With the continued growth and ubiquity of the Internet, eCommerce is exploding. eCommerce software enables companies to sell their products easily and efficiently online. To be effective, eCommerce software must enable consumers to search, find and check out in a few simple steps. On the seller s side, inventory management and effective order tracking are crucial.

In short, your eCommerce solution must facilitate the logistical challenge of managing a virtual business. Today s market requires technology capable of meeting the demands of consumer shopping habits. And these days, a mobile app for smartphone use is a must.

WordPress meets those demands. Its popularity stems from the power and ease of use recognized by millions. WordPress is open source software, and it has the advantage of a large community of developers who regularly create enhancements and plugins for the platform.

Two WordPress eCommerce plugins stand above the rest. These are the most powerful, simplest and highest-rated programs.

1. Shopify
Shopify is a stand-alone platform that connects to WordPress with a plugin. It enables you to control everything from one dashboard, streamlining all of your needs. You choose your template, adjust the design, create a catalog of products and maintain a blog. Shopify also has an easy-to-use iPhone app designed for mobile viewing. Shopify also provides search engine optimization (SEO) marketing tools to help you boost visits and sales. Coupon code functionality builds customer loyalty. Integration with Google Analytics enables you to track actual purchases as well as shopping cart activity. This information provides you valuable insights into your customers  shopping behavior. Its analytics also track information about the performance of your online store. That can help you identify issues and implement improvements easily. Shopify s basic version is $29 per month, which provides unlimited bandwidth, 1GB of storage, unlimited product listings and a 2.9% credit card fee. The professional version is $79 per month, which increases storage to 5GB and reduces the credit card fee to 2.5%.

2. 3DCart
3DCart is a stand-alone eCommerce solution with a plugin to WordPress. Like Shopify, 3DCart requires no programming, and it comes with more than 50 built-in templates. The templates provide a great starting point with the power to optimize your design. You control your store from the admin panel, using a convenient drag-and-drop interface to update the template. Products are edited individually or in bulk. A favorite admin feature among users lets you mark products for upsell directly on the page. 3DCart has many of the same features as Shopify. One important difference, however, is that the interface that takes more getting used to. 3DCart offers unlimited storage and no transaction fees with all plan options, but limits bandwidth and product listings. The  Mini  plan costs $20 per month and includes up to 200 product listings and up to 4,000 visits per month. Its  Starter  plan costs $36 per month with up to 1,000 product listings and 8,000 visits per month. The  Professional  plan costs $66 per month with up to 10,000 product listings and 20,000 visits per month.

WordPress Plugins, Explained

Plugins are used to support webpages that you ve already created. For a new company or a company just breaking into the eCommerce market, your best bet is to invest in WordPress eCommerce software. You need to create a template and design from scratch, and these programs walk you through the steps. If you already have a blog or other webpage set up, use plugins to equip that site to sell goods. The most popular WordPress eCommerce plugins include WooCommerce, WP E-commerce, iThemes Exchange, Cart66 Lite and Jigoshop.

Why Have WordPress and a Separate eCommerce Solution?

Many organizations run more than one system for a multitude of reasons. Common reasons include acquisitions, mergers and particular needs that a single solution cannot deliver. Users who are new to the eCommerce market are likely to start with WordPress because of its power and simplicity. And although WordPress offers many eCommerce plugins, separate solutions like Shopify and 3DCart exist because of their focus on enabling a business to sell products and services. With the focus comes power, and therefore solutions like Shopify and 3DCart are the better choice.

WordPress is many things to many people; eCommerce is just one of them.

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