WordPress is often favoured when ecommerce is going to be entering the mix. It’s great for skilled web developers to create a functional, creative masterpiece that is as unique as the customer is. In many ways, WordPress has set the bar. What enables WordPress to be so effective is the plethora of plugins on offer, particularly those designed with ecommerce in mind. These WordPress plugins mean that, whatever the nature of the ecommerce business, there will be something ‘off-the-shelf’ that is suitable and customisable.
In this day and age consumers expect to be able to purchase goods through a seamless online transaction. It is important to note that according to the ONS there 45.9 million adults in the UK that use the internet, and 95% of them buy goods via internet retailers. The opportunity to generate revenue through ecommerce websites is therefore critical to business success. In particular, a recent study found that over 1.98 million small and medium sized businesses in the UK have no website which is costing them over £343 billion each year. The data also revealed that not having a website costs the retail industry, where ecommerce is essential, £149 billion each year. Specifically, the money that is being missed out on by retail businesses in the UK has been broken down by business size to reveal:
- Micro businesses (1-9 employees) are missing out on an addtional £334,450 extra each year
- Small businesses (10-49 employees) are missing out on an additional £2.4 million extra each year
- Medium businesses (50-249 employees) are missing out on an additional £16.9 million extra each year
From these statistics it is clear to see that having a fully functioning ecommerce website is vital. However, start browsing the WordPress plugin options and you can be left overwhelmed and daunted: not knowing how to separate the wheat from the chaff, or what will be right for your business. So, I have reviewed five of the best ecommerce plugins for WordPress to make this process easier for you.
Woo Commerce comes up trumps in the popularity stakes and with good reason: It’s easy to set up, eminently customisable, and will lead you down the right path for secure online transactions.
Why we love it: Woo is scalable through various available extensions, as well as themes. You can be sure your brand personality will be reflected as much in the ecommerce elements of your site as in other areas. It’s suitable for both physical and digital sales.
The Downsides: Woo Commerce isn’t the most straightforward option for the completely uninitiated. The raft of customisation options can leave you a little lost at sea: Its very strength can in fact be its own weakness.
The big name in ecommerce plugins is Shopify, and there’s a reason you’ll have heard of it. It’s popular, and widely used. Shopify isn’t technically a WordPress plugin, but don’t let that put you off. It’s easy to integrate with your WordPress site.
Why we love it: It’s focused on what it does best – ecommerce, and therefore you get dedicated Shopify technical support for any glitches or trouble spots you encounter. It’s Inventory Management System (IVMS) is going to put you bang in 2017 with stock control, and minimise wasted time and human error due to updating systems. Furthermore, this can be linked to tracking software so that you have complete visibility of every order from start to finish. Even better, Shopify doesn’t stop where your ecommerce exploits do; it’s also suitable for in-person payments. Particularly, Shopify is great for inexperienced ecommerce businesses, as you can get up and running quickly and without complications.
The Downsides: Shopify is great but that greatness comes at a cost. You’ll be signing up for monthly subscription costs. It’s also a little inflexible compared to other offerings, and you’ll always find that you’ll be digging further in to your pocket when you look to make changes.
iThemes Exchange is a good general ecommerce plugin. Whether your focus is on digital downloads, or physical goods, or even both, your needs will be met.
Why we love it: iThemes Exchange number 1 selling point is its versatility. As well as being ideal for both digital downloads and physical goods, it’s great for membership and subscription sales. It’s intuitive, and you’ll ‘get it’ quickly. It’s also got a fair amount of customisation.
The Downsides: You may not have heard of it, and that’s because it’s relatively new. That means we’re still to see its long-term greatness, and it has some notable gaps in its user community. You need to be capable of standing on your own two feet when problems arise.
Shopp is a good all-rounder ecommerce plugin suitable for digital and physical purchases.
Why we love it: It’s got some nifty database work in it that means site performance and ease of use are both good. Furthermore, Shopp comes with great customer support.
The Downsides: We think Shopp can seem a little generic – there’s not a whole lot of pizazz. The result of this is that your branding reaches a stumbling block once it enters the ecommerce realm.
So consider the points that are important to you, such as branding and customisation versus ease of use, as well as what type of ecommerce business you are, and select a WordPress ecommerce plugin accordingly.
This one is for digital downloads only, but if that’s your niche, this has been designed specifically for you.
Why we love it: It’s designed with one purpose in mind – digital downloads – and as such is great at what it does. This is teamed with fantastic customer support and an active advice-sharing community, which isn’t always forthcoming in the cyber world, so you can be sure of backup when you need it. It’s good for customisation too.
The Downsides: Steer clear if you’re a physical products seller, this is a digital download ecommerce plugin.