Beginner's Guide for WordPress / Start your WordPress Blog in minutes

5 Best WordPress Ecommerce Plugins Compared – 2021

Are you looking to build an online store? Want to know which is the best WordPress eCommerce plugin?

Choosing the right eCommerce plugin is crucial for your business because a better platform means more opportunity for growth. Often users end up losing money because they didn’t do proper research when choosing the eCommerce platform to start their store.

In this article, we will compare the 5 best WordPress eCommerce plugins for 2021. We will also explain their pros and cons to help you find which eCommerce plugin is right for your business.

Best WordPress eCommerce plugins

What to Look for in a WordPress eCommerce Plugin for Your Site?

There are plenty of WordPress eCommerce plugins in the market. But not all of them have the right set of features for your use-case.

For example, some eCommerce plugins are made for selling digital goods like eBooks, photos, music, etc. Others are better suited for selling physical products that need shipping.

If you want to run a drop-shipping business, then you’ll need an eCommerce solution that provides better support for drop-shipping.

Basically, you need to consider what you will be selling and what kind of features you would need to efficiently run your online store.

Apart from that, following are some of the most important factors you need to look for when choosing an eCommerce platform.

  • Payment solutions – Your eCommerce plugin should have support for your preferred payment gateways by default or through an extension.
  • Design and customization – Your store’s design is your customer’s first interaction with your business. Make sure there are plenty of templates and easy customization options available
  • Apps and integrations – Check out integrations available for third-party apps like email marketing services, CRM software, accounting software, etc. You’ll need those tools to manage and grow your ecommerce business more effeciently.
  • Support options – Make sure that there are support options available. Good support can save you a lot of money in the long run.

What Do You Need to Run an eCommerce Website?

Ecommerce websites are resource intensive, so the first thing you will need is the best WordPress hosting that you can afford.

If you’re on a budget, then you can start with Bluehost. The Ecommerce plan comes with SSL Certificate which you need to collect payments securely, dedicated IP, and a dedicated support line. They also install WooCommerce by default, which is the most powerful WordPress Ecommerce plugin (as you’ll find out later in this article).

If budget is not an issue, and you want the best performance, then we recommend using a managed WordPress hosting provider like WPEngine.

Next, you will need to choose a domain name for your website. Here is our guide on how to pick the right domain name for your eCommerce site.

Lastly, you will need to choose essential business plugins that you will need such as OptinMonster which help you reduce shopping cart abandonment and increase sales.

Having that said, let’s take a look at the best WordPress eCommerce plugins.

Best WordPress Ecommerce Plugins – The Contenders

Now that you know what to look for in an eCommerce platform and what you need to get started, here are our top picks for the best eCommerce platform for WordPress users.

  1. WooCommerce
  2. BigCommerce
  3. MemberPress
  4. Easy Digital Downloads
  5. Shopify

Let’s take a look at each one of them and compare their pros and cons.

1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress eCommerce plugin. It is also the most popular eCommerce platform in the world. WooCommerce was acquired by Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com blog hosting service) in 2015.

There is a large number of addons and themes available for WooCommerce. They also have a passionate developer community behind it. Recently several hosting companies have started creating specialized WooCommerce hosting solutions.

Pros of Using WooCommerce

Here are some of the advantages of using WooCommerce as your WordPress eCommerce plugin:

Extensions and Themes – There are hundreds of extensions and themes available for WooCommerce, which makes it easy for you to add new features to your eCommerce site. Large collection of themes means you have tons of options when choosing your site’s design and layout.

Supports Both Digital and Physical Goods – With WooCommerce, you can sell physical as well as digital downloads (such as ebooks, music, software, and more).

Sell Affiliate or External Products – Using WooCommerce, you can add affiliate or external products to your site. Affiliate marketers can create product sites and provide users a better experience.

Complete Inventory Management – WooCommerce comes equipped with tools to easily manage your inventory or even assign it to a store manager.

Payment and Shipping Options – WooCommerce has built-in support for popular payment gateways, and you can add many other payment options using extensions. It can also calculate shipping and taxes.

Support and Documentation – There is excellent documentation available online for WooCommerce. Apart from documentation, there is knowledge base, help desk, and community forums available.

Cons of Using WooCommerce

Too Many Options – WooCommerce is very easy to use, but the number of options available on the settings page can be quite intimidating for a new user.

Finding Addons – There are lots of addons available for WooCommerce, sometimes a user may not find the right addon for features that they need.

Theme Support – WooCommerce works with any WordPress theme, but it is not always as easy to setup or good looking with all themes. You need a WooCommerce ready theme to take full advantage of its features without too much hassle.

Scalability – As your store gets larger, you will need to move to a managed hosting provider like WP Engine to scale your WooCommerce store.

WooCommerce is the perfect choice for any kind of eCommerce website. It has a large community of developers and users, a lot of addons and themes, excellent support for multilingual websites, and best free and paid support options.

2. BigCommerce

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is a fully hosted eCommerce platform that offers seamless integration with WordPress. This allows you to use a scalable eCommerce platform while using WordPress to manage your content and run your website.

It has a powerful integration plugin for WordPress which makes it very easy to embed your products in WordPress. It automatically creates the sign in, cart, account, and other important pages for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of using BigCommerce as your WordPress eCommerce platform.

Pros of Using BigCommerce

  • High scalability – It includes all the features you will need with enterprise grade security, high performance, and easy scalability.
  • Less Maintainence – Keeping your eCommerce engine separate from other content makes it easier to run your WordPress site.
  • Sell across Multiple Channels – You can use it to sell not only on your website but also on other channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon.
  • No transaction charges – Unlike some other eCommerce platforms, it does not charge you on each transaction. You can choose from dozens of top payment gateways and only pay the payment service provider.

Cons of Using BigCommerce

  • Limited Integrations – BigCommerce integrates with all the top third-party apps and tools. However, its app store is still growing, and you may not find an integration for some less popular apps.
  • Yearly Sales Threshold – They have a yearly threshold on sales for each plan. If you reach that threshold then you are upgraded to the next plan. This may increase costs as your business grows.

BigCommerce is an incredibly powerful yet very easy to use eCommerce platform. It is a SaaS eCommerce platform, but with their BigCommerce WordPress plugin you can have the best of both worlds.

It takes away the pains of scaling your hosting requirements as your business grows. At the same time, you don’t have to worry about security, performance, or finding extensions for SEO and caching.

BigCommerce is a rising contender in WordPress for headless eCommerce. It takes care of technology infrastructure, so you can focus on growing your business.

3. MemberPress

MemberPress

MemberPress allows you to sell subscription based digital products and services. It is the best WordPress membership plugin with tons of integration options. It can even integrate with WooCommerce.

Let’s take a look at pros and cons MemberPress.

Pros of Using MemberPress

Sell Subscription Based Products – Allows you to easily sell subscription based products, membership plans, pay per view content, and more.

Powerful Access Rules – Powerful access control allows you to define user access levels and content restrictions. Only users with permissions will be able to access restricted content.

Built-in Course Builder – MemberPress comes with a course builder that allows you to create & sell courses by offering your users an immersive online learning platform.

Content Dripping – MemberPress allows you to release paid content over time similar to episodes on Amazon Prime shows or other platforms.

Powerful Extensions – You can integrate it to your WooCommerce store or LearnDash LMS. There are tons of extensions to connect MemberPress with third-party services.

Cons of Using MemberPress

Limited Payment Options – MemberPress only supports PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net.

Yearly Pricing – Pricing plans are available on yearly terms alone.

MemberPress is the perfect eCommerce plugin to sell subscription based products, sell courses, or build a membership website. It is beginner friendly and can be easily extended with addons which allows you to take your eCommerce website in any direction you want.

4. Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads allows you to easily sell digital downloads online using WordPress. It is very easy to use and comes with powerful features to create beautiful and functional digital goods store.

We use Easy Digital Downloads to sell our software like WPForms and MonsterInsights.

Pros of Using Easy Digital Downloads

Designed To Sell Digital Goods – Easy Digital Downloads is built from the ground up to sell digital downloads. Unlike eCommerce plugins that can be used to sell all kind of products, EDD provides a far better experience for selling digital goods.

Easy To Use – Easy digital downloads is very easy to use, from the start you would instantly figure out how to add products and display them. This is really useful for the first timers.

Extensions – There are hundreds of extensions available for Easy Digital Downloads including addons for payment gateways, marketing platforms and services.

Themes – Easy Digital Downloads works with almost any WordPress theme, however if you have not choosen a theme yet, then Easy Digital Downloads has themes built specifically for the plugin.

Awesome Support – The plugin is very well documented, and you have free support forums, videos, tutorials, and even an IRC chatroom. There is also a priority support option for premium users.

Cons of Using Easy Digital Downloads

Digital Downloads Only – As the name suggests, Easy Digital Downloads makes it easier to create eCommerce sites for digital goods. But if you want to sell non-digital goods along with digital downloads then it will become quite complicated.

Selling External Products – If you want to add an external product or an affiliate product to your EDD store, then you will need to install a third-party add on for it.

When it comes to selling digital products online, we believe that Easy Digital Downloads is the best plugin to do that. We have used Easy Digital Downloads with great success, not only on client sites but also on a few of our own projects.

5. Shopify

Shopify

Shopify is a fast growing eCommerce platform that handles everything for you. Shopify isn’t a plugin but it’s an all in one solution that’s completely hassle free. See our guide on Shopify vs WooCommerce for detailed side-by-side comparison of the two platforms.

Let’s look at the Pros and Cons of Shopify.

Pros of Using Shopify

Super Easy for Beginners – No need to worry about the technical aspects of an eCommerce store such as setting up SSL, integrating with different payment gateways, handling shipping, worrying about taxes, etc. Shopify handles it all.

Supports Both Digital and Physical Goods – Whether you’re selling physical goods like shirts or digital downloads like music, Shopify can handle it all.

Complete Inventory Management – Shopify comes with an inventory editor and bulk importer combined with an order tracker which makes managing inventory a breeze.

Payment and Shipping Options – Shopify makes it easy for you to accept credit card both online and in person. Their shipping system streamline your fulfillment process with direct integration with popular providers like USPS.

Facebook Store and Buyable Pins – Shopify integrates with everything. Whether you want to create a Facebook store or create buyable Pins on Pinterest, you can do it all with Shopify.

Cons of Using Shopify

Monthly Platform Fee – Shopify charges you a monthly fee to use their platform which is comparable to purchasing hosting and individual addons using the other plugins in this list.

Shopify Payments – Shopify encourages you to use their payment platform which is powered by Stripe and is a very good option for beginners. However if you want to overcomplicate things and use external systems, then Shopify charges you an additional fee.

If you want to have a powerful platform without having to deal with technical issues, then Shopify is the solution for you. While the monthly fee sounds bad at first, the hassle-free approach and peace of mind are definitely worth it because it allows you to focus on what you do best, your business!

Shopify does not have a native integration with WordPress. BigCommerce #2 solution in our list gives you everything Shopify offers while offering a seamless integration with your WordPress site.

Conclusion – The Best WordPress eCommerce Plugin is:

If you want maximum control, flexibility, and features, then WooCommerce is the best solution for you.

If you don’t want to manage all the technical stuff, then BigCommerce is the best option for you. It allows you to use a SaaS eCommerce platform side by side with WordPress as your content management system.

If you are just selling digital goods, then Easy Digital Downloads could be the best option for you.

That’s all we hope this article helped you find the best WordPress eCommerce plugins for your site. You may also want to see our comparison of 5 best drag and drop WordPress page builders.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. See how WPBeginner is funded, why it matters, and how you can support us.

The Ultimate WordPress Toolkit

Get FREE access to our toolkit – a collection of WordPress related products and resources that every professional should have!

Reader Interactions

49 CommentsLeave a Reply

    • As we state in the article, it is not a WordPress plugin but it is a beginner friendly option :)

      Admin

  1. Very impressive post! it gave me a big clarity for what I needed and for what I wanted. Very good explained. THANK YOU

  2. wow!!! it is very rare to see such a true and real discussion… thamks for the quality of the content…

  3. Hello,
    Thank you for these recommendations.
    You mention the Twitter Buy button integration in the Shopify section.
    From my understanding and a quick search on Google, the Buy button seems to be something that Twitter killed years ago.
    Do you have other info ?
    Thanks

  4. Hi there,
    Firstly, Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge with us.
    The blog was super descriptive.
    These plugins are really good & responsive as well

  5. Kind of surprised you left Ecwid off the list of the best e-commerce tools for WordPress. It’s got a tight integration just like WooCommerce and has configurable products and an app market as well.

  6. I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thank you, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web site?

  7. finding it difficult for google search console to verify my website what can i do. i am using yoast seo plugin.

  8. Hey!

    I think i’m going to use Woocommerce in 3 to 6 months, this was really helpful.

    I want to ask a question if you will.

    I am selling a service which comes with packages. What’s the best plug in to do that ?
    I want to display for example Three columns and the one in the middle has recommended on the top.

    Thanks!

  9. My site is not an eCommerce site entirely, only want to do the eCommerce on one tab, how do I go about it?

  10. What plugin would you recommend for a website (travel agency) offering services such as transportation ticket (boat, bus etc.) and courses (diving courses etc.)?

  11. Howdy

    I have an online store [WP+WooCommerce] and I have a blog section I want to start to provide regular updates on.

    Is there a WP plugin that I can install, that allows to me to ‘blog’ for the site and it will help with the formatting and placement of text, graphics, videos, etc…possibily with options like a ‘buy-now’

    Thanks for any feedback, I am battling to find an answer

    Thanks a bunch

  12. I am trying to set up a website with membership (to a community) and donations. (It’s for a non-profit).
    Which one would you recommend the most? (It’s a WP website).
    Thank you!!

  13. What plug in would you suggest for re-occuring payments? For instance, an event where you can pay upfront for 8 sessions and get a discount or pay in installments at full rate * 8 session rate and spread it out over 8 weeks.

    Thanks for your suggestion.

  14. Please is there any eCommerce plugin that will allow my members add a series of information (like measurement etc) before purchase, and maybe also upload an image of whatever deaign they would like to purchase. Cheers.

  15. Hi everyone,

    I am trying to set up a website with membership (to a community) and donations. (It’s for a non-profit).
    Which one would you recommend the most? (It’s a WP website).
    Thank you!!

  16. Please want an eCommerce plugin that will allow my registered members to upload their own product and have affiliate integration so that my affiliates can sell their products them.

  17. Hello,

    Thank you for the informative article. Please let me know if I’m over thinking. I have Paid Memberships Pro on my website to handle access levels to members-only digital content. However, I also want to have an option to pay per digital download for those who don’t care to subscribe for unlimited access. Would adding an eCommerce plugin conflict with the the account, checkout and other pages within PMP or will their be two separate account types to manage; members and pay per users?

    Any direction much appreciated.

    Thank You,

    Tre

  18. Hello,
    Thank you for sharing this awesome collection of best eCommerce WordPress plugins.
    The plugins are for WordPress.org websites.
    WooCommerce would be a great option here and it is one of my favorite plugin. I use this plugin in my website.
    Keep updating!!!

  19. i do like woocommerce but i have had to deactivate it and look for something as it makes my site too slow, it adds 2-3 seconds onto each page load! Yes i am on shared hosting for now, i know that’s why, but will look for something else in the meantime for ecommerce plug in

  20. I am using an ecommerce compatible premium WP theme. The authors suggest using Woo Commerce, I-Themes Exchange, or WP eCommerce. I was settled on using the last until I read this article. Is there a reason it didn’t make the list? I make handmade artisan jewelry- not mass-produced. I will not be selling in volume.

    I would really appreciate your suggestion as to which of these might be best for an uncomplicated shop.

  21. Thanks for a great review article. I am looking for wp ecommerce plugins for my website right no. I am not fully certain how much I am going to use it therefore don’t want to buy commercial software. I am working on small business data analysis and plan to write about it or provide some services. Most of my friends suggest to use WooCommerce. How good it actually is?

    • Hi, Melissa. WooCommerce is very robust. With all the add-ons available, it can do a vast number of things. It can also be a little hard to set up because of how much it can do. Cart66 is really simple to use. You just put products / add to cart buttons wherever you want them. Cart66 also takes care of all the payment security for you so you don’t even need your own SSL certificate. I’m the founder of Cart66. If you need any help getting started, just let me know. You can try it out for free too :)

  22. As an starting online creative agency exchange looks good. is it the only one that offers monthly payments etc.?

    thanks

  23. what about selz? can you provide any info? i would have chosen shopify, but they are stripe affiliated, & that’s not a company i want to work with.(read the online slams). i love getting your info & have an optin, so next-advice on selz, or anyone else that self-contained & not too complicated for digital & product goods. many thanks!

  24. Thank you for this great article!
    Is event ticket sales considered digital or physical goods? I tend to think it’s digital, since people will have a “certificate” in their email that they can print.
    What are your thoughts?

Leave A Reply

Thanks for choosing to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our comment policy, and your email address will NOT be published. Please Do NOT use keywords in the name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.