4 eCommerce Tools for WordPress

25 July 2013

London: Remember when WordPress was used only for blogging?

Even all of the gossip about WordPress being a true CMS appears to be old news of late. Hence, make way for latest phase of WordPress’ evolution: ecommerce.

If you’re advertising products online, you need to take a serious look at WordPress as your platform for eCommerce. Third party shopping cart plugins for WordPress are not so new any longer. They’ve been gradually developing and evolving within the WordPress community for years. Today, eCommerce on WordPress is ready for prime time.

Before we get into which WordPress shopping carts you must consider using, let’s talk about why it’s a better idea to incorporate your CMS and shopping cart together under one roof (WordPress).

Clean Integration of Your CMS and Your Shopping Cart
Gone are the days of running two separate systems on your website: one for your marketing site/blog and another for your online store. By fully incorporating your shopping cart with your WordPress CMS, you have absolute control to cross-promote your products with other site content.

For instance, your homepage might be employed to promote “hot” products as well as your newest blog headlines. You might want to publicize a flash sale in your homepage slider and carry that callout through the rest of your site by global WordPress widgets.

From a management viewpoint, you (or your client) only need to use one login for one system to run everything in the operation. Plus, it’s simpler to view and measure your sales funnel when your analytics tool tracks a single website.

Seamless User Experience for Your Customers (and Your Developer)
How many times have you practiced this? You land on the beautiful homepage of some business. They have an alluring design, strategic and friendly marketing copy and an overall positive user experience. So far, you like what you see, so you click the link labeled “Store.”

All of a sudden, you’re taken to what seems to be a fully different website, with an obsolete design and clunky client experience. Your idea of the website, and in turn, your view of this brand, has taken a turn for the worse. Now you’re not so certain about buying its product.

A fully integrated shopping cart system built into your WordPress site makes sure that clients experience the same design and quality from homepage to checkout.
For developers, it means not having to fiddle around with two different systems, “faking” integration by closely matching two stylesheets, or making updates in two places every time. Integration means one codebase, centralized functionality and easy maintenance.

Top 4 Ecommerce Tools for WordPress
The following are just a few of the more usual systems out there, and new ones are coming up all the time, mainly as the WordPress community continues to spread out.

As you can see, the talent to sell products on a WordPress site has come a very long way. With all of the startling plugins and frameworks that have been developed in this space, eCommerce on WordPress surely deserves real consideration for any new online store project.

1. WooCommerce
WooThemes released its eCommerce framework, WooCommerce. This is possibly one of the most inclusive shopping cart solutions obtainable for WordPress. It originated as a fork of the popular Jigoshop plugin, and gives a host powerful features counting multiple product types (simple, configurable, downloadable, etc.),
inventory management, comprehensive shipping and tax options, marketing tools and powerful reporting features. The admin user experience is great yet easy to use. Like everything from Woo, it can be as easy or as complex as you want it to be.

2. Cart66
Cart66 is a plugin for WordPress that gives all of the common eCommerce functionality we’ve come to anticipate, including product configurations, shipping and tax options, and inventory tracking, among a long list of other features.

The thing that sets Cart66 apart from its competitors is its focus on premium membership subscriptions (recurring billing) and selling both digital and physical products. This is a good option if you’re selling premium web content on a recurring basis, or mailing magazine subscriptions or the like.

The fully handy Cart66 plugin can be licensed for $89-$399. A “lite” version with limited functionality is also obtainable as a free download.

3. Shopp
Then there’s Shopp, another eCommerce plugin for WordPress. This one has been obtainable for quite some time, so you know it’s been developed and improved quite a bit over its existence. What stands out about Shopp is its ease of design customization.
Shopp is licensed as a core framework ($55 - $299, depending on the number of sites you wish to use it on). Like WooCommerce, Shopp offers extra functionality as premium add-ons, most of which are $25. These take in multiple payment gateways and shipping services integrations among other things.

One interesting upgrade accessible for Shopp is the “Priority Support Calls.” This is an interesting offer since almost all WordPress products go with a typical support forum with a day or two response times. These paid add-ons ($49-$199) offer store owners faster response times when they’re in need.

4. WP E-Commerce
Also known as GetShopped.org, this long-time eCommerce solution for WordPress takes a simpler approach to selling products on your WordPress site. Again, this one offers you most of the common eCommerce functionality, plus a few stand-out features like its capability to work with WordPress multisite “out of the box.” This one is also highly SEO optimized.

Like some of the other solutions, the core version of the WP E-Commerce plugin is accessible as a free download. Extra features can be bought as premium extensions. Plus, there is a “Gold Cart” package available, which unites several enhancements such as live product search, some payment gateways and shipping integrations, among other benefits.

The Bottom Line
As you can see, the possibility of selling products on a WordPress site has come a very long way. With all of the wonderful plugins and frameworks that have been developed in this space, eCommerce on WordPress surely deserves real consideration for any new online store project.

Read more: WordPress Web Development

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