Several people use WordPress for doing just about everything. Blogs, catalogs, and even online stores function very seamlessly when WordPress is the platform used.
If you are an online retailer, you may be considering using eCommerce plugins to help build a WordPress store. The truest thing that can be said about eCommerce plugins is that there exists a whole array of them out there. Several of these plugins are free to install and use up to a certain threshold, which is often sufficient for budding online retailers. Let’s take a look at the five best plugins, and what you can hope to sell using each of them.
In their own words, they’re the best eCommerce platform for WordPress, and we cannot help but agree. For one, WooCommerce is open-source. A whole host of developers and theme makers spend their time and energies trying to design themes around WooCommerce functionality. As a user, this means loads of customization for you.
- It is free!
- Combine the world’s most popular method for building websites (WordPress) and a plugin that is as widely used as WooCommerce, and you have a winning combination.
- There’s no restriction on what you can sell – goods, products, subscriptions, and digital media – you can sell it all.
- You have complete control over shipping configuration. You can decide the shipping fees, countries you ship to, etc.
- WooCommerce and its extensions give you a virtually endless list of payment methods you can offer your customers – ease of checkout means more sales.
- The sheer possibilities WooCommerce offers can sometimes be hard to navigate, especially for a beginner.
- Some users complain that it can take a while to get answers from WooCommerce forums. Precious time may be spent in troubleshooting.
Mike Jolley, one of the creators of WooCommerce emphasizes the need for simplicity in use.
Keep things simple. A lightweight plugin will be easier to maintain and support and should do its core purpose well. If you try to do too much in a short space of time, quality will suffer and the features you do include will likely be lower quality and less thought through. Try not to spread yourself too thin.
The Shopify eCommerce plugin is used almost as often as WooCommerce. Perhaps the fact that it is very straightforward to use makes this plugin stand out. A rather simple idea sets apart what a Shopify plugin does as opposed to the others – instead of turning your entire site into a web store, this plugin simply adds buy buttons to your products. So if you’re a DIY blogger who also sells some of your creations, you don’t have to revamp the entire blog design and make it into a store.
- It works with absolutely any theme. You can also manually embed the buy button into your product page.
- You can change your buy button into any language you want.
- Shopify also offers complete inventory handling along with the plugin.
- You can add buy buttons not just on WordPress but on social media too.
- You absolutely must have a Shopify store to use the plugin on WordPress. So in a way, you’re paying for the plugin too.
- If you want to use payment options other than Stripe, you may incur a fee from Shopify’s end.
3. Easy Digital Downloads
If you’re selling digital products and services such as sounds, videos, cartoons, and images, this is the best plugin to go about with. It integrates seamlessly with WordPress to help you sell more to your customers. They’ve taken the rather unusual approach of having a shopping cart even for digital purchases – this way, you can get customers to add more to their carts and buy in bulk.
- You have complete control over discount codes and setting them up.
- The user can also control downloads. You can offer endless downloads or limit them by time or the number of attempts.
- You can track your purchases by time, and geography, among others. This way, you can customize your offering for your customers.
- You can make custom reports that tell you of your performance over time.
- Naturally, you cannot sell anything except digital downloads with this plugin. It significantly reduces your niche audience.
- Easy Digital Downloads may not work with as many themes as WooCommerce does.
Pippin Williamson developed Easy Digital Downloads among other things. He thinks that eCommerce store developers should put functionality over ambition.
Don’t worry about getting everything perfect right away. You will have time to adjust, improve, and tweak your eCommerce store after it is up and running. You need to get your first sales rolling in before you’re too obsessed with perfection.
4. iThemes Exchange
A fairly new entrant in the eCommerce plugins market, iThemes exchange is making a name for itself for its functionality and ease of use. You have the option of using either the free plugin, or the Pro Pack, that comes with additional features such as custom URL tracking, Mailchimp integration, and also the Stripe integration this plugin is most famous for.
- You can sell both digital and physical products with this plugin.
- It is extremely easy to use.
- They now offer the Strip add-on for free. Most sites usually charge heavily for this feature.
- Their membership add-on functions as a loyalty program of sorts.
- Some important functionality is only available in the Pro Pack. We’d love to see more free add-ons.
- Some people feel that since it is a new product, it may lack technical support when the need arises.
5. WP eCommerce
This fella has been around since 2006, so it feels unnatural not to have it on the list. It has certainly lost ground to WooCommerce in recent times, but still remains a formidable opponent. What sets WP eCommerce apart is that it provides most necessary features in its core rather than as an extension. For people just beginning to navigate a WordPress store, it eliminates the need to understand each little detail about design.
- It offers both PayPal Standard and PayPal Pro as payment gateways.
- While extensions can cost quite a bit, the core plugin is free and has sufficient functionality for a beginner.
- Setting discounts, shipping fees, etc. can all be done without having to install any paid extensions.
- Surprisingly, it only lets the retailer have one image per product.
- As opposed to the grid view that is preferred for products, this plugin gives you a list view. To add more images and have the grid view, you need to upgrade to a rather expensive extension.
In any case, there is no denying that each plugin comes with its own benefits and a fair share of disadvantages. What plugin you choose should depend on how much money and time you can spend in exploring them further. Remember, while most plugins are free in themselves, they come with caveats attached. When you choose your plugin, you’re automatically agreeing either to spend on extensions, deal with complications or open a web store with a service provider.