Who’s Wix best suited for?
Due to the overall ease of use, and the fact that Wix delivers quite powerful functionality (while at the same time not expecting the user to have any technical or site-building skills), it can effectively be used by nearly anyone.
Particularly, Wix is possibly the best solution for users and business owners who want to be able to do everything on their own, and have full control over their online store’s appearance without having to hire a web designer or a web admin person.
And we’re not talking about “sub-par, kind of okay-looking websites” here. No, Wix offers a range of quality website templates that look just as good as if they were built by a skilled designer. Quite simply, with Wix, you don’t need to settle for good-enough designs. Instead, you can find something that you really like. And that’s especially valid with the new Wix Editor released on Oct 7, 2015.
In summary, if it’s your first-time experience building an online store, but you want to be able to handle everything on your own regardless, then Wix is the solution for you.
Let’s start with the detail that you’re probably most interested in – how much it costs to use Wix.
The good news is that there’s a 100% free plan available that lets you test things out, get some experience with the platform, and overall see if you like it.
As part of that free plan, you can launch your first website and put it online (it’s going to be available under a subdomain, like YOURSITE.wix.com).
The important thing here is that although the free plan allows you to experiment with most of the features of the platform, it doesn’t let you launch a live online store (you can use the online store module – to test it out – but you can’t make it available to the public). For that, you need to upgrade to a premium plan, which is $18 / month.
(This price is still a bargain, though, if you compare it to other similar solutions on the market. For instance, to launch an online store with Shopify, you need to invest at least $29 / month.)
What I actually recommend you to do is take advantage of that free plan with Wix to see if the platform fits your individual needs, and then upgrade later on.
Which brings me to:
How to use Wix to launch an online store
You can begin by going to http://www.wix.com/onlinestore/website and clicking the “Get Started” button. At this point, you will be able to fill out the signup form and get yourself a free account with Wix.
Wix templates and designs
In the next step, Wix presents a set of pre-made designs that you can use for your new store. With this new version of Wix Editor, you get to use a nice range of modern designs and templates. The great thing here is that they are all somewhat categorized and built with specific niches in mind.
For example, you can start by choosing whether you’re going to be selling women’s fashion items, cameras, headphones, food, jewelry, t-shirts, or tens of other types of products.
That being said, you don’t necessarily have to choose the type of design that best describes your niche. This is just somewhat of a helper on Wix’s part. In other words, if you want to sell clothing, you don’t have to select a design with “clothing” in its name. Just pick whatever you like.
For instance, I’ll select Gourmet Food Shop to build my example store here:
After clicking on “View” (visible in the screenshot above), you’ll see an example design along with some sample data. This sort of preview gives you a good overview of what your store can look like once you’re done working on it. A good approach to take here would be to select the design the you think looks the best, and then begin tweaking it to fit your needs hand-in-glove.
So the template I’m going to be working with is this:
Fairly good-looking, isn’t it?
Also, one more great thing about Wix is that every design is optimized for mobile viewing too (this isn’t always the standard with other e-commerce solutions on the web).
You can toggle between the desktop view and the mobile view from the top menu:
To adjust the design and make the site yours, all you have to do is click the “Edit” button; also visible in the screenshot above.
This brings you to the all new Wix Editor. Quite a powerful thing, but don’t sweat, as it’s also quite easy to use at the same time. Here’s the main panel that we’re going to be working with:
Getting a hang of the main website creation tool
This Wix Editor is based on what the Wix team calls strips.
Here’s what strips are in plain English:
Instead of using the old school website building language, Wix has chosen to go for a more understandable approach. For that reason, every page design is built with a number of strips stacked on top of each other.
Here’s what it looks like, more or less (excuse my pen skills please):
Every strip can hold any sort of information that you wish. For example, it can be an image, a list of products from your store, some additional text, even social media buttons.
With the design I’ve selected, by default, there’s just one strip – the one with the cheeses and the white block of content … and the pig in it.
Changing the backgrounds
I can change anything about this strip to get a head start building my store. So first, I’m going to personalize the background a bit.
To do that, I just have to click anywhere within the strip and then click “Change Images.”
Since this particular strip is a slider, I see the 4 default images that were already in the template:
I will use my own original images, so I can delete the current ones altogether. Quite easy with the trash icon available for each image:
Once I get rid of those default images, I can add some of my own:
I can see my new page in its full glory:
This was just an example – working with a simple background image, but Wix enables similar easy-to-use features for other parts of your online store. You can add various media – images, videos, 3D parallax scrolling – wherever you might need them in your design.
This lets you build a truly unique website, all without ever touching a line of code.
How to edit text on the page
Wix is not only about images and backgrounds. The most important element of every website is still raw text. Wix lets you edit that as well. To do it, just click any block of text on the page, and you’ll see a number of available options:
To edit any text, you just need to click the “Edit Text” button and then adjust the parameters:
There are multiple options available, starting from standard font selection, to color adjustment, highlights, and even some advanced effects.
Those image and typography features alone are more than enough to make your website unique, but Wix offers a lot more.
How to list your products on the homepage
Now is a good moment to introduce a new strip and list some products from the store right on the homepage.
To do that, just click on the plus button in the left sidebar:
And then scroll to “Strip”:
Here, we can choose from a big number of standard strip types like, background-foreground blocks, parallax blocks, welcome panels, about-us panels, contact-form panels.
I’m going to select a classic image background strip:
When I click on it, it’s going to be added at the bottom of the page, right below every other strip currently on the page. Now, I just need to change the background image (just like we did with the previous strip), and make it fit well on the page.
Next, let’s add a product list. Again, click the plus button, then scroll to “Store,” and there let’s select the first item – “Grid Product Gallery.”
Let’s drag and drop it on top of our new image strip – the one we’ve just created.
By default, this block might not look 100% perfect, but we can adjust it quickly. For that, just click the “Settings” button that’s next to “Manage Products.”
Here, I can do a lot of cool things. For instance, I can change the ratio of the product images, pick how many columns and rows I want, and even pick specific product categories that should appear inside the block.
But that’s not all. If I click “Manage Products,” I can actually edit what I have in store (more on that in a minute).
Just to sum up this part; Wix gives you a really easy way to display your product listings wherever you need them on your site, adjust the way they’re being showcased, and basically make sure that everything is just like you want it. Don’t even try imagining how much it would cost to work with a professional designer to achieve a similar result (spoiler alert; a lot).
Including other elements on the page
Apart from the strips and the product listings, Wix has a lot more to offer in terms of the elements that you can place in your design. Just click on that plus button in the left menu once again and see how much is there:
Just to name a few, you can work with custom text blocks, galleries, buttons, video, music files, social media content, custom menus, blogs (yep, you can have a blog as part of your online store too), and more.
Okay, so I think I’m going to conclude my homepage by adding a nice contact strip right below the product gallery:
I’m going to change the default background to the same image I used in the first strip to get some consistency, and I’m basically done. Here’s the preview:
Nice, isn’t it?
Creating additional pages
The part we’ve work with so far is only the homepage of your website. You can create many more pages if you wish to.
All you need to do is click the link in the upper left corner of the editor screen:
It will show you all the pages that you currently have and also give you the ability to create more:
If you click on any page, you will be shown what it looks like, and you will be able to adjust everything, just like you did with the homepage.
What this means is that building additional sub-pages is just as simple as building the main page, and you get to use all the same tools. This makes a beginner’s experience even easier.
Let’s add one more page to see how this works.
To do this, just click the “+ Add Pages” button visible in the screenshot above.
I’ll name my new page “Blog.”
When you start working with any new page, it’s going to be blank by default:
But like I said, the good news is that you can populate it with whatever content, just like you did with the homepage.
I will start by adding a new blog layout. Like so:
The result (with some example content):
Believe it or not, but this is actually it … you now have a blog added to your store. You don’t need to do anything else.
Managing your products
Managing your products is probably something you’re going to be doing the most often, so let’s see how it works.
Start by clicking on the last icon in the left toolbar menu, and then on “Manage Your Store”:
This brings you into Wix’s custom store management module where you can do all sorts of things:
Just to name a few:
- you can add products,
- you can manage the existing products (change the names, prices, images, discounts, set inventory, etc.),
- you can edit collections/categories of the products (e.g. meats, cheeses),
- you can manage orders (and everything that goes along with it),
- you can create coupons,
- you can manage payments and work with various payment methods (PayPal, credit cards, even offline payments; let me emphasize, Wix handles any type of payment and it does it all for you, so you can just focus on selling and growing your business),
- you can set tax and shipping details,
- you can adjust the general store settings (e.g. name, currency, address, policy pages – privacy, refunds, etc.).
To say it simply, Wix gives you access to every standard online store feature imaginable. You literally don’t need any other technology to run the daily operations of your online store on top of what Wix already offers you.
Beginner? This is great news for you, as you only have to get familiar with a single platform – Wix – and not jump from tool to tool trying to learn how to use each.
How to make your store available to the world
So the last thing you need to do, after adjusting the way your store looks like, is finalize the project and publish it for everyone to see.
This is done by clicking the main “Publish” button in the upper right corner of the screen:
You will see a nice confirmation pop-up that allows you to change your store’s web address, assign a custom domain, and upgrade to one of Wix’s premium packages, which you need to do if you want to actually start operating and begin accepting online payments (again, your store isn’t a functional marketplace until you upgrade).
Conclusion – is Wix the right tool to launch your online store with?
- There’s a free plan available – test everything out, design and build your store before spending a dime.
- Comes with tons of templates, many of them really high quality, and new ones are constantly being added.
- Comes integrated with an HTML5 editor that allows you to customize everything.
- Good and easy-to-use online payments integration.
- The site builder works with drag-and-drop.
- The sheer number of designs can make it difficult to pick the best one for you.
- Not that many product attributes to set.
- Geared more at standard website building rather than e-commerce store building, although it can handle the e-commerce things just as well.
- You need to sign up for a paid plan before you can launch your store to the world.
Our final rating:
First of all, there’s a free plan available. Secondly, the premium plans are actually cheaper than any other similar solution on the market.
Ease of use: 8/10
Wix is very easy to use, that’s for sure, but it’s more like a dashboard experience, rather than an environment where you’re taken by the hand through the site building process.
There are a number of ways to get support from Wix. You can browse through tens of already solved issues. You can send in your own question. You can interact with other users via forums. Finally, you can submit a ticket to get your individual issue solved.
If you want to launch an online store then Wix has every feature you might need. It lets you manage your inventory, process payments, manage shop settings … you name it. Additionally, Wix gives you so much more than just e-commerce / online store features. It’s a great tool to build a complete website with multiple modules; e.g. blog, portfolio, and etc.