WordPress is the CMS of choice for all kinds of bloggers, web enthusiasts, news agencies, sports magazines, hobbyists, journalists, writers, photographers, and businesses of all kinds. This is hardly anything to wonder at, considering that anybody can set a website up using WordPress within 2 minutes (yes, it’s true). However, what’s often undermined is that fact that WordPress is an equally awesome platform for creation of e-stores. And we’re not merely talking about basic e-stores where you can sell physical goods in exchange of e-payments. We’re talking about advanced e-stores equipped with functionalities such as subscriptions, memberships, digital downloads, recurring payments, multiple payment gateways, intuitive and user-friendly checkout process, marketing and sales management features, etc. Now, WordPress does not offer these options in-house. Then how can you create an ecommerce website using WordPress? The answer – shopping cart plugins for WordPress.
What do Shopping Cart Plugins do?
Well, like all plugins, they bring in additional features and functionalities to WordPress. Specifically, they add a digital shopping cart process capability to your WordPress blog. Alternatively, you can create a new WordPress website and use the plugin to transform into an e-store. The core functionalities of a shopping cart plugin include:
- The facility to add a lot of product pages with product details
- A shopping cart integrated with payment processing gateways
- A mechanism to keep track of transactions and sale process statuses
Advanced WordPress shopping cart plugins come with all these basic functionalities, and some more. These plugins enable you to sell physical goods as well as digital content, invite memberships and monthly payment based subscriptions, manage hundreds of sales with easy to understand dashboards, keep track of inventory, and manage reviews and ratings for products. So, if you’re not going to use website builders with shopping cart – check this guide. Here we will cover 10 such WordPress shopping cart plugins that can help you create a stunning e-store.
WooCommerce has been a pioneering shopping cart plugin for several years now. You can sell physical goods as well digitally downloadable material using this plugin. WooCommerce brings to you several professional looking free (or very inexpensive) themes that can act as your storefront. Then, you can add several payment processing options, right from direct bank transfers to on-delivery payments, credit card processing to payment via e-wallets. Using WooCommerce add-ons for specific payment gateway services, you can add any payment processing option you want, right from PayPal to Stripe. WooCommerce themes are available on popular WordPress theme marketplaces like ThemeForest and Elegant Themes. The checkout process with WooCommerce is intuitive, user friendly and power packed with features such as cart saving, wish lists, profile creations, etc. WooCommerce comes with built in SEO, discounts and promotions, user verification, and product review functionalities. Using WooCommerce add-ons, you can add email marketing, social sharing, loyalty programs, etc., and can explore advanced marketing possibilities without spending much.
Using Jigoshop Ecommerce plugin, you can set your e-store up within minutes, in spite of using some of its most intricate settings. Initial shop settings include base country, stock management rules, payment gateway integration, shipping rules and mechanisms, catalog options, currency options, taxation settings, etc. Then, you can add dozens of add-ons and extensions to enhance the powers of your Jigoshop powered WordPress e-store. It supports the sale of digital products, allows you to set up affiliate sales model, has support for grouped products sales, and allows product variations on parameters such as size, color, fit, etc. Advanced analytics features give you actionable information in the form of several graphs and charts. Jigoshop comes with more than a hundred highly useful extensions for additional payment gateways, shipping options, etc.
Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads is the best you can get for managing an e-store that deals in digital downloads. Payment gateway integration is wholesome; you get Authorize, Stripe, Braintree, Bitpay and a few other integrations built in, and can use add-ons to add more options. Using extensions such as ConvertKit, Software Licensing, EDD Message, and MaiChimp, you can add massive functionality boosts to your EDD based digital downloads business. EDD allows user profile creation, which helps you keep track of user purchase history, allows user to save possible purchases for later, and assists in your customer service efforts. With specialized extensions, EDD allows you to set up recurring payment based business models, can enhance SEO, and manage social media and email marketing campaigns right from the EDD dashboard. Remember, Easy Digital Downloads does not integrate with any other platforms apart from WordPress.
MarketPress ecommerce has the reputation of being the only totally free plugin that’s actually ‘premium’ in its functionality. It enables all kinds of business models, right from digital content sales to product variations. It comes with 15 payment processing gateways integrated, and supports 120+ currencies. The checkout process is one-page, setting up the store is made more convenient by the wizard feature, has multiple taxation and VAT options, comes with modules for shipment calculation (Fedex, UPS, USPS, etc), and allows the use of coupons and discount codes. Then, you can add PDF invoicing, along with share buttons for Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Advanced features include related products display, codeless customizations, automatic hiding of out-of-stock products, and order management.
eCommerce Shopping Cart
Check out eCommerce Shopping Cart for a streamlined and well integrated plugin to enable ecommerce. It allows physical as well as digital sales via your e-store. Most commonly used payment processing options are included, and others can be added by using extensions and add-ons. It provides options to add gift cards and promotional tools such as coupons. In-built analytics support helps you make more sense of your store’s sales. Then, you get social media functionality built in, to enable social sharing of information such as purchases, milestone sales figures, etc. Explore tiered pricing, B2B pricing, global shipping, featured products, conversion tracking, and quite a few marketing features to improve your store’s performance on critical sales metrics. You can download it for free but will need to purchase a license for $50.
iThemes Exchange: Simple WP Ecommerce
Look no further for a modular and easy to use shopping cart plugin for WordPress. The Exchange plugin is super quick to install, and then you can directly jump to adding your products to the store. It enables the checkout functionality, and then lets you add all the ancillary options via add-ons. You can use the Stripe payment gateway integration add on for free, and can add several others, based on the gateways you want to support. You can sell digital content as well, and can leverage extensions to avail advanced functionalities such as discount codes and coupons, guest check out, tiered product categories, and multi item checkout. You can achieve all kinds of sophisticated business models with complicated taxation and shipping rules, using add-ons.
Cart66 is a popular ecommerce plugin for WordPress, primarily because of PCI compliance it brings to your e-store. Sale of physical goods and digital content is supported equally well. With Cart66, user can create an account at the time of making purchases. It supports more than 100 payment gateways (do you need any more) and has a powerful recurring payment processing engine. Taxes and discounts can be managed at the checkout. Use the in-built email center to stay in touch with customers. Shoppers can store their credit card information using Cart66. You can try it out for 14 days for free, and can then subscribe for a monthly fee.
Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart
More than a million WordPress users rely on Ecwid; there’s got to be something great about it! Well, for starters, it supports more than 40 payment gateways and more than 45 international languages. The great part – Ecwid is cloud powered, so you get automatic upgrades, unlimited storage, and dynamic backups, which make it a superb option. You can leverage Ecwid’s Android and iOS apps to transform your mobile devices into POS (point of sale) terminals. It also provides safe and secure HTTPS checkouts. Facebook integration is another terrific functionality for your e-store.
PayPal Shopping Cart
To get your WordPress e-commerce journey off the mark, this is a pretty basic and simple plugin to use. It adds a PayPal branded button for ‘Add to Cart’ and another for ‘View Cart’. Payment, of course, is done via user’s PayPal account. The plugin can be downloaded and used for free, but there’s a transaction fee with each sale, which can be turned off for some. You could also check out the PayPal Pro plugin, which adds more features in the mix. It also allows for some basic customizations in the look and feel of the buttons, to make them blend seamlessly in the e-store theme you choose.
WP eCommerce is an ever-improving shopping cart plugin known most noticeably for its advanced taxation management and reporting capabilities. Using tax brackets, exclusion rules, and tax bands, you can set up compliant business models for all kinds of tax scenarios. High-level sales reports and CSV export facility help you with data analysis. This plugin is built for marketing automation, and can be integrated with Google Base, Share This, and Google Analytics, for starters. It comes integrated with ProPay, PayPal, and WorldPay payment gateways. Use add-ons to extend the capabilities of the plugin.