How to start selling online

4 Apr 2019David read

If you’re new to the world of e-commerce, the idea of setting up a shop may be daunting. However, getting started is easier than you might think.

First, decide what e-commerce platform you want to sell on. There are so many providers out there, all with varying features and costs. If we look at the most popular e-commerce platforms among the top one million e-commerce websites, we can see which platforms are considered the most reliable:


The top one million e-commerce websites by traffic

  • WooCommerce – 22 per cent
  • Shopify – 18 per cent
  • Magento – 13 per cent

Source: Stats correct as of 14th January 2019.


Why do we use WooCommerce?

We use WooCommerce because it integrates seamlessly with WordPress – a popular content management system that powers around 30 per cent of all websites. 

Rubious can develop complex, bespoke themes to harness the full power of WooCommerce. The platform even comes with its own theme (Storefront), to get you selling your products as fast as possible.


What can WooCommerce sell?

Selling simple products is straightforward across all e-commerce platforms. But what if you want to sell something more complex, like clothing with varying sizes and colours?

WooCommerce allows you to do all this and more. By default you will be able to sell the following types of products:


Simple products

The most common and easily understood product type. This is a physical, stand-alone item with no complicated options. Examples include an alarm clock, a candle or a computer game.


Grouped products

Simple products grouped together so you can sell them as a set. For example, matching items of furniture (a three-seater sofa, a two-seater sofa, an armchair and a footstool).


Variable products
These are complex products with different sizes, colours or any variation you can think of. Each combination can have its own stock, price, image, etc. Examples include: T-shirts, shoes or coats.


Virtual products

These are not physical products and do not require any shipping. Examples include memberships, subscriptions and services.


Downloadable products

Like virtual products, you can sell a product that can be downloaded once the transaction is complete. Examples include digital books, music and artwork.


External/affiliate products

Handy if you are selling the product yourself. This allows you to specify a web address to direct the user to complete their purchase.


But can it do X?

Yes! One of the key benefits of WooCommerce is the vast number of actively-maintained plugins.

Installed in a few clicks, these plugins seamlessly add extra functions onto WooCommerce to enable you to sell whatever you want. They also come with their own dedicated support service and updates.

By adding extensions, your WooCommerce installation will be able to handle e-tickets, booking reservations, memberships and subscriptions. It will even allow you to sell complex product kits with configurable components.

The possibilities are endless, but keep in mind that many of these extensions are not free. Some extensions operate a stripped-back free version to entice you to upgrade to a premium subscription.


What about payment providers?

You are free to choose your payment provider with WooCommerce. The company doesn’t take a cut from any sales processed by your website but do check with your chosen payment provider about their fees.

WooCommerce allows you to choose from 100+ payment gateways, including all the well known payment companies such as Sagepay, WorldPay, PayPal, Stripe and many more. Many of the payment providers provide their own plugin which makes setting up and connecting with the payment provider in your Woo store a very simple process.

View all supported payment providers.


How much does WooCommerce cost?

The core version of WooCommerce is free. Search for it on the WordPress plugin store, install and you’re done. No ‘free trials,’ no hidden extras.

WooCommerce comes with the following features to get your shop up and running:

  • compatibility with various payment providers by default
  • stock management
  • shipping rules
  • tax rules
  • order management
  • automated emails
  • export/import products
  • security updates

…and so much more!

What else do i need to be aware of?

You’ll need to be aware of the various legal requirements surrounding online selling. For example terms and conditions agreements, privacy policies and the rules surrounding distance selling.

Information is key for potential customers. Having clear, easy-to-find information on subjects like delivery and returns will turn browsers into buyers.


How can I make my shop unique?

The core WooCommerce plugin is enough to get you going – and extensions can help to diversify the appearance and function of your shop. However if you want to take your web presence to the next level, it’s time to call in the experts.

We at Rubious know how best to optimise features and plugins as well as how to improve the features from a visual and usability standpoint. 

We have been building websites with WordPress and WooCommerce for more than 10 years. Each project is approached on an individual basis, ensuring we build features that work off the strong base that WordPress and WooCommerce provide.

We enjoy creating bespoke e-commerce sites that take on the brand’s identify and offer an attractive, user-friendly experience. Here are some recent examples of our work, each have their unique features and functions tailored not only to the customer base but also the company it self to help improve management and administrative tasks:


The Beauty Academy

Tubeway Sales

For more information about selling online, or to discuss any other aspect of your project, please email or call 01473 356403.