I’ve been known to talk myself out of work when someone asks “Which is the best WordPress eCommerce plugin?”
What does that mean anyways? As a consultant, I strive to remain solution-agnostic. Over time, however, it’s very difficult not to identify some reliably good solutions. In fact, some clients come to me for that very reason. They understand I’ve already spent the time and money to learn (sometimes the hard way) what works and what doesn’t.
But I still need to tailor my recommendation to my clients’ needs, not my favorite software. This isn’t dessert, where I would recommend pecan pie, this is their business. My recommendations matter to many people and their businesses.
“Best” is Relative
For example, for some businesses the “best WordPress eCommerce plugin” may not even be a plugin. There’s a myriad of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions that cater to all kinds of use-cases.
For some, the best “plugin” could be a simple Paypal button. This is not a plugin, but code one embeds in the site, and appears to be fully integrated.
If you need recurring payment processing –not just invoicing, but actually running the card!– you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better than Moonclerk. Sure, you could use Chargify, FastSpring, PayWhril, Recurly, and many others. I just think this one offers the best bang-for-the-buck and ease-of-use.
If you need a robust appointment scheduling solution that accepts payments, go with an Acuity Scheduling embedded form. Need a simpler solution? Go with Calendly (it’s what I use). Again, both have robust features and integrations that would cost a lot more to build from scratch, and they work beautifully.
Need a very unique solution? You may be well-served by Gravity forms, a Premium forms plugin that can be used for advanced situations that require both a conditional workflow and payment processing.
Need a quick easy store? Go to Ecwid, set it up, and you could have a store running in your site within an hour.
The point is, the best WordPress eCommerce plugin is the one that best suits your business.
What About WooCommerce?
I love Woo. And the web loves it too, with 23% of the top 1 Million eCommerce stores using it to power their business (Source: Builtwith).
In fact, we use it too at Chronic Cycling, and use it to build WordPress eCommerce websites. For highly customized solutions, for emphasis on content marketing, other integrations and priorities, WooCommerce is a great solution.
To be clear, WooCommerce is no longer a beginner’s game, and as a business owner you’ll want to ask yourself if you should be building your online store, instead of working on your product or your marketing.
Also, successful eCommerce requires Security, Scalability, and Speed. At some point in all WooCommerce stores I’ve worked with, one, if not all three of these aspects become an issue. Do you have the in-house team to deal with this? Go to town. But otherwise, consider if this is, in fact the best eCommerce plugin for you in the long run.
The case for BigCommerce’s Headless eCommerce Plugin for WordPress
This past summer BigCommerce launched their BigCommerce for WordPress plugin. This plugin combines the flexibility of the WordPress platform with BigCommerce’s powerful commerce engine; which is fantastic news for the millions of merchants using WordPress.
First, let’s talk about “Headless eCommerce”
Headless eCommerce is the idea that the eCommerce platform is removed from what is called the “presentation layer” — in most cases, what you know as your website. In the case of headless eCommerce for WordPress, this allows more flexibility in your website, allowing for the best of content management and marketing to combine with the robust, enterprise-level Security, Scalability, and Speed of BigCommerce.
BigCommerce for WordPress: The Best of Content and Commerce Combined
That’s the claim from BigCommerce, and one I’m actively testing. First impressions have been amazing. Considering that BigCommerce is putting some of their best minds into it, and have made the plugin compatible with WordPress (all the way to version 5.x and Gutenberg editor!), I can’t wait to see how far we can take it.
Once installed on WordPress, the plugin is powered by the BigCommerce API, passing over your entire product catalog. WordPress delivers the front-end experience (website) while BigCommerce handles the ecommerce-specific aspects of the website (catalog management, transactions, order/shipping management, etc). It is the best of both worlds, and BigCommerce makes a strong case for how it’s the best choice for digitally native brands going direct to consumer.
BigCommerce for WordPress:
- Gives your WordPress site access to the industry-leading eCommerce capabilities of BigCommerce, without having to give up the equity and content you’ve already build into your WordPress site.
- Gives you full catalog data access within WordPress so you can do what you want. This is not an iFrames integration, but a true, native one.
- Allows customization of your product cards, lists, and cart without risking plugin updates that will undo the work.
- Allows you to quickly integrate other end-to-end commerce capabilities to your existing site.
- Works along-side many other WordPress plugins.
Is BigCommerce’s the best Plugin for WordPress?
I’m convinced this may be the best, given what I know both about WordPress and BigCommerce. Of course, it’ll also require market acceptance. If nothing else, it’ll give WooCommerce a run for its money, and put pressure on the entire industry to re-consider what they do for clients not based on their beliefs, but on what is best for their clients.
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