Is it good or bad to use WordPress for ecommerce?
Recently I found myself in an ecommerce community where members were debating the merits of WordPress as an ecommerce platform. I wanted to know their opinions about WordPress so I asked for their feedback in no uncertain terms. Some members were naive enough to comment that WordPress is only good for setting up blogs.
So, I decided to clear their oversimplified ideas about WordPress.
Yes, today WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world. It is so versatile and scalable that it can be used for building anything from personal blogs to huge online publishing platforms. And, it is one of the best options for setting up an ecommerce business, even when you have next-to-zero technical know-how.
Myths About WordPress for Ecommerce
Given the popularity of WordPress and the huge user base, it is very much understood that a lot of myths are in circulation about the CMS. While these myths don’t really damage the community, they confuse potential users and deter many users who could leverage great benefits from using WordPress for ecommerce businesses.
Let’s now review the top five myths (and the real world counterparts) that are floating around the WordPress landscape.
Myth #1: WordPress is not suitable for large ecommerce stores.
Fact: WordPress is the best CMS for all types of online stores.
Myth #2: WordPress does not have ecommerce-focused features.
Fact: The basic WordPress software is perfectly suited for a fully functional ecommerce store.
Myth #3: WordPress does not offer enough security.
Fact: WordPress always releases new security updates. You can reduce the risk of threats to your store by continuously updating it.
Myth #4: You need an expert to create a WordPress powered ecommerce store.
Fact: WordPress is easy to use even for those without technical knowledge, thanks to a simple intuitive backend.
Myth #5: WordPress plugins are not versatile enough for ecommerce stores.
Fact: There are a number of free and premium plugins to help you develop an ecommerce store, but they must be used wisely.
Some WordPress Statistics (to help you decide!)
WordPress is awesome!
Don’t take my word for it. Here are five facts that illustrate the power and competence of WordPress in setting up an ecommerce store:
- More than 60 percent of ALL websites use WordPress as CMS.
- The term ‘WordPress’ is searched 400 million times every month on Google.
- 1/6th of the most-visited websites on the Internet are built with WordPress.
- WordPress is completely free, open source, and supported by a large community.
- It is constantly updated to improve its functions and security.
60 percent of the websites cannot have all wrong in their choice? With the right plugin, WordPress can become a very robust and dependable ecommerce platform.
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How to Choose the Best WordPress Ecommerce Plugin?
WordPress ecommerce plugins is a flourishing niche. However, all plugins are not created equal and you need to do a careful feature comparison to find out the perfect fit for your requirements.
Some ecommerce plugins are good for selling digital goods (such as ebooks, photos, music, etc.), while others are more suitable for selling physical goods that require shipping and inventory management. Some WordPress ecommerce plugins are built to cater to both the niches.
You need to choose a plugin based on what you sell and what features you’ll need to efficiently manage your ecommerce store. More importantly, you need to consider which payment gateways you will use to accept payments. Make sure your selected plugin supports your chosen gateway(s) either by default or via add-ons.
Next up is the question of theme compatibility. In rare cases, plugins can conflict with theme features and code base. However, if you have selected an industry-standard theme and plugin, compatibility is not an issue. Even if any problem arises, you can always count on the support offered by the theme and plugin developers.
This brings me to the final point, support. Even if you have a web developer on your team, you (or your dev team) may need help from time to time. So choose an ecommerce plugin that has a strong support team that is able to provide competent and timely support to your team.
The Best WordPress Ecommerce Plugins
Now that you know how to pick the right WordPress ecommerce plugins, let’s take a look at the best WordPress ecommerce plugins available:
WooCommerce is one of the most popular WordPress ecommerce plugins. It has accumulated more than 64 million downloads. More than 40% of all online stores are also built on WooCommerce. You can use this plugin to create any size of an online store. Whether you are a small-scale retailer or an enterprise, WooCommerce will meet your needs.
Despite being a free plugin, WooCommerce has from its many administrative functions: from the management of payment and taxation methods to reports to view the sales trend and the stock report. It also allows the management of coupons and discounts for the products entered.
What Makes WooCommerce Exclusive?
- Free of cost: It’s completely free! With so many ecommerce plugins out there, only a few can really make a smooth website for ecommerce. However, few of them are expensive except for WooCommerce.
- Built on WordPress: WordPress powers over 32% of all online websites. It is the most trustworthy because of frequent updates. It ensures that the CMS is at the forefront of security and up to date with the latest web standards.
- Blog Integration: The blog helps you sell more content to rank your website. WordPress makes it simple and easy for you to create a blog together with your store. There is no need to create a separate blog.
- Unlimited Customization: Well, this is easy as the thousands of available themes can change the appearance of your store. Most of the specific WooCommerce themes are free to use.
- Strong Community: The WordPress Community is dedicated to helping out others in no time. Their work has always been excellent. Having been around for quite some time (since 2011), they have a good reputation for the best support.
- Highly Expandable: WooCommerce can be expanded to suit your needs. There are many plugins and extensions that extend the functionality of WooCommerce. These plugins are essential in personalizing the functionality of your store.
2. Easy Digital Downloads
If you are looking for a plugin to sell digital files, I recommend Easy Digital Downloads!
This is a free WordPress store plugin developed exclusively to sell images, audio files, videos and much more. You could also use WooCommerce to sell your courses online, but Easy Digital Downloads is more immediate and easy to use.
It has integrated PayPal and Amazon Payments to help you sell your digital content without too many spins. There are also premium extensions to integrate your ecommerce with various tools for collecting reviews, email marketing automation, and hosting files in the cloud.
What Makes Easy Digital Downloads Exclusive?
- Multiple Features: It allows you to set up the shopping cart page, choose from various payment methods, create file packages, use discount codes and much more!
- Customer Management: It has an advanced customer management system that allows you to view, edit, delete, and track customers lifetime value and activity.
- Embedded Widgets: It comes with a number of basic widgets to display in your sidebars: download basket, user’s purchase history, and categories or keywords of downloads.
- Data Reporting: Integrated system provides you with detailed statistical reports such as earning by date and categories, tax collected by year, sales and API request logs.
- Payment History: You get the interface for every record of the online transactions so you don’t need to look for any other plugin.
- External File Storage: Sometimes the WordPress media library is not enough to host database files. This is why EDD integrated Amazon S3 and Dropbox in its platform.
3. Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart
Ecwid stands for ecommerce widget, is a free WordPress ecommerce plugin, easy to install, customize, and above all manage. It is highly flexible and customizable with additional features, this involves the purchase of paid versions that are of three types: Venture, Business, and Unlimited.
It is a comprehensive and affordable ecommerce solution that includes web, mobile and social stores. Sale anywhere, anytime! Ecwid makes it easy to access and manage your store while you’re on-the-go. Installing your store is a piece of cake and it will help you along the way.
By installing Ecwid, you can start selling your products on a large scale whenever you want. It works with major carriers, such as FedEx, UPS, and automatically calculates the shipping costs for each product. The taxes available for Canada, the United States and the VAT of the European Union are automatically calculated.
What Makes Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart Exclusive?
- Sell Anywhere: Selling on-the-go via the smartphone app, Facebook page, and markets like eBay. Easily control your store from anywhere on any device.
- Products Management: Control, edit product options and combinations based on your product features. Update the rating and change the stock, weight, and availability with just a few taps.
- Order Process: Get informed whenever an order is placed and process orders where you are. Just launch the app to inform customers about order updates or to request additional information.
- Accept Payments: Choose from over 40 secure over payment options and start accepting payments giving your customers easier and faster control.
4. BigCommerce for WordPress
BigCommerce has recently launched a free ecommerce plugin for WordPress that integrates directly with BigCommerce engine. It combines the flexibility of platforms, allowing millions of merchants using WordPress to expand and customize their ecommerce sites like never before.
It supports the front-end experience, while the commerce engine deals with the business side. This plugin offers catalog and order management, shipment and invoice tracking, online transactions, and more.
What Makes BigCommerce for WordPress Exclusive?
- Seamless Experience: It has integrated all the features needed to grow a large-scale online business without compromising website content or user experiences.
- Intuitive Control Panel: You have a single control panel from which you can manage orders, shipments, and catalog updates for multiple websites.
- Easy Checkout Process: The developers have also created a personalized experience for buyers, ensuring that the payment process is as easy as possible.
- Unlimited Scalability: It has become easier to create complex catalogs and manage large volumes of orders so you can focus more on your store.
- Security Features: This plugin manages security aspects, offering you a secure ecommerce store with reduced risk and more resources to use elsewhere.
- Optimized and AMP-Ready: It supports the standard WordPress method to overwrite template files so you can modify ready-to-use projects including AMP pages.
5. Jigoshop eCommerce
Jigoshop eCommerce offers a complete set of solutions for any type of WordPress ecommerce store. It is supported by a team of professional developers, with many years of experience and available at any time to give you useful tips and tricks.
This plugin is designed for all kinds of products: digital products, variable products (for example a product that has many different shapes or sizes), affiliate products or bundled products.
It provides detailed reports on the performance of your store, it can help you manage your inventory, and offer you other extensions to optimize your Jigoshop experience.
In addition, it also offers extensions of different payment gateways, marketing enhancements, are also available. Some of these extensions are offered by third-party developers.
What Makes Jigoshop eCommerce Exclusive?
- Modern Design: Their interface is very user-friendly, making it easy to manage the inventory of your online store.
- Reporting System: This module also offers a variety of reporting features, which include sales, online transactions, inventory data, and stock status.
- PHP Optimization: The developers of Jigoshop have optimized the plugin for PHP 7+ servers. This means they have cut the load and runtime, thus making it faster for you.
- Plugins Extensions: There are also a variety of extensions and themes to help you further customize your store and add additional features.
6. Cart66 Cloud
Cart66 Cloud is another best WordPress ecommerce plugin!
With this plugin, you don’t have to worry about the security of your store. It does the job for you so you can focus on the profitability of your business. It provides a built-in billing system that works perfectly with any type of payment, an email center for sending newsletters, and online subscriptions. You can even sell music with your WordPress!
Cart66 Cloud will help your website to be PCI compliant. This will mean that it will be secure enough to collect and transmit credit card data. This is the must thing for ecommerce websites that need to collect sensitive information. This plugin has also integrated Amazon S3, so you can sell digital products easily.
What Makes Cart66 Cloud Exclusive?
- Production Variations: The integrated product variation builder makes it easy to create and manage different fields to your products.
- Ecommerce Features: It is power-packed with all the essential features that an ecommerce needs, such as tracking inventory, order notifications, recurring payments, etc.
- Secure Customer Portal: This plugin comes with connected services that secure customer’s order history, saved shipping addresses, and billing information.
- Invoicing and Shipping: Real-time invoicing and shipping rates allow your customers to see costs based on their location and choose their options quickly.
7. WP Ecommerce
WP eCommerce is one of the most used WordPress ecommerce plugins for online stores. The free version is complete with all the features to create and manage an estore. However, unlike the paid version, you don’t have the product search and some are not supported payment gateways. It has two paid versions: $49 per month and $499 yearly access.
In order to create an excellent ecommerce store, you might be forced to add some extensions to the basic plugin, which are paid. However, the free version has a good optimization for search engines, the integration with the most important social networks and enjoys great documentation and a great large community in tow.
What Makes WP Ecommerce Exclusive?
- Customizable Design: WP e-Commerce pushes the customization even further by allowing the use of PHP tags specific to WordPress, shortcodes, and widgets.
- Single Order Page: All customer data about the cart content, billing items, and delivery address are all on one page to give your customers better user experience.
- Payment Modules: Many online payment modules are supported: Google Checkout, PayPal, Authorize.net, Payment Express.
- Support for Social Networks: It allows you to import your products from Facebook or Google Marketplace so your customers can share them on most popular social networks.
- Additional Modules: Although some of them are paying, there are also free ones offered by the community including affiliate platform, analytics, and shopping cart XML sitemap.
8. WP EasyCart
WP EasyCart is a powerful ecommerce plugin that allows you to easily install the shopping cart to any online shop. You can also download the software on your desktop, PC, Mac, iPad, and Android, to manage your cart wherever you are.
It supports more than 30 payment gateways, multiple languages, and currencies, coupons and promotions system. This plugin has also integrated Google Analytics to get accurate reports and create share buttons for each of your products.
WP EasyCart comes in three different shopping cart versions to cover every need of the online store: Free, Professional, and Premium.
What Makes WP EasyCart Exclusive?
- Order Management: It allows you to manage orders, print sales receipts and delivery notes, add shipping notes, send an email to customers and view order information in one place.
- Marketing Tools: It is SEO-optimized for each product, menu, and category you create to help sell your products. It supports sharing on social networks and allows your visitors to immediately link to the products you sell.
- Payment Gateways Support: It is integrated PayPal Express, Square and Stripe to receive payment from all over the world safely and quickly.
- Shipping and Taxes: It has a wide table shipping rate for systems based on price, weight, quantity, and percentage and taxes based on states/provinces and countries.
Why Host Ecommerce Store on Cloudways?
Cloudways is one of the industry-leading hosting providers that help businesses grow and make the most of it. It is specifically designed to guarantee maximum performance, security, and usability for WordPress-based ecommerce stores.
The servers on Cloudways Platform are pre-configured with an optimized stack to ensure maximum efficiency and performance. Furthermore, they are Varnish compatible, PHP 7 ready and are kept continuously updated in order to provide service in safety and stability.
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It’s true! WordPress was originally built to be a blogging platform. It has achieved great success by extending its use not only to blogs but also to more complex websites such as ecommerce stores. If you want to open an ecommerce store, the above-mentioned plugins can be very useful from the point of view of showcase products and for having an excellent system of a shopping cart.
At the same time, with giant strides, WordPress is catching up, compared to the most famous platforms for creating ecommerce websites. I have no doubt that it is today one of the best ecommerce platforms available to online sellers. And if today I have been asked for an opinion on WordPress for ecommerce, I would say absolutely YES!
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Passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, and marketing, Mansoor Ahmed Khan is in computing since he knows how to type on a keyboard. His daily life is rocked by his family, projects, and his screen. Probably in this order, he likes to be convinced at least.