Are you considering adding an online store to your WordPress site, but are unsure of the best ecommerce platform for your blog?
Most ecommerce articles are aimed at startups or people looking to start an ecommerce business from scratch.
However, you’re not starting at ground zero.
As a blogger, your site is up, running and populated with content.
You’ve likely already built an SEO presence, perhaps a strong social media audience and are now looking to monetize your traffic with an ecommerce store.
So what’s the best ecommerce platform for an existing wordpress website?
This article looks at the best ecommerce platforms & plugins through the lens of a blogger.
I’ll show how each ecommerce platform can complement your blog, and highlight the best features for the sale of both physical and digital product sales.
There are a lot of ecommerce platforms on the market today. So many that you may struggle to decide on which one you should use.
I’d recommend that you not overthink this step.
While there may be hundreds of platforms available, there is a shortlist of around a dozen that will all comfortably do what most bloggers will ever need.
Your ecommerce platform choice will be driven in part by the type of product you want to sell.
Let’s look at 13 leading ecommerce platforms and see how they can work with your blogging and online business strategy.
First up, is my recommendation of the best overall ecommerce platform for bloggers.
There is one ecommerce platform for wordpress that stands out above the crowd and so I want to talk about that one first.
The best headless ecommerce platform for wordpress
BigCommerce began as a stand-alone fully serviced CMS ecommerce platform and continues to operate as a fully functional and self hosted ecommerce website builder.
However, where BigCommerce has started to differentiate themselves is in their headless ecommerce capabilities.
Headless ecommerce simply means that the front end of an ecommerce store is separate from the backend, allowing content creators to utilise all the technical bells and whistles and ecommerce functionality of a CMS ecommerce solution but use their own front end channel to display and promote their products.
BigCommerce offers a dedicated wordpress plugin, which gives you all the features of a fully functioning ecommerce store right within your own site.
For example, you add all their ecommerce features and functionality to the backend of your WordPress website, allowing you to display and promote your products within your current content and brand, without having to build a completely separate ecommerce site.
- Fully integrated wordpress plugin giving you the opportunity to add products seamlessly to your content and brand
- A single control panel to manage your catalogue, orders & shipping
- Inventory management tools to plan stock purchases
- Accepts payments with PayPal, Apple Pay & Visa
- Streamlined single-page checkout to improve conversions.
- No per-transaction fees
- AMP enabled, delivering the fastest ecommerce page load speeds
- Gutenberg compatible
- An embedded checkout, PCI compliant and secure
Price: The three subscription levels for BigCommerce are; Standard ($29.95), Plus ($79.95), and Pro ($299.95). Those are the monthly prices, but you can save 10% if you pay for an annual subscription.
You’ve built the blog, and the traffic, now you can start to sell online from right within your content, quickly and easily, with just a few clicks of a button.
See more details here – BigCommerce
While BigCommerce is certainly my favourite for wordpress, it might be that you’re looking for a different solution.
Let’s look at six other ecommerce platforms that integrate with wordpress and make it easy to start selling physical products right from within your content.
Probably the best all-around solution for an eCommerce website.
Shopify is one of the best known and most popular ecommerce platforms on the market today. It’s also usually the first option that springs to mind when shortlisting ecommerce platforms.
Like BigCommerce, Shopify is a stand alone all-in-one solution. So they handle the hosting, have a range of themes for fast setup, and will process your payments for you.
However, they also have an option called Shopify Lite.
For only $9 a month you can create a Shopify account and display a ‘buy button’ on your website with selected products.
However, compared to WooCommerce, Shopify is not a plugin and it’s not dynamic. Meaning if you make any updates on your products in the backend, you’ll have to swap out the code for the new piece of code with the updates.
If you’re only selling 1 or 2 products then this could be an ideal, cheap, easy & fast ecommerce solution for you.
If however, your plan is to start selling lots of products, a better way to use Shopify on your blog is to build it out as a full ecommerce site and then add the domain to a menu item on your blog.
You could call it ‘Shop” for example.
Then on your Shopify store link back to your blog from your menu to create as seamless as possible connection between the two.
Your other option (although not recommended), is to transfer your existing blog onto your Shopify ecommerce store.
Not only is this a laborious manual process, Shopify is not known for it’s astounding search engine optimization capabilities in the ecommerce space and you’d likely miss out on a lot of search traffic switching from WordPress to Shopify.
Shopify has a free 14-day trial, so you can experiment with the platform to see if it’s right for you.
- List an unlimited number of products on all price plans.
- Create buy buttons to embed directly into your content.
- Host your store directly on Shopify’s servers.
- Gift cards and coupons to encourage sales.
- Create marketing campaigns including cart abandonment reminders.
- Take payment in 133 currencies.
- Use point-of-sale (pos) technology to accept card payments in person at markets and fairs.
Price: Shopify has four pricing tiers; Shopify Lite – $9/month, Shopify Basic costs $29 per month, Standard is $79, and the premium level Advanced is $299.
Most small retailers will be fine on the basic account long term.
See more details here – Shopify
ECommerce solution designed purposefully for WordPress.
WooCommerce is an ideal ecommerce platform for bloggers who want to add an online store to their website.
All you have to do is register with WooCommerce, install their extension, and build out your store on your existing blog.
There is a free feature-limited extension and a more capable paid option.
WooCommerce also can provide a payment gateway that you plug in to start taking payments. The payment gateway is also free to install, but WooCommerce charges a percentage fee on each sale you make.
If you are happy poking around in the back end of your WordPress blog, installing plugins, or tweaking settings, then you should be able to handle the WooCommerce install.
Some people have reported that WooCommerce doesn’t handle a high volume of products very well without slowing down their website to unacceptable speeds.
If you need to list many products, WooCommerce may not be the right ecommerce platform for you.
Otherwise, if you want to sell just a handful of products, it could be a winner and perfect for adding an online store to your blog.
- Robust security provided by Jetpack.
- iOS and Android app to manage your online business on the go.
- Works with PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay, and more.
- Sell subscription services with recurring payments.
- 100s of extensions and integrations, including Zapier.
- WooCommerce payment processing pays you every other day.
Price: The standard version of WooCommerce is free to install. If you want to use more advanced extensions, the cost is $29 per month.
Get more details here – Woocommerce
Best ecommerce platform to start selling online for free
The Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart is the dedicated Ecwid WordPress plugin that brings your ecommerce store to life on your website.
Similar to BigCommerce, Ecwid integrates seamlessly with WordPress and has the functionality for you to sell your products across the web, including social media platforms, Amazon and Google.
Utilising Stripe, Paypal, Square, Clover and other point of sale systems you can accept payment in your store or remotely on the go.
With a centralised control platform you can easily manage inventory, pricing, product details and everything you need to run a successful ecommerce business right from within your blog.
- Completely free to get started and free forever for up to ten products
- Effortlessly promote and sell across the web
- Android and iOS store management app
- Functionality to also sell digital products
- Gutenberg friendly
- Facebook messenger live chat
Price: The Free version is free forever for up to 10 products. Venture is $15 a month. Business is $35 a month and Unlimited is $99 a month. You can save money on all plans by paying annually.
Get more details here – Ecwid
Great ecommerce platform that comes with step by step instructional videos
WP Easycart allows you to turn your blog into an online store with just a few clicks.
Simply install the plugin, upload your products and add to your existing site.
Integrating with almost any WordPress theme you can sell retail goods, digital goods, subscriptions and more.
It includes a seamless shopping cart experience including the use of discount coupons and gift cards.
It also works with most WordPress page builders but in particular Elementor if you’re currently using that on your site.
It accepts Apple Pay & Google Pay and its fully mobile ready. If you need more functionality you can add extensions such as Quickbooks, ShipStation and Mailchimp.
What I like most about WPEasycart is that the video tutorials to help setup your ecommerce store are easy to access, navigate and understand.
- Instant ecommerce plugin, works with almost any theme
- Sell retail goods, digital downloads, subscriptions and more
- Sell books in both digital and physical formats
- Mobile ready and accepts both Apple Pay and Google Pay
- Create donation pages and products
- Fully integrated administrative area to manage your own online store
Price: There is a free forever version for unlimited products, a Pro version for $69/year and a Premium version for $99/year. All plans come with a 14 day free trial.
Get more details here – WPEasycart
Best ecommerce platform for bloggers with an existing Etsy store.
If you already have an Etsy store and want to cross-promote your products on your blog, the Etsy Shop WordPress plugin smooths the process.
It enables you to add a shortcode to your blog posts which pulls through a product or even entire categories of products.
The plugin makes it easy to create spotlight posts about your products, highlighting interesting stories about your products and directing people to purchase on Etsy.
It’s free to install; all you need is to set up API access in your Etsy store.
There are also similar plugins available on the market if you have an eBay or Amazon store.
- Add Etsy products to blog posts with a shortcode.
- Include entire shop sections of products.
- Quick installation process.
Price: While it’s free to install and use, user donations fund the plugin’s development. So if you find it useful, show your gratitude to the developer with a small donation.
Get more details here – Etsy Shop Plugin
An alternative ecommerce platform for combining digital product sales with print on demand products.
Print on demand platforms generally come in two formats.
Sites like Redbubble or Zazzle offer the opportunity to sell directly on their sites, while many other platforms integrate with ecommerce platforms like Shopify & BigCommerce, allowing you to sell directly from your own website.
Sellfy is a little like Shopify in that you create your own store on their ecommerce platform, giving you a stand alone self hosted platform which you can then link to your own blog via a sub domain or menu link.
However, it also has the capability to add your products to your wordpress store using chunks of code or their store embed feature.
You can also effortlessly sell across social media.
What makes Sellfy stand out from the crowd is that it is a print on demand ecommerce platform which also has the functionality for you to sell digital products.
It’s a great choice if you have a personal brand and want to add some merchandise to your digital product catalogue.
Sellfy processes the transactions using PayPal or Stripe, meaning no transaction fees. But you’ll need to set up an account with one of these services, who will charge you a per-transaction fee.
Sellfy charges a monthly fee, so ideally, you should build an audience before setting up your store.
- Discount codes for sales and promotions.
- Embed ‘buy now’ buttons in WordPress posts.
- Sell all types of digital products.
- Sell subscription services.
- Inbuild email marketing.
- Use Facebook and Twitter tracking pixels.
Price: Sellfy has four subscription tiers. It starts at $0 per month for the entry-level package and goes up to $99/month for the premium package. As you hit certain revenue thresholds, Sellfy forces you to upgrade to higher-priced subscription tiers.
Get more details here – Sellfy
If the idea of selling physical products and potentially having to deal with stock, storage, and shipping doesn’t appeal, you could sell digital items instead.
Whether it’s a set of templates you’ve created to help people in your niche, ebooks, PDF’s or even a subscription service for regular income, digital ecommerce makes for a great online business.
The following ecommerce platforms are ideal for entrepreneurs looking to sell digital products from a blog.
Best ecommerce platform for digital downloads
Easy Digital Downloads says what it does on the tin.
It makes selling digital products on your WordPress website easy!
With an easy to use interface designed to suit complete novices, you can have your digital products set up and ready to sell in no time.
Including ebooks, PDF’s, wordpress plugins, documents, templates, there is no limit to how many products a customer can purchase at once or how many times they can download their bought product.
Accepting Apple Pay, Google Pay and Paypal, they offer a seamless checkout experience and a fully integrated management dashboard.
If your goal is to sell only digital downloads then this could be the ecommerce platform for you.
- Seamless shopping cart experience
- Fully integrated customer management dashboard
- Add promotional discount codes
- Use extensions to connect email providers to create a mailing list
- Integrates with any WordPress theme
- Accepts Apple Pay, Google Pay & Paypal
- Developer friendly with hundreds of extensions for further customisation and expansion
Price: Prices range from $99.50/year up to $499.50 depending on your personal requirements.
Get more details here – Easy Digital Downloads
Best ecommerce platform for an easy to use checkout for digital sales.
GumRoad is an ecommerce platform designed to facilitate online B2C digital sales.
GumRoad will host your digital files (up to 16GB) and process payments for you too.
It’s free to start, and shoppers can even discover your products directly from the GumRoad website.
If you’re looking to sell digital products from your own blog, you need to pay for the monthly ‘Pro’ subscription to set this feature up.
Along with file storage and payment processing, GumRoad has Digital Rights Management (DRM), which means that you can combat the illegal sharing of your digital product by a rogue customer.
- Inbuilt Digital Rights Management to prevent customer’s sharing their purchase.
- Sell subscription courses.
- Sell in multiple currencies.
- Offer multiple file formats like PDF and ePub.
- Easy to implement discount codes.
- Sell software and generate license codes.
Price: You can use GumRoad for free with the ‘Creator’s’ option, though you are charged 5% + 30c on each sale you make. When you start making regular sales, you can switch to the ‘Pro’ package costing $10 per month, lowering the per-sale fee to 3.5% + 30c.
Get more details here – GumRoad
A safe and secure way to manage your blog’s digital sales.
Payhip is designed to help you sell digital products from anywhere on the web, making it a perfect platform for bloggers selling downloads, software, or subscription services.
Payhip hosts your digital file and has built-in security features to help prevent illegal sharing and abuse of your intellectual property.
Payhip integrates with Zapier so you can construct automation triggers into your sales process.
Payhip is a no-frills digital checkout service for digital products.
- Sell globally and accept sales from anywhere.
- Checkout optimised to reduce cart abandonment.
- Offer instant downloads to your customers.
- Accept PayPal and major debit/credit cards.
- Run an affiliate program for your product.
- Stamp each PDF with buyer details to prevent illegal sharing.
Price: There is a free option that charges a 5% per transaction fee. You can pay a monthly subscription of $29 and reduce this to 2%. Alternatively, for $99 per month, you don’t have to pay any per-transaction at all.
Get more details here – Payhip
I’ve focused mainly on headless ecommerce platforms or solutions that integrate well with WordPress in the sections above.
However, as I mentioned in the Shopify & Sellfy sections, it’s just as easy these days to build your own self hosted ecommerce website using any of the hosted ecommerce website builders I’ve mentioned.
Here are a few more ecommerce platforms worth mentioning if you’re considering building your own online store from the ground up.
Free customizable ecommerce platform for creating just about any ecommerce solution you can think of.
OpenCart requires a level of technical knowledge to implement.
You can create an entire ecommerce website or implement one as part of your existing blog on a subdomain.
OpenCart is a free solution, but you’ll need to be comfortable configuring a website’s back end and solving issues through reading online documentation.
However, if you need human support, it’s available at $99 per month. But for that price, you may as well have signed up for the mid-range Shopify ecommerce platform in the first place.
- Unlimited categories and products.
- Build optin forms to capture customer email addresses.
- Multi-currency and payment processing options.
- Offer discounts, coupons, and special offers.
- Administrator dashboard with built-in analytics.
- Manage an affiliate program.
Price: Free, with access to the support function costing $99 per month.
Get more details here – Open Cart
More affordable ecommerce platform, ideal for novice website developers.
Wix is an easy-to-use ecommerce website builder with all the features you need to build a capable online store.
Wix is more affordable than Shopify and BigCommerce, and while you don’t get as many features, it could be right for you if you’re on a limited budget.
The store builder is like the rest of Wix; super simple to use. You can list as many products as you need, and there’s a wide choice of payment processors for taking customer payments.
Wix is the obvious choice if you already run your blog with them because you only need to upgrade to include the ecommerce module.
And if you use WordPress for your blog, Wix has an import feature that automatically transfers your posts.
If you do transfer your blog, don’t forget the critical task of setting up your 301 redirects. To prevent losing the current search placements your blog posts already have.
- Wix hosts your store for you on its servers.
- Shopping cart abandonment recovery tool.
- Drag and drop content management system.
- Dropship products with Modalyst integration.
- Your shoppers can create an account with your store.
- Add reviews to your site using KudoBuzz.
- Run a customer loyalty program to encourage repeat business.
Price: There is a 14-day free trial, then the entry-level plan costs $23 per month.
Get more details here – Wix
Open source and free ecommerce software.
Magento is perhaps the best of the open source ecommerce platforms.
This means it’s free to download and use, and you’ll never need to pay a monthly subscription.
Sounds like an attractive proposition? Well, you will have to host the website yourself, and you also need a sufficient level of technical know-how to get it up and running.
There is no support department to help you when you get stuck, nor are there pages of templates to help you theme your site.
But, if you are on a budget and are handy in the backend of websites, using Magento Open Source could save you hundreds of dollars every year.
Magento Open Source ecommerce is one to put on your shortlist if you want to keep your current blog setup. You could install it on a subdomain and direct traffic over from your primary site.
Don’t expect all the features found on platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce, though; all you get is a basic ecommerce solution.
- Optimised for mobile devices.
- Fast checkout capabilities for returning customers.
- Sell in multiple countries and currencies.
- Integrates with a wide range of payment gateways.
- 100s of integrations and extensions in the app marketplace.
Price: Free. But don’t confuse it with its sister product Magento Commerce which Adobe owns. It uses the same base package but offers lots of other features plus hosting for a monthly fee.
Get more details here – Magento Open Source
A design-focused website and blog builder with ecommerce features.
Squarespace is a website builder with a distinct aesthetic focus.
If you want to create a modern-looking ecommerce store to complement your design-conscious products, then SquareSpace should easily make your shortlist.
Squarespace uses world-class designers to create its templates, so you can rest assured that your site will look fabulous.
Along with an ecommerce store, SquareSpace also has a blog module. If you don’t want to link to a separate store, you can choose to move an existing blog created in WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr, and import all your content in one go.
I’ll say again – don’t forget to set up 301 redirects for your old posts, so you keep your search engine rankings. If you skip this step, it can set you back years as you fight to win back your SERP positions.
Squarespace ecommerce is not as advanced as some of the alternatives like Shopify. But it provides all you need to run a smaller store with an attractive design.
- Sell unlimited products on all subscription plans.
- Advanced features for promoting special offers.
- Email alerts for stock levels.
- Decent inventory control and visitor analytics.
- Customers can create an account.
- Built-in tax calculation tools.
Price: The ecommerce module is only available on the more expensive monthly plans. Basic Commerce is priced around $30 per month; Advanced Commerce costs around $40.
Get more details here – Squarespace
I started with my top recommendation for the best ecommerce platform for bloggers and that in my opinion is BigCommerce.
Lauded for it’s ecommerce functionality and SEO capabilities as a stand alone self hosted ecommerce website builder, BigCommerce built their wordpress plugin using the latest in headless ecommerce technology.
They did this to ensure any wordpress site owner would have the best of an ecommerce platform at their fingertips without sacrificing their brand or current content strategy.
However, it’s not the cheapest kid on the block and for that reason a close runner up is most definitely Ecwid.
With similar features and functionality to the BigCommerce plugin even their unlimited plan is only $99 a month, but if you’re only looking to sell a handful of products it’s unlikely you’ll ever need to go beyond the $15 a month package.
You can sell both physical and digital products and create a facebook and instagram online store.
You can also connect a print on demand company like Printful via their app and sell print on demand products.
If your goal is to grow a rapidly expanding ecommerce online business, eventually selling potentially thousands of different products, then BigCommerce is probably your best ecommerce platform.
If however, you’re only going to be selling a handful of products and are looking for a cheaper, more user friendly experience then I would say Ecwid could be your ecommerce platform of choice.
The beauty of all of these ecommerce platforms is that they come with free options or free trials, so you can try before you buy!
Unfortunately there’s never a one size fits all solution.
Where one ecommerce platform excels, another may have an important feature we really want.
Your best bet is to choose the top two or three ecommerce platforms from this list that appeal to you, sign up for their free options or trial periods and have a play!
The most important thing is that you’re up and running with the ability to sell online as soon as possible.
Your goal is not to spend hours building your online store, your goal is to make sales!
I hope this article has helped.
You may be wondering whether ecommerce really works from a blogging perspective.
A blog is traditionally viewed as a platform to share your ideas rather than the place for B2C or B2B retail.
But, a blog is an excellent solution for attracting ecommerce traffic.
Say you started a new ecommerce website, you need to pay for the initial launch, then pay again and again for adverts to bring shoppers to your store.
A blog is a resource that pulls in free organic traffic. If you can then direct that traffic towards your products for sale, you can launch your ecommerce business on a limited budget.
Indeed, most ecommerce websites have a blog today anyway to take advantage of the free traffic. BigCommerce claims that store owners who also blog pull in double the revenue of those that don’t.
Converting your blog into an ecommerce online store could be the best way to convert your traffic into income.
Headless ecommerce in simple terms means the decoupling of the backend of an ecommerce website with the front end.
Traditionally ecommerce platforms like Shopify & BigCommerce have provided stand-alone self hosted ecommerce website solutions, allowing you to build an online store from the ground up without requiring any coding knowledge.
Headless ecommerce means that some ecommerce platforms now offer the full ecommerce functionality of the backend of an ecommerce website builder, such as payment gateways, customer accounts, checkout funnels, inventory management, etc, but you can now integrate this and display all your products within your own website and current content strategy.
Therefore rather than having to build an entirely different online store and link to it from your website, which by the way is still a completely acceptable option, you can simply sell online via your current website and branding.
Both Shopify and BigCommerce have been built with ease of use top of mind. There is a reason they are listed as the best ecommerce platforms on most blog review sites.
Having built several stores on Shopify I can recommend first hand how easy it is to use and with some focus and hustle you could have an online store up and running within a few hours.
Saying that however, Shopify hasn’t embraced headless ecommerce as of yet and doesn’t lend itself as well as BigCommerce to adding an ecommerce online store to an existing wordpress site.
For that reason I would recommend BigCommerce as the best ecommerce platform for startups if you’re also a blogger and want to add an ecommerce site to your blog.
Oberlo comes with the ability to easily search for suppliers and products and with one click add the products plus descriptions and images, etc to your store.
The catch is that Oberlo is exclusive to Shopify and for that reason my recommendation for the best ecommerce platform for dropshipping is Shopify.
However, there is now an app called Spocket, which reportedly is as good as Oberlo and that works with most other platforms including BigCommerce.
The ecommerce platform you choose for dropshipping is less important than the functionality required to search for suppliers & products and import them quickly and easily into your store.
So start with the app you most like the look of and choose the ecommerce site that works best with the app.
Most of the more popular print on demand companies now integrate with many of the ecommerce platforms.
BigCommerce, Shopify, Woocommerce & Ecwid all integrate seamlessly with print on demand platforms like Printful & Printify, giving you the opportunity to create a beautiful online store showcasing your brand and designs on their products.
If, however, you’re looking for an all in one solution, not requiring any app integration, then Sellfy is the ecommerce platform of choice.
As a stand alone print on demand solution you can be up and running in no time at all without having to rely on other print on demand services.