WooCommerce has become the most installed eCommerce platform since Automattic purchased it in 2015. Are there any alternatives that even compare to WooCommerce? Let’s find out…
One of my favorite things about WordPress is when you find a reliable theme or plugin developer, you realize that the search for high-quality website-building tools is over. The only thing is, nothing changes faster than technology, especially in today’s digital landscape, where new platforms get launched, existing ones get acquired, and older ones go bust on an almost daily basis. Should you put all your eggs into one eCommerce plugin basket?
WooCommerce – The eCommerce Market Leader
As of writing this article, WooCommerce powers over 3.3 million websites and has over 30% of eCommerce market share, making it the most popular eCommerce platform on the web.
WooCommerce also states on its website that the plugin has been downloaded over 75 million times. According to technology monitoring sites like WTechs.com and BuiltWith.com, between 5%-6% of the top 1 million websites use WooCommerce.
Finding an alternative to WooCommerce is getting harder for WordPress users, but it’s not game over yet. Some eCommerce plugins developed for WordPress early on still have legions of loyal users, so let’s explore other options.
If you’re concerned that other eCommerce plugins just won’t fit the bill, then let’s settle this once and for all today. Here are some other eCommerce plugins for WordPress to consider.
If security is a major concern for your eCommerce store, then the Cart66 plugin is one you must look at. This plugin not only focuses on security, but it also comes chock-full of sales-enhancing features.
One thing to note about Cart66 is that it offers two subscriptions. The first one comes with the standard highlights mentioned below. The second one costs significantly more but offers more in the way of being able to manage the entire shopping experience from start to finish (like mailing labels, drip campaigns, etc.)
- PCI-compliant hosted payment portal
- Built-in CDN for additional security
- Secure hosted payment page.
- Includes over 100 payment gateways
- Sell digital or physical products
- Advanced shipping and tax rate calculator
- Coupon integration
- MailChimp integration
- One-click Buy Now links for your other marketing platforms (e.g. email, social)
One of the very few eCommerce plugins for WordPress that’s available for free, Easy Digital Downloads is a great option if your site is in the business of selling digital products like software, ebooks, and images and if you need a simple store setup. Anything beyond creating products and adding discount codes will require a paid extension or upgrade (but that should be expected with a free plugin anyway).
- It’s free
- Works with most major payment gateways, like PayPal and Amazon
- Create digital product pages the same way you’d create anything else in WordPress (which means it’s super intuitive)
- Discount code creation
- Built-in reporting system
This free eCommerce plugin is great for creating and managing a physical product catalog, which is made even more easy with its drag-and-drop catalog builder. Now, while you could spring for the premium extensions that give you access to things like quote forms, product reviews, and a shopping cart, you may be best off using this in conjunction with a safe and secure payment gateway instead.
- It’s free
- Drag-and-drop builder
- Customize your design or use pre-made templates
- Works with over 150 currencies and four price formats
- Build a catalog for up to 100,000 products
- Granular product catalog organization based on categories or tags
- Control shipping options
- SEO-friendly: includes metadata as well as separate catalog sitemap
- Includes breadcrumb functionality
If you’re looking for something that is a step up from a free eCommerce plugin but not quite as robust as a premium one, you may be interested in the WP eCommerce plugin. They keep it simple in terms of setting up a new store but have also built this plugin with the developer in mind, offering a number of APIs to extend the functionality of your online store.
WP eCommerce uses the same model as WooCommerce… the eCommerce platform itself is free, but they offer limited extensions and add-ons that you can purchase.
- Integrates with reliable payment gateways like PayPal and Stripe
- Manage tax and shipping rates
- Coupon management options
- Configure for recurring billing, processing refunds, and more
- Includes on-page marketing options, like “Share This” and “User Who Bought This”
- Monitor sales from within the tool
Another free eCommerce solution to consider is WP EasyCart. This plugin is easy to install on your existing site and adds a straightforward shopping cart. You can sell a variety of products, both physical and digital, and play around with the settings to achieve the look you want. It is compatible with most themes and can be set up within minutes.
- It’s free
- It comes with several widgets, menus, and more to manage features like store search, vertical and horizontal menus, price and manufacturer filters, categories, specials, and more.
- Payment gateway integration, internationalization & live shipping
- Advanced product settings (tiered pricing, B2B pricing, featured products, etc)
- Coupons and promotions
- Google Analytics integration
- Social sharing
- Administrative software
NinjaShop touts itself as “the quickest way to start selling on WordPress!” but doesn’t give much more information than this on its website. Most of the information about this plugin can be found in its documentation section.
When we installed the plugin to test it out, it installed nicely with a clean and simple interface that guides you through the process. It is not for novice users, as customizations require good knowledge of editing CSS, and the plugin seems to be in development with some documented features still lacking and few user downloads.
- It’s free
- The plugin is very light
- It uses the store’s inbuilt pages (you can also create and use your own pages).
- It has features and options that can be turned on or off so you can enable only what’s needed.
- Product image zoom feature.
Other eCommerce Platforms That Integrate With WordPress
There are other options you can use to build an eCommerce site with WordPress. These include using other platforms that integrate with your WordPress site, like the ones listed below.
Shopify generates a buy button code you can copy and paste to add products to your WordPress site. Once you drop the Buy Button into place and choose the product you’d like to feature, a standalone mini-storefront is created on your WordPress blog or website that connects directly with Shopify’s secure shopping cart platform to display product images, details, and prices automatically. This can be a good option for those who already have an existing WordPress site and Shopify shop.
And the benefits of using Shopify? Many are similar to the WordPress plugins, such as a secure shopping cart, various payment gateways, controlling taxes and shipping, and the ability to use CSS and HTML to build and style your website to match your brand’s look. It also lets you choose from over 100 professional themes and present your shopping cart as mobile or tablet-ready.
BigCommerce provides scalable headless commerce on WordPress via a plugin.
The plugin allows you to link to your BigCommerce account and display products with embedded store images within your WordPress site on the front-end while handing things like catalog management, processing payments, and managing fulfillment logistics on the back-end from BigCommerce.
This is a good option for a standalone eCommerce site if you’re not too familiar with CSS and HTML, as the plugin supports WordPress’ standard method of overriding template files so you can modify out-of-the-box designs, customize product cards, lists, and cart without risking plugin updates that will undo your changes. Big Commerce gives you full catalog access, allows you to choose a theme, and use the point and click design features to make it your own. It’s also got built-in marketing and SEO tools, so you don’t need to be an expert in this either. Your site will be securely hosted, PCI compliant, and you’ll get a CRM to communicate with your customers.
Should You Switch From WooCommerce?
There are options available for WordPress users that don’t want to build stores or an eCommerce business on WooCommerce. Thanks to its long-standing presence as the top eCommerce plugin on the market, however, WooCommerce has the leg up on the competition, especially in areas like developing extensions and add-ons to deliver new features and functionality to the platform.
Like all businesses, web developers are driven by economic factors and will gravitate toward servicing growth markets and this will have a direct impact on your eCommerce setup. Your choice of platform, therefore, will affect key areas of your business like:
- Adapting quickly to changes in technology, customer preferences, or the economy,
- Growing your store with new features, and
- Receiving reliable support when you need it.
If these areas are important to you, then you should think carefully before choosing to go with a WooCommerce alternative. Also, if you haven’t built your eCommerce site yet, make sure to read our comprehensive guide to planning an eCommerce store with WordPress.