How to Add WordPress eCommerce Functionalities to Your Site with Shopify

Shopify has become one of the most popular all-in-one eCommerce solutions. You may not have even considered using it to add WordPress eCommerce functionalities to your site, but you’d be surprised by how useful this integration is as well as how simple it is to set up.

The Shopify eCommerce Plugin allows you to add simple eCommerce functionalities to an existing WordPress site. These include the ability to create pages filled with products as well as the chance to allow visitors to purchase those products on your site. Your orders, payment transactions, and shipping are all handled from the Shopify dashboard.

Overview of WordPress eCommerce with Shopify

The Shopify eCommerce Plugin is free. It’s important to note, however, that Shopify is not. Thankfully, Shopify offers a lite plan for only $9/month. This plan doesn’t allow you to host a fully-fledged online store on Shopify’s servers, but it does come with enough functionality to allow you to sell products on a WordPress site but process orders with Shopify.

This plan also comes with the following functionalities:

Shopify Themes for WordPress

You can use this plugin with any theme, but Shopify has teamed up with a few WordPress developers to produce a few Shopify-optimized WordPress themes. These themes have slide-in modules that appear on the right-hand side of the screen when customers click your Buy Now button.

Here are the themes:

Let’s learn how to set this plugin up.

1. Installing the Shopify WordPress Plugin

Go to the Add New plugin page inside of the WordPress admin area, and enter “shopify” in the search bar. Click Install Now once you find a plugin by Shopify called Shopify eCommerce Plugin – Shopping Cart.

Activate it once it installs.

2. Connecting Your Shopify Store

Click the Shopify menu item added to the admin panel to the left.

Enter the URL for your Shopify store, and click Connect.

Your Shopify dashboard will open in a new tab. Click Add Sales Channel to connect your store to WordPress.

This adds a few Shopify shortcuts to the Shopify dashboard in the WordPress admin area.

What I mean by shortcuts is the fact that each of the buttons you see in the image above lead to the dashboard of your Shopify account. They open in new tabs. This means you can’t truly use Shopify inside of WordPress, but you can still use the platform to add simple eCommerce functionalities to your WordPress site.

3. Adding Your First Product

If you don’t already have a Shopify store, you’ll need to add some products. Click the Add a Product button in the Shopify dashboard of your WordPress admin.

This opens the New Product editor in Shopify, as stated before.

Creating products is fairly straightforward, and if you take a closer look, you’ll notice the editor looks similar to the New Page or New Post editor inside of WordPress.

Enter your product name in the Title field, and enter a description in the text editor.

The Visibility section is important. It has two selections—Buy Button and Online Store. If you want your product to appear on your WordPress site, make sure the Buy Button selection is ticked. If your store is not hosted on Shopify’s servers, meaning you only have the Lite plan, or you do not want the product to appear in your Shopify store, untick the Online Store selection.

Fill out the rest of the information with your product details, and click Save Product.

4. Creating a Shop Page Inside of WordPress

Create a new page in WordPress as you normally would, and name it something that indicates it’s meant to be used as a shop page, such as “Shop” or “Products”.

You’ll notice there’s a new Add Product button sporting the Shopify logo next to the Add Media button.

A pop-up lightbox appears when you click on it. The box contains a list of the products you created in Shopify. Select the product(s) you’d like to add to this page, and click Select Product.

You can also create collections inside of Shopify, which more or less act like categories, and add entire collections to your page.

Select the way you’d like to embed the product after you select which product(s) you’d like to add to your page. You can embed the product’s image and a Buy Now button or just the Buy Now button.

Now, you can view the product on the frontend.

The Shopify checkout page will appear in a new, smaller window when a visitor clicks the Buy Now button.

5. Customizing Your Button

Hover over Shopify, and select Customize to navigate to the Customize page.

This page allows you to customize a number of different elements.

You can change the color of the button to suit your brand.

You can also change the text of the button.

You can even give your image a background.

You can also control what happens when visitors click your Buy Now button.

There will always be a pop-up lightbox window that appears when a visitor clicks this button, but this setting allows you to choose how this window behaves. Here are the options:

Make sure you click Save at the bottom of the page to ensure the changes you make to your settings save.

6. Optimizing Your Store

There are a variety of different ways you can use the functionality this plugin provides on a WordPress site. For starters, you can use the process outlined above to add your entire catalog to a single page on your site, but let’s go a little further than that.

Create an Online Store

If you want to create a section on your site that acts more like an online shop than an actual website, create a page called Shop, and create additional pages for each category in your store. Add your most popular products to the Shop page, and fill each category page with that category’s collection. You can then add the Shop page as a main item in your site’s navigation menu, and add each category page as a secondary menu item.

Promote Products on Popular Pages

Popular pages make wonderful platforms for promoting products. You’re already receiving the bulk of your traffic on these pages, so you might as well use them to try and earn a little more revenue for your site.

Promote Targeted Products on Specific Pages

Placing products or calls to action on pages isn’t enough at times. You can put these products right in front of your visitors’ faces, and they still won’t buy them. This is because you’re not promoting targeted products nor are you placing them on specific pages.

If you run a football blog, you shouldn’t promote keeper gloves on an article that teaches you ways to improve your dribbling skills. Instead, you should promote boots, balls, athletic clothing, and even shirts for specific players renowned for their dribbling skills.

Create Landing Pages

You can also create landing pages filled with specific products, and link to those through AdWords ads, Facebook ads, Pinterest ads, and other promotional campaigns.

Optimizing Promotions

You’ll accumulate data on which products sell best and which campaigns are most effective as you grow your site and sell more products. This data will allow you to optimize the way you promote and sell products. For example, once you find out which products are most popular, you can start adding them to core pages on your site, such as the homepage.

What’s Next?

Adding products is just half the battle when it comes to building an eCommerce site. You also need to worry about how you’ll accept payments and how you’ll handle shipping.

Shopify has a built-in payment gateway called Shopify Payments, which is more or less Stripe. If you use a third-party payment gateway, such as PayPal, you’ll face a transaction fee of 2.9% + $0.30 per order. This is on top of the transaction fee the payment gateway you choose charges.

After you’ve figured out how you’ll get paid, you can take care of shipping by adding which carriers you use, creating shipping zones, saving package dimensions and more.

What About Digital Products?

Shopify works great for physical products, but what if you want to sell digital products on your site? Does Shopify allow you to do that? Not natively, but you can add a free Shopify app to your store to add this functionality to it.

This app is called Digital Downloads.

Final Thoughts

This is a useful plugin to have, and it makes adding products to your store easy to do. It doesn’t even require knowledge in code. It has its place, but there are a couple of instances where I don’t feel this plugin is necessary.

Building an eCommerce site from scratch is no easy feat, especially if you have little to no technical experience. This plugin works best on established sites, such as blogs, because of this. It gives bloggers an easy way to integrate products and other eCommerce functionalities on their sites.

Non-technical folks would be much better off purchasing one of Shopify’s premium plans, which allow you to build and host a complete eCommerce site complete with blogging capabilities.

Developers, or those who would prefer to use WordPress as a blogging platform for their online stores, would be much better off building a new site with WooCommerce, which has a much deeper integration with WordPress than Shopify ever will.

In short, this plugin works best when used to add eCommerce functionalities to a well-established WordPress site, such as a blog. It doesn’t integrate with WordPress well enough for it to be used to build an eCommerce site from scratch.

You can read more about this in our WooCommerce vs Shopify post.