A Guide to the Top 4 WordPress eCommerce Plugins for 2023
Thinking about launching an online store with WordPress? You’ve picked the right platform — now you need the right WordPress eCommerce plugin.
Whether you want to sell physical products, digital goods, or even services, WordPress provides a solid foundation on top of which you can build a flourishing store.
Since WordPress doesn’t come with built-in eCommerce functionality, you’ll need to add an eCommerce plugin. Fortunately, there are several excellent options available that can add everything that’s required to sell online, from product pages and shopping carts to checkouts and payment processing.
In this post, we’ll cover the best WordPress eCommerce plugins available in 2023, with the goal of helping you decide which option best suits you and your online business.
⚙️ What to Look for in a WordPress eCommerce Plugin
When choosing a WordPress eCommerce plugin, there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. What are you selling?
What you plan to sell will influence which WordPress eCommerce plugin you go with.
Some eCommerce plugins are good for selling physical products that require inventory and shipping, and others are more suited to selling digital products, such as software, music, ebooks, and other types of downloadable files. If you are selling services, such as appointments or rentals, you’ll need a WordPress eCommerce plugin that supports bookings.
2. How do you want customers to pay?
You’ll also need to think about what payment methods you want to offer customers. Do you want to accept credit card payments or cash on delivery? Or are there other payment methods you would prefer?
Make sure that whatever WordPress eCommerce plugin you choose supports the payment methods you need either by default or via third-party plugins.
3. How do you want your store to look?
You’ll want your store to reflect your brand and that means ensuring your WordPress eCommerce plugin plays well with your theme. So make sure that the plugin you choose works well with your chosen theme, or any themes you plan on switching to later.
4. Do you need extra functionality?
The WordPress eCommerce plugins we’ll take a look at below work great out-of-the-box, but some require extensions/add-ons for any additional functionality.
So before choosing an eCommerce plugin for your site, make a list of functionality you need and check whether the plugin you want to choose offers it, or whether you’ll need to find an add-on.
5. How much do you want to pay to get your store up and running?
Depending on the WordPress eCommerce plugin you choose, it may be free or you may have to pay a yearly subscription. And if you add any extensions or add-ons to your store, you’ll have to pay for those, too.
So do your research first. While some options, like WooCommerce, might be free, you may have to pay ongoing costs for extensions to get the functionality you need to run your store.
The 4 Top WordPress eCommerce Plugins
With over 5 million active installs, WooCommerce is the most popular, flexible, and customizable WordPress eCommerce plugin.
Originally launched in 2011 as a fork of Jigoshop and acquired by Automattic (owner of WordPress.com) in 2015, WooCommerce has grown to become the world’s most popular eCommerce technology. It now powers over 40,000 of the world’s top 1 million websites.
With WooCommerce, you can sell anything, including physical and digital goods. It’s hugely scalable — you can sell one product or thousands of products — and there are plugins that will extend WordPress to do just about anything.
- Easy to extend. There are hundreds of WooCommerce extensions (aka plugins) available, which you can use to add just about any functionality to your store, from marketing and shipping to social media and subscriptions.
- Hundreds of WooCommerce themes. There are also hundreds of WooCommerce-compatible themes available, which you can use to make the most of WooCommerce’s full feature set.
- Supports physical and digital products. With WooCommerce, you can sell anything, from healthy meal subscriptions to t-shirt printing and designer dog collars.
- Payment and shipping options. WooCommerce comes with built-in payment processing via WooCommerce Payments, which enables your store to accept credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, and other digital wallets. You can add other payment options using extensions, and also calculate shipping and taxes.
- Inventory management. Track stock levels, hold stock after an order is canceled, get notifications for low and out-of-stock items, hide out-of-stock items, and more.
- Support and documentation. The official WooCommerce site provides extensive documentation on how to set up and use WooCommerce. You can also find help in the WordPress.org support forums.
- Can be overwhelming. When you install WooCommerce for the first time, there’s a wizard that can help you set up the basics. But it can still be quite intimidating for beginners.
- Theme customization can be tricky. If you don’t have a theme that supports WooCommerce, it will be tricky trying to make your store look good on the front end for your customers.
- The extension you need might not be available. There are hundreds of add-ons available, but if you can’t find something that provides the specific functionality you need, you may need to hire a developer (aka WooExpert) to build it for you.
💵 Pricing: WooCommerce is free, but you’ll need to pay for any premium extensions you use, which can cost as much as $299 a year.
Best suited to: Whether you want to sell one PDF file or thousands of t-shirts, you can do it with WooCommerce. If you want maximum control, flexibility, and features, then this WordPress eCommerce plugin is the best solution for you.
For more on WooCommerce, don’t miss 9 Top WooCommerce WordPress Themes on the Market + Why They’re Best and 26 Beautiful eCommerce Websites Running on WooCommerce Plugin.
Easy Digital Downloads markets itself as the easy way to sell digital products with WooCommerce.
EDD (as it’s often abbreviated to) was first released in 2012 by Pippins Plugins and now powers .14% of the world’s top 1 million websites. While it might not seem like an impressive figure, EDD has proven to be hugely popular in the WordPress community as the go-to plugin for selling digital goods.
EDD is built to handle digital products — music, videos, ebooks, plugins, PDF files, and more. The core plugin is free to use and there are hundreds of extensions available that can add all kinds of functionality, from recurring payments and Stripe support to software licensing (for selling license keys) and commission tracking.
- Supports digital products. If you want to sell digital goods, you can do it easily with EDD. Unlike other eCommerce plugins, you can use EDD to sell all kinds of digital goods.
- Intuitive and easy to use. Whether you’re setting up an online store for the first time or you’re a seasoned pro, it’s easy to figure out how to get your store up and running. Ideal for beginners.
- Hundreds of extensions. There are hundreds of free and premium extensions available to extend your store your way.
- Works with any theme. You can integrate EDD with almost any theme. If you’re just getting started setting up your store, there are EDD themes available.
- Developer-friendly. A complete RESTful API provides easy access to sales and product information in either jSON or XML format.
- Support and documentation. EDD comes with comprehensive documentation. There’s an active community of users and developers, and priority support is available.
- Supports digital products. You can sell physical products with EDD, but it was built from the ground up for non-physical things. So selling physical goods is not its main focus.
💵 Pricing: Easy Digital Downloads is free, but you’ll need to pay for any premium extensions you use. A Personal Pass that includes everything you need to get started costs $99.50 a year, and the top-range All Access pass costs $499.50 a year.
Best suited to: If you want to sell digital goods, it’s worth checking out Easy Digital Downloads. It’s built specifically to handle digital products and it’s easy to get your store up and running quickly with its intuitive interface.
Ecwid is an eCommerce solution designed for small businesses that want to add store functionality to an existing WordPress site.
This plugin was first launched in 2009 by Ruslan Fazlyev, who co-founded X-Cart. Ruslan recognized that many small businesses already had websites and simply wanted to add store functionality on top. So he built Ecwid, which has grown to become the world’s most popular “add-on” store builder for SMBs.
Ecwid is far more than a WordPress plugin. It’s actually a standalone eCommerce platform that can be integrated into any existing website, used for selling on TikTok, Instagram and other social platforms, and you can even create a mobile app so that shoppers can buy from you directly from their phones.
Here’s how it works:
- You sign up for Ecwid and create your store.
- Add the Ecwid eCommerce Shopping Cart plugin to your WordPress site.
- Use shortcodes to add store functionality to your site.
- Easy integration with WordPress. After installing the Ecwid plugin, you can start adding shortcodes to your sites and display products for sale on your site in minutes.
- Get started for free. With Ecwid’s Free plan, you can sell up to 5 products for free.
- Updates are taken care of for you. Unlike plugins like WooCommerce, Ecwid updates are taken care of for you so you don’t have to run tests or update the software that powers your store.
- Sell anywhere. You can sell products on your WordPress site, your Facebook page — anywhere you can display some shortcode.
- Well-supported. There’s documentation for free users, and chat, phone, and priority support for paid users.
- Lack of control over SEO. As far as I can tell, you can’t manually change the URL of a product — you have to stick with what’s auto-generated for you.
💵 Pricing: Free for 5 products, $19 per month for 100 products, $39 a month for 2500 products, and $99 a month for unlimited products.
Best suited to: Small business owners who have an existing WordPress site and want to get a store up and running quickly and easily, or want to share their products on social media platforms like TikTok and other selling platforms like Amazon.
Shopify has grown quickly to become one of the most popular platforms for selling online. Over 4 million websites currently use Shopify, including almost 26,000 of the web’s top one million sites.
Most people know Shopify as a standalone eCommerce site builder, and you can certainly use it to build an online store from scratch. If you already have a WordPress site, you may have discounted Shopify. But it’s possible to integrate into your WordPress site with Shopify Buy buttons.
How it works:
- Sign up for a Shopify account
- Create your online store and add products
- Paste the Shopify Buy Button code into your website wherever you want to sell products.
- The Buy button creates a standalone mini storefront on your WordPress site that connects directly with Shopify’s shopping cart.
- You can create a Buy button for a single product or a collection.
You can also use the third-party ShopWP plugin to display and sell products from your Shopify store on your WordPress site more easily. Instead of using iframes like Shopofy Buy Buttons, ShopWP syncs product data between the two platforms. This makes for a better user experience and faster integration, particularly if you’re selling a lot of products. However, this is a premium plugin that you’ll have to budget for annually.
- Use features of both platforms. You benefit from the flexibility of WordPress with the ease of use and built-in eCommerce features of Shopify
- The technical side of your store is managed for you. Shopify takes care of security, payments, backups, and inventory management, so there’s no complicated setup.
- Shopify is easy to use. The initial setup of your store is very straightforward, with a step-by-step wizard.
- Extensive support is available. 24/7 customer support is available via chat, phone, and email. However, this support doesn’t include third-party platforms, including WordPress
- It’s more expensive than some other options. There’s a monthly cost for using Shopify, starting from $39 a month. You’ll also pay additional transaction fees on every sale.
- The WordPress plugin is very limited. Unless you’re only selling a couple of products, a full WordPress eCommerce plugin is a better option for most people wanting to set up an online store on an existing WordPress site.
- You have limited control. Shopify is not as flexible as WordPress and it’s not as easy to customize your store to get it looking and working exactly how you want.
- Your store is separate from your website. This is not a true integrated solution. Your WordPress site and Shopify store are two entities that are simply linked together.
💵 Pricing: From $39 a month (you can pay more monthly for extra features and lower transaction fees). The ShopWP plugin starts from $199 a year fo use on up to 3 WordPress sites.
Best suited to: People who already have a Shopify site and want to sell products from their WordPress site without sending site visitors to Shopify.
WP Simple Pay is a plugin that makes it quick and easy to take payments on your WordPress site without going to the hassle of setting up a full online store and shopping cart.
Integrating with Stripe, it offers 10 payment methods and supports recurring payments and buy-now-pay-later payment options.
You can build landing pages, purchase forms, or donation forms with a drag-and-drop builder and easily add buy buttons anywhere on your site.
- Quick and easy setup. You can set up the plugin and start taking payments in just 5 minutes
- Drag-and-drop form Builder. Quickly set up payment forms for services or donations with custom data fields.
- Secure Stripe Payment processing. Links to one of the most trusted payment gateways with multiple payment types accepted
- Automate recurring bills. Easily setup subscriptions or recurring payments, saving admin time and increasing revenue.
- Not a full eCommerce solution. If you need a complete online store with shopping cart, this is not the plugin for you.
💵 Pricing: A Personal license costs $49.50 a year for use on one site. The Plus plan costs $99.50 per year for up to 3 sites. The Professional plan is $199.50 for up to 10 sites, and the Elite plan is $299.50 for unlimited sites.
Best suited to: Freelancers and service providers taking payments from clients, donation websites, and businesses with landing pages for a one-off purchase or subscription.
🤔 Choosing the Right WordPress eCommerce Plugin for You
So which WordPress eCommerce plugin is the best solution for your site?
If you want full control, flexibility, features, and scalability, then WooCommerce is the best WordPress eCommerce plugin for you.
If you want to sell digital products, check out Easy Digital Downloads — it’s been built specifically to handle digital goods.
If you run a small business, already have a WordPress site, and would like to share your products on social media, then Ecwid is the best solution for you.
Many people like the simplicity of Shopify, so if you’re not keen on the pure WordPress options or already have a Shopify store, you may want to look into integrating it with your WordPress site.
For service providers, businesses, and donation websites taking one-off and recurring payments, WP Simple Pay is an elegant and efficient solution.
For more on building an eCommerce site, check out How To Create An eCommerce Store In An Afternoon’s Work.