If you are looking for the best E-Commerce plugins for WordPress out there then you are in the right place as we have tried and tested the key movers and shakers. What we aim to give you are the bare facts and then you can decide for yourself which one fits your specific needs.
Free, with further free/paid plugins
Jigoshop is the new kid on the block and moreover it’s created by a UK based company which shows truly exciting development potential. The plugin is billed as “Jigoshop, a WordPress eCommerce plugin that works” and from our full and active testing we have to agree. It’s very straightforward to use with a clean interface and on install all the necessary files are created for you. We really like the use of Ajax on the front end with a nice slider to quickly drill-down price ranges and to sort products – this is akin to Woo Commerce (as below) which is also a WordPress E-Commerce plugin that we really like.
As far as we are concerned a really great feature is the inclusion of SagePay payments within the growing choice of payment providers, Sagepay is an important payment provider here in the UK and many US based plugins seem to exclude it. The plugin handles tangible and intangible products (such as product downloads) and with a Free Plugin can also deliver licensing on products (software etc), Coupons, Amazon marketplace items, handles short codes effortlessly (latest products from x category) and has a host of great plugins for other payment providers and also to add functionality and styling. Further plugins, covering most angles, can be downloaded from the plugin repository and others (mainly 3rd party) can also be purchased separately (* note the full plugin access Jigoshop Club is now closed for the time being – edit as of Nov 2012). Something we really like about Jigoshop is that it also effortlessly combines with PageLines and Headway Themes, which are in our opinion the best WordPress Frameworks (both Drag & Drop) on the market and this makes it even more appealing as an all-round WordPress E-commerce plugin.
Overall the Jigoshop Plugin is rapidly becoming our favourite E-Commerce plugin and well worth looking in to for a traditional and fully functioning online store.
Great for: Full Online Store / Physical, Downloadable and Licensed Products
Free & Premium available with wpmudev membership
We’ll cost to the chase and say that MarketPress is probably the best Wordpress E-Commerce plugin for a WordPress Multisite Configuration. Like all wpmudev plugins MarketPress is fully WordPress MS compatible. This is a killer feature as it means that when installed on WordPress Multisite all products, product tags, and product categories from across the network are indexed globally. They are then displayed on your main site/blog marketplace pages or with a set of powerful global widgets or short codes. This means that MarketPress is powerful enough to enable you to create an entire Shopping Network like Etsy or Shopify within a WordPress framework.
More generally the Plugin boasts the same range of features that we have come to expect with a WordPress E-Commerce plugin with loads of payment gateways (but currently no Sagepay), Coupons, Variations and Ajax Cart to name just a few. As we have come to expect from wpmudev MarketPress is a stable E-Commerce platform that is continually evolving via the excellent development team at wpmu – you can expect great support here via an excellent support team and massive online community.
When considering MarketPress we also urge you to look at the major fringe benefits of becoming a wpmudev member. This company is leading the way in WordPress plugin development and wpmu membership opens up an entire repository of excellent WordPress, BuddyPress and WordPress MultiSite compatible plugins. Indeed whether you are a member or not wpmudev membership is highly recommend and a must for any serious WordPress developer. If you aren’t ready for membership a light Free Version of MarketPress is also available from the WordPress Repository.
Great for: WordPress Multisite (WordPress MS) Networks/Sites
Free, with further free/paid plugins/Membership/Club
WooCommerce is billed as “An e-commerce toolkit that helps you sell anything. Beautifully” and that is a fair representation. Indeed WooCommerce is very much the over the pond cousin to Jigoshop sharing and indeed extending on a number of similar levels of functionality and plugins. It also cover the usual suspects for Payment Gateways PayPa’, Google Checkout, 2Checkout, Inspire Commerce and Authorize.net, but what really impresses us about WooCommerce is it’s extensibility. There are a vast number of plugins for this toolkit that can make it a truly powerful retail outlet.We particularly like the ability to sell license keys for software, Gravity Forms integration, the ability to create product bundles and also the fact that you can White Label the system with your own logo which is a nice up-sell point.
Not seeing video: http://vimeo.com/29198966
The interface itse;f is nice and straightforward and the front facing elements on the site, such as Ajax variations and swatches, smart filtering and a neat checkout are definitely some of the best we’ve encountered. It’s fair to say that WooCommerce is fully loaded and while we can’t quite agree that its truly ‘enterprise level’, it certainly damn near fits that bill.
Great for: Full Online Store
eShop Review – Free
This plugin by Quirm.net is one of the only in the range of top flight WordPress E-Commece plugins that is completely free. You might think that being completely free = minimal features, but you would be wrong. This is an excellent all round plugin which is solid and reliable with all standard payment gateways covered. Unlike the others it doesn’t have a ‘premium’ element, but should you get stuck there’s loads of documentation on the Quirm web site and also a very active online Forum.
What sets eShop out from the other plugins is that it can take any existing WordPress blog / CMS and turn it into a fully fledged online store at post level. So say for example you have been blogging about your piece of art, well now you can allow people to purchase that art with a simple product addition in the custom meta in the post. This means rather than a traditional store you can offer post by post purchases. So if you don’t want to have to create an online ‘Shop’ and want to keep everything neatly integrated into an existing format then this plugin could fit the bill.
With eShop you can also turn Custom Posts into online ordering items with the following code snippet:-
eShop with Custom Posts[php]
/* Add eshop to custom posts */
Great for: Existing WordPress Blogs that you want to monetize easily
WP e-Commerce – Free, with further free/paid plugins
No Worpress E-Commerce line-up would be complete without WP e-Commerce from GetShopped.org as this was the forerunner in the WordPress E-Commrcer stakes. Alas for us therein lies the problem – the plugin has become overstretched, buggy and whilst we have found that the support offered has improved overall it still feels lacking. To focus on the best bits the plugin offers an interesting slant on shopping with their premium ‘DropShop Drag & Drop Cart Widget’, but in reality the actual usefulness of the plugin is limited as users tend to find it easy enough to simply add an item to their basket. The plugin however does cover Digital Downloads and also you can easily monetize your NextGen Gallery with another premium ‘add-on’. On the negatives WP e-Commerce mainly lends itself to WP e-Commerce themes and this makes setup and indeed updates a real pain. We’ve found that fixing a bug on one set of templates is hen totally overridden and replaced by a set of new bug on update – for a developer that is pretty tiresome.
Overall this is one to consider, but wouldn’t really advocate it unless you are looking to extend the excellent NextGen Gallery or similar.
Great for: Extending NextGen Gallery
E-Commerce for Non WordPress Sites
There are loads of scripts for non-Wordpress sites, but of late we like the features presented by Shopify “Run your store from anywhere, anytime”.
The main difference with Shopify is that your shop is not self-hosted. The primary benefit of hosting a site is full control, but that’s not for every one and if you are looking to set up your own shop and have someone else take care of updates in the cloud then Shopify would be a good option for you. As the site is hosted by Shopify you will of course have to pay for the service and this is on a monthly basis. Current pricing as of Feb 2013 is Basic £19, Professional £38 (most popular with up to 2,500 products), Business £64 and Unlimited £115.
We’ll be doing a full review of Shopify in a later post, but in the mean time why not check it out as a viable alternative to a WordPress Shop