The intricacies of WordPress are on the rise, and each day those who say WordPress is merely a blogging platform are getting ruled out.
The ‘Content is king!’ philosophy, which tagged WordPress as a content management system, is now ready to rule the eCommerce world as well. With an influx of eCommerce themes and plugins, it’s now possible for business owners to sell their products and services easily by turning their websites into efficient online stores. WordPress has made this process so simple so that even if you’re not a programmer, you can still manage and own an online store.
You can find a range of WordPress eCommerce products, which includes 900+ free plugins, 60+ free themes, 400+ paid themes and templates, and 850+ paid plugins. This excludes any solo commerce related theme and plugin shops.
Some of the WordPress plugins have revolutionized the eCommerce niche. Today, let’s take a look at how WordPress is contributing to the eCommerce industry.
WooCommerce is the most popular eCommerce plugin, with more than seven million downloads and over a million active installs. And it does not end here. If we talk about the shopping cart technologies used by online stores, then WooCommerce powers more than 30% of online stores worldwide. Pretty impressive stuff!
I’m a strong advocate of WooCommerce. I think of it as a complete package for an online store owner. It provides almost everything one might need to set up an online store. WooThemes, its parent company, has contributed a major share in making WooCommerce what it is today. To make it more vocal, there are approximately 339 extensions (both free and paid) and themes, which are one of the main reasons of its survival.
The real icing on the cake was seen when WooThemes was acquired by Automattic recently in May 2015 for about $30 million. Some predicted it as a death blow for WooCommerce, but it revamped at a much larger scale. The recent analysis from BuiltWith says it all.
According to Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic and Co-Founder of WordPress,
“Our plan is to leverage our combined wealth of knowledge, skills, vibrant community and joint infrastructure platform to reach new eCommerce heights.”
After the acquisition of WooCommerce by Automattic (company of WordPress co-founder, Matt Mullenweg), it’s quite clear that WooCommerce, like WordPress, is here to stay.
WooCommerce will be one of the major beneficiaries of REST API being merged into core. Today, WordPress is not only the most used CMSs, but the most used eCommerce platform worldwide. If you are just starting up with WooCommerce then you might want to read an in-depth beginner’s guide I wrote here.
Easy Digital Downloads
If WooCommerce is the fuel for the WordPress eCommerce industry then surely Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) is doing the leg work for digital stores. Digital Stores? Yes, that’s right. EDD provides a complete solution to sell digital products. With more than 40,000 active installs, EDD now ranks itself as one of the leading WordPress eCommerce plugins which exclusively lets you sell digital products.
The plugin that initially started with only 8,085 lines of code has now increased to 64,195 lines with lots of contributors. Truly, it has been a life-changing experience for Pippin Williamson (EDD’s lead developer and the founder). EDD has drawn great impact on the lives of its users.
Since its launch, the plugin has been monetized by premium extensions (similar model as of WooCommerce) and has capitalized really well. But if it manages to come up with a strong notification API, then one may expect to see a great boom in its annual stats.
I have built themes for EDD and plan to build an extension or two in the near future. I have written a beginner-friendly guide on the topic as well. I consider EDD one of the best open-source plugins in the WordPress community. The team behind EDD has been known for listening to the community’s feedback and rolling out requested features, one after another. Seriously, this is the best support one could hope for.
Wait, There’s More!
So far I’ve mentioned only two of the leading WordPress eCommerce plugins. But as the number of people relying on the Internet to buy things increases so does the number of WordPress eCommerce products — there’s always room for valuable additions.
Some of the notable WordPress plugins filling up this space are WP eCommerce with 60,000+ active installs. MarketPress has 7000+ active installs while Cart66 Lite has 4000+ installs. iThemes Exchange, with 3000+ active installs, is a relatively new resource which has simplified setting up an online store. All of these plugins strengthen WordPress’s backbone as a strong eCommerce platform.
Amazon($175B market cap), eBay($69B market cap) and now Alibaba($246 market cap) are clear indicators of the powerful eCommerce industry. While the Internet is all set to evolve, WordPress is the most common go-to platform for eCommerce solutions.
Agile development of WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads leave no room for doubt that WordPress is producing the most cutting-edge eCommerce solutions. In next three years, I can only predict WordPress to become a great platform for transacting online.
(In my previous article on what WordPress will be like in next 10 years, you can read where we are headed. And who knows, with WordPress we might head towards the sci-fi future which is predicted in so many novels and movies.)
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!