Easy Digital Downloads vs WooCommerce (2020 Ecommerce Comparison)

In this post, I am going to be comparing Easy Digital Downloads vs WooCommerce, which are two popular options for selling digital products on a WordPress website, but which one is better?

Easy Digital Downloads vs WooCommerce: What’s the Difference?

Easy Digital Downloads is a WordPress plugin that has been specifically designed to allow users to sell downloadable, digital products on a WordPress website. WooCommerce is the most popular ecommerce plugin the WordPress and allows users to sell both physical and digital products.

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Pricing

Easy Digital Downloads Logo

Plugin

Free

Unlimited Products
No Turnover Limit
No Transaction Fee
Email Ticket Support
Unlimited Users

woocommerce logo

Plugin

Free

Unlimited Products
No Turnover Limit
No Transaction Fees
No Dedicated Support
Unlimited Users

Features

Both plugins are pretty light when it comes to features as their main purpose is to add a basic shopping cart to a WordPress website, which can then be customised with additional plugins and extensions at a later date. So lets take a look at what each plugin offers:

Easy Digital Downloads

Ecommerce Tools

  • Customisable action button
  • Registered or guest user checkout
  • Customer record management
  • Discount codes either fixed amount or percentage based
  • PayPal Standard

Reporting

  • Earnings
  • Earnings by category
  • Downloads
  • Payments

Easy Digital Downloads Extensions & Annual Passes

As you can see above, EDD is pretty light on features but the team behind the plugin have developed a range of extensions that can be used but they don’t come cheap. Most official extensions start from around $89 for the year and you may need more than one, which can make EDD very expensive.

To somewhat remedy this, EDD have developed a range of annual passes, starting at $99 that can be purchased and can save you potentially a lot of money.

EDD Access Plans

EDD also list a selection of plugins made by third-party developers on their site but very few of these are free to use, even though the selection is very good.

A search of Easy Digital Downloads in the WordPress plugin library returns a result of just over 750 plugins, which are all free to use but not many are specifically for EDD.

WooCommerce

Ecommerce Tools

  • Sell Physical & Digital Products
  • Discount Coupons
  • PayPal Standard
  • Gutenberg Blocks

Reporting

  • Sales by Date
  • Sales by Product
  • Sales by Category
  • Registered vs Guest Customers

WordPress Plugin Library

As with EDD, WooCommerce is light on features as standard but due to the larger user base and developer community, the selection of plugins is far greater. A search for WooCommerce returns a result of over 7,000 plugins in the WordPress plugin library and these offer all different kinds of functionality from Marketing & SEO to payment gateways and ecommerce tools.

Woocommerce Add Plugin

There are also a huge number of premium plugins for WooCommerce as well, that offer a greater number of features and usually much better support. These can be bought directly from WooCommerce or from third-party developers.

Theme Selection & Customisation

Easy Digital Downloads

The theme selection for Easy Digital Downloads is quite small, especially when you consider the amount of themes that are available for the WordPress platform.

A search in the free WordPress theme library only returns 22 results plus 1 free theme that can be obtained directly from the EDD website. On the premium side, there is a far greater selection with 48 available direct from EDD and over 440 listings for EDD themes on Themeforest.

On the customisation side, as with all WordPress themes, it comes down to the options that are available within that particular theme.

One thing that is lacking on the EDD customisation is the integration with the Gutenberg page editor as the core plugin offers no blocks that can be used within posts or pages. There is a block plugin that can be installed from the EDD team but this hasn’t been updated in 9 months as of writing this post.

WooCommerce

Theme selection is definitely not an area where WooCommerce is lacking as there are over 1000 to choose from in the WordPress theme library. There are also premium themes available from WordPress, independent developers and over 8,500 premium themes available on Themeforest starting form only a couple of dollars.

One of the good things about many of the free themes is that they are lite versions of the premium themes and it is a great way to see if the theme will be any good for your website before committing to buy.

Woocommerce Customiser

Customisation is the same as with EDD as it is very much theme dependent, with some themes having lots of options and others very little.

Due to WooCommerce being owned by the team behind WordPress, it is unsurprising that Woo has already been integrated with the Gutenberg page editor and this allows you to add WooCommerce elements such a featured products, product categories and products on sale to your posts and pages, which if you have a lot of visitors to your blog, could potentially lead to more sales.

Support

Support can be very hit and miss when it comes to WordPress and its plugins, so what do these two offer?

Easy Digital Downloads – all users of the EDD plugin get access to email support, which is very good and is more than you get with most plugins, especially free ones. Unfortunately though, there are no more options if you buy one of their annual passes.

WooCommerce – only users who have bought a theme or extension directly from WooCommerce can get support, which does make sense as the plugin has over 5 million active installs!

If you are just using the standard plugin with free WooCommerce themes and plugins, then you need to use the support forum. If you are using third-party themes, then you need to contact the developer about the issue.

The one good thing about WooCommerce being so popular is the amount of information and guides out there to help you set up plugins or do things within the platform. A quick Google search will give you the answer to most of your problems.

Performance

I hope you can imagine that comparing the performance of two WordPress isn’t particularly easy as there are many different variables that can effect this, including:

  • Quality of Hosting
  • Site Optimisation
  • Number of Plugins Installed
  • Theme Choice

However, I still want to do some type of performance test between the two plugins, so I installed the plugins on a demo site, with the same content, theme and optimisation and ran them through Pingdom’s Speed Test tool and Google’s Page Speed Insights to see how well they performed.

Easy Digital Downloads Logo

Pingdom: 0.94 Seconds
Google Mobile: 37/100
Google Desktop: 89/100

woocommerce logo

Pingdom: 0.95 Seconds
Google Mobile: 36/100
Google Desktop: 85/100

As you can see there really isn’t much to choose between the two, in fact they are pretty much identical!

Whichever one you opt for, make sure that you spend optimising your sites performance as this will help your business out massively.

Ease of Use

Facts and figures are one thing but what are these platforms like to use and how do they compare to each other? Well that is what I am going to be looking at in this section.

Getting Started

As with all WordPress plugins, the basics involve installing and then activating the plugin, but what are they like when you have done this?

Easy Digital Downloads

After you have installed and activated the EDD plugin, you are pretty much left to figure it out for yourself. There isn’t any sort of set up guide to help you get your payment gateway set up or configure any other settings.

This is a bit of an oversight for me, especially as you are setting up ecommerce elements on your site and a little guidance would be useful.

Accessing EDD within your dashboard is very easy as a Downloads section is installed in the main sidebar and it will add a summary widget in the WordPress home dashboard.

WooCommerce

Once you have got everything installed, getting started with WooCommerce is pretty easy. There is a quick start up wizard that takes you through most of the important steps, such as setting up PayPal and your shipping plus some other things you need to do in order to get WooCommerce ready to start taking orders.

WooCommerce adds more section than EDD does the sidebar navigation menu as it adds heading for:

  • WooCommerce – this is where you manage your orders and general settings
  • Products – where you manage your inventory
  • Analytics – access all of the reports and analytics for your store
  • Marketing – manage your WooCommerce marketing with integrations with third-party platforms

This does make it easier to navigate your way around the different sections of the plugin.

Adding and Managing Stock

Being able to manage your stock efficiently and effectively is a hugely important part of running an online store and for me there are three main areas to this and they are:

  • Adding products
  • Organising your Products
  • Managing your inventory

Easy Digital Downloads

The add new product page in EDD is very simple to use as it is a one page layout, it is also because it is geared solely towards digital products, which means that there are no options for shipping on the page as this is configured in the settings.

Product organisation is based off the native WordPress category system and it works very well as it allows users to create both parent and child categories for their products, making it very easy to create a well organised product/category hierarchy.

With digital only products, inventory management isn’t a big issue as you don’t have stock levels to worry about but there are still some edits that may be required and that is where the WordPress quick and bulk editors come in very useful.

This is because they allow users to quickly update the price, product title, URL, category and status without having to go in and edit the products individually.

WooCommerce

The add new product page in WooCommerce is very similar to that in EDD, this is because they are both based off the classic WordPress editor. But there are some subtle differences, with WooCommerce, there are two product descriptions:

  1. Full Description – this sits below the product image on a desktop and is where you put the bulk of the product related content
  2. Short Description – this sits to the right of the product image on a desktop and is ideal for a short, information filled 2-4 line paragraph and a few key bullet points to help sell the product

To add product information, there is a tabbed section below the main description that allows you to add pricing, inventory and delivery information along with any product attributes that you have created.

Woocommerce Add Product

Organising your products is the same as with EDD as it also uses the native WordPress category system.

WooCommerce also takes advantage of the WordPress quick and bulk editors but it does have a few more options within these editors due to being able to sell both physical and digital products. This means there are options for stock quantity and shipping, along with being able to edit the retail and sale prices.

Managing Orders

Easy Digital Downloads – Order management is pretty simple due to downloads being sent automatically once an order has been completed, this means there is no need to print off order invoices or packing slips. On the order overview page, you can resend invoices electronically or update order statuses manually.

WooCommerce – In the core WooCommerce plugin, the order management process is pretty poor as you can only update order statuses. The PDF Invoices and Packing Slips plugin changes this though and it is free to use, this allows you to print invoices and packing slips directly from the order overview page for individual or bulk orders. If you want to export your orders in CSV format, then you will need to install an additional plugin.

Summary

Easy Digital Downloads

Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

EDD Pros

• Free to install and use
• Easy to use admin area
• Nice choice of Premium themes
• Designed specifically for digital products

EDD Cons

• Extensions are expensive
• Limited choice of free themes & plugins
• Lack of Gutenberg integration

3.5

WooCommerce

Pricing
Features
Theme Selection & Customisation
Support
Hosting & Performance
Ease of Use

WooCommerce Pros

• Free to install and use
• Theme Selection
• Plugin library
• You own the site
• Easy to use admin dashboard

WooCommerce Cons

• Requires additional plugins
• No real support options
• Can be expensive if you need to use paid plugins

3.8

Conclusion

Both plugins are very similar in what they do but WooCommerce does edge it as it offers all the functionality that EDD does but also has a larger selection of both themes and plugins, meaning that there are more things that can be achieved with Woo than EDD.

The big downfall of EDD is the price of the extensions, even simple options like adding PayPal Express or Stripe costs $89, where as these are available for free with WooCommerce. The lack of Gutenberg integration is also not great, especially as this is the main page builder for WordPress now.

You are also not just tied into digital products with WooCommerce, so if you was to expand into physical products, this would be easily done, where as this would be a challenge to do with EDD.

Fortunately though, you can try both plugins out for yourself by clicking the buttons below.

Try Easy Digital Downloads

Try WooCommerce!