The options for building an online store seem to grow more plentiful by the year. You have your SaaS (software as a service) platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce, along with the just as powerful WordPress ecommerce plugins. Both provide advantages, 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 a 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 provide the same features and benefits as SaaS products, and you receive excellent support resources, thriving development communities, and an integration with the easiest content management system in the world. So whatever you sell — donuts or digital downloads — you can be up and running in just a few minutes.
The plugins we’ll outline below are the best of the best. However, some of them cater to different 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 organization.
I would assume that most serious businesses plan on testing and comparing ecommerce plugins until they find the right ones. We have a full evaluation of each of the best 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.
When taking a look at the WordPress ecommerce plugins, we wanted to understand what the most important features were, as outlined above. After that, it was essential to figure out what made 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 king of 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 (which we’ll talk about further down the list) 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 close to 20% of all ecommerce websites online.
Another reason WooCommerce has continued to grow is that it was eventually acquired by Automattic, which is the organization that operates WordPress.
WooCommerce is often considered one of your best solutions when trying to rapidly build and expand an online store. 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 perfectly with WooCommerce–with a shopping cart and beautiful product galleries. You also might decide that you need 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. As for how much you’ll spend, that depends on what you need. For example, the WooCommerce Bookings extension goes for $249, but the Authorize.net extension is only $79.
Check out our in-depth guide on how to install and configure WooCommerce.
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.
As mentioned, the EDD core plugin is free. However, you also have the option to upgrade to a yearly subscription. The subscriptions start at $199 per year and go all the way up to $899 per year for the all-access pass. All plans include full customer support, site licenses, and updates. You’ll also receive some extensions and unique integrations for things like email marketing and payment gateways.
If you don’t need customer support, and you’re more interested in purchasing extensions separately, the Extensions Library is where you’ll locate a large collection of solutions. Similar to WooCommerce, all of these extensions have varying price tags. The Recurring Payments add-on is listed at $199 for one site. The MailChimp add-on is $49. Several free add-ons are also offered in the library.
Check out our in-depth guide on how to install and configure Easy Digital Downloads.
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.
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.
WP eCommerce has frequently been seen as the direct alternative to WooCommerce. The main reason for this is because the plugin is set up very similar to WooCommerce, including the dashboard interface and the pricing model. The pricing, for example, is set up so that you can download the core plugin for free and eventually go to the add-on store if you’d like to pay for more features. The main difference in this pricing model is how WP eCommerce does sell a Gold Cart extension, which is kind of like a premium version of the plugin. That Gold Cart is listed at $99 for a single site, and it provides features like live search, premium payment gateways, and a grid view for your product galleries.
Whether or not you choose WP eCommerce or WooCommerce most likely depends on the type of functionality you need in your online store. For instance, product reviews are given for free with WooCommerce but you have to pay for a product review add-on with WP eCommerce. On the other hand, advanced shipping is mostly packaged in with WP eCommerce, while WooCommerce makes you buy an add-on.
Traditionally, the WP eCommerce customer support team is better than what you would find in terms of direct support from WooCommerce. However, there is far less chatter online about the WP eCommerce plugin compared to WooCommerce. When looking into the resources you’ll have for WP eCommerce, there’s an excellent knowledgebase filled with articles about getting started, setting up your payment gateway, and handling extensions like the Gold Cart.
The developers used to have excellent videos on the website, but as of this article, they have been removed for some reason. Seeing as how the dedicated support is so good, we like WP eCommerce for those who want that extra helping hand. The 30-day access to premium support costs $49, and the yearly access is $499. It might sound steep at first, but I see this as more of a solution for beginners who want support, as opposed to the self-research you’ll have to go through with WooCommerce.
The Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping cart boasts excellent ratings and a setup that looks like WooCommerce but is actually quite different. One of the main differences is that Ecwid can be used on any website you’d like. If you have a Drupal site, you can use Ecwid to launch an online store. The same goes for Tumblr, Facebook, WordPress, and many more. Alternatively, WooCommerce is only a WordPress plugin. It’s a good one, but you’re limited to that one content management system. I would also argue that Ecwid might 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 core 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 will turn some users away, but that’s only 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:
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.
The Jigoshop eCommerce plugin is the first, and the oldest, of the WordPress ecommerce plugins. Dating back to 2011, Jigoshop was the brainchild of a UK-based company called Jigowatt. The idea was to develop an opensource e-solution where a WordPress user could turn their blog into an online store. So, you could say that all of the WordPress ecommerce plugins on this list have been inspired by Jigoshop. Quite a bit has happened since its inception, but the most recent years have seen some rebranding and extensive development updates. The Jigoshop eCommerce brand states that it’s now one of the fastest and modern ecommerce plugins on the market.
Jigoshop eCommerce is still opensource and open for free to the public. This is an advantage for several reasons. One, you get it for free. Two, the development is neverending. There’s a significant community of developers behind the Jigoshop product, consistently releasing new updates and fixing problems. Some modern, stunning themes are provided from Jigoshop eCommerce and third-party developers. These run anywhere from $0 to $50. You’ll also find a large extension store–similar to that of WooCommerce–where some are free and others might cost you a bit. Scrolling through the extension library, you’ll find categories for marketing, networking, payment gateways, shipping, and more. It seems like most of the extensions max out at around $50, but there are exceptions.
As for the feature-set, Jigoshop eCommerce supports a wide range of product types like digital products, physical goods, variable products, and simple products. The platform has detailed reports, wonderful styling tools, and an area to manage all of your stock. It’s actually quite intuitive and simpler than what WooCommerce and some of its other descendants have. You might save a little money on extensions with Jigoshop over WooCommerce, but that’s only because the extensions seem to be a little cheaper. Regardless, niche shops generally have to turn to the add-on stores.
Overall, we’d say that developers and some beginners willing to learn might like Jigoshop eCommerce. It’s a completely revamped product, so you’re going to get some amazing features, but you’re weathering the storm of a transition period. That could mean you run into some glaring problems. The user ratings are mixed, but I can see some people loving the themes and the interface–not to mention, it’s supposed to be rather fast.
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.
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.
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?
Another one you should keep your eye on is Ninja Shop (previously ExchangeWP).
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.
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