Recently, a friend asked me, “Could I run a shop within WordPress?”
I’m sure that she’s not the only person who wondered about this. After looking around, I found one of the best tools to integrate an online shop with your WordPress blog: WP e-Commerce.
WP e-Commerce is a plugin that will give your blog a virtual storefront with literally one click. Once uploaded and activated, WP e-Commerce provides you with a powerful, yet user-friendly admin backend where you can add the details of the items you want to sell online.
Not only can you customize common product settings like description, category and price; you’ll also be able to upload product pictures, set discount prices, set up special variants, and manage stock availability information as well. WP e-Commerce also has integrated functions to handle digital product downloads, so it’s not just an online shop solution for physical items only.
WP e-Commerce also integrates flawlessly with PayPal right out of the box!
Now you might think that surely such a wonderful WordPress plugin would cost money, right? Well, you can get all the features I mentioned above with the free version of the plugin. They do have a gold version of the plugin that supports multiple payment gateways along with nicer bells and whistles.
I’ve played around with the plugin quite a lot for the past few weeks and I’m thoroughly impressed with it! I do notice a weird problem about being unable to update products when using MySQL 5 as the database backend though. So you might want to test it out a bit if you’re on a similar setup.
Other than that, I believe that WP e-Commerce should be the first plugin you look at if you plan to run an online shop using WordPress. It gets the job done and works right out of the box. I give it two thumbs up and would recommend it to anyone who wants a WordPress + e-commerce integration solution.