WordPress has become an all-rounder when it comes to CMS or content management system website. Gone are the days when WordPress is mostly used only for blogging. Today, you can host your ecommerce website store using WordPress.
So, yes, you can add ecommerce to WordPress.
If you’re a fan of WordPress, then there’s no doubt, you want your ecommerce store on WordPress.
With WordPress, you can now build a fully functional, responsive, and user-friendly website for your retail store business. The wide availability of plugins makes this possible. In fact, all you need to do to transform your standard website into a full-pledged ecommerce retail store is just a single plugin.
Now that we’ve answered that, all you need to do next is choose which ecommerce shopping cart plugin is the best fit for you.
In order to make a good and sound decision, let’s do a little quiz for you. You should be able to get a good understanding after going through these question:
- What is the level of your technical expertise?
- Do you need a developer to put up your site? And if yes, how much are you willing to shell out?
- What products are you going to sell? Are these digital ones or products that need to be shipped?
- Do you need tax and inventory reporting?
- Do you need a multi-site or multi-shop?
- Are you making an ecommerce site just for your business or are you planning others to market their products on your site too?
These are not basically aimed at what particular plugin features are out there. Instead, this is all about you, what you plan to do with your WordPress ecommerce site – your needs, the type of business you’ll be running.
While it’s a gold-mine out there, here’s a small list of these plugins, narrowed down to answer the question above. We’ll take a closer look at each one of them:
- WP e-Commerce
- Easy Digital Downloads
Don’t worry, this comparison won’t just be a laundry list of features with just a chart. You can look for such in many places, but comparisons will only give you much. And you’d still be left to decide which one caters directly to your specific business needs.
So, let’s start with the first questions.
Are you planning to hire a developer? Do you need to customize a lot?
If you’re only selling digital products (that is, there’s no need to ship them) your developer may find Easy Digital Downloads to be a breeze. If you’d check it out, your developer will find out that it has many extensions from third party providers. You can choose which extensions you need to solve a certain technical element in your site. Also, the plugin comes with a great support team, plus a clean code. These alone speaks for what the plugin could accomplish for your site.
Second option for your developer would be Shopp. If you’re one of those who prefer to make CPTs or custom post types for your products using the Post and Meta tables, you could have some issues when it comes to having a ton of variations. Storing all these data into the Meta table might prove to be a little bit challenging. Well, this is if you are concerned with indexing and performance. With Shopp, your developer may opt for a customized solution for this issue.
Just Starting Out with Just Simple Digital Products?
If you are not on par with the level of expertise of your developer, or not even really technical, but just want to start out with just a couple of products, take a good look at Exchange. This would really fit if you’re just selling one or two digital products and don’t have much time dealing with all the installations and customizations just to get two products up and running.
With Exchange, you’ll find that ease of use is really a thing to appreciate.
Planning to Market both Digital and Physical Products?
There’s a lot to take into consideration here:
- You need to name the products, along with prices.
- But, if there are simple variations in a single product, you need to change the price.
- You’ll surely need to ship the product and with that you need to know how much the shipping cost is.
- Or you want to sell a digital product, but don’t want anyone with the url to the download page just gets it, or you don’t want the url to be passed around.
Well, WooCommerce and Cart66 would be the two contenders. WooCommerce is free, but the additional extensions and add-ons adds up to the cost so you might want to consider that when choosing between the two since Cart66 will also cost you.
How about an ecommerce store with inventory?
There would be three (3) contenders for this. However, even with the large collection of plugins, majority won’t really address the inventory issue. These three, however, somehow manage to do so:
With WooCommerce’s additional extensions, you can get going with your ecommerce even if you have a large inventory of products. However, these add-ons don’t come as free – you’ll need to pay them for a price.
Shopp offers tracking of your inventory, where you can manage bulk updating of your products. This allows you to save time.
Lastly, WP e-Commerce also caters to your inventory needs but not as extensive as WooCommerce and Shopp.
What’s the Most Popular WP Plugin for Ecommerce?
If you want the most widely used WordPress plugin for ecommerce, then it’s WooCommerce. Perhaps, this popularity comes along because it’s a free open source platform. However, you may want to consider this: while it is really free, most of the ecommerce websites that use WooCommerce always require additional extensions or add-ons for the plugin. But, these additional extensions are not free at all.
What are My Other options?
There’s really a ton of plugins out there. In fact, there are also subscription-based ecommerce plugin for your WordPress. These are usually cloud-based ecommerce shopping cart that has integrated WordPress sites into their service. A good example is Shopify. It offers a tier-based pricing plans that you can choose from based on your ecommerce needs. It’s also easy and simple to use – no need for you to be a technical expert.