Best WordPress E-Commerce Plugins 2012

Glenn Glenn's Blog 24 Comments

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.

Jigoshop Review

Free, with further free/paid plugins

Best WordPress E-Commerce Plugins 2012 Best WordPress E-Commerce Plugins 2012 best wordpress ecommerce plugin jigoshop

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

MarketPress Review

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

WooCommerce Review

Free, with further free/paid plugins/Membership/Club

Best WordPress E-Commerce Plugins 2012 Best WordPress E-Commerce Plugins 2012 woo commerce

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.

Oh and did we mention that WooCommerce is the next logical step from WooThemes. Combining WooCommerce and WooThemes you could get a store up and running pretty quickly.

Great for: Full Online Store

eShop Review – Free

Best WordPress E-Commerce Plugins 2012 Best WordPress E-Commerce Plugins 2012 eshop wordpress ecommerce plugin

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 */
add_filter(‘eshop_post_types’,’mycustomtype’);
function mycustomtype($array){
$array[]=’enter-your-custom-post-tyoe-here’;
return $array;
}
[/php]

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

About the Author
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Glenn

A highly experienced WordPress Web Developer, Front-end and Back-end Developer & New Media Specialist with extensive knowledge of a wide spectrum of technologies in the Development and Creative Industries built up over a number of years.

Comments 24

  1. eShop is not free. It has paid plugins, some of which would be considered essential by many online retailers. A limiting factor in all of these plugins is the inability to bulk upload without paying for a plugin.

  2. Post
    Author

    Hi Keith

    We’ve called this plugin ‘Free’ as it includes a large range of features and payment providers meaning that it can work out of the box:-

    “eShop is an accessible shopping cart plugin for WordPress. Features include multiple merchant payment gateways; a range of shipping options; sales tax by country or state; featured/sale items and discount options. Compatible with WP Affiliate, WPMU/Multisite capable and translation-ready.”

    However as you have noted there are eShop Add-Ons:-

    http://quirm.net/eshop-add-ons/

    However only the Affiliates pro plugin appears as premium and thats not really a core function of the e-commerce system and is provided by a third party.

    Thanks for highlighting that there is a ‘paid for’ element related to the plugin.

    Best

    Glenn

  3. Nice to see a recent review.

    Are there free responsive themes that work well with any of these plugins?

    Thank you.

    I would have normally gone for WPEC, but Jigoshop is tempting.

    Out of the box, I would simply want a nice responsive theme (which I can customize via CSS), and an online store than can handle multiple products, PayPal/cheque/bank transfer, and a reasonable back end (automated invoices, order confirmations) — all for free. Does it qualify in your mind?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Rudi

      The great thing about all of these plugins is that they are E-Commerce plugins that will work with most existing WordPress themes so you don’t necessarily have to use a theme specifically for the plugin. Other plugins such as WP E-commerce require theme customisation and that can be a pain when the plugin is updated.

      For the Jigoshop route (which is definitely a good one) you can actually select from a range of their own ‘official’ themes and these are responsive and Jigoshop ready. if you are a Jigoshop Club Member you can choose any at no additional cost or alternatively for a budget option you can x2 themes in their $100 bundle. As we’ve said above the Jigoshop Club is only $500 for loads of really great plugins and themes. Your other option is to get the core Jigoshop plugin for free and use an existing Free WordPress theme or purchase a third party Jigoshop theme which would be circa $55. All of these themes and extensions are found on the Jigooshop web site under menu item ‘Extend’.

      Overall for best results ‘Out of the box’ with Jigoshop you may need to spend a few dollars, but then for a really small outlay you would have a nice responsive site. For just $40 you could purchase an official Jigoshop theme and achieve everything you were looking for.

  4. I used a free theme called Mio by Splashing Pixels which integrated beautifully with both WP E-commcerce and Woocommerce. In the end, I chose to go with Woocommerce because I thought it flowed a little more professionally and was a bit easier to customize (I had image issues with WP E-commerce.)

    I was up and running out of the box in two days.

    It’s a great way to see what you can do at no cost. I was impressed with Splashing Pixels free theme, and plan on buying one of their reasonably priced ones soon.

    Also, there are more plug-ins for WP E-commerce, but Woothemes had everything I needed. I’d recommend some generic ones as well, like the real thumbnail regenerator and image SEO.

    Good luck!

  5. I have made sites with woocommerce plugin and bought extensions and after their recent hack have lost all access to my plugins! I have emailed customer support and they simply dont reply. I think they are not the same company they use to be and are only interested in making as much profit as possible. They have also recently added a factor taht says that if you buy an extension you can only use it on ONE site only, when you use to be able to use it on all your sites.

    As another point, if you want to make a complete ecommerce site then use a dedicated ecommerce system, because wordpress is set up for blogging its backend user interface becomes confusing to clients when you try and add a complex shop

  6. Post
    Author

    Hi Lawrence

    It sounds like your WordPress is corrupted, rather than an issue with the Woo Commerce plugin. Have you tried reinstalling WordPress and then seeing if any plugins are conflicting by disabling them sequentially? Also check for Timthumb.php in any of your scripts as if you have an old version a backdoor issue would open your Blog to attack which corrupts all php files.

    Regarding making a complete E-Commerce site I definitely can’t agree that WordPress doesn’t suit. Originally WordPress was indeed a ‘Blogging’ platform, but it’s now so much more and rather is more akin to an advanced CMS. Also all of the plugins above circumvent the WordPress backend for purchasing and user profiles so I’m not sure why clients/users would be using this when then can login and view their orders in the front end? The backend when used for direct ‘client’s’ admin and order processing is very simple to understand in our opinion. Everything is listed intuitively in the extended WordPress Dashboard.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Azubuike

      If you are working on a WordPress Multi Site (like Etsy) then we do recommend MarketPress, otherwise we suggest Jigoshop or Woo Commerce as they tend to be styalistically better right now. I would say that if you are in the US then Woo Commerce may be more favoutrable, but for UK or European users then Jigoshop will probably be the best fit. All support ‘Digital Downloads’, but as you are quite possibly using Amazon then the Jigoshop “Amazon Simple Pay Gateway” could be very useful as it provides payments for your customers by sending them to the Amazon Payments site to complete a transaction. Regarding Themes all the plugins suggested here come with themes and you should choose the one that suits your brand best.

  7. Post
    Author

    I was just asked which plugin to use for UK market and whether Woo Commerce (or Shopp – not yet tested here) would fit the bill – so I thought I’d share my thoughts we everyone. The short answer is that Woo Commerce is a solid choice for UK, US or any other location, but that Jigoshop is more UK centric as it’s built by Jigowatt (who are a UK company). If you are on Woo Commerce and ultimately want to switch to Jigoshop, or vice versa, then both companies offer free plugins to make this pretty painless. Check out their plugin repositories.

  8. I found this blog post after searching for WP-ECommere alternatives after having an absolute nightmare with WPEC bugs this week. After reading the comments I’m about to give Jigoshop a try.

  9. Post
    Author

    Hi Katie

    Yes that’s pretty much been our experience of WP-ECommerce. Additionally this particular plugin is prone to issues on updates also. So you think you’ve got a working site and then on update it instantly becomes incompatible with your theme.

    If you are using Jigoshop then I recommend that you also look at Headway Themes or Pagelines WordPress Drag & Drop frameworks as they both support Jigoshop.
    Good luck
    Glenn

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Simon

      Thanks for your post for this new WordPress E-Commerce plugin. We will aim to review this, but in the meantime if anyone out there has already used ‘Ready! Ecommerce Shopping Cart’ then please do post your comments – we greatly appreciate other user feedback!!!

      Thanks

      Glenn

  10. From my personal and professional experience, the only cart listed above that I would touch going forward is woocommerce. I’ve used every cart listed above, and have had problems, hassles, and unnecessary stresses along the way with all of them. The down side to all of them, including woocommerce is the fact that to make them all overly powerful and rich of features, you need to buy up a lot of plugins.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Brandon

      We can’t say we’ve had any particular hassles with the other plugins, but I do agree that the majority of these plugins require further plugins to make them more powerful. Whilst this seems counterintuitive there are benefits to this:-

      1. The core plugin size is reduced and this decreasing the load on any site
      2. Not all the Plugin features are required by all users
      3. The open-source nature of the plugins allows plugin authors to extend the core plugin in ways that the lead developers may not have envisaged or given enough priority

      In the case of Jigoshop and Woo Commerce both offer a number of Free extensions to give you a powerful web store, but yes you are absolutely right that there are others that really ought to be free that you have to pay for. Jigoshop had a ‘Club’ that offered a lifetime of bundled plugins, but I see on checking that this isn’t currently marketed. I’ll check with Jigowatt (the plugin authors) to see if this is discontinued.

      Cheers
      Glenn

  11. Post
    Author

    Just to confirm that Jigowatt have indeed closed the Jigoshop ‘Club’. This means that plugins are either now Free or purchased separately or as bundled deals.

  12. Do any of these carts offer the facility to restrict orders to a postcode radius (UK)? Client only delivers to within 30 miles of their store (rightly or wrongly, their choice) so would need this to show when user puts in their details.

  13. Does anyone know of a e-commerce extension where you can run several sites using the same backend data? i.e. skins/multisite but you have one dashboard where you can see all your producsts/orders from the various sites?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Rex

      The closest you will get to this is definitely Marketpress by wpmu. It’s built with WordPress Multisite in mind and from this you can run site like Etsy. I’d recommend that you sign up for membership rather than just buying the plugin on it’s own. wpmu also offer other great plugins like ‘Membership’ that would seamlessly link to your store(s).

      Cheers
      Glenn

  14. Post
    Author
  15. I’m currently in the process of researching various WordPress-based E-Commerce solutions and these reviews have been a great help. They’re exceptionally well prepared, easy to read and I’m really glad I stumbled upon them. Thanks!

  16. @ Rudi, (or anyone looking for the same), I can heartily recommend Weaver II as a free responsive theme that works well with WP e-commerce, (Jigoshop too), with me having several online shops using it and it being really versatile and easy to modify, having many sub themes and a simple to use interface to modify almost all aspects of your sites look.

    There is also a great priced premium version that allows even more versatility, can I suggest that you check it out.

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