WordPress as a platform has helped to revolutionise eCommerce. Its easy-to-use interface and it’s potential for customisation has allowed the personal publishing platform to set the standard for storefronts, purchasable downloads, and the sale of all manner of content.
The platform allows numerous extra features to be implemented through it’s enormous library of plugins, including hundreds tailored specifically for eCommerce. Users can use these plugins to create and tailor their site to whatever the specifics of their business require.
With so many to choose from however, the store can seem a bit daunting in your quest to create a storefront that suits your needs. However, have no fear as CBR has done the hard work so you don’t have to – here is our comprehensive list of the top 5 eCommerce WordPress plugins for your benefit.
1. Woo Commerce
Woo Commerce is a fantastic, and arguably the most popular, plugin that allows businesses to safely and securely carry out their transactions online. What makes Woo Commerce stand out from the competition, however, is that the plugin has almost as much customisation options as WordPress itself.
There are numerous extensions and themes available for Woo, so you can ensure that the plugin is both functionally and aesthetically compatible with your brand. Woo also offers physical and digital sales options, so that no matter what services you offer the plugin is applicable.
However, one of Woo’s greatest strengths can prove to be something of a weakness, ironically enough. The sheer amount of customisation available on the service means that sometimes it can feel like there are too many options, which can certainly be intimidating for new users and businesses.
If you can get to grips with the service and not be put off by the choices at hand, Woo makes for one of the most convenient eCommerce plugins available.
2. Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads, as the name suggests, is for digital downloads only. Whilst that’s not particularly useful for anyone looking to sell psychical goods, the fact it was developed exclusively for digital makes it ideal for that purpose.
Easy Digital Downloads also offers excellent customer support, with hundreds of variations and customisation options it’s relatively easy to discover how to utilise the plugin to perform the functions you need it for. The plugin has an active community with numerous well documented methods regarding installation and modification readily available.
Unfortunately, where Digital Downloads falls down is that as well as a lack of support for physical goods based transactions, the plug-in also lacks the ability to sell external products, such as through an affiliate scheme. If you want to add one of these services then you’ll need third party support.
However, purely for first party digital downloads, other services available don’t come better than this.
3. iThemes Exchange
iThemes Exchange is an eCommerce solution from the same developer as the immensely popular back up plugin, BackUpBuddy. The iThemes plugin supports both digital and physical goods which makes it a versatile option when considering an eCommerce solution for WordPress.
One of the things that makes iThemes really stand a cut above the rest is that the plugin also offers the functionality to sell memberships and subscription based services, something that few other services offer. The install wizard also has an intuitive setup which allows you to customise how exactly you want to sell products and how you will complete the transactions right from the jump.
However, iThemes is a much younger service than many of the others on this list, and as a result the plugin has a much smaller community. Troubleshooting can be, well, troublesome as the userbase lacks a long history of overcoming certain problems.
With that said, iThemes is ideal for anyone looking to sell memberships and subscriptions and as time goes on the service and community is almost certain to grow.
Shopp, similar to others, allows for many different types of transactions including digital, physical and even virtual purchases. The unique selling point for Shopp, however, is that the developers made a conscious effort to use separate tables in the database which actually improves the overall performance of the plugin, and the site as a whole.
Unfortunately, Shopp has little to offer in the way of variety. The limited availability of themes means that the plugin may not integrate with your site’s aesthetic as intelligently as you would like. If branding is key to you, which it should be, Shopp may not be the smartest way to go.
Shopp does have an extensive support structure if you’re having trouble however, but unfortunately that service comes at a cost. That’s right, there is no free forum for Shopp, so if you’re having trouble getting to grips with the pluguin then you’ll be expected to pay a little in order to have your problems solved.
A speedier site is certainly a good thing, it just depends on whether the rest of the plugin is right for you.
Shopify is technically an independent service, but the fast growing eCommerce solution is easily integrable with WordPress. This also works to it’s benefit, as the platform is ran by Shopify they will handle the technical aspects of the entire process making it much easier for you to focus on selling your products.
Shopify also comes with an inventory management system which allows users to continuously monitor the availability of individual items, and track them with order tracking software. Unlike other plugins, not only does Shopify allow for eCommerce but also uses a function that allows face-to-face payments.
However, these features don’t come for free and unfortunately Shopify does require a monthly fee for it’s use. The system is also fairly rigid meaning that if you want to introduce additional features or modify it any way then there will be an additional fee on top of the monthly subscription you’re already paying.
Whilst Shopify is slightly pricier than the other offerings available to you, it’s ease of access and simplicity makes it ideal for beginners. The simplistic installation may be worth the entry fees if you want dedicate yourself entirely to sales.