Wordpress e-commerce plug-in for your online store?
WordPress as blog
Ecommerce Income runs on WordPress and I am a big fan of WordPress. It is easy, stable, and does everything to enable you to blog professionally.
WordPress is Open Source software, just like Magento. It also likewise has a big community (many times bigger still than Magento) which develops plug-ins that allow you to fine-tune your WordPress blog. There are thousands of free and paid templates of excellent quality.
The code of WordPress is easy to understand and modifications are easy to make. Every system should look like it!
WordPress as CMS
A CMS (Content Management System) is a sytem to manage your content (your website). WordPress developed itself more and more as a complete CMS during the last few years. It is now possible to set up market places, comparison websites, affiliate sites, online stores, etc.
You will need various plug-ins for that but the basic WordPress offers excellent opportunities to develop this!
A huge amount of websites were made with WordPress. One in six websites you visit is probably WordPress (source: Forbes). That is more than 60.000.000 websites! In short, WordPress rules the web!
WordPress as online store
Let’s now review WordPress as e-commerce software.
Like I wrote above it is not possible to directly use WordPress as e-commerce software. You need a plug-in for that. When you want a serious online store (and that is what you want!) there are two possibilities: WP e-Commerce and WooCommerce (check our review of WooCommerce here).
WP e-Commerce (GetShopped) exists already for a longer time than WooCommerce and has many features for your online store. It is free to download although you have to pay for the plug-ins.
The standard version has already a few payment methods (including PayPal) If you want extra payment methods you need extra plug-ins. Check in advance whether your favourite Payment Provider has a plug-in available. 😉
Paying / Check-out
With WP e-Commerce you can pay without a client account (as a guest) and you have the possibility to create an account when you enter the check-out. Calculating VAT and shipping costs works fine. A secured SSL connection during check-out and payment is possible.
WP e-Commerce is integrated with expeditors which are mostly US-based. There are, however, also plug-ins available for most European expeditors. You can set up the shipping costs for weight, country and shopping basket value.
Managing the orders
You can view all orders in the admin dashboard and you can configure e-mail notification for sales. It is also possible to export the orders to various CSV-formats.
There is a complete order overview to check all orders and their status. When the sale was finalized, you can print off the invoice and/or packing slip.
It is easy to set up discounts with WP e-Commerce. The configuration of discount codes and shopping cart rules is flexible. You can cross-sell and up-sell on the product page.
WP e-Commerce Themes
There are only 13 templates available on ThemeForrest for WP e-Commerce. The chance that you will find your favourite template is rather small. 😉
Unfortunately many users have problems using the WP e-Commerce plug-in for their online store. It gets only a 2.8 (out of 5) review score on WordPress.org.
One of the most important complaints is the bad documentation. Reviewers note that the configurations are not intuitive and even not logical and I can confirm this. Bugs are reported regularly, but these reports rarely get an adequate response. I also got the impression that the code is rather messy.
When choosing between the two, WooCommerce is the better option.
WooCommerce vs WP-ecommerce
WoocCommerce has almost all features that WP e-Commerce has, but also has a more active community and is easier to understand. Therefore I recommend choosing WooCommerce as the ideal WordPress e-commerce plug-in.
Why I don’t recommend choosing WordPress for an online store
When you choose for Open Source there are better solutions than WordPress with a WooCommerce plug-in. Magento has more options and features than WordPress has. Unfortunately Magento is a bit harder to learn than WordPress, but I believe that it is certainly worth the time!
Not enough plug-ins for all markets
All suppliers of plug-ins first customize it for use with Magento and only after that and often on request, they build links for other e-commerce software. Moreover, the WooCommerce or WP e-Commerce versions of the plug-ins are often less elaborate than those for Magento.
For example for some European markets, including the Dutch market there are not enough possibilities to link your website to comparison and shopping website. Plug-ins for expeditors are often either not available or contain bugs.
WordPress is not e-commerce software!
But probably the biggest issue I have with WordPress is that it is not originally e-commerce software.
It started out as blogging software and developed itself as a CMS. It is excellent for that! But you will need an extra plug-in to convert it to an e-commerce system. On top of that you will have to add a lot of plug-ins to create your ideal online store. It may be hard to customize it for your local market.
There are too many steps in this process. With Magento you directly have an e-commerce platform and you only need extra plug-ins to adapt your online store according to your wishes.