What is E-Commerce?
Electronic Commerce, is what we call when a business takes its products or services and puts them online. The main features include a store or listing of all the products, pictures, and descriptions and a shopping cart feature so people can use a large array of options or payment gateways to pay for those goods and services. With the widespread use of the web, the security measures available to shop owners and customers via technologies such as SSL, and the spread of general sense of trust in online shopping, E-Commerce has become a very popular extension for businesses striving to reach a larger client base. With the advent of high bandwidth capable devices like tablets and smart phones and the nearly ubiquitous usage of these devices, having an E-Commerce solution for your business has become pretty much a necessity for the present, and even more importantly, for the future.
How is E-Commerce in WordPress Special?
Posting your products on a website is one thing–engaging past and future clients in a discussion about your brand while they browse through a sophisticated designed online showcase of your products is another thing all together. The marketing capabilities and branding identity possibilities of an E-Commerce store with WordPress are very promising. SEO is a big deal in WordPress with all the places to stick keywords into. The user interfaces on the administrative side and the features for clients were slow in coming at first, but now there are several very viable options available to shop owners and developers that want to utilize the power of a WordPress site for their online E-Commerce destination.
Typical E-Commerce Plug-in Features
Payment Gateways like Paypal, Authorize.Net, 2Checkout, Credit cards, allow the client to securely checkout with their selected items. The ability to sell simple or real/physical objects, wherein shipping is necessary and so on is the classic requirement but with the many products that can be downloaded including software and eBooks, most if not all E-Commerce plugins include an option to sell downloadable products. Marketing and SEO are big concerns, especially for someone using WordPress for their E-Commerce site. There is great metadata capabilities and coupons and sale pricing modules available to help users of the typical E-Commerce plugin to employ full marketing and SEO strategies on their WordPress site. Of course, you get the usual abilities for customization in WordPress. Many of these plugins work with all the themes available on WordPress and are available alongside themes, free and premium, created by the makers of the respective plugins. There are so many more features available, let’s jump into some of my favorite WordPress E-Commerce plugins.
What Are Your Options?
There are handful of plugins that have been working in WordPress for some time now. A few of my favorites are listed below.
WooCommerce is a robust option for creating a shopping cart on your WordPress website. WooThemes are optimized to work great with your WooCommerce plugin. Best of all, it’s free! There are some paid for plugins to extend the functionality to necessary bounds, however there are also free plugins that will help you stretch out the functionality the way you need to. It will probably cost you a few bucks for plugins to customize your WooCommerce shopping cart to your liking, but it’s worth it. It has many features right out of the box, including coupons, marketing, Google Analytics, sales pricing, simple and digital products, and great store management.
MarketPress is a great option from the folks of the WPMU development team. This plugin does cost some money upfront, however it’s not a lot. WPMU gives very good support on this product which provides multiple payment gateways, AJAX interactivity, selling of digital and physical goods, sales pricing, shipping, coupons, Google Analytics and more. It is also Multisite and Buddypress compatible.
WP ECommerce is another plugin option for your WordPress site. Like Woo Commerce, the bare-bones version is free. This WordPress plugin supports Multisite and has options for SSL checkout, SEO, multiple payment gateways, order management, catalog management, and catalog browsing with cross sells, breadcrumbs, and stock availability features.
WPStoreCart is another paid for option with several interesting features. However, I have found it to be a little buggy. To be clear, I haven’t used it in a few months so I can’t account for whatever updates that have been released since. It is a promising plugin with many add ons available to extend the functionality of your cart the way you want it. There are some interesting paid-for plugins available including a membership extension, affiliates program, and a statistics analytical plugin.
There are many E-Commerce solutions out there; but none of them offer the marketing and brand management that WordPress has. It is just a great choice for a small to medium business looking to make a big splash on the web with their product or services. Global Dynamic Services Inc has the experts you need to get it done right!