It used to be that building an ecommerce website was a major undertaking. An informational site was reasonably simple enough. But coding out a shopping cart? You’d better have a full time developer salary figured into your budget. However, thanks to the flexibility built into WordPress, creating an ecommerce site has never been easier. The blogging platform has scaled up in the past decade to include nearly any functionality a business owner would need to successfully sell directly to his or her customers. Just like every other additional functionality, ecommerce solutions can be set up in your WordPress build via plugins. There are thousands of plugins available, so how does one determine which is the best? While there are a wide variety of plugins to choose from to meet your individual needs, here is a list of general purpose ecommerce plugins that every business owner can find value in:
The agreed upon (free!) shopping cart solution for a vast majority of the WordPress community. How popular is it? Nearly 18% of ecommerce sites are currently running on WooCommerce. That’s not 18% of WordPress sites. It’s 18% of every ecommerce site on the internet. Not a bad rate of adoption. But popularity contests alone shouldn’t sway the solutions you choose, so let’s look at a few features. For one thing, PayPal Payments Standard comes integrated out of the box. PayPal Payments Standard will allow you to securely process credit card payments on your site. There are no additional set up fees, just a per transaction fee. There are shipping options, coupon systems, and inventory features built in as well. Of course, as one expects from WordPress, there are fantastic free and premium paid themes to choose from as well to customize the customer experience. Free plugin, limited fees, cheap WordPress hosting, and a big community to help troubleshoot problems? Sounds like a pretty good deal.
iThemes Exchange offers one specific feature which makes it a strong contender for your ecommerce business: simplicity. The user interface is intuitive and streamlines the process of managing workflow. Instead of exporting complicated database files, business owners can manage customer profiles straight from the WordPress user system. You can view product purchases, make transaction edits, and make notes on customer profiles straight from your regular log-in. PayPal and Stripe are integrated, along with the ability to choose your preferred payment processing service. Premium services include 24/7 tech support so you can be sure your business never experiences downtime.
MarketPress is another WordPress ecommerce solution that sells itself on being easy to use and set up. The idea behind MarketPress is you’ll be up and running within minutes. Part of what makes this possible is that the plugin is compatible with all WordPress themes so if you already have a site you won’t have to blow it up and start over. Payment gateway options are pretty varied, allowing you to choose from Google Checkout, PayPal, Authorize.net, and more. There are also coupon options, sales pricing so you can trigger limited time promotional events, and Google Analytics integration.
Shopp is another popular ecommerce plugin. However, Shopp markets itself on high performance rather than simplicity. That’s not to say it requires a genius to operate, but it is feature rich. After all, their tagline is “Publish with WordPress. Sell with Shopp” which establishes the “let’s get down to business” nature of the plugin. Some of the features that set Shopp apart from the competition include an SEO friendly interface for crucial Google visibility, catalog management, individual customer accounts, responsive design for shopping on mobile, discount features, resumable downloads if that is your business model, and built in security add-ons to protect your customer’s identity.
Cart 66 Lite
For a lightweight solution to your ecommerce needs, try Cart 66 Lite. One major benefit of this plugin is a plethora of currency and shipping options which can truly make your business global. Having the ability to accept payments and deliver all over the world is a tremendous benefit to business owners that work internationally. If you make your money through affiliate marketing, there is simple affiliate platform integration available as well. You can even customize your email receipts. Not bad for a free plugin. Of course, there is an advanced version available as well in the form of a paid professional build.
As you can see, getting an online business off the ground doesn’t have to break the bank. With cheap WordPress hosting, free ecommerce plugins, and small transaction fee based payment systems, running a business has never been easier. This list is just a starting point. There are many other solutions that could help your business. But at the price of free, these ecommerce plugins are a great way to begin setting up your online storefront.