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Website maintenanceE-commerce: Create a webshop

The ongoing coronavirus crisis is forcing many shops, especially smaller ones, to close their local shops for longer and longer periods of time. Online retail, however, is flourishing. In this situation, even small retailers have the chance to trade successfully online with good ideas. With Wordpress and WooCommerce, getting started is also very easy.

Matthias Speth, 21.01.2021

Picture of a beautifully tidy garden

E-commerce in small retail could look like this: Fruit labelled with a QR code

Easier than you think: Create your own webshop now with WordPress and WooCommerce.

The ongoing Corona crisis is forcing many shops, especially smaller ones, to close their local shops for longer and longer periods. Online retail, however, is flourishing, which benefits industry giants like Amazon and Ebay in particular.
On the other hand, however, many examples show that it is precisely in this situation that small retailers have the opportunity to successfully trade online with good ideas. Customers are currently inclined to support local businesses by shopping online. However, anyone who has not yet been active in online retailing is faced with the problem of setting up an online shop in a hurry. Item catalogues, payment methods, shipping methods and, last but not least, compliance with legal requirements in online retail - all of this initially seems dauntingly complicated and potentially expensive.
Fortunately, there are solutions that make setting up webshops much easier than you think.

The approach to be presented here is based on the WordPress addon WooCommerceThe system can be used to create webshops with little effort on the basis of the widely used content management system WordPress.

Closure phase optimally used: Better to start than wait

Those who open their own web shop now make the most of the closure phase. So now is the time to secure an additional sales channel for the long term with a little effort.
The great thing is that once the webshop has been set up, it will continue to run when the retail shop reopens.

It is not a problem if initially only a few articles are available online. Be it because the recording of the products for online sales in words and pictures is so time-consuming or also because parts of the assortment are not suitable for online trade at all.

The shop can also start with just a few articles and the article base can then be expanded during operation. Experience shows that the ideas for new shop articles come naturally when the shop is up and running and you get a feeling for which products can be marketed online and in what form.

Screenshot: Online Shop Gasthof Alt Sieseby Screenshot: Webshop Gasthof Alt Sieseby

This is how it works: Shop Gasthof Alt Sieseby

As an example of a successful online retail initiative, we present the online shop of our customer Maria von Randow, operator of the hotel and restaurant Gasthof Alt Sieseby. Gasthof Alt Sieseby was also affected by several weeks of closures during the first lockdown. Without further ado, Mrs von Randow decided that a restaurant can also do business online. With just a handful of items, some of which were only available for collection on site, and purchase on account or cash on collection as the only payment methods, the web shop was initially launched after a few weeks of preparation.
The popularity quickly showed that the idea would take off. Soon numerous other products, new payment methods such as PayPal and many other functionalities were added. In this case, even in a company in the catering industry, which of course traditionally thrives on face-to-face business, the online shop contributes to customer loyalty for the time after the lockdown in addition to its importance as a source of income:
Regular customers become shop customers, shop customers remain regular customers.

 

How does the installation of Woocommerce work?

WooCommerce is a plugin, i.e. an extension, for the popular, freely available WordPress content management system. If you already have a website based on WordPress, it's particularly easy: WooCommerce can be installed and activated with just a few clicks using the "Install plugin" function.

If a WordPress base is not yet available, a WordPress system must first be installed and set up.

Then the shop itself is set up. The articles must be entered, including prices, images and descriptive texts, and payment and shipping methods must be defined. Other necessary settings relate, for example, to tax requirements or mail messages that are sent as part of the ordering process.

Finally, the presentation of the articles in the shop, the shopping cart view and other order pages must also be designed in an appealing way.
The shop is then ready to go.

 

What does it cost to set up a webshop with WooCommerce?

Both WordPress and WooCommerce are available free of charge with the most important basic functionalities. However, when setting up the shop, you may find that individual desired functions such as the legal requirements for Germany or certain payment or shipping methods or product options are not available in standard installations. Fortunately, there are almost infinite extensions for WooCommerce, with which every requirement should be realisable. Premium extensions are subject to a fee, but even here the amounts are rather low compared to the "big" ones.

Some addons that typically provide needed additional functions are briefly presented below:

Important for e-commerce customers: payment convenience

Screenshot: WooCommerce Online Shop - Payment methodsWooCommerce already has some essential payment methods on board, such as prepayment by bank transfer, cheque payments, payment by cash on delivery.

In Corona times, there may also be online shops that can cover sales initiated online with cash on collection in the regional area.
WooCommerce even masters payment via PayPal in the sense of a simple redirection to the PayPal provider ex works.

The integration of PayPal payments is much better with the PayPal Checkout extension, which establishes a connection to PayPal via API and thus makes it possible to display the PayPal payment functions directly on your own product pages. This also enables payment by credit card or SEPA direct debit.

A WooCommerce extension is also freely available for integrating the payment functions of the provider Klarna (formerly Sofortüberweisung).

For smooth processing: shipping extensions and parcel labels

When running an online shop, it quickly becomes apparent that a large part of the effort involved is logistics. Storing, packing, franking, all this means work and costs. It is therefore all the more important to organise the processes as smoothly as possible. For shipping via the major logistics providers such as DHL, UPS, Hermes, DPD, etc., there are WooCommerce extensions that help with this. On the one hand, there are extensions from the shipping companies themselves that offer functions such as shipping cost calculation, label printing, tracking and the like for processing via the respective company. On the other hand, various third-party providers compete with comprehensive shipping programmes that offer standardised functionalities for processing via several logistics partners. The latter offers are usually associated with more or less high running costs and are more lucrative for larger webshops.

E-commerce legally secure

Small retail businesses in particular often shy away from taking the step into online commerce for fear of running legal risks in ignorance of complex legal requirements. In this situation, too, there is help for WooCommerce shops on how to operate the webshop in a legally secure manner while observing the special regulations for e-commerce in German law.
Extensions such as Germanised or German Market provide the necessary clues for the correct recording and presentation of cancellation policies, shipping costs, tax regulations and much more. For the use of all functionalities, ongoing costs between about 50 and 100 EUR per year, depending on the scope of use, must be calculated for both extensions mentioned.

It's even easier: Have your webshop set up by MaiNetCare

We present in a short time an online shop package based on WordPress / WooCommerce, with which you can sell your goods or services on the Internet.
Secure and legally compliant for the German market.

Left:

Extensions especially for the German market

Addons for payment methods

Addons for shipping types

See also