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It doesn’t take long to run into a WordPress-powered website these days. They are everywhere. Why? Because WordPress is one of the easiest platforms to deploy, use and manage. On top of that, the plugin market for WordPress is filled to capacity with outstanding additions to help turn your WordPress site into something special.
Case in point: e-commerce. You’ll find plenty of plugins to evolve your WordPress site into a home for you to sell products, services and subscriptions. These plugins are almost always easy to install and use. To make this proposition even better, many of these plugins are free, so without spending a dime, you can have your WordPress offering goods for sale in minutes.
But which plugins are the right ones? Let’s take a look at five of what I believe are the best solutions to take your WordPress site to the next level.
We start with WooCommerce because it is the most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress, powering 3.89% of the top 1 million sites (with the next e-commerce plugin coming in at 2.74% of the top 1 million sites). WooCommerce supports physical, digital, affiliate and external products and even has a large community of developers supplying third-party themes and extensions.
With WooCommerce, you not only add the ability to sell products, but you also get a complete inventory management solution to help you keep track of products on hand (and even alert potential customers of low stock).
Setting up WooCommerce doesn’t require an admin-level skill set, and adding and managing products with WooCommerce is very user-friendly. Features of WooCommerce include physical and digital product management, analytics, marketing tools, coupons, taxes, payment and shipping options, plenty of documentation, customer management, currency options, product categories, tags, and attributes, seamless integration to your WordPress site and unrestricted customization. WooCommerce is also open-source, which means you can modify the plugin to perfectly meet your needs.
Easy Digital Downloads
If you’re only looking to sell digital downloads (such as ebooks, policies, podcasts, videos, whitepapers, etc.), WooCommerce will be overkill. Instead, add Easy Digital Downloads into the mix, and your WordPress site will be good to go. Easy Digital Downloads is just as easy to use as WooCommerce and enjoys the same level of community, extensions, and themes. Also, like WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads integrates seamlessly into your existing site.
Although WooCommerce does support selling digital products, EDD offers more features and even easier management. Easy Digital Downloads features product galleries, automatic emailing of download links, full shopping cart and payment processing. There’s also an extensions library, where you can find addons for payment gateways, free downloads, affiliate marketing, MailChimp integration, Amazon S3 integration and more. Easy Digital Downloads is free, but you can also purchase paid subscriptions that offer more features and support. EDD is free to use.
Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart
Ecwid is another free, all-in-one e-commerce addon for WordPress that enjoys over 1 million sellers in over 175 countries. It features plenty of payment integrations (such as PayPal and Stripe); allows you to easily sell on Facebook, Instagram, eBay, Google Shopping and TikTok; offers a mobile app so you can manage your products on the go; and even allows you to manage customer groups, staff accounts, billing and plans.
Unlike WooCommerce, you’ll probably find everything you need for a powerful e-commerce solution in this one plugin. Another aspect of Ecwid that I find superior to WooCommerce is that the UI is much more modern and easier for new users to grasp. In fact, there’s very little guesswork involved with adding and managing products with Ecwid.
WP EasyCart Shopping Cart and eCommerce Store
WP EasyCart Shopping Cart and eCommerce Store is another full-service e-commerce solution for WordPress that places a priority on not having to add third-party plugins to make it a viable option. Because of that, this e-commerce option is the ideal add-on for those who like things to “just work.”
This option includes features like inventory management, selling on Facebook and Instagram, payment gateways Stripe, Square, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Microsoft Pay. In fact, WP EasyCart Shopping Cart and eCommerce Store supports over 30 payment solutions that are all SCA compliant. WP EasyCart offers a unique interface that makes adding and managing products simple. There are three different editions for this e-commerce plugin: Free, PRO ($69/year), and Premium ($99/year).
If you’re looking to add memberships such that you can control what level of members can view specific content, Members is what you want. This add-on features a role editor, multiple user roles, explicit deny, clone roles, content permission/restricted content, shortcodes, widgets, private site, admin access, core create caps, categories and tag caps, Advanced Custom Fields integration, Easy Digital Downloads integration, WooCommerce integration and Meta Box integration. Once you’ve added, you can create a paid membership level and give those members private access to certain areas of your site. If you’re looking for an easy way to manage specific content with a paywall, Members is a great option.
The one caveat to Members is that to add payments (so members can pay you), you must add the Membership plugin. Although Members is free, Membership will cost you $179/year for the Basic plan (one site), $299/year for the Plus plan (up to two sites), and $399/year for the Pro plan (up to five sites).
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