What to Look For in a WordPress Ecommerce Plugin
WordPress is increasing its reputation as a platform for building ecommerce websites – from a simple blogging CMS, WordPress themes and back-end functionality deliver all the functionality of a dedicated website at a fraction of the cost of a customized site. WordPress’ open architecture has encouraged a host of plug-ins to provide functionality on an as-needed basis, and in many cases at very low cost and even free.
The question is, when you have different plug-ins claiming to perform the same function, how do you choose between them? Making a mistake can cost you revenue and may lead to increased support costs down the road, so you need to take a considered approach to this problem.
Any plug-in should be a breeze to install within WordPress, and unless you are a complete newbie, you should be able to handle the installation process yourself to save further costs involved with hiring third-party with the skills to do it for you. The whole ethos behind WordPress and plug-ins is that you, the etailer (online retailer), can manage the site with your own hands-on, unless you want a third party involved.
Lack of Conflict and Plugin Stability
Not all plugins are equal – some are more equal than others because they are developed by programmers who are better at their job and have a deeper understanding of the business objective they are looking to help users achieve. Some plugins will conflict with other plugins, or even with WordPress itself which results in downtime, functionality restriction and increased frustration and costs to get the issue put right.
Look for a plugin with a track record of use and from a source which has developed a reputation for developing WordPress plugins, and frequently, this will be a commercial outfit and you will need to pay for it.
Free plug-ins can result in a very high cost to you due to lack of effective support for the solution. If a free plug-in is installed and then develops an issue, or you need to overhaul the site in such a way that the plug-in needs to be tweaked, you may find the support from whoever has developed and supplied the “free” solution do not have the ability to support it.
Lack of support when the plug-in performs a critical function is extremely costly – if it takes your site down, or customers cannot complete online purchases, you are losing a lot of money.
Shopping Cart Plugins
One of the most important plugins is the shopping cart – this lets users select and deselect products they are interested in buying and takes them through the ordering and payment process. You need to make sure the shopping cart plugin satisfies all the aforementioned requirements, but also provides an easy to administer product interface for making changes and can handle different order scenarios as well as being very fast – most customers abandon the purchase (called “shopping cart abandonment”) due to a slow or clunky purchasing process e.g. slow loading of pages, asking too much information which is not relevant to the purchase or not able to accept a wide variety of payment options.
-By: Lawrence Reaves
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