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Factors to Consider in choosing a WordPress e-Commerce Plugin

October 31, 2016


WordPress is one of the most popular open source content management systems available online. Though it can be compared with Google’s Blogger and TypePad, WordPress is far more functional nowadays.

With WordPress, you can set-up an online store in just a small amount of time and with no sweat. However if you’re selling products online, you need to take a serious look at WordPress not just a blog platform but an e-commerce platform.

WordPress e-commerce plugins are not so new anymore. There are plenty of them online and they’ve been still developing some more within the WordPress community.

If you are a WordPress user planning to use WordPress as your e-commerce platform you might be asking the question “How do you know which one to choose from all of these e-commerce plugins?” If that’s your question, you came at the right place.

On this article, we will take a look on the factors to consider in choosing a WordPress e-commerce plugins. I’ll also review some of the good e-commerce plugins that you can use on your site that will surely help you build your online store with flying colors.

Factors to Consider

main-qimg-d6c08a01a3a64db24ddd2475c13fd772

Image Source:www.quora.com

The following are the factors you need to consider when choosing a WordPress e-commerce plugin. Make sure to check out on the following and that you take the time to make a wise and informed decision in choosing one to avoid future issues.

1. Compatibility

Before choosing any e-commerce plugin, you must first check if the plugin is compatible with the latest version of WordPress. For years there are a lot of issues when it comes to compatibility and is driving WordPress users crazy when it breaks something on their site. Aside from the fact that it may affect the active theme in your WordPress site it may also lead to some security issues later on.

2. Up-to-date Documentation and Support

This is a very important factor you need to look on as this will be your manual for the plugin. It would help a lot as you explore how to use the plugin, especially when adding products and manipulating information to your site. If you run into some problems and you have questions, it would be great if there’s a support that you can drop a message with to help you solve your issues.

3. Ease of Use

One thing you need to remember about e-commerce plugin is that you will use them every day to manage your products as well as perform various business activities. It is important to check how easy it is to use the plugin by checking a demo, screenshots as well as the backend options. The easier the e-commerce plugin to use the better you can manage your e-commerce operations.

4. Feature List

A lot of WordPress e-commerce plugins nowadays offers multiple features quoting their plugin as “All in One plugin”. However, it is very important to analyze the list of features you need in your business. For instance, if you are selling products internationally, you might check if the plugin offers multi-currency features so that your customer can pay in their preferred currency.

Sometimes you also need to customize some available options on your WordPress plugin to fit your certain business requirements. It is worth reviewing the list of the features of the e-commerce plugin before installing it. Some of the good feature lists that you might found are the following:

  • Catalog and Product management
  • Sales pricing
  • Coupon Options
  • Shopping Cart
  • Detailed reports of sales, orders and store performance
  • Multi-currency
  • Tax option
  • Several payment options including credit cards, cash on delivery, cheque, PayPal and so on
  • WordPress widget support
  • Shortcode and template tag features
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Social sharing
  • SEO-ready
  • Mobile-ready
  • SSL certificates

5. Search Engine Friendly Architecture

It is true that setting up your online store is the first step to your business success however it doesn’t end there. You also need to take care of your WordPress site’s traffic or also known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization). One of the best approaches is On-Page SEO which refers to the management and quality of your content. Some of the elements of On-Page optimization are useful content, keywords, description and so on.

Good thing some of the e-commerce plugins have a great way to optimize the keywords and descriptions to help your e-commerce site rank well on Search Engines. One of the best features of any WordPress e-commerce plugin is that you can integrate social media such as Facebook from your website to sell products on your site. This gives more interactivity to your site and the customer in the social media community.

6. Security

Every e-commerce websites are collecting both payment and confidential data that are related to customers. It is worth taking time to check how safe and secured an e-commerce plugin is.

Any code you run in your server are not guaranteed safe. That’s been said, popular plugins have probably some secret codes on it. You probably don’t need to go over them scrutinizing before installing them however it is worth doing some steps to make sure your site secure before and after you installing the e-commerce plugin of your choice.

Before Installation

  • Make sure to look at the feedback the plugin received on wordpress.org or external site, what kind of rating does it have? what comments/questions are asked?
  • If you already decided which one to choose backup your WordPress site’s data prior to the installation process.

After Installation

Scan your e-commerce plugin using other WordPress plugins which checks for malicious codes in your site. You can use the following plugins to scan and check your e-commerce plugin:

1. Theme-Check

theme-check

Image Source:www.wordpress.org

There are a lot of free themes aren’t available directly from WordPress.org but are available on an external site. The reason behind this is that most free themes don’t pass the tests that WordPress.org subjects them too. This plugin will provide you with all the testing tools you will need to test your WordPress site’s security. It’s also useful for theme developers who want to make sure their theme supports the latest standards.

2. TAC (Theme Authenticity Checker)

tac

image Source:www.wpstuffs.com

A simple but useful plugin that can scan all files within your theme to check all possible threat for malicious codes.

7. Responsive Design

As mobile web grows so fast you must also consider if the e-commerce plugin of your choice offers responsive design. Optimizing for different viewports such as mobile and tablets has a lot of advantages but may depend on your hosting. So it is wise to spend some time to test each e-commerce plugin layout and design before installing them.

Some of the best E-commerce Plugins

Now let’s explore some of the best e-commerce plugins available on the web that you might want to check out. The following are just a few of the more popular plugins, and new ones are popping up all the time, particularly as the WordPress community continues to expand.

1. WooCommerce

Image Source:www.wpengine.com

WooCommerce, from WooThemes, is another extremely popular e-commerce plugin. This plugin is one of the most comprehensive shopping cart solutions available for WordPress. It based as a junction of the popular Jigoshop plugin, and which offers different features such as inventory management, tax options, marketing tools and many more.

Key Features:

  • Product Panel
  • Product Sorting options
  • Email template editing
  • Realtime Checkout Validation
  • Tax options
  • Lightbox Features
  • Paypal gateway
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Inline star rating
  • PHP Session handling

2. WP E-commerce

Image Source:www.wpengine.com

Also known as GetShopped.org, a long-time ecommerce solution for WordPress which offers a simpler ways to selling products on your WordPress site. With over 2,911,029 downloads on WordPress.org it has earned its position on one of the best E-commerce plugins on the web. This plugin gives you most of the common ecommerce functionality, plus a few stand-out features like its ability to work with WordPress multisite. Although this plugin is free, additional features can be purchased as premium extensions.

Key Features:

  • Catalog management
  • Fully customizable using custom HTML and CSS
  • Compatibility with most WordPress themes and other plugins
  • Seamless integration to WordPress
  • WordPress widget support
  • Shortcode and template tag features
  • Compatible with WordPress and WordPress Multisite
  • Priority support for the premium version
  • Numerous Paypal options such as Google Wallet, BluePay, Sagepay, Paystation and Authorize.net
  • Drag and drop shopping for better user experience
  • SEO-ready
  • SSL certificates

3. Cart66

cart66-wordpress-shopping-cart-wp-e-commerce-2016-06-01-15-14-50

Image Source:www.tisindia.com

 

With Cart66 you can sell products with subscriptions, products and shipping options or simply sell digital products that can be downloaded after updates. Cart66 offers a free version and a professional version. The free version offers only basic e-commerce package such as order management, multiple shipping options, tax options and many more. The professional version offers advance support for recurring payments and some more advance features.

Key Features:

  • Sell digital products with Amazon S3 integration
  • Sell physical products
  • Sell services
  • Manage orders
  • Promotions
  • Tax by state (United States and Canada), zip code, or all orders
  • Multiple shipping options
  • Custom fields for products
  • Product variations that can optionally change the price of the product
  • Place products on any page or post
  • Sell internationally
  • Set your currency
  • Customizable email receipts
  • Affiliate platform integration

Verdict

No-ecommerce plugin is always perfect for every situation. Choice is always nice but sometimes you need something that will work.

The possibility of selling products and goods online has never been this easy. With all of the available plugins for Wordress you just need to do a wise choice.

As a final recommendation, please take time to read WordPress.org forums especially posts or threads which review and compare different e-commerce plugins before deciding which one to use.
If you want to share your ideas or experience regarding an e-commerce plugin you’ve use, feel free to drop a line in the comment section and I would love to hear them!

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