eCommerce Options Within WordPress
Quick Intro on WordPress
WordPress (WP) powers 30% of all websites, according to a W3Techs web survey. This represents a 5% increase over 2015. WP is a great platform that is easy to manage and customize for the specific needs of your business. You may already have a WP website, so why create a new one? You just need to use a WP plugin to create your online store. Some companies may consider rebuilding their WP site for ecommerce, depending on the theme they are using. Consider your options. There are many out there. This blog lists some of these options for you.
Options for eCommerce in WP
WP offers many options for ecommerce plugins. Some of these plugins are free and others must be purchased. Each plugin has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some specialize in selling digital products, such as photos, music, or e-books (things that can be downloaded online). Others are better suited to the sale of physical goods requiring management of shipments and stocks.
You should also think about the payment gateways you will use to accept payments. Payment gateway options vary with each plugin.
When you create an ecommerce plugin, there will be no theme. Instead, you will need to make sure that the theme you have will work with the plugin you choose. If you already have an existing theme for your site, see what options already exist in that theme. Make sure there are support options for your theme.
WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce plugin. Woo offers many themes, which means that you have many options to choose from for the layout and design of your site. The advantage of using WooCommerce is the large open source support community. Having this community provides Q&A support forums to help you with your site.
WooCommerce supports digital and physical products, as well as subscriptions. Woocommerce has an excellent inventory management system and supports many popular payment gateways. Sorting through all the available options, finding the right setting, and choosing the right add-ons can seem overwhelming.
WooCommerce works with all WP themes, but it’s not always easy to configure all available themes. I would recommend using a theme ready for WooCommerce.
Another advantage of WooCommerce is the option for multilingual sites.
The only drawback of WooCommerce is that it will only combine with WordPress sites. If you don’t have a WordPress site, you’ll need to look for other ecommerce options.
If you plan to use WooCommerce, it’s free, but there are some payments you will need to take into account. Typically, a domain name costs $ 14.99, an SSL certificate is $ 69.99 and web hosting is around $ 7.99 / month.
Overall, WooCommerce is the most popular WP option for a reason; he has a huge community behind him and offers you the most options for your ecommerce site. But I have listed other great options below.
Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads is an e-commerce platform designed to sell digitally downloadable products. It is a great tool for new developers. Again, I would recommend using a theme configuration for the Easy Digital Downloads plugin. Although it works with most WP themes, you will need to make sure it works with yours.
If you become a premium user, you will have access to free support forums and other priority support options. If you are just selling digital downloads and don’t plan to expand your ecommerce store to sell physical products, this would be a good choice.
Easy Digital Downloads offers four plans from $ 99 / year up to $ 499 / year. You will need to sort out the costs and benefits of each plan for your business. If you’re not interested in WooCommerce or EDD, consider Shopify.
Shopify and your WordPress Site
The great thing about Shopify is that it is easy for beginners. You don’t have to be technical. There is no need to worry about SSL, tax management, etc. On the other hand, the monthly payments required with Shopify can add up, and the reality is that there will be long-term costs and personal time spent developing a shop on Shopify. You may want to explore what it can cost for a developer to create a WooCommerce site.
On the other hand, here is what Shopify offers. If it meets the needs of your business, it offers simple payment and shipping options. Digital and physical products can be sold, and social media integrations via Facebook and Twitter are already transparent.
The monthly fees vary on three levels – $ 29 for the base, $ 79 for Shopify and $ 299 for an advanced account. In addition to the monthly fees, Shopify charges you more if you don’t use Stripe, an online payment platform. You must also create an account with Stripe.
Overall, Shopify is good to have on your WP site for a simple and hassle-free ecommerce solution. Peace of mind can be enjoyable by having a single supplier for your e-commerce needs. There are many constraints when it comes to developing your business. If you decide to customize, you may experience more roadblocks with Shopify than with other plugins.
Not to overwhelm you, but here is yet another option in the world of e-commerce. MemberPress is a subscription-based plugin for digital products and services. If you are selling memberships and are not planning to expand your ecommerce site, MemberPress is a good option.
It is $ 119 / year, easy to use and has good support. It is not a versatile plugin. The payment form is simple and clear. But if it suits your needs, you don’t have to pay the additional cost of a more complex ecommerce site.
Even More Options
At this point, I have listed the mainstream plugins and eCommerce options. If you’re wondering what else you can choose from, here’s a list:
WP eCommerce is the oldest plugin available. Many say that is buggy, and they ultimately switch to WooCommerce. However, if you have interest and the time, you can look into it.
Similar to Shopify, BigCommerce is another cloud-hosted, eCommerce platform. BigCommerce gives more options than Shopify, but the drawback is the magnitude of options can be overwhelming. Like Shopify, it does not have native integration with a WP site, but you can embed it into your site.
This plugin is best for beginners. EcWid would be a good option if you just want to add eCommerce to your existing site rather than build an entire eCommerce site from scratch. It is free for 10 items and goes up to $99 a month for an unlimited number of products.
This plugin gives the best donation options. Give is good for non profits, as it keeps great analytics, data, and history and can work with custom forms. It is also free!
After looking at these many options, I have one piece of advice for you. If you need a highly-customized store that will drive a high-volume business, these options are not for you. Moving to another platform like Magento may be the best thing for your business in the long run.
For a WP site, WooCommerce is probably your best option. It is the most versatile. If your business is spinning up and you want to make changes to your design or layout, WooCommerce offers the most flexibility. Easy digital downloads are great if you only do digital downloads. MemberPress is a simple solution to sell only subscriptions. Shopify is a perfect solution for an interactive site, but keep in mind that it can only be integrated with WP and has limits as you grow your business.
If you need more consultation on the options surrounding your specific business needs, contact me or one of my colleagues. At IT Hands, we can help you sort out the best route for your company’s e-commerce journey.