A couple of years ago, running an online shop required huge investment which was typically reserved for the corporate fat-cats. Building the online shop would start by coding a suitable framework from scratch, designing it, adding multiple (secure) payment gateways and of course, adding products.
And then came WordPress - what took a few hours to script was broken down into a matter of minutes. Personal websites flourished. And it didn't stop there. One of WordPress' potent branches is eCommerce. It is an extremely significant field, rapidly gaining potential. First it was building WordPress themes and plugins. Today, there are whole websites selling add-ons and themes dedicated to WordPress eCommerce (we'll get to that later).
The perks of WordPress eCommerce are simple yet powerful. For starters, it's free and pretty easy to setup. Simply create a PayPal account, setup the plugins, add your products and voila - you have your very own store!
If you're looking to take it up a notch - like say adding multiple payment gateways, gift wrapping, coupons and shipping charges - all you have to do, is find and install a suitable add-on! In today's article, we're going to list some of the best free and premium WordPress eCommerce plugins and a couple of websites selling add-ons for the top eCommerce plugins. Let's get started:
17 of the Best WordPress eCommerce Plugins
WP e-Commerce is one of the most popular free WordPress eCommerce plugins. Downloaded over 2.5 million times, this plugin has a plethora of features. You can integrate custom HTML/CSS and modify existing templates. The free version of the plugin supports SSL secured checkout and multiple payment gateways such as PayPal, Google Wallet and Chronopay. For shipping, it integrates with UPS and USPS to provide real-time shipping rates. You can customize the checkout page, export and email orders, sell both downloadable/digital and physical goods and a whole lot more. There's no premium version of this plugin as such, but you can purchase a massive list of addons and an extensive documentation from Getshopped.
Ecwid Shopping Cart
Ecwid (pronounced "eck-wid”), is an AJAX powered "drag and drop", revolutionary shopping cart that seamlessly integrates with almost any platform - WordPress, Joomla, SquareSpace, Bloggr, Tumblr and even social networking sites such as Facebook, mySpace, (and not Twitter). The free plan comes with the following features:
- 30 payment options
- Maximum of 10 products
- Real-time shipping rates
- Facebook store app: easily integrate to your Facebook profile
- Site mirroring: Add your store to many sites, manage it from one place
- Social commerce sharing
- Free upgrades
- Ecwid Community support
eShop is another free yet feature-rich eCommerce plugin which utilized custom post types to add new products to your store. Payment gateways include PayPal, cash/cheque. Other gateways such as Authorize.net are "still included but not supported." An extensive documentation and an add-on database is also available in the author's website. Other features include:
- Multisite compatible
- Customizable CSS
- Discount options
- Including sales tax
- Downloadable (digital products)
- Automatic emails on successful purchase
ShopperPress is a standalone solution for WordPress eCommerce. With over 20 ready-made themes, you simply install the plugin, select your desired look, add products and start selling. ShopperPress supports both physical and digital goods, custom order forms, multiple languages and over 20 payment gateways. With a slightly higher than usual price tag of $79 USD which includes 24x7 customer support, ShopperPress is a good solution for small and medium businesses.
Formerly known as PHPPurchase, Cart66 is a one-of-a-kind WordPress eCommerce solution. The free version of the product is called Cart66 Lite and comes with the following features:
- Process credit cards securely using your preferred payment gateway with Mijireh
- Sell both physical and digital/downloadable products
- Sell digital products with Amazon S3 integration
- Tax by state (United States and Canada), zip code, or all orders
- Multiple shipping options
- Multiple currencies
- Customizable email receipts
- Affiliate platform integration
Like any other good plugin, Cart66 has a premium version - quite simply - Cart66 Pro. It boasts of more features and addons. It costs 99 USD/year and supports unlimited sites. Now for the fun part. You know how WordPress sites get hacked? Imagine your site gets hacked when you're selling physical goods and have the credit card numbers, home and email addresses of your customers in your WordPress database. That's a very ugly scenario. Introducing Cart66 Cloud. It's more of a service (like MailChimp) whose plugin just connects your WordPress site to the service. All your client's data is stored securely in the cloud. The checkout page is hosted in Cart66's secure cloud servers which I might add, are PCI compliant. Even in the worst case scenario where your site is hacked - you can just focus on getting it back online, rather than - I don't know - closing down your business! Apart from the previously mentioned features, here's a brief overview of the features in Cart66 Cloud:
- Support for 50 payment gateways
- Recurring billing options
- Support for 7500 subscribers
- Customer accounts and purchase history
And these are the well known plugins and services Cart66 Cloud supports:
- Gravity Forms
- Constant Contact
- Amazon S3
Cart66 costs $199 USD/year or $25 USD monthly. If you're running a serious business with a moderate gross income, my money's on Cart66 Cloud.
Shopp is a standalone premium WordPress eCommerce plugin with a starting price tag of $55 USD which supports 1 website and $299 USD for developer access and unlimited sites. PayPal and 2CheckOut are integrated in the every version and there are a plethora of payment payment gateways available for purchase. Apart from this, you have addons for every aspect of an eCommerce site:
- Shipping Modules: UPS, FedEx, etc
- Payment Gateways: Authorize.net, PayPal Pro/Advanced, eWay payment, etc
- SSL Services: Premium SSL, Verified Domain and Extended Validation
- Amazon S3 integration
You can also purchase premium support for installation other issues, a user guide for $25 USD (a bit too much if you ask me) and even more plugins. Compared with ShopperPress, the initial price is low but, in actuality it's much more expensive but it also offers more features.
Developed by WMPU, MarketPress is a feature-rich WordPress eCommerce plugin which is both BuddyPress and Multisite compatible. MarketPress works great with any WordPress theme and supports multiple payment gateways such as:
- Google Checkout
- Cubepoints and more)
You can sell both physical and digital downloads (with limits and tracking) and include shipping charges, taxes, coupons, Google Analytics and unlimited product variation. MarketPress also features a powerful API for extending functionality - for example, to create your own custom payment modules or collect a percentage of sales from network stores. Best of all it costs only 19 USD and comes with 365/24/7 support!
Jigoshop is another great, free WordPress eCommerce plugin built on the WordPress core. Boasting a lengthy set of features, Jigoshop helps you sell both physical and virtual goods through multiple payment gateways such as PayPal and Skrill. Jigoshop supports coupons, additional shipping rates, multiple currencies, tax collection and various localization options. While the list of supported payment gateways isn't quite as extensive as WP e-Commerce, PayPal is supported. You can also buy useful add-ons such as live chat, extra payment gateways, etc. The pro version is PCI compliant (to accept credit card payments) and provides eCommerce hosting with a buck load of security protocols, starting at £300 GBP per month.
Download » Download Pro »
To all folks familiar with WordPress - WooCommerce needs no introduction. Developed by industry leading theme company - WooThemes, its feature set include multiple payment gateways, sales reports, control over shipping and tax charges, a customer account area, order management, product and inventory management, coupon codes, and much more. With over hundreds of official and third-party themes and add-ons available, no wonder WooCommerce is regarded as the mother of all WordPress eCommerce plugins. Oliver recently wrote an article on the best free WooCommerce themes, so make sure to check that out!
Easy Digital Downloads
Developed by Pippin Williamson, EED is one of the best, free, digital download only eCommerce plugins available. Yes, you can't sell physical goods with this plugin, but like most online successful bloggers/entrepreneurs, people are more interested in selling eBooks, themes, plugins and services. The default payment gateways include PayPal and Stripe, but you can add as many as you like from the huge list of add-ons. Here's a brief overview of the features:
- Software licensing - create licence keys for remote activation and subscriptions
- Setup and affiliate marketing in your store with the Affiliates Pro add-on
- Newsletter integration - MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, Wysija etc
- Complete payment and user purchase history and ability to redownload files
- Variable prices, multiple files and price options per downloadable product
- Earnings and sales charts
- Detailed purchase and file download logs and export options for CSV and PDF
- Developer friendly with dozens of actions and filters
TheCartPress is a versatile, free WordPress eCommerce plugin with powerful customization options. In a nutshell, you can do everything from customizing the theme and checkout page, add multiple shipping options, catalog management and customer account management. You also have a lot of powerful add-ons for a feature rich shopping cart.
Ready! Ecommerce Shopping Cart
Ready! is yet another powerful free eCommerce plugin with PayPal as the default payment gateway. You can purchase multiple payment gateways like Authorize.net or request a payment gateway integration! Shipping options include FedEx, UPS and others, only available via add-ons. Other features include:
- Customize product options and variations
- Individual taxes
- Step-by-step checkout process
- Sale, gifts and coupon codes via and add-on
- Products CSV import and export via an add-on
- Extensive documentation and support forum
WPdeposit is a premium eCommerce plugin which offers a rather unique selling solution. Remember those royalty free stock photo websites like iStockPhoto where you can buy images based on credits? With WPdeposit you can do exactly that - sell prepaid credits which customers then use the credits to make purchases. Payment gateways include PayPal, Authorize.net and manual payment. It's interesting to note that WPdeposit can be used as a payment gateway for WooCommerce.
PayPal File Download
PayPal File Download one of the easiest ways to sell digital content - eBooks, PSDs, photographs, etc—with built in IPN , email delivery, and download expiry. PayPal is the only supported gateway with which customers will be able to hit Buy Now, check out, and instantly have your digital goods delivered to their email inbox.
PayPal Payment Terminal WordPress
Similar to PayPal File Download, this plugin hleps you sell unlimited digital goods online via PayPal checkout only. You can display your products as a widget in sidebar or in any page or post via shortcodes. You can also view, filter, sort and search all transactions and send automatic notifications to yourself and your customer once a purchase is made.
5sec PayPal Buttons
As the name suggests, this is probably the cheapest premium eCommerce plugin which is drop-dead simple to install and implement. Following are a list of its features:
- 40+ button images
- Buy, donate and subscribe functionality
- Custom buttons with changeable price tags
- GUI shortcode editor
- Works with any type of PayPal account
Credit Card Payments WordPress
Using this plugin requires you to have merchant account in either of 10 online payment services - PayPal Pro or Authorize.net to name a few. Since your customer will be purchasing via a credit card, you must install an SSL certificate in your site.
Best Add-Ons for Popular eCommerce Plugins
Listing each and every add-on out there would be illogical. Some are constantly updated, some are deprecated and so on. I've decided to list some of shops where you can buy add-ons for the top 3 eCommerce plugins - WooCommerce, WP eCommerce and Jigoshop. Using the official add-ons is considered to be a good practice since they meet the WordPress coding standards and are often updated.
You can purchase all the official and third-party add-ons from the official WooCommerce Extensions store. Other stores are mentioned below.
Getshopped is the official store for WP eCommerce and its recommended to buy add-ons from here.
As always, we will begin by listing the official extension store first, followed by the rest.
Good business is a tricky business. And like all businesses, one must possess the willingness to take risks and be careful all along the way. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you get an SSL certificate for your online shop - no matter how small your product. Not only it helps increase security, but it also helps build your reputation. If I'm an interested buyer about to make a purchase, your site's checkout page (coupled with its security features) should make me think:
Okay this looks secure, let's enter my CC info.
WordPress eCommerce is mainly for people who are into blogging and selling at the same time. Most pro-blogging websites, theme shops and other internet related niche websites, sell their products using some form WordPress eCommerce. However, if you're looking to start a full scale online shopping cart, then you should consider a dedicated e-commerce publishing platform like Magento, Zen Cart, or Shopify.
What are your favourite WordPress eCommerce plugins? Let us know in the comments section below!