WordPress Store Options: 5 of the best shopping cart plugins

Yes, you can use WordPress for your online shop and there are more options – themes and plugins – all the time, as we really settle down with WordPress for our websites. We’re setting up two stores this month so it’s a good time to check the latest ecommerce plugins as we decide which will work best for our clients, and share this with you.

Before you even look at them, though, you need to (really – it will save you a lot of time) know what you want your online shop to do and to consider the following:

    • Cost of the plugin – now and as you want more functionality? One good way to know the limitations of a free version is to take a look at the upgrades available – a quick view of what the free plugin does not include/do.
    • Products – How many does a free version allow for? What variations are required for your products (size, colour, etc) – can the plugin handle this?
    • Payment processing – PayPal is most often fine, but if you want to use something less common, such as SagePay then you do need to check that support is available for this (and look in the forums too, plus do a Google for your particular need – that way you’re more likely to find any problems others have had (can you tell that I’ve had problems with this particular issue before ;-) )
    • Postage/Shipping options – free p&p and a single scale is generally fine, but when you want more than that again you need to check that the plugin can handle it. (Another that has restricted us before with some of the plugins).  Most plugins can handle a weight or table or a flat rate – but what if you want a combination of these?
    • Support – is there a forum for users and how well is that responded to – it really is worth taking a look at what current users of the plugin are asking and if they are getting answered/helped.
    • Extras – do you want to offer discounts – check the features of each to see which allow for this and what other extras you can consider.

The following are a few of the current ecommerce plugins:

Ecwid


 


  • Price = Free up to 100 products but you then have to pay an ongoing fee

  • Simple to set-up and use

  • Integrates well with Facebook and other social networks

  • Some nice features too (I like the drag and drop into basket)

Features overview page
Ecwid Team on Twitter

WooCommerce


 


  • A recent and welcome addition to the WP ecommerce options

  • Looks very user-friendly - for customers and for you

  • Price = Free with a good selection of upgrades available

WooThemes on Twitter

Shopp

 


  •  New version imminent

  • Price = $55

  • Support and Forum (they show their response time - useful), plus premium support available

  • Seems like a good option, and well regarded

Shopp on Twitter

Cart66

 


  • Price from $89 (there is a free "lite" version too)

  • Premium support included

  • good range of integrations

  • blends with your current theme (we'll be testing this out)

Cart66 Features list
Cart66 on Twitter

Jigoshop

 


  • Free with upgrades and a premium club/support

  • Discounts, automatic related products, reviews all possible

  • Some good options included

Jigoshop Features (scroll down their page a bit to see them)
Jigoshop on Twitter

GetShopped / WP E-Commerce from Instinct

I have worked with this plugin and found it hugely frustrating for what we wanted it to do, I must admit – it’s not one I recommend although it is one of the most popular, so it must have something going for it aside from the fact that it is one of the most established. Now that we have more choice, it is worth taking some time to consider as many as you can.

The basic plugin is free with a number of upgrade options that anyone wanting more will need to take into consideration. I do know that the team have worked hard to raise the support for this plugin and it remains the most popular – having been one of the first. But do have a good read of their site to be sure it does what you need it to – this goes for any of the plugins offered.

Others to consider include the simple paypal shopping cart plugin by Tips & Tricks HQ as well as their eStore for digital content – especially if you want to incorporate an affiliate scheme – their plugin for that works nicely.

I would go with Ecwid except for their ongoing monthly charge for over 100 items – I’d rather buy an upgrade outright. So WooCommerce is our favourite for one project at least and possibly Ecwide for another (we really do like the drag and drop into basket option) for another if the client is happy with their pricing. We will update you with our experiences. If you have used any of the above, or others, we’d love to hear your experiences, especially the good and the things to watch out for.

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Your thoughts...

  1. Andrew Wilcox says

    Similarly frustrated with WP e-commerce. Can’t get rid of the ghost product it adds to each list of products by category.

    A few things I have not found in WP e-commerce (maybe I have not looked hard enough) are:

    – something to notify you when a sale has been made. I don’t have auto fulfilment.
    – handling VAT for different countries and dealing with those that are and are not VAT registered in the EC.
    – providing free downloads where i can fulfill automatically.

    Do your recommendations deal with these issues?

  2. Babs says

    I had hoped they’d improved, to be honest, Andrew. Certainly the notification was an issue when I used it before.

    I’ve not tested for your particular needs – certainly the download option should be possible with most. The VAT issue you will most likely need to dig about for or ask them direct in the forum – pre-sales questions will usually grab their attention. So I do recommend you take a look at the 5 above – they do seem to be the best of what’s available just now.

  3. says

    Having spent over 12 months looking into eCommerce solutions I personally think its better to use a separate ecommerce platform and integrate it into WordPress rather than a WordPress plugin. I fully understand why people would wont a WordPress plugin from a beginner or start-up point of view, however, long term they start to show various impracticalities.

  4. says

    Hi Babs,

    I love eshop, I use it on a couple of my websites.

    For my card and gift shop I use the Elegant Boutique theme, and have to say that the two work really well together.

    On another website (using another elegant theme that’s not dedicated to being an online store), it works well there too.

    The options are good, set up is easy and works well for what I sell :) haven’t tried it yet for downloads yet.

    I have tried Wp e-commerce, but didn’t get on with it.

  5. says

    I have a guy working on a website for me through wordpress and I want to have the postage be $6.50 for any order up to $60 and free for any order $60 or over. he says this will not work. I looked at another soap website http://www.herbariasoaps.com and they have this option. Can you tell me how to tell him to do it?

    Thank you.

    Laura Aili, owner of Newberry Naturals, LLC

    • Babs says

      Hi Laura

      This will depend on the plugin your using. That is where the coding and functionality is set for things like the delivery scales, etc. Which are you using?

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