WordPress, while an incredible platform for building your blog, portfolio or Web comic, has always lagged behind as a platform for hosting your online store. Sure, plenty of plugins exist that enable you to upload a few products and sell them to the general public. However, poor documentation and nonexistent customer support from developers, coupled with lightweight scripts that are poor for scalability, means that developers have turned a blind eye to WordPress as a solution for sizable eCommerce website. Still, we’re here to prove that some plugins can absolutely turn your blog and store into a formidable force. Working on a website built in WordPress for my ecommerce client, i figured it out there are few plugins which can make a huge difference, and help every ecommerce website to increase number of buyers.
WooCommerce makes it on every “best of” list, and there’s a reason for this. Pardon our pun when we say it’s wooed us over. WooCommerce is easily installed from your dashboard, and the script automatically adds necessary pages like a cart to your website. Plenty of options are available for you to customize the feel and function of your eCommerce website, which will appeal to you if you like to micromanage.
An added benefit of using WooCommerce is the access to themes and extensions that are specific to WooCommerce. This plugin is more developed than some other available in the plugins repository, and it’s unlikely that it will disappear overnight or become neglected.
Fans of free often look toward eShop, the aptly-named WordPress eCommerce plugin. Don’t let the pricetag fool, you however. It’s got an active support forum if you run into trouble. Like WooCommerce, this plugin will add pages like the cart and a “Thank you” page that customers will see after checking out. The checkout process is compatible with a number of payment systems, and you can use coupon codes as well.
Using this eCommerce plugin is pretty simple, too. Each product is a page, and your website displays them as a catalog by using your theme. The simplicity is good if you’re less than tech savvy. You don’t have to have separate pages for product variations, such as colors or sizes, either. The only major complaint we find is that eShop adds tools and settings to various menus in your WordPress dashboard. It would be nice if the plugin kept everything in a central location to make it easier to find.
The final eCommerce plugin on this list is Cart66. It’s available for free, but you can upgrade to premium features for $89 to get a single site license. The premium features will attract stores with more expendable cash.
The benefits of Cart66 include:
Express checkout with PayPal
Integration with Mailchimp
Compatible with digital products (downloads)
Like eShop, you have to create pages for your products. If you want a plugin that will do it all for you, then Cart66 isn’t a good fit. However, you do get ultimately control over products pages and can simply embed the button to make a purchase. Shortcodes make it easy to add the necessary Cart66 elements to the pages on your site.
Cart66 easily handles support tickets, which both customers and sellers will appreciate. You can add product variations that change product price. Widgets on your dashboard mean options are always at your fingertips.
While more plugins exist, these three consistently perform well. Which eCommerce plugin is your favorite?