WordPress has historically for many been seen purely as a blogging platform. The truth however is it has easily become one of the most accessible and commonly used Content Management Systems (CMS) across the web. The strength of WordPress is in its quick installation and the massive user and developer community that results in a vast array of plugins and enhancements for the platform, such as ecommerce plugins. Through researching ecommerce projects for prospective clients we’ve stumbled across these guys who extend the core WordPress features supporting online sales.
The best part about eShop is that it comes for free. Other than that, it has all the basic features you might expect from an ecommerce plugin and it’s been downloaded more than half a million times already. Some of its main features include shipping options, sales taxes, basic statistics, data and multiple product selections. Users gain access to a small inventory too. It has to be created once, then constantly updated with sales or new entries. In other words, maintaining the inventory can be done without searching and counting yourself. A few email templates come in to make your service look more professional too. Curious about other features?
More payment platforms
More shipping solutions
Different options for each product (like colors, sizes and others)
Cart66 previously had a free version of their plugin but these days they offer a pro and cloud based version depending on your needs and ecommerce requirements. The pro version ($149 / unlimited site license) contains pretty much everything you’ll ever need to get your online store up and running. You’ll get all the core features you’d expect like promotions, special offers, shipping charges, multiple currency support, email reports and order management and free upgrades for life. The cloud version goes a little further and also includes cloud based hosting as part of your license fee ($30 / Month). Cart66 now over a setup / support service – LaunchPack. LaunchPack is a Cart66, service based product, that allots time for one of our support technicians to connect your site to the Cart66 Cloud and getting your checkout page looking exactly like the rest of your WordPress site.
Jigoshop draws some attention through its longevity in the market. It is available for free, but with specific extensions and themes which must be purchased separately. Themes are professionally developed and allow for some uniqueness in appearance, while the extensions add to the overall functionality of your store. You can get extensions for marketing solutions, payment platforms and so on. As for the original features coming with the free version, store owners can benefit from the following solutions:
WP e-Commerce was one of the first ecommerce plugins for WordPress. For years, WP-eCommerce was the top dog – well, to be fair, it was the only kid on the block really! The plugin got a bit of a bad reputation (right or wrongly) with multiple reports of “it just doesn’t work” or “full of bugs” littered across their support forums and threads. It was then rebranded as GetShopped. The plugin can be downloaded for free. The core offering though is extremely limited in terms of functionality – even the most basic of asks like multiple product images is hidden behind their GoldCart add-onn ($47). There are however plenty of add-ons and updates can also be purchased extending the plugin as required. A quick look at their basic (free) plugin points at what could become a pretty nifty online store:
Special offers and promotions
Checkout solutions (most common ones will require paid extension)
WooCommerce is developed by WooThemes and has become arguably the most favoured plugin among WordPress site developers. There are endless themes you can choose for your online store – you only have to look at ThemeForest to see more themes listed for WooCommerce than any other WordPress-based eCommerce platform by a quite a margin. Some of them are developed by WooThemes, but third party premium themes are extremely diversified as well. Its complexity is the main reason why it’s given so much attention. Just like other plugins, the core extension is available for free. Whilst the core features might be suitable for some, many will find they require to extend the cart through the purchase of one of their long list of premium extensions. The features are very detailed and provide multiple options for a deep customization. Some of the main functions include:
Product management in small details (sizes, colours, materials and others)
Discount and coupon codes
Accounts for returning customers
Regular sales reports
Though it has developed to be what could be perceived as a complex animal – in many ways as complex as WordPress itself – WooCommerce has a thriving developer community and therefore a huge amount of support at hand. Of all the ecommerce plugins I’ve looked at, for me, the admin interface seems like the most user friendly and professional. Equally as import is the vast array of extensions (yes at a cost) that can take your WooCommerce store to a whole new level.