Starting an online store can be a great idea for existing brick and mortar shops, or those that want to start a new store entirely online.
Having an online presence means more people can reach your store, equating to more sales for your business.
The first step to making an online store is deciding what site platform to use. One great option is WordPress. WordPress provides a highly customizable platform to suit every business owner’s needs. It is also a cheaper solution than many other alternatives and from recent statistics shown in Builtwith.com, it is responsible for around 10% of the eCommerce stores today.
After you set up a basic WordPress site, the next task is to choose a plugin that can help you make the online store of your dreams. The site will represent your business, so you want to make sure it makes the right impression.
There are several plugins out there that offer a lot of great options for creating a beautiful, functional store. There is a great debate over which ecommerce plugin is best. Of course, users can see which are used most often with a statistical comparison of ecommerce plugins.
In this post, we compare some of the most popular ecommerce plugins to help you choose the best for your store.
Woocommerce is definitely the most prevalent of the ecommerce plugins which powers almost 80% of all WordPress ecommerce stores. It currently has over one million active installs. They power over 9% of all online stores. The basic Woocommerce plugin is free. Sell physical and digital goods, configure shipping, and more with this plugin.
It has many themes like “Storefront” designed to fit with it. It has more than 300 extensions that can give your site many functions. Some of these are free, while most are paid. So even though the basic plugin itself is free, the extensions that give your store some great functions related to shipping, customer service, marketing, accounting, and more, can get quite expensive.
Still, it’s a great ecommerce plugin and many people love it.
Here are some helpful tutorials for building an ecommerce site with Woocommerce:
You can use WooCommerce as a base platform and customize the Index page, Product page and also the checkout. The checkout can be manipulated in many ways to create a single checkout page like show in this example showing the product offering in the checkout page
It is also possible to change the layout of the checkout itself to create a better customer and product oriented checkout like in this example
When you plan to sell a specific item like for example a T-Shirt you can also manipulate and change WooCommerce product page in many ways to better answer your product requirements needs like in this example
Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads is another popular ecommerce plugin with over 40,000 active installs. As the name suggests, this plugin can only be used to sell digital products, which occupy an expanding market. If this is your focus, consider this plugin.
Like Woocommerce, the basic plugin is free. It also has themes designed to optimize the site experience. Similar to Woocommerce, Easy Digital Downloads has many extensions available with 190 currently. Some can get quite expensive. It’s important to figure in the cost of these extensions before you choose the right store plugin for your site.
Easy Digital Downloads boasts simplicity. The plugin is easy to set up and manage. It allows you to keep track of your sales through a clean user interface. To see just how easy it can be, check out this great article to help you start with EDD.
Easy Digital Downloads can be customized in many ways to modify the product page, create an index of all pages and also the checkout page experience. Here are some example of adding some changes to the EDD checkout page such as adding upsell option in the checkout and adding an icon to the product in the checkout cart as shown in here
Another option is to change the basic user experience of the checkout in EDD as show in here
CM Easy Digital Downloads Add-Ons
CreativeMinds offers several plugins to enhance Easy Digital Downloads. If you decide to go with this ecommerce plugin, check out what we have to offer:
- Analytics Ecommerce Tracking for EDD – Boost the amount of data being gathered by Google Analytics using the advanced features of the EDD eCommerce library, which adds all purchase-related user activities to your analytic reports.
- Payment Gateway Order – Let’s you re-organize the order of the payment gateways in your EDD checkout cart in accordance to your preferences and add a tooltip with explanation near each gateway.
- Micropayments Platform Plugin – Add your own “virtual currency“ and allow in-site transactions without having to process each payment externally. MicroPayment has strong integration with EDD so it can be used in different ways supporting EDD functionality.
WP Ecommerce has over 60,000 active installs. With this plugin, you can sell physical or digital goods. The basic plugin offers different shipping and payment options, and helps business owners manage taxes. The premium version called “Gold Cart” is $99 and can make your store easier to navigate, offers more payment options, and comes with support.
This plugin offers premium extensions to make your store better. They don’t have as many options as Easy Digital Downloads or Woocommerce, but offer some basics for shipping, payments, and customer support.
One thing to keep in mind is that even though WP Ecommerce is popular, it doesn’t have the best rating (3.4/5 stars). There have also been some questions about their support.
If you’re stuck between WP Ecommerce and Woocommerce, here’s a video that compares the two:
In the opinion of these two developers, WP Ecommerce is geared more toward developers and less toward WordPress novices.
eCommerce Product Catalog
Beyond the three most popular ecommerce plugins (Woocommerce, WP Ecommerce, and Easy Digital Downloads), there are a few lesser known but highly rated plugins. One is eCommerce Product Catalog.
If you’re looking for an easy to use and affordable option, this might be the plugin for you. Like other ecommerce plugins, this one has extensions that add functionality to the basic plugin. Users love the great support that comes with this plugin. It is suitable for WordPress beginners and developers alike.
Generate quotes, add PDFs to product pages, and display products on any page with a shortcode. This plugin has a lot of great options and is definitely worth checking out for those who are looking for a simple solution.
WP EasyCart is another simple store plugin a lot of people like. Users like this plugin because it offers a lot of the same features as Woocommerce, but without the high price tag. With WP EasyCart, popular shipping and payment options are pre-integrated.
This plugin boasts a user-friendly interface that’s great for the WordPress novice. Also, they offer great support. The plugin comes with software to support the administrative side of your store.
WP EasyCart is great because it takes away some of the headache of dealing with ecommerce plugins. It comes with unlimited updates and no hidden costs. Although they do offer some extensions, their emphasis is really on having a functional ecommerce plugin with one purchase.
To read more about WP EasyCart, here is an in-depth review.
As you can see, there are several options for building an online store from scratch. All options can help you create a beautiful, functional online store. Deciding which plugin to use will depend on your needs, expertise, and how much money you’re willing to pay. The last is very important, as building an online store can have many costs you must consider.
CreativeMinds creates affordable plugins designed to enhance the functionality of popular ecommerce plugins. See our ever-expanding list of ecommerce plugins and learn how we can help build the online store of your dreams.
We hope this guide and the resources we provide can help you determine which ecommerce plugin is right for you.
Do you know the steps to choosing a plugin?
If you’re not sure what makes a good plugin “good”, our guide to choosing the best plugin for your site can teach you what you need to know.