If you’re interested in selling products or services on WordPress, then you’ll be glad to hear that there are numerous options to choose from. The stiff competition to become the best e-commerce WP plugin has ushered in a rich array of features that give you maximum control over your online store.
So whatever you sell — donuts or digital downloads — setting up shop online is easy with WP.
Top 6 Free WordPress E-Commerce Plugins
Today, we’ll take a look at the six most popular WordPress e-commerce plugins (the good news is, they’re all free).
Powering 42% of all e-commerce sites with over 3 million active installs, WooCommerce is by far and away the most popular e-commerce plugin.
If you choose to go with WC, then you’re in good company: Harley Davidson, New Balance, and Entrepreneur are just a few of the big brands that use it.
WooCommerce comes with bundled with multiple payment options, including Stripe, PayPal, on-cash delivery, and BACs. If you need a broader set of payment gateways, then it’s easy to get your hands on WooCommerce extensions that offer support for Amazon Payments and others. Unique features:
- The Share Your Cart extension allows you to incentivize social sharing. During the check out, you can offer a discount if the customer sends out a tweet or posts a Facebook update about your product.
- You can add HTML5 video to your product galleries. Video is a big influencer in customer decision making — a video preview is sure to entice your browser into becoming a customer.
- Incorporate Pinterest sharing buttons for added exposure.
WooCommerce is just so robust, it might be a bit too complex for the beginner e-marketer to navigate.
Here you can read our complete guide how to setup Woocommerce on your WordPress site.
Used by over 200,000 merchants Internet-wide (including Rosetta Stone, Nike, and Vizio), the eBay-owned plugin is one you can trust.
Magento operates independently of WordPress, and offers 3 solutions: community (free & open-source), go (for small businesses who need support and customizable design), and enterprise (for large business who appreciate the scalability of Magento).
The plugin on WordPress.org allows you to integrate your Magento account with WordPress and get the best of both Magento and WP worlds. Magento offers multiple payment methods, including PayPal, Authorize.net, Google Checkout, and checks. The Magento Connect extensions offers integrations for 50 more. Unique features:
- Users can create wishlists and product comparisons.
- Use the Automatic Related Products extension to cross-sell your products automatically.
- Target sales with the use of promotional banners that display products to specific customers at specific times anywhere on your website.
The Magento add-ons, however, are usually very pricey.
Cart66 Lite is an e-commerce plugin that’s been around for a long time. One Cart66 Lite’s coolest features allows customers to enter in custom message in the check out process. So, for example, you could sell a coffee mug with a custom, user-ordered message on it. Unique features:
- set automatic tax rates from customers in the U.S. or Canada
- a robust email system with easier up sells
- sell memberships, digital products, and physical products — no external add-ons needed
For some businesses, the free, lite version of Cart66 is a tad too limited in customization ability. Upgrading to the Pro or Cloud version, will get you serious bang for your buck.
WP E-Commerce was one of the first plugins to get on the e-commerce scene and is therefore one of the most popular. It has an easy 1-minute install and 10-minute configuration, and then you’re good to go. WP E-Commerce works with Stripe and PayPal to offer payment solutions for your store’s customers. If you haven’t heard of Stripe, you should look into it: Stripe makes customers stay on your site throughout the entire payment process (unlike PayPal), which makes for a seamless customer experience. Unique features:
- With the Mp3 player add-on, you can have MP3 Player add-on to allow a track preview before purchase.
- Store your digital items on Amazon S3 to speed up your customer shopping experience.
- Guest checkouts (non-registered user sales) can be enabled, which is sure to increase conversions.
WP E-Commerce is definitely not as polished as other plugins on this list, however.
iThemes Exchange is a simple e-commerce solution great for beginner sellers. Similar to WP E-Commerce, setup only takes about 5-10 minutes, and you’re live. iThemes Exchange comes integrated with Stripe and PayPal. Unique features:
- 6 free themes styled for the plugin are included free
- The ProPack membership gets you incredible features, such as MailChimp integration which makes your customers sign up to a mailing list during the check out process.
- Customers can use a “buy now” button if you’re only selling one product — they can go to check out instantly, rather than having to sit through an extended payment process.
It’s good for beginners, but not flexible enough for an advanced store.
And we can’t forget Easy Digital Downloads. This is an excellent solution for anyone selling digital downloads. Make sure to check out our in-depth overview of Easy Digital Downloads. Some features of the plugin include:
- Cart system for purchasing multiple downloads at once
- Complete promotional code system
- Many payment gateways. PayPal, Stripe, PayPal Pro, PayPal Express, and others
- User purchase history and ability to redownload files
- Multiple files per downloadable product
- Variable prices for multiple price options per product
- Earnings and sales charts
- Developer friendly with dozens of actions and filters.
My favorite plugin on this list is undoubtedly WooCommerce. Unless you are selling digitally, then Easy Digital Downloads definitely wins hands down. It has tons of function, straightforward configuration, and a great community to back it up. Which one of the WordPress e-commerce plugins is your favorite?