Over the years, WordPress has evolved from a simple blogging platform to a popular fully-functional CMS. That means you can now use it to power just about any type of website, including e-commerce sites.
So what exactly do you need to transform WordPress into a fully-fledged e-commerce shop? Fifty points to you if your answer is plugins.
Since WordPress doesn’t come readily equipped with e-commerce functionality, you’ll need to make use of plugins to build and manage a thriving online shop.
Fortunately there’s a plethora of great plugins for choose from. In today’s post we’ll introduce a collection of 11 e-commerce plugins for WordPress, each serving a different purpose, from selling digital products to processing payments and measuring traffic and revenue.
The shopping cart
The first step to building an online shop involves turning WordPress from a mere blogging software into an e-commerce engine that will showcase products, collect orders and ultimately, take money from people.
Here are the most popular and widely-used WordPress e-commerce plugins to help you set shop in no time.
With more than 20 million downloads, WooCommerce is by far the most popular e-commerce plugin around, powering over 28% of all online stores. It’s free to download from the WordPress repository and you can use it to build and manage all aspects of an online shop right from your WordPress dashboard.
You can sell physical and digital products as well as subscriptions through WooCommerce, making it one of the few plugins that allows you to scale up quickly as the business grows.
In addition, you can enjoy these great features:
- Fully customisable and fully compatible with WordPress themes
- An intuitive dashboard
- Detailed reports to help you keep track of sales, stock, store performance and statistics
- PayPal gateway
- Several payment options including credit cards, cash on delivery and cheque
- Google Analytics
- Social sharing powered by ShareThis and Sharedaddy
WooCommerce is open source, and there are lots of developers making all sorts of extensions and themes that integrate with the plugin. Here are some of the powerful extensions you can purchase from CodeCanyon.
When it comes to selling digital products, there’s no better plugin than Easy Digital Downloads. As opposed to having all the bells and whistles, this plugin is packed with all the features you need to make selling digital products a breeze.
Here are a few of them:
- Multiple payment gateways
- Payment history feature
- Promotional code system
- Variable prices for one product
- Cart system
- Multiple files in one download
- Bundle purchases
- Sales charts
- Ability to re-download files
iThemes Exchange is a strong contender in WordPress e-commerce platforms. It supports both digital downloads and physical goods. It also has a paid add-on to sell memberships and subscriptions on your website.
Some of its unique features include a simplified interface that allows you to add product easily, PayPal and Stripe integration, fully extendable, and custom management to let you run your estore your way. There is also a Pro package that comes with additional features, including 24/7 support.
Jigoshop is a free, professional WordPress e-commerce plugin built by designers with years of experience developing e-commerce solutions for global brands.
While keeping it simple and straightforward, Jigoshop gives you access to all the features you need “…to set up an e-commerce website lickety-split.”
The plugin is packed with useful features such as:
- Multiple product options i.e. you can offer downloadable digital products, affiliate products, variable products and grouped products
- Detailed reports of sales, orders and store performance
- Multiple payment gateways, shipping methods, plus various other plugins
Extra WordPress e-commerce plugins
Now that we have the shopping cart covered, how about we extend your online shop? The following plugins will add extra functionality to your WordPress e-commerce site:
Zotabox is a free plugin that allows you to add various marketing tools to your shop including:
- Social share buttons
- A Promo bar to promote sales or new products
- Facebook live chat
- A Notification box
The Premium version also gives you access to other great tools like email capture pop-up, countdown timers and testimonials.
Foobar is a paid plugin that lets you add nice-looking notification bars to your site. You can use it to display messages about special offers and discounts, or new product arrivals. You can also customise anything from colours to height, shadows and fonts.
One of the oldest tricks in the book is about creating scarcity to entice more people to buy. With a few clicks, you can create timers on your WordPress store using the Evergreen Countdown Timer plugin. You can track visitors and personalise the countdown times for every individual visitor on your site.
If you want your products to show up at the top of the search results, you need to optimise your website, including landing pages and product descriptions. For this purpose, Yoast is the free plugin you can’t afford to be without.
It can help you with:
- Optimising titles and meta descriptions
- Dealing with duplicate content so you don’t have two similar products with the same description and get penalised by Google
- Keeping the head section clean – Yoast also cleans up unnecessary code and improves page speed
Site metrics are important to any site owners so it’s critical to keep a close eye on visitors’ behaviour on your site: which pages they’re looking at, how much time they’re spending on a page, which products they add to their cart, how much revenue you generate per product, etc.
There’s no better plugin like Google Analytics to access all this valuable information. Now, if you want to access Google Analytics e-commerce reporting directly from within your WordPress dashboard, look no further than Google Analytics for WordPress.
If you have a web analytics account with Clicky.com, the Clicky plugin by Yoast will help you integrate the service into your WordPress e-store.
The plugin comes with some cool features such as:
- The ability to add your Clicky tracking code anywhere on your site
- You can disable cookies
- Ability to track page and posts as goals
- Add a small stats indicator of visitors in the last 48 to the WordPress toolbar
- Add outbound link patterns, and more…
Optimizely is a fantastic plugin that lets you set up A/B testing on your WordPress site. This is extremely useful as it allows you to make small changes to your product pages that can help boost sales.
For example, you could test different images for a specific product to see which one yields better results and entices more people to click or buy that product.
So there you have it: 11 useful plugins for a successful WordPress e-commerce site.
Which ones have you already tried out? Any others you’d recommend using? Let us know in the comments section below.