How to add a shopping cart to a website

In this article, we’re going to follow the path of least resistance to learn how to add a shopping cart to a website. Most websites are built with WordPress, so we’ll start with that.

At the time of this writing, the most popular shopping cart plug-in for WordPress is Ecwid. It currently has the highest number of installations and reviews, and the reviews are the best of any of the shopping cart plug-ins on the WordPress site.

On top of that, Ecwid doesn’t lock you into WordPress. It works with other popular site builders, like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. But wait, there’s more! 

Ecwid also lets you sell through social media and other services like Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon. In fact, you can drop a shop into pretty much any service that lets you add a plug-in.

Creating a shop with Ecwid

You can create a shop through the WordPress plug-in, but it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with Ecwid first. You’ll probably want to do that eventually anyway, especially if you’re not using WordPress. So head on over to Ecwid, go through its simple signup process, and create a shop.

Pro Tip

Create an online store — complete with virtual shopping cart — and add it to your website for free with Jotform.

Adding the plug-in

Open your WordPress dashboard and add a new plug-in from the left menu.

Now search for Ecwid in the upper right corner.

Click Install Now on the Ecwid card. After it installs, click Activate.

You should now be looking at the Ecwid welcome page. You’ll need to connect it to the store you created by clicking Connect your store.

Clicking that link will take you to the Ecwid website. You can trust Ecwid, so click Accept.

Now the Ecwid website is available inside your WordPress site. So maybe you didn’t need to build your shop separately. But as mentioned, you may not be using WordPress.

Adding Ecwid to a WordPress page

This is a trick section. You don’t need to add Ecwid. It created a page for you in WordPress when you installed it, but let’s take a closer look at it anyway. Open up the Store page from the All Pages menu page.

There’s a block on the Store page that represents your shop. The actual shop is only visible from a preview. You can’t see the changes right away, but there are a ton of configuration options available. Check them out by clicking on the block and selecting the Block tab.

Most of the options are self-explanatory. When you’re ready, click the Preview button above the Page and Block tabs and choose Preview in new tab.

You should be greeted by a page full of reasonably attractive young people trying to look like fashion models at the beach. If so, congratulations! You’ve managed to add a shopping cart to WordPress.

Each card you see represents a sample item Ecwid added to your shop. You can play around with those items by looking at the products in your catalog.

Wondering if you actually need a shopping cart?

Ecwid is pretty awesome and easy to set up. But what if you’re only collecting donations for a charity? Or maybe you have a restaurant and want to sell a few merch items.

In that case, using Ecwid might be overkill. A general-purpose tool like Jotform can list all of your products and let you accept payments for them.

It’s a solution that’s just as easy to drop into an existing or new site as it is to add Ecwid. But it will fit your needs like a well-tailored suit, whereas Ecwid might feel more like parachute pants.

This article is originally published on Feb 09, 2022, and updated on Aug 11, 2022.
AUTHOR
Lee Nathan is a personal development and productivity technology writer. He can be found at leenathan.com.

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