Are you looking for the best online store builders for a WordPress site?
Whether you’re a seasoned creator or a new entrepreneur looking to make money online, establishing a captivating online store is the key to unlocking your eCommerce dreams.
Navigating the vast landscape of eCommerce platforms and website builders can feel overwhelming. But this beginner-friendly guide will help you choose the best website builder for your specific needs.
🔎 In this article, I’ll cover:
- Why Build Online Stores With WordPress?
- Benefits of WordPress Online Store Builders
- What to Look for in Online Store Builders
- 5 Best Online Store Builders for WordPress
- Other Online Store Builders
- FAQs About Online Store Builders
Why Build Online Stores With WordPress?
WordPress is a powerful, flexible, and incredibly popular Content Management System (CMS) that is ideal for website building. It offers tons of customization options and tools that give you complete control over the site.
Its clean code and strong plugin ecosystem give your store a natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO) advantage, boosting organic traffic and driving curious shoppers to your doorstep.
Compared to other eCommerce platforms, WordPress is incredibly cost-effective. Forget hefty platform fees or locked-in contracts. WordPress is open-source and self-hosted, meaning you only pay for your domain name, web hosting, and any premium templates or plugins you choose.
Learn more about eCommerce website costs.
It’s also user-friendly without a steep learning curve. WordPress has an expansive, active, and engaged community, filled with experts, business owners, and developers offering insights, tips, and tutorials.
Benefits of WordPress Online Store Builders
While WordPress is ideal for creating an eCommerce site, it doesn’t come with the functionality by default. That’s where online store builders come in.
These plugins or platforms provide you with the eCommerce features and tools needed to transform your WordPress website into an intuitive storefront. They’re a great solution for small businesses looking to increase their scalability and grow their online presence.
Online store builders can help you:
- Create & manage your website design, without any coding knowledge
- Integrate payment gateways like Stripe & PayPal to accept credit cards & other payment options
- Deliver a smooth user experience and checkout process for your shoppers
- Order & inventory management
- Showcase products with detailed product descriptions & images
- Integrate with social media, digital, email marketing, & SEO tools
Before you decide which site builder to use for your eCommerce business, it helps to know what factors to consider and compare.
What to Look for in Online Store Builders
When looking for the best online store builders, consider a handful of factors.
First, your technical skills. It’s important to consider ease of use in online store builders as some platforms are more user-friendly than others. Drag-and-drop editors that make it easy to add products, customize your store designs, manage orders, etc.
Another factor to consider is the type of products you sell. Some platforms are better suited for specific product types. Not only can this influence the best eCommerce website builders for your business, but also which plans include the marketing tools, integrations, and add-ons necessary for your operation.
Costs vary depending on the platform and features you need. Many online store builders offer free and paid plans. I recommend choosing a platform that can scale with your business. You can typically start with the free plan, and then upgrade to one of the pricing plans for more advanced features.
Also, consider potential costs outside of the builder itself. For instance, even if you decide to use a free website builder, there may be transaction fees or other expenses associated with the payment gateway provider.
Finally, determine how much customer support you’ll need (if any). The level and type of support provided may vary depending on whether you have a basic or business plan.
5 Best Online Store Builders for WordPress
There are two main types of eCommerce platforms: hosted and self-hosted. In the following section, I’ll be focusing on self-hosted solutions made for WordPress users.
Later in the post, I’ll touch on some hosted solutions, like Shopify and Wix.
|Online Store Builder
|Easy Digital Downloads
|Digital products & downloads
|High-volume stores with large product catalogs & complex needs
|Membership sites & online courses
|Mobile & on-the-go storefronts
If you sell digital products and downloads, the best online store builder is Easy Digital Downloads (EDD).
This is the best WordPress plugin for selling digital products like eBooks, software, music, etc. It seamlessly integrates with WordPress and provides an Onboarding Wizard that makes setting up your digital download store a breeze.
Simply install the plugin, create your products, define prices and delivery methods (like automatic download link generation), and start selling.
Built with digital products in mind, EDD offers features like variable pricing, discount codes, recurring payments, software licensing, and file access restrictions. Add buy buttons, manage downloads, and track revenue with its intuitive interface.
Another benefit of Easy Digital Downloads is its impressive collection of eCommerce tools. Its thriving ecosystem of free and paid extensions expands EDD’s eCommerce functionality, allowing you to implement email marketing, subscriptions, advanced analytics, custom gateways, and more.
🔑 Key Features
- Unlimited products
- Full shopping cart system
- Multiple payment options, including Stripe, PayPal, Apple/Google Pay, & more
- Integration with popular marketing tools like Google Analytics
- Extensive library of add-ons to cater to specific needs
- Discount codes
- Compatible with tons of website templates and eCommerce-specific themes
Pricing: There is a free Lite version of EDD available. Premium plans start at $199 per year. Each plan scales with features, catering to solopreneurs and growing businesses alike. Learn more about EDD Free vs Pro.
Where Easy Digital Downloads is best for selling digital goods, WooCommerce is better suited for physical products.
As one of the most popular online store builders for WordPress, WooCommerce can transform your website into a fully-fledged eCommerce platform. Similar to EDD, you install the plugin, choose a theme, set up products, shipping, and payments, and watch your virtual store materialize. It comes with plenty of web design options and widgets.
Its extensible ecosystem of themes and extensions lets you customize every aspect of your store, integrate marketing tools, manage inventory, and even build marketplaces.
WooCommerce boasts a massive user base and vibrant community. Access extensive documentation, forum assistance, and dedicated developers for troubleshooting and customization.
🔑 Key Features
- Physical & digital products
- Tons of themes & extensions
- Multiple payment gateways
- Full shopping cart
- Order & inventory management
Pricing: WooCommerce is free to use, but hosting, themes, and extensions can incur additional costs. Expect to spend anywhere from $100 to $1,000 per year, depending on your needs and desired features.
Another one of the best online store builders to consider is BigCommerce.
Catered toward established businesses with large product catalogs and high volumes of traffic, this hosted platform lets you rent your online storefront space. It eliminates the technical headaches of self-hosting while offering exceptional security, reliability, and scalability.
You sign up for BigCommerce, customize your storefront using their themes and tools, set up products, and manage your store through their secure dashboard. It’s a solution that exists outside the WordPress sphere intended for sites that need a powerful hosting infrastructure even with thousands of products and orders.
However, it’s worth noting that BigCommerce tends to offer less flexibility and customization options than the first two online store builders in this list. There are limited themes and monthly fees.
🔑 Key Features
- Hosted solution
- Built-in CRM & SEO tools
- Abandoned cart recovery
- B2B functionalities
- Sophisticated product variations management
- Mobile-responsive themes & templates
Pricing: BigCommerce pricing starts at $39 per month, scaling up with features and store size. While pricier than WordPress options, it’s a complete package for serious online businesses.
MemberPress is a powerful plugin that transforms your site into membership sites and subscription-based models. You can use it to create and sell exclusive content, courses, communities, and offer tiered access levels.
Content restriction tools, course creation features, user management, and integrations with learning management systems empower you to monetize your expertise, cultivate loyal communities, and build a thriving knowledge empire.
🔑 Key Features
- Membership-focused content
- Exclusive, paid content
- Drip content
- Access control & user management
- Content creation & protection tools
- Online courses & LMS
- Payment & plugin integrations
- Recurring payments
Pricing: MemberPress pricing starts at $179.50 per year for their Basic plan, increasing with features and site licenses.
Rounding out our list of best online store builders is Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart.
Ecwid fills a unique niche as a fully hosted eCommerce platform seamlessly integrated with existing websites. Whether you use WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, or another platform, Ecwid adds powerful eCommerce capabilities without extensive configuration.
After you sign up for Ecwid, you connect it to your existing website, customize your storefront using their themes and tools, and manage products and orders through their secure dashboard.
Ecwid effortlessly embeds into your existing website, regardless of the platform. Maintain your original look and feel while adding comprehensive online store functionality. It’s a freemium plugin with a user-friendly interface, minimal setup, and drag-and-drop builder.
🔑 Key Features
- Easy integration
- Storefront optimized for mobile devices
- Marketing & SEO tools
- Drag-and-drop editor
- SaaS platform
- Compatible with most themes
- Google Ads configuration
Pricing: Ecwid offers a free plan with limited features. Paid plans start at $15 per month and scale with sales volume and features.
Other Online Store Builders
As I mentioned earlier, most of the online builders discussed above are self-hosted solutions. But there are also hosted options to explore if you don’t have/want a WordPress site.
Note that these options tend to be limited in terms of customization and advanced eCommerce features. You also typically have to pay monthly fees, as well as other costs for custom domains, increased bandwidth, etc.
- Shopify: All-in-one platform for businesses prioritizing ease of use and scalability
- Squarespace: Known for its beautiful pre-designed templates and focus on aesthetics
- Wix: Easy-to-use drag-and-drop builder, suitable for those with limited technical skills
- GoDaddy Website Builder: Offers basic SEO features & integrates with SEO guidance tools
FAQs About Online Store Builders
Let’s wrap up with some frequently asked questions about eCommerce website builders and online store builders.
What is the best eCommerce website builder?
WordPress offers a vast array of online store builders to cater to diverse needs and skill levels. WooCommerce is ideal for selling physical goods whereas Easy Digital Downloads is the best solution for digital selling. If you’re looking for something more niche, like coaching or membership services, MemberPress is worth checking out.
What are the best free online store builders?
Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce are the best free online store builders for WordPress.
Can I use multiple online store builders?
Technically, yes. However, I don’t necessarily recommend it. It’s better to find an all-in-one solution for your specific needs.
Get the Best eCommerce Site Builder
Remember, the best online store builder depends on your unique needs and goals. By carefully comparing your needs and priorities with the strengths of each platform, you can confidently choose the right online store builder and launch your WordPress eCommerce venture in no time.
If you’re planning to sell digital products and downloadable files, download Easy Digital Downloads to get your store up within minutes:
What’s next? Learn how to make digital passive income selling online.
Using WordPress and want to get Easy Digital Downloads for free?
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