There are many options for building an online store, which seem to grow each year. You have your SaaS (software as a service) platforms like Shopify , Shopwired and Ecwid, along with the just as powerful WordPress ecommerce plugins. All solutions have advantages disadvantages, but there’s nothing quite like being able to turn your current WordPress site into a fully functional online store. One day you could be blogging and growing followership, and the next day you can launch a product gallery with eBooks and merchandise.
Selling your own products is truly one of the best ways to make money online, and it can be done with a handy little plugin.
The great news about these WordPress ecommerce plugins is that they can provide many of the same features and benefits as SaaS products, and you have well established support resources, thriving development communities, and an integration with the easiest content management system in the world. So whatever you sell — widgets or digital downloads — you can be up and running in just a couple hours.
The plugins mentioned below are some of the most popular. However, some of them cater to specific users, while others are more suitable for selling specific products. For instance, you might only need to sell video content on your website. If that’s the case, there are only a few good options for you. Whether you’re trying to make it big as a digital retailer, or you’d like to invest your time in a physical product store, we’ll narrow down which WordPress ecommerce plugin is perfect for your business.
One would assume that most business owners plan on testing and comparing different ecommerce plugins until they find the one that meets their requirements. Below you will find a full evaluation of each of the top WordPress ecommerce plugins below. That said if you’re in a hurry, or would like to start testing out the ecommerce plugins yourself, here’s a quick list of your best options.
- Easy Digital Downloads (EDD)
- Cart66 Cloud
- Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart
- WP EasyCart Shopping Cart and eCommerce Store
- BigCommerce WordPress Plugin
When looking at the plethora of WordPress ecommerce plugins, you must consider what the most important features are, as outlined above. After that, it is important to figure out what makes each of these plugins stand out compared to the others. You’ll find that some of the ecommerce plugins have more features in general, while others are better for simple, clean stores. On the other hand, you’ll see that there are a few niche ecommerce plugins for completing specific tasks–such as selling digital downloads online.
After the individual analysis of each WordPress ecommerce plugin, we’ll give you a full recommendation on which plugins you should decide on based on your specific situation. That said, keep reading to learn about the top WordPress ecommerce plugins on the market.
If you haven’t heard of WooCommerce, let me introduce you to the most well-known and widely used of all the WordPress ecommerce plugins. The name WooCommerce is synonymous with instantly turning your WordPress blog into a fully functional ecommerce store, and it’s definitely the most popular solution to do so. What’s interesting about the history of WooCommerce is that it was originally created as a fork of Jigoshop back in 2011.
Since WooThemes (the creators of WooCommerce) was acquired by Automattic in 2015, WooCommerce’s popularity has increased dramatically and is now known for powering 8% of all ecommerce websites online and 21% of the top 1 million sites.
WooCommerce is often considered one of your best solutions when trying to add an online store to your existing WordPress site. You could create a store for your blog with five products or include a large collection of thousands of products. The pricing for the plugin is always the same: free. That provides support for unlimited products and visitors, as long as your hosting and infrastructure can handle it.
Besides hosting, many companies still pay for certain elements that integrate with WooCommerce. For instance, many premium WordPress themes are made to work specifically with WooCommerce–with a shopping cart and beautiful product galleries. You also might require an extension, or two, to improve your store’s functionality.
WooCommerce has its own extension store, and you can find a wide range of third-party developers who create extensions for WooCommerce. This is one of the big downsides with Woocommerce, it can quickly become become an expensive solution once you start paying for numerous paid plugins and extensions to extend the functionality.
- The average small store doesn’t have to spend any money in order to get WooCommerce. Even the themes and plugins aren’t that expensive, so WooCommerce is an economical way to start an online store.
- WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress ecommerce plugin. With its affiliation with Automattic and the huge community of developers, it’s not going anywhere and you’ll have plenty of updates into the future.
- Many developers create extensions to solve problems that store owners may have. These extensions allow you to add more advanced ecommerce features without any custom coding. For instance, one simple plugin lets you start a full-fledged membership business.
- WooCommerce allows you to sell pretty much anything you want. This includes digital goods, subscriptions, and appointments.
- You receive built-in payments for some of the top gateways, along with extensions for most major payment gateways.
- Most ecommerce themes made for WordPress are built around WooCommerce. This means that you should hopefully not have any problems with the integration.
- Both beginners and advanced users can learn and use WooCommerce with ease. The interface is simple enough for newcomers, while the REST API, documentation, and open development means that advanced developers can make any customization they desire.
Easy Digital Downloads (often referred to as EDD) offers a simple, intuitive plugin for managing and selling digital products on WordPress. Yes, WooCommerce has this support, but EDD has more features focused on digital sales, and the interface is much cleaner. So, if you’re only selling items like eBooks, PDF files, or audio clips (and nothing physical,) you should seriously consider EDD over any of the other WordPress ecommerce plugins. One of the reasons for EDD’s success is because the core plugin is free. You install it on your website and immediately have a digital sales platform, with features for discount codes, file access control, and activity tracking.
You can make galleries and choose from EDD themes. Once someone buys a product from your website the system sends them an email with the download link. Keep in mind that EDD provides a full shopping cart, so you process the payments on your website and minimize the number of clicks needed.
- It works the best for selling digital downloads, since it clears out the features for physical products and has more advanced solutions for things like eBooks and music.
- The Extension Library is filled with dozens of add-ons. Therefore, you can create a more advanced digital store, like by allowing frontend submissions or including software licensing.
- There are also plenty of options for choosing your own payment gateway.
- The primary plugin is completely free. The average small business or artist will have no problem implementing this and making the sales process work well.
- Advanced developers use EDD as well. They can take advantage of the RESTful API for full control over customizations.
- Easy Digital Downloads has a large, active community of bloggers, developers, and enthusiasts. This means you’re never too far away from a blog post to solve your problems, or a cool new extension that might help out your store.
- The main features include a full shopping cart, customer management, discount codes, and data reporting. You also receive tools for refund tracking, affiliate systems, mailing lists, and more.
Cart66 Cloud has built its plugin on being a smart platform for all types of people. It has taken an approach to minimize the number of add-ons needed for the plugin to work smoothly, since it can often be tricky making your site work with a collection of add-ons and extensions. Therefore, Cart66 Cloud provides a WordPress ecommerce plugin with most of its features built in. It’s simple to configure, and the reviews from users are mostly positive. It’s tough to go up against WooCommerce in the ecommerce space, but Cart66 Cloud has a solid niche. We like it most for those who don’t want to mess with add-ons. In fact, Cart66 Cloud might just be better for regular people who don’t consider themselves developers.
Update: Cart66 is not currently accepting new accounts.
Another interesting part of Cart66 Cloud is that the company offers its own marketplace of vendors. Although I don’t personally see this as a huge advantage (since the average person isn’t going to shop online through the Cart66 Marketplace) it’s still another way to get the word out about your business.
Overall, Cart66 sees itself as the everyman’s ecommerce platform. When comparing itself to WooCommerce, Cart66 states that WooCommerce is more for developers looking to construct a complex ecommerce system. While this isn’t entirely accurate, the fact that Cart66 has all of its features built-in is definitely an advantage.
For pricing, Cart66 does have a free core plugin, but the best features come into play with the premium version for $49 per month (with a free trial of 14 days). One thing to remember is that Cart66 has rave reviews about its customer support. So, if you’re nervous about a complicated system and would like some people on your side guiding you along, Cart66 looks like an excellent solution.
- The customer support team is known as one of the best in the business.
- You can choose between free and premium ecommerce features.
- All of the features are built into the plugin, so there’s no need to search around for and configure plugins. You also don’t have to hire a developer or learn how to code yourself.
- Much of the development work is completed by the Cart66 team behind the scenes. Once again, this is a strong reason for beginners to consider Cart66 over WooCommerce.
- The email marketing from Cart66 is stronger than some competitors. For instance, you receive tools for list segmentation, drip campaigns, and timed follow-up emails–all from the convenience of your WordPress dashboard.
- Cart66 has support for both physical and digital products. So, if you want to sell some eBooks and shoes at the same time, that’s possible.
- The plugin provides over 100 built-in payment gateways, as opposed to most other ecommerce plugins that require you to install add-ons.
- Content restriction, recurring payments, and subscriptions are packaged in with the Cart66 plugin. Once again, these features usually require you to pay for an extra add-on with plugins like WooCommerce.
The Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping cart is one of our favourite solutions and boasts excellent ratings and a setup that looks like WooCommerce but is actually quite different. One of the main differences is that Ecwid is an external SAAS solution but can be can be used on any website.
You can use Ecwid to build your standalone online store or you can add your store and shopping cart to WordPress, Drupal, Tumblr, Facebook and many more. Alternatively, WooCommerce is only a WordPress plugin, granted it’s a good one, but you’re limited to that one content management system.
If you need to use any paid WooCommerce plugins then Ecwid might easily end up being less expensive than WooCommerce, and other WordPress ecommerce plugins, because of the simple fact that it sticks to a reasonable monthly payment plan. Not only that, but the WordPress plugin is completely free and you’re getting more built-in features as opposed to a library of add-ons.
For that reason, we figure many users would prefer Ecwid if looking for more built-in tools. It’s similar to Cart66, where the features are already there and not scattered around a library or from third-party developers. The free plan is powerful in terms of the general online store. You get a mobile responsive shopping cart, support for up to 10 products, and the ability to sell on multiple sites.
Obviously, that 10 product limit may turn some users away, but that’s only on the Free plan. After that, you receive support for 100 products at £15 per month, 2,500 products for £35 per month, or unlimited products for £99 per month. Upon first glance, you might think that Ecwid is clearly more expensive than the likes of WooCommerce. But I often see it the opposite way, depending on your store. WooCommerce requires some expensive add-ons for many online stores. Heck, many of the primary payment gateways have price tags. However, an ecommerce store with fewer than 100 products online would only have to pay £15 per month and get some of the following features:
- A Facebook shop.
- A Mobile point of sale.
- A free starter site.
- Discount coupons.
- Abandoned cart saver.
- Social media tools.
- Facebook pixel.
- Automated tax calculations.
- Google Shopping support.
And you could argue that even going up to the £99 Unlimited Plan might save you money–depending on how much you’re going to spend with the WooCommerce add-ons. But overall, Ecwid has an incredibly clean interface and a smooth setup process. You’re able to test out the free plugin and see if the extra monthly cost is worth it. In general, I’d argue that if you’re going to spend too much on WooCommerce add-ons, or if you want multiple sales channels (like for marketplaces, eBay, and Facebook) Ecwid looks like a quality plugin.
- Ecwid provides a free plan for up to 10 products. After that, it offers a beautiful installation process, interface, and feature-set for reasonable monthly fees.
- Although this is a WordPress-based article, Ecwid is known for being able to integrate with most website builders and content management systems. This includes everything from WordPress to Squarespace,Kopage and Wix.
- Both phone and chat support are provided for some plans, along with free customizations and priority support in some plans.
- All plugin upgrades happen automatically with Ecwid, whereas most other WordPress plugins require a manual upgrade.
- Ecwid hosts the stores, so it’s PCI-DCC Certified and completely secure for making transactions between your gateway and bank. For most of the other plugins on the list, you have to attain PCI compliance from your hosting provider.
- Ecwid has a strong focus on helping you instantly sell from multiple sales channels. For instance, some of the pricing plans create Facebook Shops for you. There are also options for mobile point of sales, online marketplaces, regular point of sales, eBay, and Google Shopping.
- When you install Ecwid on one site all of the store data can be transferred to a different website and synced so that the selling happens on multiple fronts.
- Nothing to update or maintain or break. Even if your WordPRess site goes down, your standalone store, facebook store etc will all remain online.
The WP EasyCart Shopping Cart and eCommerce Store is one of the WordPress ecommerce plugins you don’t hear about much in blog posts like these. However, it’s starting to gain attention–and for good reason. Sometimes it seems like even basic plugins such as WooCommerce, Cart66, or Easy Digital Downloads still aren’t the right levels for small business owners. They most definitely have the knowledge to learn about those ecommerce building tools, but having the time to do so is a different story. WP EasyCart is built for small business owners who want to create a beautiful online store without needing to train at all. The store would still run on WordPress, but it provides a stunningly fast configuration process and understandable tools meant only for those non-developers out there.
The WP EasyCart developers know that small businesses already work with other software, so there’s an easy sync with Quickbooks along with an email marketing integration for MailChimp. TaxCloud and ShipStation also integrate into the WP EasyCart system, making for a small business owner’s dream. What’s more is that you’re able to sell anything from classic retail items to downloads, and subscriptions to gift cards. You also have options for sending out invoices, selling video content, posting eBooks, and asking for donations.
WP EasyCart works more like a SaaS ecommerce platform like Squarespace or Wix. All of the simple tools are there for you. The only difference is that you have full control over your site with WordPress and your own hosting. The features are surprisingly advanced in the free version, with support for unlimited products, live shipping calculators, and advanced product variants. After that, you can opt for the $69 per year plan to avoid any transaction fees that come with the Free package. The highest plan costs $99 per year and includes excellent features for the selling of subscriptions, the Quickbooks integration, Stamps.com, AffiliateWP, and more.
The basic features like coupons, promotions, B2B, and subscriptions are enough to make WP EasyCart look like a viable WooCommerce competitor. Add on the wide variety of common small business integrations and you have a powerhouse ecommerce plugin for entrepreneurs and small retailers. The plans start with a 14-day free trial, so you’re able to test out WP EasyCart beforehand. Furthermore, the free customer support is provided through a support center, online documentation, video tutorials, forums, and more. Paid customer support is available as well.
- A free plan is available with unlimited products and several tools for things like taxes, product variants, and selling videos.
- The premium plans offer quite a bit for small business, and they don’t bust your budget. A $99 per year plan is far from excessive with all of the extensions curated just for small businesses.
- Each of the extensions are clearly made for small businesses. You get options like AffiliateWP, MailChimp, Quickbooks, Stamps.com, and a Groupon Importer.
- This is some of the best free customer support I’ve seen from any of these plugins. You shouldn’t expect to speak with someone on the phone or through email for free, but the forums are active and the video tutorials are helpful.
- WP EasyCart supports the selling of several types of unique products like donations, invoices, eBooks, and video content.
- Many of the advanced add-ons from WooCommerce are extremely expensive compared to the $69 or $99 per year plans from WP EasyCart.
- WP EasyCart has one of the simplest interfaces for small business owners who want to get the site launched and spend more time with their day-to-day.
BigCommerce has been running its own ecommerce platform for quite some time now, so it provided its own content management system and hosting. However, BigCommerce is now attempting to get into the WordPress space, with an early version of its developer beta. As of right now, you have to apply to gain access, but that could change in the near future. The main goal for BigCommerce is to attract companies that have built their websites on WordPress. It’s quite possible that a popular blogger finally wants to start selling products. The only problem is that they might find the BigCommerce system more advantageous than some WordPress plugins. Before this BigCommerce plugin, combining WordPress with BigCommerce wasn’t possible. You had to choose one or the other.
Now, BigCommerce is working on bringing together the power of WordPress content with the superior selling clout of BigCommerce. It’s actually similar to that of Ecwid, where you can place the BigCommerce module on multiple sites and not have any problems with syncing.
All of your inventory and sales are managed from one dashboard. BigCommerce also has something called headless commerce, where WordPress resources are handled on the frontend to free up space and speed up processing payments and catalog management on the backend.
As of right now, you need to be accepted into the program, but it’s worth checking out if you’ve always liked the large feature-set of BigCommerce but you also want a WordPress site.
- You’re able to combine the best content management system in the game with one of the top ecommerce platforms out there.
- BigCommerce partners with many processing companies and often gets much better credit card processing rates for its users.
- The ecommerce portion of your site is run on the backend, while the content is managed on the frontend–effectively speeding up your site and potentially saving money for you on hosting costs.
- All PCI Compliance is handled by BigCommerce. With plugins like WooCommerce, you would have to talk to your host for that security.
- You can run the BigCommerce system on multiple sites.
While WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads are typically the ecommerce plugins we see users choose, that doesn’t always mean they’re the right choice. That’s what is awesome about WordPress, you have different options. So which one is best for your business?
- If you’re a developer who needs plenty of customization tools – consider WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads. Bigcommerce isn’t a bad option either if you’re ready to dive into something new.
- If you’re a complete beginner with ecommerce or just want something easy – consider Ecwid, Cart66 or WP EasyCart.
- If you’d like plenty of features curated for small businesses – consider Ecwid or WP EasyCart.
- If you’re looking for a free core ecommerce solution – consider Ecwid or WooCommerce.
- If you’d like to keep your costs down with fewer add-ons – consider Ecwid, Cart66 Cloud or WP EasyCart.
- If you like the idea of add-ons – consider WooCommerce.
- If you’re only selling digital products – consider Easy Digital Downloads.
- If you’d like to sell on many channels – consider Ecwid.
- If you like the idea of combining the mighty BigCommerce with WordPress – consider the BigCommerce Beta.
There you have it! Those are the top WordPress ecommerce plugins for launching, managing, and developing your online store. Hopefully, this helps you differentiate between the many options and service customers the best you can. If you have any questions about the best WordPress ecommerce plugins, drop us a line in the comments below.
If you need help getting your online store up and running or would like us to build it for you, get in touch.