Once upon a time (and to some extent today still), many people believed that WordPress was only good as a blogging based CMS, which is simply not the case! In recent years, WordPress has evolved to be a much more powerful platform that can power just about anything your heart desires online. One of the most common and popular uses for WordPress websites that we work with in our business is eCommerce websites. If you search around the net, you’ll find a hefty handful of solutions for eCommerce in WordPress; however, not all of them are worth using.
After spending many years working with WordPress and eCommerce-based websites, I have found three plugins that I tend to recommend to clients, based on their knowledge with working with WordPress, budget, and needed levels of support. In this blog post, I will share with you the various eCommerce plugins I recommend and whom I believe to be the ideal candidates for each.
Jigoshop is a great free plugin for WordPress that works wonders out of the box with little coding needed. Out of the box JigoShop provides full order management, a customer account area, inventory tracking, product import/export, discount codes, related products, control over tax and shipping charges, product search, and more. If you find the core features of JigoShop are not enough to get your shop up and running, one of the greatest features of JigoShop is the community of developers working behind them. Extensions can be found for as little as $19 dollars to provide extended functionality for anything from shipping providers and payment gateways to pre-built shopping cart themes.
If you are not an experienced coder and are looking for a quick and easy way to start selling on your WordPress site without any investment, JigoShop is the clear choice.
Example — http://try.jigoshop.com/
Very much inline with JigoShop, WooCommerce is another great, free plugin for providing eCommerce functionality to a website. While WooCommerce isn’t quite as “Turn Key” as JigoShop, it makes up for it by having a large following in the WordPress community. Many plugins exist to one-click integrate the shopping cart platform with popular frameworks such as Roots, Genesis, and Thesis. Much like JigoShop, WooCommerce also has a wide range of extensions to add to the core functionality of WooCommerce. Better yet, if none of the provided extensions fit your needs, WooCommerce provides wonderful documentation – landslides better than any other free plugin provider – on how to build and customize WooCommerce to your needs. If you’re not much of a coder and happen to be working within a budget, WooCommerce goes as far as to point you toward certified WooDevelopers to get you up and running regardless of your needs.
If you feel a little more comfortable working with WordPress or are working in a budget to hire out the expansion of your shopping cart and are looking to acquire a more unique eCommerce feel than something like JigoShop provides, WooCommerce is the ideal solution.
Example — http://demo2.woothemes.com/
Shopp is a premium plugin that has been around for a few years now and has gained a great reputation for being a solid eCommerce plugin. Shopp provides similar features to WooCommerce and JigoShop such as coupon codes, control over tax and shipping, related products, RSS feeds, grid and list view, order management, email notifications, and integration with many payment gateways; but where it stands out is, since it’s a premium plugin, it also comes with premium support. While its functionality remains largely the same, Shopp not only comes with great documentation, similar to WooCommerce, but with a full site license that provides premium and dedicated support for your shopping cart from the Shopp development team. This comes in handy if you are looking for an extra layer of support to fall upon.
If you are looking for a spot-on out of the box solution like JigoShop, but are hoping to have a little more dedicated and guaranteed support from the developers of the plugin, Shopp might be the option for you. While it comes with a comparatively steep price tag, you might find it worth the investment for the safety net.
Example — http://demo.shopplugin.net/
While all three of these plugins provide the same end result, each one has its own unique spin. JigoShop provides you an out of the box system that’s fully open source for you to tinker with for the comfortable coder, whereas Shopp provides you with a full development team backing you up (at a cost!). WooCommerce is a nice solution too that is great is you want to be using one of their WooCommerce-enabled themes. Regardless of your experience level and budget, one of these eCommerce plugins should float your boat for selling online!