One edge of WordPress as a content management system is that it has a number of free plugins. And perhaps one of the most useful plugins out there is the WP e-commerce plugin.
Basically, an e-commerce plugin is a software component that will allow your site to sell products—and much more. So this plguin will allow you to transact business if you have a simple WordPress blog or a complex retail website powered by the WordPress CMS. This software component is free, as most plugins are.
Now, there are a lot of free (and for pay) e-commerce solutions available today. Is the WP e-commerce plugin a viable one?
As with most website development factors, this is a case per case basis. But in general, WP e-commerce is a practical e-commerce solutions.
Besides, being free, the WP e-commerce is among the easiest to use. But don’t let this simplicity fool you: even high-traffic and popular e-commerce sites use this plugin. It is one of the most-used e-commerce plugins today, in fact. It offers several payment options (a must for any e-commerce site) and marketing tools.
Many cite its standardised invoice (meaning, every printed invoice from the WP e-commerce plugin are the same) as one of its cons, but it’s a very minor one for such a convenient system that’s free.
The fact that popular e-commerce sites such it should be a good indication that it’s a viable plugin—but, again, it’s really a case per case basis. Case in point: if you want (or need) a customised invoice for your transactions, the WP e-commerce system will not suit your needs.
Although expandable, the WP e-commerce system is also not very customisable in other areas (the shopping car option, for instance). Some paid e-commerce systems also offer more payment options—a dealmaker or breaker for many e-commerce sites. Needless to say, this plugin is only for the WordPress CMS; if you’re using Joomla!, you will have to use VirtueMart and the like.
Lastly: while the WP e-commerce system will work for medium-sized sites, it won’t be able to support large-scale sites. If you’re looking to create the next Amazon, consider more powerful systems such as Shopify or Zen Cart.
In the end—as with most things that concern website development—it’s really all about what your website needs. Nevertheless, for modest e-commerce requirements, WP e-commerce system should be adequate.
Contact an Ignition Media professional today if you’re looking to develop an e-commerce website. Check out its portfolio to see website designs as well.