Practical Ecommerce

4 Popular WordPress Ecommerce Platforms

Most products for sale online are straightforward, with variations mainly in colors and sizes. WordPress ecommerce plugins can be an easy, inexpensive way to sell these items. If you already have a WordPress website, or plan to build one, here are four popular WordPress ecommerce plugins.

WooCommerce

  • Number of themes on ThemeForest: 123
  • Number of plugins on CodeCanyon: 165
  • WordPress.org downloads: 1,549,902
  • WordPress.org rating: 4.1
  • Cost: Free

WooCommerce is the second only to WP e-Commerce for the number of downloads. But it has the highest plugin rating of the four choices in this article. There is strong activity and support from the community forums on WooThemes, although to receive premium support you must purchase a theme or plugin from WooThemes.

WooCommerce.

WooCommerce.

A strength of WooCommerce is the large amount of plugins and themes available directly from WooThemes or on third party sites such as ThemeForest and CodeCanyon. The number of available themes dwarfs any other WordPress ecommerce plugin. Many choose WooCommerce for that reason.

WooCommerce is free. If you have simple products, use a free theme, and don’t require many customizations, this can be one of the cheaper choices. The costs can add up, however, with premium plugins.

One downside to WooCommerce is that takes a good amount of development to create custom product pages. You can, however, extend the functionality from simple products to complex ones with plugins, such as Gravity Forms Add-ons. I’ve done this for a recent client, as shown in this example.

WP e-Commerce

  • Number of themes on ThemeForest: 13
  • Number of plugins on CodeCanyon: 40
  • WordPress.org downloads: 2,581,768
  • WordPress.org rating: 2.8
  • Cost: Free, with premium packages available.

WP e-Commerce was one of the first ecommerce plugins for WordPress. With over 2.5 million downloads, WP e-Commerce has remained the most popular choice for the past 5 years. It has a good amount of themes on ThemeForest and through its own website.

WP E-Commerce

WP e-Commerce.

WP e-Commerce also has the most polarized ratings on WordPress.org, with more 1 star reviews than any other ecommerce plugin. Since moving the forums to WordPress.org, many users cite a low amount of support. Premium support is an option for users that need personal attention.

WP e-Commerce comes standard with many features that WooCommerce requires a plugin for. This includes multi-tier pricing for quantity discounts. WooCommerce requires a $129 Dynamic Pricing plugin for this.

Jigoshop

  • Number of themes on ThemeForest: 6
  • Number of plugins on CodeCanyon: 54
  • WordPress.org downloads: 278,968
  • WordPress.org rating: 3.9
  • Cost: Free

Jigoshop is the predecessor to WooCommerce, which was built as a fork of this open source ecommerce platform. Jigoshop is still going strong, however. It has one of the best ratings from users on WordPress.org.

Jigoshop.

Jigoshop.

Although its selection of themes and plugins on CodeCanyon and ThemeForest is small, Jigoshop has a large amount of premium themes for sale on its website.

For support, the WordPress.org page is free. Access to Jigoshop.com’s community support forum, however, costs $39.99 per month.  An annual support contract is $239.99 per year, saving $249.00.

Cart66 Lite

  • Number of themes on ThemeForest: 4
  • Number of plugins on CodeCanyon: 0
  • WordPress.org downloads: 124,136
  • WordPress.org rating: 2.9
  • Cost: Free for Lite; $25 per month for Cart66 Cloud

Unlike the other three plugins, Cart66 Lite is available on its WordPress.org page only. It has the smallest number of downloads. But is worth considering, depending on your business. Like WP e-Commerce, Cart66 Lite has polarized reviews.

Cart66 Lite.

Cart66 Lite.

There are not many themes available for Cart66 on ThemeForest, but with premium Cart66 packages such as Cart66 Pro or Cart66 Cloud, you’ll have additional theme options.

Some advanced integrations — such as Gravity Forms or additional payment gateways — require the Cart66 Professional (paid) version. Only community support is available for Cart66 Lite. You must upgrade the plugin for premium support. Many reviewers have noted a lack of documentation for Cart66 Lite.

Choose What’s Best for Your Business

Read the WordPress.org forums, especially posts like this one that compare the different plugins. Read the reviews on every plugin page . Look for users who have found problems or solutions that are most relevant for your situation.

Joe Robison
Joe Robison
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Comments ( 55 )

  1. Chris English October 16, 2013 Reply

    Nice article as I’ve started designing a few small ecommerce shops for clients based on WordPress.

    • Joe Robison October 22, 2013 Reply

      Great! WordPress shops are great for small clients, they tend to be easier to set up for a smaller amount of products than using a dedicated platform.

  2. Jan Brown October 16, 2013 Reply

    WordPress is a great tool for blogging, but not for e-commerce. WordPress has become the favorite platform for hackers lately, and you dont want your shopping cart with customer and payment details hacked. I recommend a dedicated Shopping Cart like CS-Cart instead. Get your free trial version here: http://www.nettxpress.no

    • Joe Robison October 22, 2013 Reply

      Hi Jan – if implemented well, WordPress can also be used well for e-commerce especially for shop owners already on the WordPress platform. As far as hacking, if the shop owner takes some extra security steps, and uses services such as VaultPress, WordPress can be just as secure as anything else. CS-Cart is worth checking out as well, as you recommend.

      • Chris English October 24, 2013 Reply

        Thanks for the info about VaultPress.

  3. Dan October 16, 2013 Reply

    Great writeup. As you’ve mentioned WooCommerce is one if the best, if not the best eCommerce plugin for WordPress mainly due to the community around it. However recent price increases has made it the most expensive option! If you need additional themes, plugins or extensions for it we offer an alternative option, providing low cost access to the files without offering support. See our website here: https://gplclub.org/

    • Joe Robison October 22, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for the comment Dan. It depends on whether the buyer wants the premium support or just wants lower prices themes and plugins. Thanks!

  4. Manuel Schmutte October 17, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for this overview!
    I’m just doing a small poll about WooCommerce. Maybe you could help me and answer the question:
    “How many products do you offer in your WooCommerce shop?”

    http://twtpoll.com/WooCommerceSize

    The results will be blogged at http://marketpress.com/news/

    • Joe Robison October 22, 2013 Reply

      Hey Manuel, looks like a lot of people are selling 250-1000 products in their shops, which is surprising!

  5. Devin October 17, 2013 Reply

    I’ve only used WooCommerce but it seems to do the trick well enough, definitely for more advanced solutions you’ll want to look at when you move up the food chain a bit. Haven’t heard much about anything else rather than WP e-Commerce

    • Joe Robison October 22, 2013 Reply

      Hey Devin – good to hear you’re happy with WooCommerce. When you have the time it’s worth testing other platforms just for your own knowledge for future client projects.

  6. krish October 18, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for sharing your valuable wordpress ecommerce platform websites. These ecommerce websites will help to new users. keep it up!!!

    • Joe Robison October 22, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for the support Krish, hopefully it helps clear up a bit of the noise and makes the choices easier for new users.

  7. Kerry Morvel October 18, 2013 Reply

    Many thanks for this fresh review!
    As for me, WooCommerce is the best option. It gives all you need to handle a profitable store online. Here is another distinctive reivew of WooCommerce http://www.shopping-cart-migration.com/blog/63-woocommerce-blog/13634-7-reasons-to-choose-woocommerce-for-your-online-store

    • Joe Robison October 22, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for the feedback Kerry. WooCommerce has worked well for me as well but some people prefer other platforms. If users don’t have time to test I recommend WooCommerce, but testing out the others is a good best practice.

    • kennie January 16, 2014 Reply

      Please how do i keep track of customer transactions with my WooCommerce site? is it possible to store transaction details in a table?

      Will appreciate a quick response.

      Thanks

      • Joe Robison March 31, 2014 Reply

        If you go to WooCommerce -> Orders you’ll see a list of your most recent orders, so you can go in there and view the details and even send emails to customers from there if I remember correctly.

  8. Ketty October 20, 2013 Reply

    Nice article! I m wordpress developer and currently develop product based ecommerce website. Woocommerce is best option for building ecommerce website. I can easily customize images and videos with Woocommerce. if you are interested to hire wordpress developer then visit http://www.cygnet-infotech.com/ecommerce-solutions

    • Joe Robison October 22, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for the feedback Ketty – seems that WooCommerce is quite popular for eCommerce. There is easy customization available for sure.

  9. Dave Hyman October 28, 2013 Reply

    Enjoyed this piece.

    WP also recently added a free Yotpo product reviews account to their offerings. This is a great top shelf tool available for free. Check it out:

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/yotpo-social-reviews-for-wp-e-commerce/

    • Joe Robison November 11, 2013 Reply

      Looks like a helpful plugin – will have to check it out!

  10. Josh November 3, 2013 Reply

    I also would like to recommend you these eCommerce templates that are very powerful: http://templendo.com/ecommerce-wordpress-themes/

  11. Leo Koo November 4, 2013 Reply

    Thanks, each of these has it’s weaknesses. Perhaps a more thorough review would help

    1) WooCommerce is definitely one of the fastest growing ecommerce systems, and in terms of plugins providing ecommerce, the fastest growing (trends.builtwith.com) However, prices are expensive now, compared to previously. Not everyone can afford USD 3k to 5k and a yearly renewal of 50% if they’re just starting

    2) Cart66 has stopped developing the self hosted plugin since months ago. Hardly see any updates on our plugin. Plus, if your 1 year expires, you cannot download the plugin again. But if you have a copy of the plugin and your code, you’ll get support up to v2 onwards. They need to improve on this

    3) WP e-Commerce needs to brand themselves. Too much negative feedback on the earlier versions of WPeC

    4) Jigoshop should NOT start charging for yearly renewal since they’re already charging for support. However, if its a bug, will the user get charged?

    Also, do consider Shopp and iTheme’s Exchange =)

    • Chris English November 6, 2013 Reply

      I used Shopp when it was first introduced. Haven’t checked it since.. maybe I need to revisit it.

      What do you think of WP e-Commerce now. Functionality wise?

    • Joe Robison November 11, 2013 Reply

      Hey Leo – thanks for your additional input. Yes you’re right – we could write for days on a thorough review on each of these platforms!
      For WooCommerce, with the 3k to 5k are you referring to the cost of hiring a developer to build a sit? And is the 50% renewal cost you’re referring to for developer support or for WooCommerce support? Thanks for your input on the other platforms as well

  12. Andy November 11, 2013 Reply

    Great article, thanks!

    But is $40/month the same as $240/year?

  13. Christopher English November 17, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for this article. I was working in WP-Commerce and it was taking me a long time to get any traction in it.

    I switched to WooCommerce and finished my first wordpress store in about 3 days with nothing more than free plugins.

    http://ratchet-tees.com/

    Thanks again.

    • Danish November 20, 2013 Reply

      Is there any annual charges on using any plugins in WooCommerce? I am inspired by many comments here to try WooCommerce for my new customer but I am afraid is it all free life time or do I need to pay something on annual basis for any plugin.

      • Joe Robison November 21, 2013 Reply

        “Each license is valid one year from the date of your purchase. You can renew your license for another year within 60 days of your license expiring at 50% off the original product price…The product will continue to work after your license expires.” Their FAQ page has more answers – http://www.woothemes.com/frequently-asked-questions/#license-3

        • Christopher English November 28, 2013

          Isn’t there only a fee for the “Club Subscription” to access their themes? If you’re building your own theme and you’re utilizing free plugins.. then the cost to you is zero, correct?

  14. atul sharma November 28, 2013 Reply

    Great! This article is very helpful for our ecommerce WordPress theme.

    • Joe Robison March 31, 2014 Reply

      Glad you found it helpful Atul – do you use WooCommerce?

  15. Anny December 7, 2013 Reply

    WooCommerce is a great choice. It provides you the best tools on the market that will help you a lot. Here you can find some of their themes: http://templendo.com/ecommerce-wordpress-themes/

  16. victoriabrown December 10, 2013 Reply

    WordPress is the best for blogging. if you want to make ecommerce site then most prefer language is Magento. If you are doing full ecommerce site, you never use wordpress. http://www.shivam.com.au/website-development/e-commerce-solutions.html

    • Joe Robison March 31, 2014 Reply

      Hi Victoria – as I’ve used WooCommerce for more complex projects, I 100% agree that WooCommerce should not be the default for WooCommerce. Just because you already know WordPress does not mean you should only consider WooCommerce, it may be an upfront challenge to learn a new platform like Magento, but for complex ecommerce projects it can save you time down the line.

      If your website is blog-centric, or a fairly simple site and you want to sell simpler products, then WooCommerce can be a good solution. But I would agree your statement.

  17. Jarl December 20, 2013 Reply

    Joe,

    I read your article and I’ll choose either the ‘Woo’ or the ‘WP e-commerce’. My question to you – Is it possible to deactivate the ‘TRANSACTION’-part in the checkout? I’m in need of a “QUOTE-SYSTEM” and will not need to make my client pay directly via the portal..

    Many thanks
    /Jarl

    • Joe Robison March 31, 2014 Reply

      Hi Jarl – If I understand it correctly that you want to just give a quote and not have the customers pay online, then you should just look at forms for the customer to fill out and send to you. I’d recommend Contact Form 7 for free, or Gravity Forms as a better version that’s paid. Good luck!

  18. Lucien January 14, 2014 Reply

    and WPshop ? It’s a french plugin, what is your opinion on this?

    http://www.wpshop.fr/

    • Joe Robison March 31, 2014 Reply

      Look promising Lucien, but I haven’t tested it myself yet. I don’t know French yet, so that might be a barrier if the instructions are only in French :)

  19. Mark O'Leary January 28, 2014 Reply

    I’ve written a blogpost outlining why I think WooCommerce is the best! http://bit.ly/1dM0Tzk

    • Joe Robison March 31, 2014 Reply

      Hey Mark,

      Great write up on WooCommerce, and I would agree with all of your points. You explained how to integrate WooCommerce with existing themes well, which is important to note. When it comes to WordPress eCommerce, I think WooCommerce is just about the best out there which is why it’s so popular. I do think WooCommerce has a long way to go though before it can compete on overall functionality with the likes of Magento or even Shopify and BigCommerce.

      It’s great for WordPress users looking for a well integrated shop – I would however advise looking for something more robust if the website owner is looking for a complex Ecommerce platform. I do love WooCommerce for certain projects!

  20. Psd to Html Experts February 11, 2014 Reply

    I guess You have skipped Themesforest.

    That is also a good platform for WordPress themes.

    Psd to Html Experts recently posted Top 8 wordpress Plugins

    • Joe Robison March 31, 2014 Reply

      We’re discussing ecommerce platforms here, not themes so Themeforest wouldn’t fit in with one of these 4 platforms. They do sell themes that fit with each of these platforms though, which is why I love Themeforest!

  21. Mahmudul Alam Mithun February 15, 2014 Reply

    thanks for your beautiful post and i found this too much helpful with lots of details informations about this four tools. i used WooCommerce and its design and working capability with any theme just blows my mind. one thing that really annoyed me using woocommerce that is, i saw that someone bought my product but when i login to my paypal account and then i see that there is no payment. that means there was many unsuccessful payments with woocommerce. http://ecommercetips.net/wordpress-ecommerce-website-details/

    • Joe Robison March 31, 2014 Reply

      That does sound frustrating Mahmudul! I don’t have a solution for you without knowing more but I would agree there are still some kinks for WooCommerce to work out.

  22. Ryan February 20, 2014 Reply

    This is definitely a good article! WordPress is arguably the most popular option to choose from. Combining them with a legit online shopping cart like Ecwid is great in my opinion. I’m surprised that Ecwid was not mentioned in this post! http://www.ecwid.com/wordpress

    • Joe Robison March 31, 2014 Reply

      Hi Ryan – I did consider Ecwid for this post, but I didn’t see many themes and plugins for Ecwid on Themeforest, which was part of my decision for leaving it out. I would love to dig more into the pros and cons of Ecwid and other platforms for WooCommerce

  23. tomas March 12, 2014 Reply

    Why does the internet community ignore the ongoing user aspect of ecommerce plugins. I have yet to find any website discussing ongoing maintenance and upkeep on areas such as global price changes. Lets face it, if you have a commerce website with 1,000 items or variations and you need to change the prices in line with RPI, you need a simple method of doing so. Developers need to take some feedback from long terms users (not other developers) on basic housekeeping needs.

    • Joe Robison March 31, 2014 Reply

      Tomas – you’re definitely right. There are a lot of things in my development with WordPress ecommerce (WooCommerce specifically) that I found lacking. Developers should absolutely listen to shop owners more to solve their problems.

      One idea is you could have this plugin custom built and pay the upfront costs for development, then sell the plugin on Themeforest or another plugin site and split the revenue with the developer to recover your upfront costs!

  24. Cameron Shilts June 23, 2014 Reply

    Hello. I found a free template http://justpx.com/theme-jshop-free I hope you’ll find my comment helpful.

  25. Bright Verge November 4, 2014 Reply

    I strongly recommend Simplest Gallery plugin for your blog or site, which im using on my site http://www.brightverge.com because, it supports multiple addon styles like NextGen but builds on top WordPress standard galleries so it’s simpler, lighter, more stable than many alternatives…

  26. Josh November 6, 2014 Reply

    I am the owner of the WordPress Shopping Cart and found this article and wanted to append to it a few of my thoughts.

    first, many of these are listed as free, but if you take woo commerce and add up various modules, it can be quite expensive in reality.

    Add a payment gateway, add UPS or FedEx, add other modules and it goes up quickly.

    We produced a good comparison chart on our website showing this reality check: http://www.wpeasycart.com/wordpress-shopping-cart-comparison/

    We are always striving to make high end features in a low cost plugin, but encourage others to leave feedback on this reality.

  27. Ecommerce Website Development November 24, 2014 Reply

    Hi. Thanks for sharing this informative article. I also agree that for any best ecommerce website development – it can be best built based on the opensource CMS, WordPress. Among various plug-ins WooCommerce is the best one, as users can later on edit the contents as per requirement.

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