Though it began as a way for bloggers to easily update the content on their sites, WordPress has expanded into a multitude of different industries. As the community surrounding WordPress grew, so too did its offerings of plug-ins and themes, and slowly people began to realize how useful a content management system like WordPress could be for running different types of sites. One of the most active industries using WordPress is eCommerce, as WordPress’s native content management system makes it extremely easy to update inventory and make other small changes. However, WordPress alone will not make an eCommerce site work – the site’s administrators need to take full advantage of the plug-in development community. While this post could go for pages covering the various plug-ins that have made WordPress one of the go-to CMS’s for eCommerce, there are four in particular that are worth mentioning.
WooCommerce is one of the most popular options available. Though the plug-in is free, it comes with a very impressive amount of features right out of the box, and its settings panel allows site administrators to easily add, edit, remove, and feature products and content. This plug-in is also friendly with nearly any WordPress theme, including the default theme – however, this plug-in was built by well-known theme developing firm WooThemes, so understandably their themes will be better integrated with their plug-in. This plug-in even comes bundled with nearly everything your store will need to start moving product, including payment gateways, a cart, Google analytics, and a few small marketing tools.
eShop is another very feature-rich eCommerce tool. Like WooCommerce, this plug-in makes it extremely easy to add new products and it integrates well with WordPress’s administration panel. However, there are a few things that set it apart. For one, it has a dizzying list of features – it can even be set up to calculate, collect, and set apart sales tax right out of the box! You can pretty much customize nearly every aspect of this plug-in, making it very useful for those web developers that are a bit more hands-on. There is also a list of compatible plug-ins maintained by the eShop developers, so make sure to check that out as well.
The main drawback with Shopp is that it costs money – their Simple license is $55, which in all honesty isn’t that much. But why would want spend anything with all of the other, free plug-ins available? Well, for one, Shopp can be integrated with a ton of other service providers, and comes with Paypal, Google Checkout, and 2Checkout functionality. Shopp is extremely useful for international sellers and shippers due to the different payment gateway and shipping providers it can work with, and the fee means you always have access to very knowledgeable, helpful support staff.
4. WP eCommerce
Finally, we come to WP eCommerce, which is another very popular plug-in, and for good reason. Like eShop, WP eCommerce is highly customizable, so if you know how to code with HTML or CSS, you can change the look and functionality of your store to whatever you want. It also has a ton of payment providers that it can integrate with, is easy to install, has a few basic marketing capabilities, and can even integrate with shippers to make shipping domestically and internationally very simple. Since it is so popular – they boast over 2 million downloads – there is also plenty of free support to anyone willing to look for it. You are also able to buy plenty of other compatible themes and plug-ins if you don’t feel up to trying to mess with coding.
There are, of course, plenty of other plug-ins both free and for a fee that you can use, but we’ve always been very fond of the above four because they are easy to install, use, navigate, and come with plenty of cool features. They have also stood the test of time – search for eCommerce plug-ins using the official WordPress site and you’ll see plenty of dead, undeveloped plug-ins sitting untouched. Above all else, you want a plug-in that has proved itself to be secure, and user-friendly. These four have done that, and thus are well worth trying for any eCommerce site using the WordPress content management system.