since the platform has evolved so much to allow the creation of all type of site. That’s why we’ve listed throughout this article the top 5 ways to create a free virtual store in WordPress. Learn how to start your ecommerce with the right foot and spending little in the following paragraphs!
Why is it important to save money at the beginning of a virtual store?
Not getting excessive spending becomes a rule for any business, regardless of whether it is a virtual store. Since you still do not have a fixed income that pays off and you’re still in the process of investing money from your own pocket - or financing - you should save enough money so your business can stay online for as long as possible within the available budget.
Spending everything at once is a risky and almost suicidal move. We say this because the time your business will take to take off will be quite limited, requiring it to show good results as early as the first month. It is worth remembering that hardly a business gets paid in such a short period. In this early business, it is important that you use as many free or low-cost services as you can in a way that has a low operating cost, maximizing your earnings and allowing you to recover your initial investment faster.
So it is important to follow some tips to save on the beginning of your business. Some of the most important ones are: avoid spending money you do not have - using credit cards, for example - use free services and software whenever you can, try to exchange products or services instead of buying them and look for used equipment whenever possible, since they are cheaper than new.
What are plugins and how to use them to build a free virtual store in WordPress?
As a free platform, WordPress itself is rather simpleton, with very little use without the use of plugins. But what are plugins? Functioning as if it were a browser extension, they add properties and functionality to your site. It is through them that you can use WordPress to build your ecommerce and make it functional.
Finding and installing plugins for WordPress is not a difficult task, although care needs to be taken, as some of these extensions are not updated or may conflict with some other plugin. To find out if such a program has issues, we always recommend that you see the date of your last update - plugins that have not been updated for more than a year must be installed with care - and comments made about it. In the control panel of your virtual store you can access the plugin search engine. But before that, check out our selection of the top 5 to create your free online WordPress store.
One of the most flexible solutions for WordPress, the WooCommerce plugin is designed to seamlessly integrate with sites created on the site platform. One of the biggest services for creating ecommerce, the system is used by about 30% of the online stores created in WordPress, as reported on their download page.
Despite having paid functions, the free ones are enough to build your store without problems. Among the features, we highlight the possibility of including freight calculation in real time and the option to offer free delivery in your store, in addition to allowing all kinds of digital wallet such as PayPal and several other similar services. Your online store with WooCommerce is also highly customizable, with a lot of themes to customize the look of your store on the internet.
2. iThemes Exchange
IThemes Exchange is the perfect plugin for anyone who has the ease of use as the main criterion in the creation of your online store. The plugin allows you to install basic features, that is, functions common to any virtual store such as purchase buttons, simple payment modes and order management. Other tools can be installed, extending and giving more resources to the plugin.
However, the full edition of the plugin is prohibitive for those who are in the beginning of the business, costing 200 dollars a year. On the other hand, it is also possible to install only a few tools in particular, without the need to pay this amount, allowing you to install only what you need. In the basic mode, iThemes Exchange has integration with email marketing services, recurring payments - useful if you sell services by subscription -, customizable purchase buttons and variations of the same product, plus freight calculation. Access the link to know more about the service, which is changing its name to Exchange WP.
3. WP E-Commerce
The first plugin for virtual stores in WordPress, WP E-Commerce is online since 2006. Available for free on their home page, the plugin has an incredible range of features that you can install in your store. Among them, complete reports that can be exported to the CSV format, possibility to include discount coupons and smart marketing, which shows visitors to your store items related to what they are viewing, buttons to give like in a product on Facebook and integration with Google Analytics for analysis of visits and various other functions.
Another solution with free and paid functions, MarketPress is a good option to start your free online store and, when your sales start to take off, migrate to the subscription version. It allows you to sell both physical and digital products in addition to allowing it to sell in almost all currencies currently in existence.
Other functions include one-page checkout, integration with social networks, the ability to use discount coupons and inventory and order management, among many others. Click the link to check out the MarketPress plugin page.
Another plugin that competes with WP E-Commerce for the title of oldest. Originally released in 2008, the plugin is updated to date and is completely free. It allows you to create your own document templates used in day-to-day sales, such as receipts and order confirmations. Shopp also brings integrations with CRM systems or export to CSV files that can be opened in Excel and theme templates for your store, emails and styles to use in your online store. Learn more about Shopp at their page in WordPress.
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How to serve customers of the virtual store? With Jivochat!
All of the ecommerce plug-in options described above have free versions, allowing build your virtual store with the lowest possible cost. To meet the visitors of your new ecommerce, be sure to add the Jivochat for online attendance. Also having WordPress integration, our platform has one of the best cost-benefit, with plans of only $ 10 per month per operator. To know all the tools that we offer and how you can sell more with them, be sure to register clicking here to enjoy 15 days FOR FREE!