As of January 2022, over 450 million internet users come from Africa.
200 million of them are regular online shoppers — people who would rather buy all they need from online stores or merchants.
The reality is obvious. Having an online presence as a business has become non-negotiable.
This is why you need a tool like WooCommerce to set up your store online. With WooCommerce, setting up your online store is easy.
Like a small business owner, Quinn Lee Phillips said,
“It’s been incredibly easy to set up my WooCommerce store; everything I need is easily accessible. Setting up payment methods is simple; there are plenty of extensions to add functionality."
As a small business owner, you can sell anything with WooCommerce. From physical products to digital products, as well as subscriptions and consultations.
If you’re ready to set up your WooCommerce store to sell to anyone online, this article is all you need.
Let’s get started!
Why you need to set up a WooCommerce site for your online store in Africa
WooCommerce is the most used open source eCommerce plugin for online stores worldwide.
40.6% of all eCommerce websites worldwide use WooCommerce.
Here are reasons why you should also set up your store online using Woocommerce:
- Aided Selling Experience:
Even if you’re in Africa, WooCommerce helps you to sell more by allowing you to accept money from anywhere in the world.
By using payment gateways like Lazerpay and Stripe, your customers can pay for your products or services on your website using their preferred online payment method.
Remember Quinn? He also shared how WooCommerce has helped him sell more,
“Setting up a WooCommerce store has allowed me to sell my products easily and drive more traffic to my website with the add-ons available.”
While you focus on improving your product offerings, WooCommerce provides features for your store to aid your selling experience and make it hassle-free.
2. Online Inventory Management:
One of the challenges that come for a store owner selling products online is keeping track of inventory — what is in and out of stock.
To solve this, WooCommerce comes with a unique store management system to assist you in managing your store’s inventory online.
Even after purchases and refunds, you will still know what is still available in your store.
You’ll get timely notifications on WooCommerce about items on your website that are running out of stock and they will be automatically taken down from your site.
You can also track orders and manage them effectively, from when a customer orders to delivery.
You can add a personal note to them before dispatch.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
One of the biggest concerns for running a store online is getting people to find it.
If the content on your store is not optimized for search engines such as Google, Bing, Mozilla, etc., then it will not reach its potential audience/buyers.
WooCommerce's compatibility with WordPress website, the top-performing content management system (CMS), automatically gives your store a good ranking with search engines.
Product categorization features and additional SEO plugins are also available when you set up your store with WooCommerce.
These features will set your products apart to be discovered by your target customers.
Remember, an SEO-friendly store provides an enhanced buying and selling experience for both you and your customers.
4. Easy Shipping and Tax Calculations
WooCommerce also provides different shipping options and rate calculations that will be best for your store depending on the audience and region.
If calculating taxes is usually an issue for you as a business owner, WooCommerce has also made it easy for you to set up taxes and tax rates for your online store.
As you can see, WooCommerce provides your store with all it needs to improve your experience with selling to customers.
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of setting up your WooCommerce store, here are simple steps to follow to create your store.
Let’s get started.
Steps to setting up a WooCommerce shop on WordPress
Now that you’re ready to set up your store, here’s all you need to know.
We’ll break down all the technical terms so you can understand them easily.
- Choose a web host and hosting plan
To begin setting up your store, you have to choose a preferred hosting platform to host the website for your online store. Don’t worry, it isn’t as technical as it seems.
There are several hosting platforms available, such as GoDaddy, BlueHost, Domain.com, etc.
In this case, to set up your WooCommerce store on WordPress, BlueHost is a great hosting platform option since it is built and compatible with the WordPress website.
On BlueHost, you can choose from the available plans depending on what you want for your website or your budget.
It's as easy as it looks!
2. Buy A Domain Name & SSL Certificate
After choosing your plan on BlueHost, you will need to purchase a custom domain name for your store and an SSL certificate for the website.
A domain name is the website address for your online store, while an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital certificate that basically proves the authentication of your website’s identity and enables its security through encrypted browsing.
If you purchased a domain previously, you can transfer hosting rights to BlueHost or simply purchase a new one. Also, no matter the plan you choose, the certificate comes with the plan for free.
Tip: Make sure it is a name that your customers can easily remember.
3. Setup WordPress And WooCommerce
Once you have purchased a hosting plan, a domain name, and gotten the SSL certificate for your website, you will receive an email from the web host with details on how to access your account.
With the provided details, you can log in to your account (your website) and install WordPress on the domain account.
Another perk that comes with WooCommerce is that WordPress helps you design your website and manage its content.
Once WordPress is installed, from your WordPress admin dashboard, locate ‘plugins’ and select “Add New.”
There you can search for WooCommerce, then select it and install it.
4. Choose a WooCommerce Theme
When WooCommerce is installed, you will set up your store by answering specific questions about the products or services you wish to sell.
Once that is completed, you can choose a theme that best suits the products that your store offers.
A variety of themes suitable for your brand identity are available for you to choose from WooCommerce. All for free.
5. Select your Plugins
WooCommerce includes the key features needed to run any kind of online store, but its many extensions allow online entrepreneurs to add specialized features.
You can access and install several WooCommerce extensions from the WordPress Plugin Directory.
Just download them directly from the WooCommerce development site.
6. Add Products To Your Store
With a nice theme and extra plugins to make shopping seamless for your customers, you can begin to add your products and their descriptions.
Be sure to optimize the WooCommerce and WordPress features that aid your store with product display and categorization.
7. Choose a Payment Gateway
Your store needs to provide an easy and flexible way for customers to complete payments.
As a business owner in Africa, receiving international payments can be a hassle.
Today, crypto stablecoins are one of the widely accepted forms of payment for online businesses.
Accept payments with the Lazerpay plugin for your WooCommerce store and offer customers the option of making payments using stablecoins.
Unlike other paid extensions, Lazerpay offers a flat rate of 1% on all transactions made.
Once your store is set up, you can find the Lazerpay plugin on WordPress. To continue, you need to open an account with Lazerpay and install it on your WooCommerce site.
8. Choose a Shipping Platform
One of the final things to do is to choose a suitable shipping platform. You should make sure that the platform has a plugin on WooCommerce and also ships to countries where your target customers reside.
9. Promote Your Online Store
Congratulations! You’ve done it!
You’ve set up your store using WooCommerce.
The store would not achieve its purpose if you do not announce it. So go ahead to promote your brand on social media platforms or with Ads.
Like we said earlier, setting up your store is really easy. Next, we’ll share answers to frequently asked questions about WooCommerce stores.
Can I use WooCommerce in Africa?
Yes. WooCommerce is available worldwide for any business that would like to build its eCommerce store. Although there might be some plugins that are only available for websites in particular regions.
Is WooCommerce free? How much does it cost to set up?
WooCommerce is a free eCommerce plugin on WordPress.
However, there are some aspects that involve making payment for certain features depending on the kind of store you are building–small-scale or large-scale store. Find out more details here.
How do I integrate Lazerpay into my WordPress site?
Sign up on Lazerpay or Log in to your Lazerpay dashboard if you already have an account.
Input your public and private keys in the settings section of the WooCommerce plugin.
With this, you can connect your Lazerpay account and dashboard to your eCommerce store.
As essential as it is to choose the right eCommerce platform for your store, paying attention to the payment plugin your business uses is also important.
Lazerpay payment plugin allows you to get paid in dollar-equivalent stablecoins widely accepted by customers all across the continent.
Payments made using Lazerpay are received within 1-2 minutes.