WooCommerce alternatives you can’t afford to ignore
WooCommerce is a powerful eCommerce plugin for WordPress that lets you build all kinds of online stores. That’s why we chose WooCommerce to power our eCommerce WordPress Hosting plans, complete with 40+ premium WooCommerce extensions, all included for free.
But WooCommerce isn’t your only option for selling online. There are a bunch of other WordPress plugins that will let your customers – or your client’s customers – make purchases.
Depending on your needs, one of these WooCommerce alternatives may be better suited to the job. Here’s a selection of them worth considering for your next project:
- WP Easy Cart
- eCommerce Product Catalog Plugin
- Shopify + WP Shopify
- Easy Digital Downloads
- Memberships + LMS
- Form builders
Note: We’re not looking at every possible alternative to WooCommerce. We’re only listing alternatives that feel viable and worth trying out.
1. WP Easy Cart
If you feel overwhelmed by the vast ecosystem of WooCommerce add-ons, then WP Easy Cart might be the right choice. They pride themselves on including out-of-the-box features that require additional add-ons in WooCommerce, e.g. product variations, physical + digital products, coupons, and so forth.
The $99/yr price for the WP Easy Cart Premium plan includes priority support and all the premium extensions. Their team has done a good job of building a solution that should cater to most use cases. You can see how they compare themselves to WooCommerce in this handy chart.
Price: Free to $99/yr for Premium
Complexity: Easy to get started, plenty of documentation
Good for: Quickly building an online store in WordPress
2. eCommerce Product Catalog
eCommerce Product Catalog is another lightweight alternative to WooCommerce. If you’re working on a site with a tight budget, or if you just need to list products and not take payments through the site, this could be a good fit for you.
As with other eCommerce plugins, eCommerce Product Catalog offers a variety of premium extensions that unlock additional features. They’ve bundled these extensions together in a few tiers ranging from $45/yr to $449/yr for the multi-site Developer bundle. You can also create your own custom extension bundles.
Based on the reviews, it looks like eCommerce Product Catalog is also a great choice for sites that need to handle a product inventory large enough to slow down other plugins.s
Price: Free to $449/yr for the Developer bundle
Complexity: Easy to start, more complex with added extensions
Good for: Building catalog sites with large inventories
Adobe acquired Magento some years ago, and the commercial product lives on as an enterprise solution within Adobe Experience Cloud. Under the hood lies the core of Magento: open source software, just like WordPress, built on PHP and SQL.
The open source edition of Magento caters to developers and small businesses. If you’re a developer looking to go deep on big eCommerce sites, this could be a step towards enterprise client work down the line as a Magento partner.
You can compare the two editions here.
The similarities between the WordPress and Magento tech stacks are also an opportunity to build more bespoke solutions on large projects. Imagine using WordPress to handle marketing and content, while using Magento for the eCommerce side, all served up through API to a lean front-end.
Price: Free for open source edition
Good for: Intermediate to advanced developers aiming for enterprise-level projects
I was first introduced to Ecwid nearly ten years ago. My client had a simple, static website built entirely in HTML and CSS. Their online store was handled through an embedded Ecwid widget. (eCommerce widget. Ecwid. Get it?)
Ecwid has since evolved into a broader “sell everywhere” platform that lets you sell through marketplaces, social media and within a website. They’re also rolling out more tools for marketing and point-of-sale (POS) integration.
If you’re getting a new retailer up and running online, Ecwid could be the perfect turnkey solution. Build the site as you normally would, then drop in Ecwid to handle everything related to eCommerce. Just keep an eye on the pricing – if you’re not using everything in the platform, the cost might not be worth it.
Price: Free to $99/mo ($299/yr and $899/yr for partner programs)
Good for: Small businesses that need a fast, all-in-one solution
BigCommerce is a standalone, all-in-one eCommerce platform that has a deep integration with WordPress. Their flagship BigCommerce service caters to large stores, while the more lightweight BigCommerce Essentials service caters to small businesses.
Using the BigCommerce for WordPress plugin will automatically add cart, checkout and product pages to your WordPress site. You can also embed products into any WordPress post or page using shortcodes or blocks (depending on your editor preference).
Product inventory, customer data and transactions are all handled on the BigCommerce side. The WordPress site is treated as a “channel” in BigCommerce terms, which also means you can run multiple WordPress sites with different products all off a single BigCommerce plan.
Price: $29.95/mo to $299.95/mo for BigCommerce Essentials
Complexity: Intermediate; BigCommerce has a learning curve
Good for: Supporting growing stores while delegating eCommerce to a third-party platform
6. Shopify (+ WP Shopify)
Like BigCommerce, Shopify is a standalone, all-in-one eCommerce platform. They cater to stores large and small. Like WordPress, Shopify has a robust ecosystem of third-party developers building themes and add-ons.
Unfortunately, Shopify doesn’t have any deep integrations with WordPress out of the box. I’ve seen developers work around this by either pairing a Shopify store with a WordPress site, with one of the two running on a subdomain (e.g. store.domain.com for Shopify or blog.domain.com for WordPress).
You can also use a Shopify buy button to embed products on a WordPress site – but it’s not a great solution if you have more than a handful of products to sell.
That’s where the WP Shopify plugin comes in. WP Shopify enhances the WordPress + Shopify integration by syncing a WordPress site with a Shopify store. The plugin imports products as a WordPress post type (great for SEO); supports Gutenberg blocks for easy embedding on posts and pages; includes a built-in cart system; and routes to the Shopify store for checkout.
As with many premium WordPress plugins, WP Shopify has a free and paid version. The free version is a good choice for experimenting with the plugin, but if you’re building a proper online store, I’d pay for the Pro version to unlock all the features and receive priority support.
Price: Starts at $29/mo for Shopify + $10/mo for WP Shopify Pro
Complexity: Intermediate; you’ll need to build a Shopify store first
Good for: Combining a WordPress-powered site with a Shopify-powered store
7. Easy Digital Downloads
So far, we’ve looked at solutions that handle both physical and digital goods. But what if you’re just selling digital products, like an eBook? That’s exactly what Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) was built for.
This longstanding WordPress plugin has everything you need to manage an online store that sells digital goods, including a shopping cart system, customer management, discount codes, and detailed reporting. All the data gets stored in WordPress.
There are a ton of extensions for adding more functionality to EDD, like plugging into email marketing systems, using different payment gateways, handling software licensing, building a marketplace, and lots more. We’ve even seen web designers and developers use Easy Digital Downloads to take payments from their clients.
Price: Starting at $99/mo
Good for: Sites that only sell digital products
Gumroad is an interesting platform. It started off as an easy way to sell digital products. It has since expanded into a solution for creators to manage their audience, sell digital + physical products, fundraise for product launches, and even run membership and affiliate programs.
Everything is managed within Gumroad. The WordPress integration comes through the Gumroad buttons and widgets you can easily embed on a site.
I think Gumroad is a great fit for artists and creators who have a WordPress site and are looking for an easy solution that handles both basic email marketing, like newsletters, and have a few products to sell.
Price: Free, or starting at $10/mo for the Creator plan
Good for: Artists and creators who don’t need a full-blown eCommerce platform
Vcita is a business management web app built with service providers in mind. It includes a mobile app, scheduling software, client management, billing & invoicing, marketing tools, and a self-serve client portal.
I first learned about Vcita years ago while migrating a consultant’s small website over to WordPress. I was impressed by how much Vcita handled behind the scenes, and how easy it was to integrate. I just had to drop in their widget.
While you could cobble together a native WordPress solution, the time and cost might not be worth it. Plus, when you consider the sensitivities around client data and personal information, storing that in WordPress is another performance and security concern.
Price: Starting at $29/mo for solo practitioners
Good for: Professional services who need an all-in-one online solution
Jobber is another service scheduling and business management web app. Like Vcita, Jobber includes a mobile app, scheduling software, client management, billing & invoicing, marketing tools and a client portal.
Where Jobber shines is in how they cater to on-site services. Think appliance repairs, HVAC, commercial cleaning, landscaping, construction, and so on. Jobber includes job forms and checklists that team members can use to make sure they’ve followed all the necessary steps for their work.
You can add Jobber to a WordPress site by embedding their online forms on a post or page.
Price: Starting at $29/mo for one user
Good for: Professional on-site services who need an all-in-one online solution
11. Memberships + Learning Management Systems
Membership sites and online courses have become even more popular in the wake of COVID-19. It was out of necessity at first. With coaches, trainers and educators unable to do things in-person, virtual alternatives were the only option.
Membership and learning management system (LMS) plugins have been popular on WordPress for years. 2020 pushed it over the top. You can fulfill both with WooCommerce and a combination of add-ons, but it might be more than you need.
If you’re looking to build a membership site or online course and aren’t interested in the broader eCommerce capabilities of WooCommerce, you can turn to purpose-built plugins like MemberPress or LearnDash. These platforms will be more of a turnkey solution for what you need.
Price: Varies depending on the plugin/platform
Complexity: Varies depending on the plugin/platform
Good for: Building paid membership sites & online courses
12. Form builders
I’m including form builders on this list because they’re incredibly flexible – it just takes some ingenuity on your part. Instead of using an out-of-the-box solution, you’re building a bespoke solution of your own.
The more powerful premium form plugins like Gravity Forms, Formidable Forms, Ninja Forms and WP Forms all include extensions for handling online payments. By combining online payments with other capabilities, e.g. dynamic field population in Gravity Forms, it’s almost like you’re building a custom application without writing any code.
You can pull off similar feats with thirty-party form services like JotForm, Formstack and Wufoo Forms. Just keep in mind that you won’t have as deep an integration with WordPress.
Price: Varies depending on the plugin/platform
Complexity: Varies depending on what you’re building
Good for: Building custom solutions
Bottom line: choose what’s best for the project.
We’re big fans of WooCommerce at GoDaddy. That’s why our WordPress eCommerce Hosting plans are powered by WooCommerce, including thousands of dollars worth of premium extensions.
But WooCommerce isn’t your only option.
That’s the beautiful thing about WordPress. You have lots of options to choose from. The same goes for your hosting. You could build a WordPress site on our WordPress Hosting, Business Hosting, cPanel Hosting, VPS Hosting or Dedicated Server plans.
It all depends on what your needs are. Figure those out first, then choose the solution that suits it best.
Looking for more WordPress advice? Ask in the GoDaddy Community.
Image by: Laura Marques on Unsplash