E-commerce is already a jaw-droppingly huge industry all across the globe, and it’s still growing every year. Looking worldwide, e-commerce grew from $1.3 trillion in total revenue in 2014 to $2.8 trillion in 2018. That figure is projected to pass the $4 trillion mark by 2020.
That’s a massive pie, and you need to claim your slice. WordPress alone powers roughly 32% of all websites, and with its massive array of available plugins to power online stores, it’s one of the most popular ways for people to create an online presence for their business.
However, even if you already know everything you need to about WordPress, with so many plugins to choose from and so much to consider, it can be hard to determine which plugins are the best for your online store. Fortunately, one or more on this list might be the perfect fit.
As the e-commerce solution that powers over 28% of all online stores and the e-commerce platform with the largest market share, WooCommerce needs little introduction. It was built as an open-source e-commerce solution, and in 2015 was acquired by the same group behind WordPress, Automattic. As an open-source project, it’s still very much aimed at giving users the ability to extend the platform any way they see fit, whether via hundreds of extensions or via custom coding.
- With hundreds of free, freemium, or premium extensions, few online-store plugins provide the same level of extensibility and depth of features
- WooCommerce is an open-source project with a robust framework that can be customized extensively by developers to massively scale and integrate with various services
- With one of the largest and most active communities as well as extensive documentation and a support desk, you’ll be well taken care of in terms of technical support
- WooCommerce supports over 140 region-specific payment gateways, many of which are either free or have a freemium pricing model
- Partly thanks to its open-source nature, WooCommerce is frequently updated and patched, which consistently makes it one of the most secure e-commerce platforms
- Buying extensions to build your online store can quickly become expensive, with many of them costing hundreds of dollars
- WooCommerce can be slightly overwhelming for beginners to use simply because there are so many options when it comes to extensions and features
- Because WooCommerce is such an extensive plugin, it doesn’t always blend perfectly with all templates, and it comes with only 14 of its own themes via Storefront
This plugin is best for literally anyone or any type of online store, though you might need a sizable budget. With a huge selection of extensions, a variety of payment methods, as well as numerous support options, anyone can build an incredibly feature-rich store with WooCommerce. However, out of all e-commerce plugins, it might be the best suited for those who want to extend their store with custom coding.
To learn more about WooCommerce, check out our WooCommerce expert review.
Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads is best summed up by its name. It was created with the intention to make selling digital media products on WordPress as easy as possible, without the unnecessary bloat and complexity that comes with physical products. Just like WooCommerce, it’s an open-source platform designed to be extendible and adaptable even though it comes with premium plans. Currently, it’s one of the best-rated WordPress e-commerce plugins, with over 2,000,000 downloads because of its impressive set of features:
- Everything about Easy Digital Downloads is geared toward selling virtual goods as easily and quickly as possible, and this focus has allowed them to create one of the best experiences for this
- There’s an extensive extension library, with over 100 extensions you can purchase or unlock for free with a premium plan
- Because the platform is open-source and encourages third-party development, there are plenty of other extensions available, and it’s regularly updated
- There are four different Easy Digital Downloads pricing plans for different budgets, and the two top plans provide free access to premium extensions
- Just like WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads has a massive and active community as well as fantastic documentation for self-help as well as ticket support
- As the name suggests, Easy Digital Downloads provides the capability to sell digital goods only; there are no tools to sell physical goods
- If you opt for a free Easy Digital Downloads plan, you’ll be severely limited in terms of payment gateways and some other features
- There’s no out-of-the-box functionality to sell external or affiliate products in your store without the use of a third-party extension
This plugin is best for those who want a polished and streamlined way to sell digital products on their store. Easy Digital Downloads has managed to become one of the best — if not the best — in its niche by catering exclusively to people with this need, even if it’s at the cost of not being able to sell physical products.
Jigoshop is not the most well-known WordPress e-commerce plugin around. However, with over 570,000 downloads, they’ve certainly made their mark. Jigoshop is another free and open source e-commerce plugin whose goal is to make it as easy, quick, and affordable to build an online store while still providing everything you need. They have no pricing plans, and you pay only for premium extensions you need. Here, you can see some of their core features:
- There are around 30 official Jigoshop themes available, of which 18 are free. This is a great variety for a free plugin, and the themes are well designed and easy to use
- Although the visuals are slightly dated, Jigoshop has one of the most beginner-friendly interfaces that’s simpler than some others, like WooCommerce
- Plenty of product-listing features come out-of-the-box, such as physical or virtual products, external (affiliate products), and product options and choices
- Jigoshop is one of the most affordable options; the premium themes and templates are also generally affordable
- Jigoshop provides multiple levels of premium support adequate for small businesses and enterprise-grade businesses alike
- Jigoshop is slightly more limiting when it comes to shipping rules and available settings, with no international flat rate or local delivery options without an extension
- Jigoshop is one of the plugins on this list with the least comprehensive free support, and they’re slower to address known platform issues which can leave you stuck
- There’s little in the way of SEO tools (except for the analytics dashboard out-of-the-box), and almost all the worthwhile SEO extensions are premium
This plugin is best for those who want to sell either virtual or physical products and need an easy way to set up their online store fast. Jigoshop comes with an easy-to-use interface and enough out-of-the-box functionality so you can build your store quickly, but it still provides enough extensibility to keep you improving in the long run.
Shopp started life as a premium e-commerce plugin back in 2008. However, it has since become a free WordPress plugin constantly being developed on and extended by a community of volunteers. The aim is to provide a flexible platform to build your e-commerce experience as you see fit, regardless of whether or not you’re a developer.
- Shopp stays true to its free and open-source roots with a whole suite of APIs that provide developers with a powerful toolkit to extend functionality and build custom integrations with other platforms
- Shopp comes with great out-of-the-box product-listing tools, and you can sell physical, virtual, and downloadable products, as well as subscription-based products without a premium extension
- To make up for its lack of extensions, Shopp comes with a superb set of out-of-the-box features for a free plugin with cart tools, a search engine, and multiple payment gateways
- Because of their limited free support, Shopp provides two premium support packages with priority response, website and store management, and a members-only forum at very low cost
- Shopp is a very secure e-commerce platform, with SSL encryption, compliance with the PCI-DSS standard, daily McAfee SECURE scans, and secure remote checkouts
- With fewer than 60 extensions or third-party integrations, there’s very little room to expand your store’s functionality without custom development
- With a smaller community and less documentation, you also have much more limited access to free support services, with many users reporting an average 2-4-day response time
- Shopp works with most WordPress templates because of its simplicity, but provides only a dozen or so official templates with simplistic designs
Much like Jigoshop, this plugin is best for those without extensive experience, a huge budget, or plenty of time, and who want to sell any kind of product. If you do get stuck, support services are affordable. Despite its simplicity, developers will find a deep and welcoming API to tweak as they please.
WP EasyCart’s aim is to provide a more perfect solution when it comes to setting up e-commerce on WordPress. Unlike most of the other e-commerce platforms on this list, WP EasyCart is a proprietary software platform with a freemium pricing model that focuses on delivering premium features with all-inclusive pricing plans.
- You can avail of powerful third-party integrations with other platforms and services like Mailchimp, Shipstation, WPAffiliate, BlueCheck Age Verification, and more.
- Although it’s a paid subscription, the Premium plan’s all-inclusive, affordable pricing will most likely end up saving you money on not having to buy extensions
- Premium WP EasyCart is one of the most complete e-commerce solutions, with 30+ payment processors, live shipping rates with multiple providers, support for multiple languages and currencies, and mass product import/export/management
- WP EasyCart comes with both a free plan as well as a 14-day free trial for their premium plans
- There’s extensive online documentation and a very active blog and community forum for fantastic self-help resources
- The WP EasyCart free plan is very restrictive, with only three payment gateways, no one-on-one support, no digital products, and no discounts or coupons
- There’s a 2% application fee for all transactions if you have a free plan
- Although ticket support is available, there’s no consistent 24/7 support — even with a premium subscription
This plugin is best for those who don’t want to mess around with extensions to build out their store with all the functionality they need. If it sounds simpler to pay a yearly fee to get all-inclusive access to powerful e-commerce features, extensions, and tools, then WP EasyCart is just the ticket.
Which Plugin is the Best Option to Power Your WordPress Online Store?
When there are so many factors to consider, it’s almost always the case that there isn’t one solution that’s best for everyone. Breaking down these e-commerce plugins to a few features might be challenging, but this quick overview should help:
|Free||Transaction Fee||Payment Methods||Digital and Physical Products|
|WooCommerce||Free with paid extensions||No||PayPal, BACS, credit cards, COD + 140+ region-specific extensions||Yes|
|Easy Digital Downloads||Free and premium plans||No||8 built-in + around 50 third-party extensions||Digital only|
|Jigoshop||Free with paid extensions||No||5 built-in gateways + around 100 extensions||Yes|
|Shopp||Free with paid extensions||No||PayPal and 2Checkout.com + ~60 extensions||Yes|
|WP EasyCart||Free and premium plans||Yes (for free plan)||Over 30+ payment processors||Yes|
But is there one plugin that edges out all the others?
- Well, if you’re not too worried about a creeping budget, then WooCommerce is likely the best option. Not only does it provide a solid free base to start from, but it also gives you the freedom to continue extending your store with only the features you need (some of them best-in-class). You also shouldn’t overlook the importance of it having the largest and most active community, as this is an endless source of inspiration and guidance.
- If you want a similar experience, but your budget is a concern, then Jigoshop and Shopp are still fantastic options.
- Then again, the appeal of WP EasyCart and Easy Digital Downloads is that you get most (or all) of your features for a single price, meaning you have the financial security, even if it means you can’t really get by for free.
As you can see, there’s much to consider when selecting a plugin to power your online store. Fortunately, with WordPress, you have numerous powerful plugins at your disposal. If you’d like to learn more about this platform to see how it can help you with your e-commerce business, feel free to read our WordPress expert review.
If you’re planning on building a WooCommerce-based store, managed WooCommerce hosting can make your life easier. Our top recommendation is Liquid Web – a premium host offering fully managed WooCommerce hosting plans with a wealth of add-ons and freebies.