Author: Preeti Whatkar

6 popular eCommerce plugins for WordPress estores

Popular eCommerce Plugins

Are you thinking of taking your products online to reach a broader demographic and increase your revenue multi-folds? We all know WordPress simplifies the entire process of setting up an estore for your business with various eCommerce solutions. All you need to do is get a domain name, install WordPress, add & configure a WordPress eCommerce plugin, add your products to be sold; and you it’s done!!! Now choosing the eCommerce plugin (which will let you sell your products online) is a bit tedious since there are a number of plugins available as eCommerce solutions. So today we bring you a round-up of 8 popular eCommerce plugins that have been tried & trusted by estore businesses for their WordPress sites.

 6 Popular eCommerce Plugins for WordPress

#1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce WordPress Plugin

The most popular & go-to eCommerce solution for WordPress users by the ninjas of WooThemes. WooCommerce being the world’s favorite eCommerce solution powers over 37% of all online stores and gives you complete control to sell anything on your eshop. A highly customizable, intuitive & robust eCommerce plugin which includes features like PayPal Standard integration, nifty sales and reviews reports, flexible couponing system, multiple shipping options, intelligent shopping UX | Cart, and easy inventory management. With over 300 free and paid extensions for WooCommerce, you can extend your WooCommerce powered store with a vast number of features and integrations. WooCommerce recently released it’s new version loaded with some awesome new features, read more about it here.

#2. Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads is a feature-rich yet lightweight eCommerce solution for exclusively selling digital products. Easy Digital Downloads contains a powerful built-in reporting system that enables you to have a detailed view of all your sales & earnings in the form of interactive graphs and easy to analyze data tables. The most developer friendly eCommerce solution as it has been built with WordPress Coding Standards in mind makes it absolutely easy to modify the EDD codebase. With more than 200 themes & extensions, mold it into the eCommerce solution as per your requirements. If you are planning to sell only digital products, Easy Digital Downloads is your best option out there for you. Here’s a comparison between WooCommerce & Easy Digital Downloads we published recently.

#3. WP eCommerce

WP eCommerce

Written by Justin Sainton, Dan Milward, and Gary Cao, WP eCommerce is a powerful yet simple to use WordPress eCommerce solution. WP eCommerce enables you to customize HTML and CSS offering you complete control over the look & feel eshop. Selling digital and physical products is a breeze with WP eCommerce. The unique feature of WP eCommerce is its streamlined checkout process which dramatically increases your store’s conversion rate. To add extra functionalities head over to the extensions section.

#4. iThemes Exchange

iThemes Exchange

Developed by iThemes, iThemes Exchange is an extremely extendable yet intuitive and straightforward WordPress eCommerce solution. Unlike other eCommerce plugins that create their own database tables for customers, iThemes Exchange uses the built-in WordPress user system for fetching & adding user information to its own page. Setting up an estore is just a few steps: install, activate, select your favorite payment processor, add products and start selling. iThemes Exchange supports PayPal Standard out of the box as a core add-on & uses Stripe as the built-in payment gateway. To unlock the full potential of iThemes Exchange purchase the Pro pack which contains many advanced features.

#5. Cart66 Lite

Cart66

Formerly known as PHPurchase, Cart66 Lite written by Reality66 is a secure, lightweight, and highly efficient eCommerce solution for creating any kind of “PCI compliant” WordPress store. Cart66 uses the Mijireh Checkout to collect & transmit credit card information securely to your favorite payment gateway. If you plan on selling digital products, then Cart66 integrates perfectly with Amazon S3 without any hassle. Some powerful features like custom fields for products, product variations, affiliate platform integration, and customizable email receipts makes it an eCommerce solution worth trying. Also, Cart66 offers a professional version including advanced features and professional support.

#6. Shopify

Shopify

Although Shopify is a standalone service, it comes with a WordPress integration as well. A super easy eCommerce solution for beginners which supports both digital & physical products. With Shopify, you can accept credit card payments online as well as in person with various payment & shipping options to choose from. Managing the inventory is way easy with Shopify’s inventory editor, bulk importer combined with an order tracker. Create a Facebook store, add a buy button on Twitter, or create buyable Pins on Pinterest as Shopify integrates with everything.

So which these popular eCommerce plugins have you been using for your estore? Leave us a comment below with your experiences.

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Genesis Framework VS Beans Framework

Genesis Framework VS Beans Framework

It comes down to a serious debate when considering which framework one should or shouldn’t use for their WordPress sites, as the visual aspects of a website can make & break a business online. And if you are a WordPress developer handling one or more clients then you know exactly what I mean. Every client has a different set of requirements for their WordPress site. So it seems like a smart idea to build a custom & flexible theme for every client using a robust framework. That’s where Genesis Framework by StudioPress comes into the picture. But there’s a new kid on the block – the Beans Framework developed by Thierry Muller. Let’s have a quick comparison between a popular premium framework (Genesis) & a new free framework (Beans).

Before we begin: a brief look at the two frameworks

Genesis Framework:

Genesis Framework by StudioPress

Developed by StudioPress. Premium WordPress themes framework. Backed by a strong group of celebrities including Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress), Darren Rowse, Chris Brogan, Mark Jaquith, etc.

Beans Framework:

Developed by Thierry Muller

Developed by Thierry Muller, a developer in the WordPress community. FREE WordPress themes framework. Uses UIkit, which is an open-source lightweight and modular front-end framework.

Genesis Framework Vs Beans Framework

Speed

Being integrated with UIkit (the best front-end framework on the market) the Beans Framework loads only those components which you need on a per page basis. As compared to the Genesis Framework, the sites built using Beans Framework are lightweight since all assets are combined into one file & you don’t use unwanted scripts & components.

Winner: Beans Framework

Support And Documentation

Being a popular WordPress framework the Genesis Framework has an extensive & massive support & documentation library along with loads of hooks & filters reference. Being a popular & premium theme framework has its own perks. The Beans Framework is relatively new, so the support & documentation sections keep improving & regularly updating as developers explore it daily. Don’t get me wrong but the Beans Framework is well-documented as well with a decent number of tutorials, code snippets & code references to help you get started if you want to take it for a spin.

Winner: Genesis Framework

User Base

As mentioned before Genesis Framework is backed by a strong group of celebrities including Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress), Darren Rowse, Chris Brogan, Mark Jaquith, etc. It powers some the most influential websites in the WordPress community including WP Beginner.

Winner: Genesis Framework

Child Themes

Genesis Framework offers 50+ child themes (StudioPress + Third Party) that you can buy at a specific price if you want to.

The Beans Framework currently provides one starter child theme & 3 third party child themes, which you can download for free. One thing worth mentioning here is that the Beans Framework team lets you submit your custom developed child themes into their collection.

Beans Framework - Easily build professional WordPress websites!

Winner: Genesis Framework

Learning Curve

Both the frameworks have a slight learning curve & you need to have some coding experience if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty to create stunning & unique WordPress themes. Beans Framework requires you to have a working knowledge of UIkit though. Genesis Framework has loads of plugins that you can use to add out-of-the-box functionalities to the themes.

Also, both frameworks have loads of tried & tested hooks and code snippet samples that you can use if you want your development to be done quickly & efficiently.

Winner: Tie

Price

The Beans Framework powered by UIkit (an open-source lightweight and modular front-end framework) is absolutely FREE.

Genesis Framework has two simple pricing plans both of which include a one-time purchase fee: Genesis Framework for $59.95 & Pro Plus Membership for $499.95. For $59.95 you get only the framework, but if you buy the Pro Plus Membership, then you get to download StudioPress’ entire theme collection along with access to all future themes & updates. The Pro Plus Membership is a great option for professional designers and developers if you seriously mean business.

Winner: Beans Framework

Genesis Framework Vs Beans Framework – The Verdict

Genesis Framework is a clear winner today. But with its growing user base, Beans Framework has some great potential in the coming future.

So which framework is your favorite? Genesis or Beans? Do let us know in the comments below.

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WooCommerce 2.6 “Zipping Zebra” Released

WooCommerce 2.6 Zipping Zebra

 WooCommerce by WooThemes is THE preferred eCommerce plugin by WordPress users & powers over 37% of all online stores (stats on BuiltWith). With hundreds of extensions available to mold your estore as per your requirements WooCommerce has gained a huge fan following & earned loyal supporters for itself. Having said that WooThemes recently released its new version – WooCommerce 2.6 “Zipping Zebra.” Let’s see what new does the zipping zebra has to offer.

New features in WooCommerce 2.6 Zipping Zebra

Shipping Zone Functionality

WooCommerce 2.6 Zipping Zebra - Shipping Zones

Previously it was a little tricky to apply a shipping method to more than one locations. With this release life gets way easier with a new feature – Shipping Zones. Just add locations into a shipping zone by navigating to WordPress Dashboard -> WooCommerce -> Settings -> Shipping -> Shipping Zones tab. Set various Shipping Methods for as many Shipping Zones as you want. A zone can be really specific (a certain ZIP or postal code(s) or a country or a state(s)) or fairly broad (a continent).

On the front end, customers are shown only the available options based on their location.

More Custom Payment Options In The Onboarding Wizard

WooCommerce 2.6 Zipping Zebra - Payments Setup Wizard

Stripe and PayPal Powered by Braintree available directly in the onboarding wizard now

The new version introduces two new custom payment options – Stripe and PayPal Powered by Braintree, which are now available directly in the onboarding wizard. If you have been using WooCommerce for a while then just use the WooCommerce Add-Ons screen to add these payment gateways. WooCommerce has your back 🙂

Tabbed “My Account” Area

WooCommerce 2.6 Zipping Zebra - My Account

A customer manages everything (orders, addresses, account details, etc.) from his/her account page, so it has to be well organized so they can have a smooth user experience. WooCommerce 2.6 introduces the tabbed view on the My Account page as seen in the screenshot above. Remember a clean & organized account’s page = happy customers! We must say – a Zippy new feature indeed.

AJAX For Cart Operations

Don’t make your customers reload the entire page to update their shopping carts anymore. WooCommerce 2.6 uses AJAX for all cart operations (item quantities/remove, coupon apply/remove, shipping options). Your customers will never abandon their carts if they don’t have to wait for the entire page to reload every time they change the item quantities or add a coupon code or change the shipping options. Seamless cart experience = No Cart Abandonment = More Sales!!!

Filter By Rating For WooCommerce Layered Nav

WooCommerce 2.6 Zipping Zebra - Average Rating Widget

Want your customers to filter products based on product ratings? Head over to WordPress Admin Dashboard -> Appearance -> Widgets & use the WooCommerce Average Rating Filter widget. A customer will have the option to filter the products as – Rated 4 stars & above,  Rated 3 stars & above,  Rated 2 stars & above and  Rated 1 stars & above.

On-hold Order Emails

Changed the status of a customer’s order to on-hold? WooCommerce 2.6 introduces a new email template for the On-hold order to a customer from the estore owner. Here’s a preview of the on-hold order email:

WooCommerce 2.6 Zipping Zebra - On-hold order email

Are you a developer seeking the technical changes within the new version?

Here’s a link comparing the new (2.6.0) & old version (2.5.5) of WooCommerce: https://github.com/woothemes/woocommerce/compare/2.5.5…2.6.0

Excited about WooCommerce 2.6 “Zipping Zebra”? Leave us a comment below.

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WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads for your WordPress e-store?

WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads for your WordPress e-store?

Are you planning to set up an e-store to sell your products & target a broad range of demographics? Want to sell your products, increase your revenue multi folds & build up your brand name? WordPress has made the entire process very easy but which eCommerce plugin should you choose to manage your sales? The two most popular eCommerce plugins in the online world are WooCommerce by WooThemes & Easy Digital Downloads by Pippin Williamson. Both plugins have their set of features, pros & cons to make you go – “Which one is right for me? WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads?”Continue reading

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Customizing bbPress forum layout using a child theme

Using a child theme to customize the bbPress forum layout

bbPress is THE forum software if you have ever considered creating a forum / bulletin board on your WordPress site and there are hundreds of bbPress compatible themes out there. bbPress (Twenty Ten) is one of the most popular bbPress compatible theme within the WordPress themes directory. But we’ve all been there when we want to use a premium theme (or a different free theme which is visually more appealing for that matter ) & customize our bbPress powered forums as per our own requirements. So today I’ll walk you through customizing bbPress forum layout using a child theme of a popular theme (we are using the Customizr theme). Continue reading

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