Going into business for the first time can be a big first step. Even if you’ve got a great product, a great idea, and are confident you can make a buck, the logistics of getting an online store set up and running can be a real headache! WordPress is a great platform for going into business for both the proverbial little fish in a big pond and the big fish too. Small shop or big business, it’s the perfect online vehicle for success with a range of great WordPress ecommerce plugins. Let’s take a stroll through some of the best of those now!
What to Look for in a WordPress eCommerce Plugin
If you’ve hit Google or the WordPress repo searching for WordPress ecommerce plugins, no doubt you’ve run across a number of options. Deciding between them wisely should carry a little more weight than the typical decision between plugins. There is a lot at stake with your choice here: the integrity of your brand, first time user experience that’s often make or break, and most notably, security.
So what basic properties of a great ecommerce plugin should you be looking for? That’s a question that could be expanded on over entire series of articles, but in the interest of helping you identify a safe, reliable solution without reading a novel:
- Regular updates. Security is essential when you’re handling billing information. Plugins must receive regular development love to stay up to date on security.
- Brand reputation. Not that new competition should be excluded, but you want a solution you know isn’t buggy for the best customer experience possible.
- Payment Gateway Options. If Paypal is the beginning and end of what you need, great. For a full time store however, you need to give your customers options.
- Theme Integration. Visual appeal is a big part of business. You want a ecommerce platform that plays well with a variety of themes to look your best.
WordPress eCommerce Plugins
Woo is going to be at the top of any list like this you find for the simple reason that they are THE big fish in this pond. You want everything? WooCommerce has everything. As they say in their documentation, they can ”transform your WordPress website into a thoroughbred eCommerce store”. They’re the ecommerce solution for about 30% of the web’s online storefronts. You simply cannot go wrong here brand-wise. What do they offer?
- Handles physical or digital product sales
- Fully configurable shipping options
- Extensive payment gateway options
- Control over tax, stock, and customer accounts
- Built to be extendable and adaptable on the REST API
- Many very useful extensions
With everything WooCommerce has to offer, it’s easy to just stop looking right there. There are ample reasons to look at the rest of these offerings though as they all are specialists in their own way. Don’t cheat yourself!
Easy Digital Downloads is the master of the digital-only niche. They specialize in providing an ecommerce alternative for all your digital goods, and they do it very, very well. EDD is lightweight and performance optimized, and it’s very simple to get started with. If you know you aren’t going to focus on selling physical goods, they are a top of the line solution with a great development team behind it. We use them ourselves over at ninjaforms.com!
- Specializes in selling digital products
- Full purchase history and ability to redownload files
- Supports multiple downloads simultaneously
- Many payment gateway options
- Complete promotional code system
- Variable pricing models
- Customizable receipts
- Large variety of extensions
iThemes Exchange is a solid ecommerce solution that also has a great team of people behind the brand. It handles both physical and digital goods. What differentiates them from the competition that also handles both? Simplicity. You can be set up and ready to sell in under 5 minutes after installation. If you’re not looking to make your site into a full-blown ecommerce store and just want sales to be a part of what you offer, iThemes Exchange is absolutely worth your time to investigate further.
- <5 minute setup and you’re ready to sell
- Eloquently simple interface
- Built around Stripe to natively accept credit card payments
- Paypal Standard offered as an addon
- Easy customer management
- Large variety of addons
- Integrates beautifully with iThemes
- Set up and go in just a few minutes after install
- Handles physical and digital goods
- 5 out-of-the-box payment gateway options, more via addons
- Supports affiliate product sales
- Supports multiple shipping methods
- Detailed reports
- Inventory management options
- Extendable through a variety of addons
The Shopify plugin is small (4k active users) and hasn’t received a whole lot of reviews on WordPress.org, but don’t let that deter you from looking into them as an option. Shopify as a business is well established and used by around a quarter-million online merchants internationally. Shopify specializes in niches, offering very easy setup for anyone wanting to sell as little as a single item to much more, and also Facebook and mobile sales.
- Quick and easy setup
- Shopify, Paypal, and Stripe natively supported
- SSL security set up for you automatically
- Enables your mobile device to accept payments
- Lets you sell from Facebook, too
- Print invoices, shipping labels, package slips, etc
Cart66 is the only one of the WordPress ecommerce plugins on the list that is a premium-only offering. If you can’t get the functionality that you need out of some of the simpler offerings here but don’t need full on WooCommerce level features, Cart66 is a good option to explore. You can sell physical and digital products through them, as well as services. They also feature membership (not automatically renewed) and subscription (automatic renewals) plans as well. At $98 for a single site license for Cart66 Pro, it’s hard to go wrong if you need what they offer.
- Sell virtually anything
- Supports recurring billing
- Dozens of payment gateways
- Set up drip content for members
- Timed email replies to purchases
- Order notifications and automatic HTML receipts
- Coupons and promotions
- Live shipping info and address verification
- Lots more…
And that’s the list. We’ve shown you the full range of WordPress ecommerce plugins here, from those that are perfect if you just want to sell an item or two to setting up an all out ecommerce website. Hopefully you’ve found something that works for you! If you know of any other WordPress ecommerce plugins that you use and enjoy, please feel free to speak up in the comments. We’re always happy to discover new things!