Which one is the best option for adding ecommerce to a self hosted WordPress website? This is very much a David vs Goliath battle as WP EasyCart has less than 10,000 active installs, compared to the 5 million+ active installs of WooCommerce.
WP EasyCart vs WooCommerce: What’s the Difference?
WP EasyCart is an all in one ecommerce plugin for WordPress, meaning that all features are included in a single plugin, with paid options if you want premium features. WooCommerce is effectively the official ecommerce plugin for WordPress and the core plugin offers basic ecommerce functionality, which can then be customized with additional plugins.
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Core Plugin: Free
WP EasyCart Pro: $69/yr
WP EasyCart Premium: $99/yr
Core Plugin: Free
You can use both of these plugins for free, which is great for budget conscious ecommerce businesses but with WP EasyCart, there is a 2% transaction fee that is applied when using the free plugin but this goes away when you purchase one of their paid options.
Talking of paid options, the two offerings from WP EasyCart are very reasonably priced, with both costing less than $100 a year. And depending on the features you require, could work out considerably cheaper than WooCommerce.
For example, subscriptions are available on the WP EasyCart Pro package at $69/yr (along with many other features) but the WooCommerce Subscriptions plugin cost $199/yr just for that single feature.
Even though both plugins look to achieve the same result of being able to add ecommerce functionality to WordPress, when it comes to features, they take a completely different approach.
As I mentioned in the intro to this comparison, WP EasyCart is an all in one plugin, meaning that all the features come built in and there is no need to install additional plugins, but what features does it offer?
All features available on the Pro package will be marked with an * and features on the Premium package will be marked with an ^.
- Sell a Wide Range of Products, including:
- Ticket or Event
- Online Class or Course
- Digital Downloads inc eBooks*
- Gift Cards*
- Customer Accounts
- B2B Tools inc Volume based pricing*
- Product Variations* – Basic and Swatch inc with free plugin
Marketing & SEO
- Custom Titles & URL’s
- Meta Description
- Meta Keywords
- Gift Cards*
- Discount Codes*
- Abandoned Cart Emails*
- Total Sales
- Shipping Charged
- Taxes Charged
- Discounts Applied
- Net Revenue
- Order Count
- Number of Items Sold
- Unique Customers
- Abandoned Carts
- PayPal Express
- PayPal Pro*
- Secure Pay*
WP EasyCart Extensions
If you opt for the Premium package, you will get access to WP EasyCart’s extensions, which include a selection of apps to help you manage your ecommerce store on the go and also integrations with the likes of:
- Facebook & Instagram
These are all included for $99/yr and offer some good integrations with third party platforms.
When it comes to standard features, WooCommerce is severely lacking behind WP EasyCart out of the box as it is pretty light on standard features.
- Sell Physical & Digital Products
- Discount Coupons
Marketing & SEO
- Blog (WordPress)
- SEO Friendly URL’s
- Sales by Date
- Sales by Product
- Sales by Category
- Registered vs Guest Customers
- PayPal Standard
- PayPal Express (plugin)
- Stripe (plugin)
- Klarna (plugin)
- Amazon Pay (plugin)
WordPress Plugin Library
Now this doesn’t look great for WooCommerce BUT this is where the WordPress plugin comes in, searching WooCommerce returns a result of over 7,000 plugins that can be used and these offer all different kinds of functionality from Marketing & SEO to payment gateways and ecommerce tools.
There are also many many other things you can do including creating an online marketplace, booking website and membership websites. Pretty much everything you could think of you can do with WooCommerce.
Outside of the free WordPress library, there are also thousands of paid plugins for WooCommerce that offer many more premium features. This also includes paid versions of the free plugins.
Theme Selection & Customisation
Unlike some WordPress ecommerce plugins, WP EasyCart works with pretty much every WordPress theme and this gives you lots of flexibility when it comes to the look and feel of your site.
It does however depend on the theme as to how well WP EasyCart displays and I tried it out with a couple of different options and it displayed really well on Storefront and Neve but didn’t look great on TwentyTwentyOne, so it is worth checking how it works with your theme before going live.
When it comes to customisation options, most of this is done from the WP EasyCart dashboard, there are no options available in the main WordPress customizer.
Within the WP EasyCart dashboard, you can change:
- Layout options for Product and Cart for desktop, tablet and mobile
- Store Colours
There also some visual changes you can make when you are viewing your site as an administrator.
One thing that isn’t great with WP EasyCart currently is their integration with Gutenberg as it isn’t the most intuitive to use, which does make it more difficult to add your products to things like blog posts, which can be a great way to get additional sales.
With WooCommerce, you do need to use a theme that is WooCommerce compatible but fortunately, you aren’t short of options as there are over 1,000 to choose from in the free theme library on WordPress and there are thousands to choose from on marketplaces such as themeforest and also available directly from developers.
When it comes to customisation options, it very much depends on the theme you are using as some will offer a selection of options in the WordPress customizer (like the WooCommerce Storefront theme), where as others will be quite limited.
As WooCommerce is owned and operated by Automatic, who also run WordPress, it is not surprising that Woo integrates really well with the Gutenberg editor and there are good selection of blocks to choose from, there are also more WooCommerce blocks that have been developed by third-party developers.
Support & Community
Running an ecommerce website can be challenging at times and you require some help, so what support do you get from these plugins?
WP EasyCart – on the free plugin, you don’t get any support other than from their own community forum but when you go on to their paid packages, you do get email ticket support directly from the WP EasyCart team.
Due to WP EasyCart being a relative unknown in the world of WordPress ecommerce, it is understandable that the amount of resources online are quite limited, with very few posts or videos available from third party sources but WP EasyCart themselves do have really good documentation and videos.
WooCommerce – support has always been one of the let downs of Woo as it is pretty much non-existent but you do get some support when you purchase a premium plugin or theme directly from WooCommerce but this is only for that plugin or theme, there is no general support.
WooCommerce do offer a lot of documentation for all of their plugins, which can be useful but 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.
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.
As with all plugins, you first need to install and activate the plugin.
Once the plugin is activated, you will asked if you want to go through the set up wizard and it is worth going through this as it will help you set up the basics of your store, such as:
- Location settings, currency, language etc
You can then go about adding all your inventory and setting your store up. There are also additional settings which can be accessed from the Settings section of the WP EasyCart dashboard.
Talking of the WP EasyCart dashboard, it is very simple to use and works almost as a dashboard within a dashboard (if that makes sense), this is because everything is contained within the WP EasyCart heading that appears within the dashboard and this makes it very easy to manage your ecommerce store as everything you need is one place and can be easily accessed.
Getting started with WooCommerce is very much the same as WP EasyCart and when you first active the WooCommerce plugin, you will be asked if you want to go through the set up wizard and while it is helpful to go through, it is much more basic than the offering from WP EasyCart.
It also depends on the requirements for your store as to whether or not you may need to to install additional plugins to get up and running, things like payment gateways and order management plugins may be required.
Navigating around WooCommerce is pretty easy as it adds a couple of headings to the main WordPress navigation menu but to navigate around WooCommerce, you will need to select the section you want to view from the main navigation menu there are no quick navigation options on any of the WooCommerce pages.
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
WP EasyCart has one of the most in-depth add new product pages of all the ecommerce platforms and plugins that I have tested but this is both a good thing and bad thing.
One interesting quirk when adding a new product is that when you go to add a new product, a sidebar appears asking for the basic information of the product, you can then choose to save the product and go to the full edit page page, save and create another product or just save it and this makes adding a large number of products easy.
The full product page has a main section that contains all of the basics such as title, URL, price, SKU and description but further down the page are an additional 22 sections and this can be a little daunting for new users as there are lots of options.
While many of these options are good and useful, some simplification of these sections would make the page much easier to use.
Organising your inventory is very simple as it uses the WordPress category system, which makes it very simple to create parent and child categories for your store. They also use a menu system but this is a little more complicated and WP EasyCart themselves recommend using the category system.
Inventory management isn’t bad on WP EasyCart but it definitely could be better, this is mainly because they have an inventory page but you can’t edit your inventory levels on this page as it is more of a stock report than an interactive page.
If you want to manage your inventory, this has to be done on the main product overview page and the quick edit option brings up the sidebar that appears when you add a new product and this does make it quick and easy to make changes to your products.
The add new product page in WooCommerce is very easy to use and is based around the classic post/page creator in WordPress. There is the options to add full and short descriptions as well as a main featured images and additional images.
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.
Organising your products is also very easy and uses a category system that allows you to make both parent and sub-categories which makes create a very good hierarchy for your products. The add product page is very simple, all you need to do is name that category. If you want to, you can add a description and images to the categories.
You can manage a lot of your inventory directly from the product overview page using the quick edit option including price, quantity, category, SKU number, sale price and product title and URL. This makes updating your inventory very quick and simple to do.
WP EasyCart – Order management in WP EasyCart is very good as you can manage your orders in bulk or individually and they offer lots of options including:
- Print Invoices and Packing Slips
- Change Order Status
- Resend Order Emails
- Export Orders
It is very quick and easy to use, the only negative I have is that the templates for the packing slips and invoices aren’t customisable.
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.
WP EasyCart Pros
• Easy to use dashboard
• Support on paid packages
• Lots of standard features
• Paid packages aren’t expensive
• Order management system
WP EasyCart Cons
• Transaction fee on free package
• Over complicated product page
• Poor Gutenberg integration
• Free to install and use
• Theme selection
• Plugin library
• Large amount of online resources
• Requires additional plugins
• Maintenance can be a headache
• No real support options
• Can be expensive if you need to use paid plugins
While it isn’t perfect, WP EasyCart definitely offers the more complete package as it comes with all the features built in and you only need one plugin, which makes maintenance much simpler!
The paid options are also inexpensive and come with all the features you need to build a variety of different ecommerce stores, you also get support as well, which is a nice to have with a WordPress plugin.
WooCommerce offers a lot more in terms of flexibility as you can pick and choose which features you have on your site, Woo can also be used as a base for many different types of sites, including multi-vendor marketplaces but the downside of this is that the more plugins you have, the more maintenance can become an issue.
It can also become expensive, especially if you need multiple premium plugins to get the features you want.
Overall, WP EasyCart would be my pick out of the two and I am honestly surprised that it is not more popular than it is.