The 6 Best Ecommerce WordPress Plugins
[toc]When your business chooses to sell their products online, WordPress is often a first-choice for any developer. Ease of use and a seamless website integration is of the utmost importance when choosing a WP Ecommerce plugin for your online store.
Ecommerce WordPress plugins provide a “shopping cart” for Internet customers. When Internet shoppers browse a WordPress-based website, the user seeks various ways to verify the legitimacy and professionalism of the website. Choosing a plugin that provides all of these features can be rather difficult.
First (and most importantly), you must look at the ease of use factor. Finding a ecommerce WordPress plugin is easy – but adding products into a plugin can easily turn into a nightmare.
In order to find a plugin that will suit your specific needs, you must consider that multiple products will be added into most shopping carts; which is often a tedious task. Seek a shopping cart with great WordPress user reviews; and this will tell you which is the easiest to operate and install.
Secondly, you must look at the design of the plugin. Often, plugins add CSS code that can totally alter your design and layout. In addition, the shopping cart must blend in seamlessly with your website in order to provide a unique customer experience. This is able to create repeat customers and referrals for your business.
Lastly, a good WP ecommerce plugin will have simple documentation and support. While I reiterate the word “simple,” I will also mention the word “thorough.” The plugin should be easy to modify – yet detailed instructions should be provided in order for the designer to properly install the plugin.
The Top 6 Plugins
Here is a list of the top user-reviewed plugins to help you decide on which wp ecommerce plugin is right for you:
1) eShop – User rating: 4.5.
eShop is the highest rated WP ecommerce plugin available to date. Eshop provides users with a one-click installation, end user support, and an easy to use interface that would make WordPress’ own programmers jealous.
With a simple point and click, eShop allows customers to add products to their WordPress ecommerce website; requiring only a photo, description, and price. Customers are able to checkout using PayPal or with a credit card payment (with an Authorize.net account).
In addition, eShop provides excellent documentation and support for users. Instructions include a detailed description on how to implement the plugin and products within the user’s online store. The front-end interface is also visually appealing to customers – and the admin interface is very appealing to the designer.
credit photo: All WordPress Shopping Cart and Membership Plugins
Another popular plugin is the wpStoreCart. Although not quite as popular as eShop, wpStoreCart definitely includes many more customizable functions than that of eShop.
Documentation for this product is a must-read; as this plugin is a bit more difficult to implement than some others. Although it is a more involved process, the customization that can be obtained from using this plugin is most definitely worth the extra time.
Featuring customizable templates, credit card processing through Authorize.net, and international currency conversions – wpStoreCart is most definitely one of the top competitors in the ecommerce WordPress plugin market.
3) Image Store
Image Store is a very simple (and free) shopping cart plugin for WordPress. Image Store is an excellent title for this plugin; as the software provides an excellent viewing experience for shopping cart customers.
Image Store is mostly used within art stores or visual retailers – where visualization of the product is of the utmost importance. This plugin is able to provide the user with a detailed image of the product, and the ability to “zoom in” on the product for further visual detail.
Although the Image Store plugin is especially suitable for mostly art and visually-oriented sites, it can also be used to purchase regular online products. PayPal integration is also included with this plugin.
PHPPurchase is a simple (yet sophisticated) ecommerce plugin that provides users with a unique and fun shopping experience. The best part about PHPPurchase is the fact that WordPress designers are able to completely customize this plugin – if they have PHP programming knowledge.
Using open-source plugin code, PHP oriented programmers are able to completely customize the plugin with ease to a great extent. The plugin editor within the WordPress Dashboard allows the designer / programmer to customize the code within the plugin; making it seamlessly integrated with the WordPress website design.
Although this plugin is easy to use, it is very versatile. This plugin is a definite winner.
credit photo: Sean MacEntee
WPAuctions provides a user experience that can be compared to a combination of Craigslist and eBay. WPAuctions provides a shopping cart search engine, categorized list of products, and an “adjusted price” category that works just like eBay’s auction listing program.
WPAuctions is easy to install, easy to use, and is visually appealing. However, the designer may face difficulty when adding multiple products to the cart. Requiring many variables for product entry, the WPAuctions plugin is not the best choice for a shopping cart.
However, this is an excellent option for any auction-type WordPress website, where users are able to add products for sale online. The designer is able to specify whether or not users are allowed to add products, gain commission (or a set fee) for sales and product additions, and create an eBay-similar website with ease.
For public auction websites, this plugin is highly recommended.
WPEcommerce is the final plugin that I will mention. When you need to determine specific factors that need to be accomplished within your WordPress store, you should consider WPEcommerce. This plugin provides all necessary features that were mentioned above with the plugin competitors; such as: a user friendly interface, choice of templates and layouts, credit card processor integration, and an easy to use admin section.
Although this is not the most popular plugin (and certainly not the cheapest), WPEcommerce is rated at 3 stars through user reviews; giving us a general idea that more people are satisfied with this plugin than not.
Instructions for Ecommerce WordPress Plugin Installation
To install any WordPress plugin, the easiest and most efficient way to do this is through the WordPress dashboard. If you have purchased a plugin, you may need to upload your attachment via the online uploading section of the “Install Plugins” tab within WordPress.
If you have not yet purchased a shopping cart plugin, you can simply type the name of the plugin that you wish to purchase within the search bar. After clicking on the link that says “Install Plugins” you will be directed to a section of the WordPress dashboard where you are able to purchase and/or download new plugins to your WordPress website.
After installation, most plugin options will either have their own menu choice, or their options will be located underneath the “settings” tab on the left side of your WordPress admin menu. Choosing the installed script will allow you to add products within the shopping cart, edit themes, and change other options that will affect your users’ shopping experience.
Adding Products to your Ecommerce WordPress Plugin
When installation is finished, you can add products to your website with a simple point and click upload interface. FTP access is usually not required to use many of the features that are associated with these plugins. You can simply choose a photo, enter a description and price, and watch your store items populate right before your own eyes.
Adding products can be a very monotonous task, so you want to make sure that you are able to choose a plugin that will ensure a simple product addition routine to your store.
For a good plugin, any product additions will be a very simple process. Always review the product documentation before purchasing any ecommerce plugin to see what is involved with adding products.
In addition to manual product insertion, many plugins offer an import function. Importing products into your website through an Excel spreadsheet is the easiest way to populate your online store inventory. Sections are added that specify the product image, description, price, taxes (if any), and additional product information (such as shipping costs and weight). If your products are listed in an Excel spreadsheet, or if you would rather use Excel to add products to your website, finding a plugin that is able to import spreadsheets would enable you to add your items with ease.
Incorporating Customization Into Your WordPress Store
Customization of plugins and templates should be the most easy function within any ecommerce plugin. On the WordPress Dashboard, you should see a setting that allows you to edit the appearance of the plugin template. You can either alter the template or choose a pre-installed template that closely matches your website’s layout and color scheme.
All plugins are editable through the WordPress dashboard. From here, you can change the specific codes that allow the plugin to function; as well as the CSS files that provide the look and feel of the shopping cart. This allows a seamless and custom experience that will “brand” your store to the specific feel and style of your online business.
Authorize.net and PayPal integration
Another very important aspect to consider when choosing an ecommerce plugin for your WordPress website is: credit card purchase options.
Although all aforementioned plugins within this article include PayPal integration, some do not include Authorize.net integration. For many online customers, this is a major drawback – as many prefer not to use PayPal for their online purchases for various reasons.
There are many credit card processors to choose from online, but Authorize.net creates an easy to use integration protocol that is already included with most shopping cart plugins. Customers may choose to use their credit card without ever entering the PayPal shopping cart processor, and can instead use their credit card directly for the purchase.
Many WordPress shopping cart plugins include the Authorize.net feature that is pre-integrated with the plugin itself. Before choosing a plugin, decide if you need to offer this functionality to customers. Purchasing a pre-integrated credit card processor will enable your customers to have purchase options; and enable your online store to make more sales.
The Importance of Visualization for Online Shoppers
Lastly, we will review the most important aspect of your plugin purchase decision. You should ask yourself: what product am I selling? What type of online store is this? Are my products visually oriented, or are they item specific?
For instance, if you are selling art prints or other visually oriented products, you would want to use a plugin that is able to offer image enhancements. Many shopping carts offer zoom-in features, image enlargements, and other ways to help the customer to see detail within the product.
For customers that are purchasing item specific products, such as power tools or toilet paper, this visualization is obviously not necessary. Customers who purchase art prints would like to see a “close up” version of their product before their purchase. Customers who are seeking to purchase items such as tools, parts, and home supplies want nothing more than a price and a description.
This is the single most important aspect in determining which plugin is right for your website. Offering a visual enhancement for customers will most definitely increase sales – but only when it is the right product. Offering item specific details will increase purchases – but only when the customer wants to know exactly what they want to buy; based on specific needs for their particular situation.
By giving your customer a professional and seamless shopping experience, you can easily determine your online business’ success. Finding the best wp ecommerce plugin relies on various comparisons that the designer must bear in mind when integrating the online store with the current website design.
Providing an easy to use and well-groomed interface for you customer website will create repeat customers and referrals that will guarantee business success. Choosing a plugin that will benefit your customers is of the utmost importance when seeking success in an online store.
The easiest way to start selling your product online is with WordPress. When seeking a plugin that will suit your specific needs – remember: the customer is the most important aspect of any business.
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