Setting up a WordPress site is quick, easy and doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge. Simple proof of this is the propagation and popularity of WordPress as a blogging platform. Adding ecommerce capabilities to your WordPress site is just as easy with a wide choice of ecommerce plugins, many of which are free. Here are the top five ecommerce plugins for WordPress.
Ecwid is a highly customisable and fast ecommerce plugin that will be compatible with any existing site. It can even be integrated with social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. The learning curve is slight, it is easy to install and use and is faster than most shopping carts. Although it utilizes Ajax, which can cause SEO problems, this can be solved by upgrading and using the Inline SEO Catalog that allows search engines to see your site in HTML for indexing. Ecwid still has a free plan which allows you to feature up to ten products. Upgrades to paid plans start at $15 per month for up to 100 products, $35 per month for 2500 products and $99 per month which allows you unlimited products. There is an active support team and knowledge base to help answer any questions. Start with Ecwid for your small store and it can grow with you.
Again the biggest selling point is the price – eShop is free. It’s customizable and easy to use for the beginner. eShop does have some limitations. Your payment options are limited to Paypal and cash/cheque. You can download sales data, use various shipping options and it can even be used as a product catalogue without sales. There is a support forum for quick access to common questions and solutions.
This is a popular plugin which is compatible with all standard compliant WP themes. It’s a quick install and setup and is SEO friendly. Adding products is easy. You can cross sell on product pages and share your products on social networking sites like Facebook through the share feature. It has a shipping rate calculator that is integrated with UPS, USPS, Australia Post and Shipwire for real time shipping rates. Templates are easily modified to create a unique look for your store.
Shopp starts at $55 for single site access, and upgrades are available. Shopp is designed to integrate seamlessly with WordPress and lets you turn your WP site into an ecommerce site in no time. Merchant options include Paypal, Google Checkout and 2Checkout.com with the option to customize and add other payment gateways. Shopp is shopper-friendly with a “related products” feature that will automatically select products that are like the ones your customer is viewing. Shoppers can also get instant estimates on taxes and shipping before making a purchase simply by specifying their location.
Cart66 has three paid options starting at $89 for a single site. Upgrades are free for life with your purchase. Cart66 is excellent for customising your site so that it is completely unique and suited to your store and products. You can use Cart66 to run promotions, offer coupons and set up shipping discounts on orders that pass specified price thresholds. They offer some very professional-looking and visually interesting themes. Cart66 uses multiple payment gateways including Paypal and 2Checkout. There is a free version, Cart66 Lite, which comes without many of the customizable features and payment gateways. However, you may want to download Cart66 Lite to try it out before deciding on purchasing the professional version.
Which plugin you choose will depend on your particular store, how many products you intend to offer, and your own level of expertise. Since many of these plugins are free to use and some feature free versions, you can easily try them out to find the right plugin to fit your store and your needs.