If you’re looking for a way to earn money online, opening your own e-commerce store is a great option. The flexibility alone is a solid reason, but the savings and improved brand visibility over a physical location also make it a smart choice. However, the process of creating a store can seem overwhelming, and you may be unsure about what tools to use.
Fortunately, when you use WordPress as your platform you have access to dozens of e-commerce plugins. These plugins can add shopping carts, review platforms, and so much more to your site – providing just about everything you need to run a successful online storefront.
In this post, we’ll discuss why you might want to build your own online store, and touch on why you should consider WordPress as your platform. Then we’ll introduce you to five tools for building your online store in WordPress, and explain what makes each unique. Let’s get started!
Why You Should Consider Building an Online Store with WordPress
If you’re looking to start up a new store, it can be challenging to decide between a brick-and-mortar or online venue. However, e-commerce stores offer a number of benefits over their traditional counterparts:
- Reduced overhead costs: Without a physical storefront, you can keep operating costs to a minimum.
- Expanded geographic reach: An online presence enables you to expand your brand’s reach, which results in more potential customers for your store.
- Lowered marketing costs: Online marketing is usually cheaper than physical marketing tactics.
In addition, you can easily sell a variety of product types through an online store. These include physical products, digital goods, and even memberships and services.
Of course, even when you know you want to go the online route, it can still be difficult to know where to begin. We recommend building your store with WordPress, because of its built-in flexibility, extensive functionality thanks to themes and plugins, and top-notch security.
If you create your site with WordPress, you’ll get access to many excellent tools dedicated solely to helping you build an online store. In fact, there are so many that it can be a little overwhelming. However, the official Plugin Directory makes it simple to find most of what you’ll need. Next, we’ll check out a few of the best options.
While there are many e-commerce plugins available for WordPress, we believe that these five are the some of the best choices. This is due to their features, high ratings, and the consistent support they receive from their developers. Let’s check them out!
With over 5 million downloads, WooCommerce is the plugin you need to build and run your online business. If you’re looking for both simplicity and flexibility, this is the e-commerce plugin for you.
With WooCommerce, you can sell physical and digital products, as well as memberships, service bookings, and even recurring subscriptions. This is one of the most popular e-commerce plugins, and for good reason! One major feature is the plugin’s seemingly endless list of WooCommerce addons and extensions. These extensions enable you to connect with many popular storefront management brands and tools.
This WordPress e-commerce plugin also offers an intuitive dashboard with widgets and detailed reports to help you keep track of sales, stock, store performance and statistics, compatibility with many WordPress themes, multiple checkout options (including PayPal, credit cards, cash on delivery and check), Mijireh checkout to secure all payments and more. But best of all, the base plugin is free. Even without the premium extensions, you can still create a beautiful online store. That is why 42% of online stores run on WooCommerce.
2. Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads is a targeted e-commerce solution. It’s a great choice if you sell only digital products on your site – such as e-books, PDFs, or music – and it’s free to use and customize as you like. So if your e-store is all about selling digital products (i.e. you don’t sell physical products), Easy Digital Downloads is the best e-commerce plugin for you.
While other e-commerce plugins – such as WooCommerce – enable the sale of digital downloads, that usually isn’t the main focus. With Easy Digital Downloads, you get more customization options specific to sell digital products online, enabling you to tailor each display to your customers’ needs.
With the base plugin, you’ll be able to use PayPal and Amazon as your payment gateways. Plus, there are paid extensions that enable the use of Stripe, Braintree, and much more. As opposed to having all the e-commerce features under the sun, Easy Digital Downloads offers just the features you need to take the challenge out of selling digital products. But there are other premium add-ons include analytics tracking, accounting software, and even email marketing. You can also purchase add-on packages, making it easier to get started.
While I did mention the features are toned down, the plugin is still very powerful and elegant at the same time.
3. Ecwid eCommerce Shopping Cart
Ecwid eCommerce Shopping Cart is a plugin that offers much for its small price tag. Not only can you completely customize the plugin’s features to fit your shoppers’ needs, you can also manage your store on the go (thanks to the mobile Point of Sale (POS) application).
This is one of the more flexible options on our list, as it provides a number of native features that other e-commerce plugins don’t include by default. For example, this plugin enables you to accept 40 international payment options – both online and in-person – and offers unlimited storage and scheduled backups of product listings.
Additionally, you can add a shopping cart directly to your Facebook business page. This further expands your reach, and can help you to convert followers into customers. The plugin is free for up to 10 products, and premium plans begin at just $15 per month.
4. WP EasyCart
WP EasyCart is a customizable e-commerce plugin with all the trimmings. Of course, you get access to the usual e-commerce features, but this plugin has a few extra tricks up its sleeve.
One handy feature is the integrated Google Analytics tracking. All you need to do is add your Google Analytics ID in the Basic Settings page after installing the plugin. From there, you’ll be able to keep an eye on product conversions, and see which sales strategies are working best.
Unfortunately, the free version of WP EasyCart has somewhat limited features. However, you can upgrade to a premium account, and get access to all the plugin’s functionality, for as little as $50 (this is a one-time fee).
5. WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart
WordPress Simple PayPal Shopping Cart is a plugin that does exactly what its name implies. If PayPal is your preferred method of payment, this plugin offers a ton of useful features. It’s also easy to use, as all you’ll need to do is copy and paste developer-built shortcodes.
While many other e-commerce plugins incorporate PayPal, they also include a number of other gateways. If PayPal is your one and only payment option, this plugin will cut down on complexity while providing more targeted functionality.
Perhaps the best thing about this plugin is that it’s absolutely free. All advertised features are included within the base version, and the developers won’t try to sell you premium add-ons. That’s just one more way this plugin adds simplicity to your online business.
Which eCommerce Plugin Will You Choose?
Armed with one of these plugins, you are now ready to take over the world of online business and build a nice brand for yourself. But we want to know – did you chose any of the above plugins? If so, how has been your experience with the plugin? Or if you favor something else, which WordPress e-commerce plugins do you use? Let us know in the comment section below!