In this buyer’s guide, we provide you with the information that you need to select the best WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin for your small business. We looked at the most popular options and rising stars and decided to review Ecwid, WooCommerce, and Cart66. These companies covered the range for small businesses in terms of of price, selling tools, and ease of use. Read on for our comparison and review of these three options, as well as our top recommendations.
Best WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin for Small Business Owners: Ecwid
Ecwid is our top pick because it’s affordable, simple to use, and allows you to sell just about anywhere. This includes WordPress sites, marketplaces like Ebay and Google Shopping, Facebook, and many more. Ecwid also integrates with many popular point-of-sale systems. There is a free basic version, and premium paid plans start at only $15/month.
Best WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin Summary Table: Ecwid vs. WooCommerce vs. Cart66
|Free (10 items)|
$15 / mo (100 items)
$35 / mo (2500 items)
$99/mo (Unlimited items + POS integration)
Store management features increase with price levels
|Free (Unlimited items) |
Store management features available with extensions and plugins starting at $29
|$9.99 / mo (Unlimited items)
$29.99 / mo (Unlimited items)
Store management features increase at the higher price level
|WordPress Theme Compatibility|
|Most WordPress themes, Ecwid storefront themes available||Most WordPress themes, best in WooCommerce compatible themes||Any WordPress Theme|
|Ease of Setup and Use|
Setup phone call with all plans, even free plan
No setup support
A complete setup service is available for $99
|Multichannel Selling: WordPress, Social Sites, Seller Marketplaces & In-Store|
|Sell on Multiple WordPress Sites|
Ebay, Google Shopping & More
Social - Facebook Store
In-Store POS - Clover, Square & Vend POS
|Sell on One WordPress Site|
Marketplace - Ebay & Google Shopping with Extensions
Amazon, Etsy & More with Ordoro or ShippingEasy
Social - Facebook Store
In-Store POS - Square & Lightspeed
|Sell on One WordPress Site
Social - Facebook & Twitter
And in - Email Campaigns
|Yes||No - cart security up to store owner||Yes|
|Phone and chat support with paid plans.||Online support ticket with purchase of a Woo product||Support tickets and paid phone support|
|Product Features: Special Pricing & Item Options|
|All Plans - List item options, quantity discount pricing, and bundled item pricing||Free Plan - List item options|
Purchased Plugin -
Adds quantity discount pricing and bundled item pricing
|All Plans - List item options, quantity discount pricing, and bundled item pricing|
|Customer & Order Management Features|
|Great - all in Ecwid’s WordPress dashboard||Good - needs plugins to print order invoices||Great - all in Cart66 dashboard|
|Inventory Management for Single Store & Multichannel|
|Great - manages inventory among all selling channels||Great for one store and social selling with additional plugins||Great for one store and social selling|
Shipping, Store Management, & Reporting
|Great - integrates with many providers including|
Ship Station, and Finale Inventory
Clover, Square & Vend
|Great - integrates with many providers including|
Ship Station, and
Ordoro Shipping & Inventory
Square & Lightspeed
|Good - integrates with some providers including
Best WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin for Small Business Owners: Ecwid
As a seasoned WooCommerce user, I surprised myself by placing Ecwid in the number one spot. But its mix of great features including intuitive setup, checkout security, multichannel selling, and point-of-sale integration makes Ecwid really stand out. If you’re interested in selling on WordPress and beyond, Ecwid is hands-down the best WordPress shopping cart plugin you’ll find.
A major plus in Ecwid’s column is its multichannel selling features. Many of today’s successful sellers list products on social sites like Facebook, in marketplaces like Ebay, and sell in physical settings, too. With Ecwid, these multichannel connections are already built-in, so you can sell virtually anywhere from Ecwid with ease.
For store building, Ecwid and our other top picks integrate well with WordPress to let you list products, build a storefront, and fully manage online sales. But of the three, Ecwid’s user dashboard is the most intuitive and easiest to learn for all of these functions. And if you can’t figure something out? Everything from basic setup to advanced features is well documented in Ecwid’s knowledgebase and video tutorials.
One terrific feature Ecwid shares with Cart66 is a secure checkout, meaning it meets stringent PCI compliance standards. This takes the responsibility for credit card security off your plate. In contrast, WooCommerce leaves checkout security up to the store owner. Another plus for both Ecwid and Cart66 is that they work with most WordPress store themes, even free ones. WooCommerce can be used with most themes, but works best in compatible themes.
One downside to Ecwid is that its free plan allows you to list only 10 individual products. WooCommerce and Cart66 have no limit on the number of products listed. To sell more than 10 products in Ecwid, you’ll need a paid plan, which start at $15/mo. But the time you’ll save using Ecwid’s many built-in features makes any paid plan worth the cost. The $35/mo. plan allows 2,500 product listings and includes multichannel selling, while the $99/mo. plan unlocks point-of-sale integration for in-store sales
Best Free WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin: WooCommerce
WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress shopping cart plugin and powers roughly 37% of all ecommerce websites. That’s all ecommerce sites, not just those on WordPress. It’s one of the first WordPress shopping cart plugins developed and offers an amazing array of features for Free.
The reason I placed WooCommerce below Ecwid in this small business guide is twofold:
- Though you get a lot of power in WooCommerce’s free version, most users find it’s not really free to operate. Many simple tasks, like printing an order invoice, require extensions or additional plugins that can cost from $29 to $129 per year.
- To make it all work, most small businesses will need to add at least a few plugins, ensure they’re compatible, and keep them updated. Experienced WordPress users will have no problem with this, but a small business owner new to WordPress can find the learning curve steep. This is where Ecwid pulled ahead.
That said, with extensions, add-ons, and plugins, WooCommerce can expand to sell just about anything. Plus it integrates with many seller marketplaces, store management tools, and point-of-sale systems. In contrast, Cart66 offers few integrations.
For payment processing, WooCommerce works with an array of payment gateways. But unlike Ecwid and Cart66, checkout security is up to you. For this reason, PCI compliant payment processors Stripe and PayPal are good choices for small businesses using WooCommerce.
One big plus for WooCommerce is it’s fully scalable. That means it can grow as big as you can dream. And for store design, there are plenty of gorgeous WooCommerce-ready store themes available, including free themes from WooCommerce.
Best All-in-One WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin: Cart66
Cart66 tipped the scales into the top three because it doesn’t rely on outside integrations to create or manage a WordPress store. Plus it works well with any WordPress theme. With Cart66, you can turn any WordPress post or page into a sales page by adding a simple “Add to Cart” button. You also can add any type of media to product pages, including galleries, video, and sliders. This isn’t easily done in Ecwid or WooCommerce.
Though simple to set up, the Cart66 product features are every bit as powerful as Ecwid and WooCommerce. It supports options like size and color, and pricing variations like quantity discounts. Cart66 also lets you sell many types of products, from physical and digital products to memberships and subscriptions.
All store and order management tasks, such as printing orders, tracking inventory, and printing shipping labels are handled from the intuitive Cart66 dashboard. The last is an especially nice feature since Ecwid and WooCommerce require external services to print shipping labels. From the dashboard, you also can access great how-to articles and video tutorials that cover anything you need to know to set up and run your store.
Another reason Cart66 made the top three is that it, like Ecwid, provides a secure checkout. That means its checkout process meets stringent PCI compliance standards and takes credit card security off your plate. With WooCommerce, checkout security is up to you.
Like the other two, Cart66 supports social selling on Facebook, Twitter, and even through email, but it doesn’t offer any marketplace integrations. And, unlike Ecwid and WooCommerce, Cart66 doesn’t have a free version. Instead, it offers two very budget-friendly plans, $9.99/mo. and $29.99/mo., each with a 14-day free trial. The secure checkout alone is worth the price.
In Depth Comparison: Ecwid vs. WooCommerce vs. Cart66
Pricing is always a factor for businesses, but free isn’t a bargain if it comes with limited capabilities or efficiency headaches. Both Ecwid and WooCommerce offer free versions, while Cart66 does not. But you can extend functionalities on all with additional fees. That said, each of these powerful ecommerce plugins let you create fully functioning stores ranging in cost from Free to just $99/mo. It’s a pretty budget-friendly bunch.
Themes are what drive the look of WordPress sites, and some ecommerce plugins work better with certain themes than others. Cart66 is no-holds-barred when it comes to theme compatibility. It loves them all. Ecwid works in most themes without any needed customization. WooCommerce really needs a compatible theme, but there are plenty available since it’s so popular, including free themes from WooThemes.
Ease of Use & Quick Setup
Both Ecwid and Cart66 are simple to set up and offer great step-by-step video tutorials that detail the process. Ecwid even provides a free setup call on all plans. WooCommerce is a bit more challenging, but many new WordPress users have tackled WooCommerce very successfully. It just takes patience to conquer the learning curve.
Sell Anywhere – WordPress, Social Sites, Marketplaces & In-Store
This is one of the reasons I placed Ecwid ahead of WooCommerce. Ecwid makes multichannel selling a breeze, it’s simply made for it. The other two get the job done in their own way, but neither meet Ecwid’s built in features. Since efficient multichannel selling is key to online success for many small businesses, in this, Ecwid is the leader of the pack.
Secure Payment Processing Options
Here is where both Ecwid and Cart66 top WooCommerce. Both provide top-level security on their checkout pages and ensure 100% PCI compliance, so you don’t have to. This is a nice feature that’s definitely worth the monthly fees. WooCommerce leaves it up to you, but there are ways to remove the burden. Read on for details.
Customer Support, Documentation, & Tutorials
Again, Ecwid and Cart66 top WooCommerce in tools and support to get you up and running fast. Of the three, Ecwid offers the best support, including phone support on top plans — yay! Cart66 has paid phone support, which I didn’t purchase, but my support ticket emails were all answered within 30 minutes. Not bad. WooCommerce offers support if you purchase something, which I did, and my help tickets were answered within a few hours.
Product Features: Item Options & Special Pricing
These are details you don’t think about until you sell items with options, like color or size, or products with special pricing, like quantity discounts. Then, a lack of product features in a plugin is a big deal, indeed. All top three picks are handy when it comes to products with options, and can support special pricing needs as-is, or with a plugin.
All three let you title options (i.e. Color), add choices (i.e. Red, Blue, Green), and modify pricing, as shown in Ecwid’s options entry screen:
Order Promotions & Order Management Features
Ecwid, WooCommerce, and Cart66 all offer order promotion features such as coupons and free shipping. Where they differ somewhat is in their order management tools. Within the dashboards of all three, you can set discounts and special offers, plus manage orders, customer updates, returns, and more. Each just handles it all a tad differently.
Inventory Management – Single Store & Multichannel
Each has a highlight in this section. Ecwid wins in inventory management across multichannel sales. WooCommerce, combined with back-end systems, lets you manage volume sales. Cart66 provides easy in-dashboard inventory updates for smaller stores.
Integrations with Shipping, Store Management, & Reporting
Only one plugin, Cart66, offers shipping rate comparisons and shipping label printing within its dashboard. Ecwid and WooCommerce both require integration with shipping management systems, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Several shipping management providers make the shipping process efficient and help you find the lowest rates. Most are budget-friendly and some even offer free plans.
Store Management & Reporting Integrations
Integrated store management tools tie all operations together in one system: purchase orders, inventory, drop ship orders, multiple warehouses, shipping, sales reporting, and more. Not every store needs this, but if you do, it’s nice to know it’s available and that your website readily integrates.
All WordPress Shopping Cart Plugins
Ecwid, WooCommerce, and Cart66 fill just about any online selling need small businesses have, but if you’re looking for other options, here’s a list of all of the popular ecommerce plugins we researched:
|Ecwid||Small Ecommerce & Physical Stores Adding Ecommerce||$15 / month, $35 / month & $99/mo. with a Free basic version||Ecwid is our top recommended WordPres Shopping Cart plugin. They are an easy, intuitive, secure plugin that lets you sell anywhere.|
|WooCommerce||Small, Mid-Sized and Large Ecommerce Stores||Free. Additional features available with free and paid extensions and plugins||The most popular WordPress shopping cart plugin, WooCommerce offers a lot of functionality for free!|
|Cart66||Small and Specialty Stores, plus Subscription and Membership sites||$9.99 / month and $29.99 / month||Cart66 works with any WordPress theme and offers secure checkout and easy order management and shipping from one dashboard|
|WP eCommerce||Small, Mid-Sized, and Large Ecommerce Stores plus Subscription and Membership sites||Free. Additional features available with free and paid extensions and plugins||The second most popular WordPress shopping cart plugin, it gives you full design control over the look of your store, lets you sell all types of products, and provides great reporting.|
|JigoShop||Small and Mid-Sized Ecommerce Stores||Free. Additional features available with paid add-ons||JigoShop offers an intuitive setup and store management dashboard, plus many great, inexpensive, ready-to-go JigoStore themes.|
|iThemes Exchange||Small and Mid-Sized Ecommerce Stores||Free. Additional features available with the ProPack add-ons for $197||iThemes Exchange supports both physical and digital item sales. It’s remarkably intuitive, making setup a snap. Both Stripe payments and PayPal Standard are fully integrated for secure checkout.|
|Simple PayPal Shopping Cart||Small eCommerce Stores||Free||This free plugin turns any WordPress blog into a selling tool in minutes. It lets you add a PayPal buy button on any blog post or page and supports both physical items and digital download sales|
The Bottom Line
Every online seller has a unique set of needs, and a universe of WordPress shopping cart plugins exists to meet each and every one. Sometimes the hardest choice is deciding which one to use because they all promise such possibilities.
Taking everything into account, we landed on Ecwid as our top choice for small business because it does many things very well. It’s undoubtedly designed to help small business owners save their most valuable asset — time. Plus it covers the full spectrum of multichannel selling: online, social, marketplace, and in-store. It does this all from one management center, and at a very good price.
Ready to give online selling with Ecwid or another great WordPress shopping cart plugin a try but don’t yet have a WordPress site? Set one up today using our quick-start guide here.