If you have chosen WordPress as your website CMS over perhaps Magento or Shopify, you're going to need an ecommerce plugin to turn your site into a fully functioning web shop. Setting up a WordPress site can cost nothing for the basic CMS (apart from, of course your hosting fees and domain name costs which will be separate), and adding a shop function to bring in money doesn't have to be a huge outlay either.

There is a vast number of plugins out there and getting the right one for you is essential. As well as the cost, you'll need to think about look and functionality; knowing before you start exactly what you expect and require from it is of paramount importance.

While some plugins are free, there are many you will need to pay for, so it's worth exploring. Several of the free ones offer plenty of functionality without having to fork out for the privilege; equally, paying a little to get all of the gadgets you need can be worthwhile. Some of the basic plugins are enough to get started with, these then offer the option to upgrade for extra functionality once you find your feet - the so-called 'freemium' model. Take the time to find the one that is the right fit for your products and your wallet.

To help you on your way, here are our top 10 Wordpress plugins for ecommerce...

Widely regarded as the best of the bunch, WooCommerce integrates almost seamlessly into the WordPress CMS.
Currently showing as having had more than 48 million downloads, WooCommerce powers 21% of all eCommerce website according to Built With.

What makes WooCommerce great is the comprehensive ecosystem that surrounds it, with hundreds of free and commercial extensions that all work seamlessly together.

The free version gives you a lot of useful functions including rated products, coupons, suggested products, payment gateway options including PayPal, and more, with a premium option for extra functionality.

When it comes to design and user experience, there are the options of 'Woothemes' that work alongside WooCommerce; some come free, others are subject to extra cost. Many of the free ones work fantastically well such as
Mystile, so it's worth shopping about before you pay. Theme Forest also provides a good array of compatible themes.

Another popular one, Jigshop is incredibly well established and lets you start selling products online for free. With a broad functionality, it offers a great selection of themes; both official and compatible external themes. These both include several free options, while the paid-for versions range from as little as $40 to $800+.

Functionality includes easy sales reporting, being able to add multiple products and powerful SEO features.
When it comes to payment gateways, Jigoshop includes several as standard: Worldpay, FuturePay, bank transfers, cheque and PayPal. In addition there are lots of extensions available to give you more choice, such as Login and Pay with Amazon.

Simple and compatible with all WP themes, MarketPress is definitely one of the best free ecommerce solutions. Easy to use, it provides many of the features supplied by WooCommerce without the need of extensions. It comes with several payment gateways including PayPal and GoogleCheckout.
Some of the features included are: multiple themes, shipping coupons and easy, customisable product listing.

4. Shopp

Straightforward, Shopp comes with its own secure cart, plus it's SEO friendly and allows you to easily track and manage your inventory.

There are several options to choose from. The basic Shopp plugin is free, while the starter package costs $75. Additionally there's a Go Pro version which comes with developer access. This version means it's easily customisable, making it a popular choice with developers looking to make their ecommerce offering truly unique.

5. Cart66

A great plugin for product management, this one allows you to easily add product variations, as well as multiple shipping and currency options.

There's no need for an SSL certificate; one of the biggest benefits of Cart66 is that it's the only ecommerce plugin that makes your site PCI compliant from the beginning. It also offers the option of Cart66's own hosted checkout solution. 

The Lite version gives you everything you need to get your site up and running, also offering a 14 day free trial. The professional version, meanwhile, offers even more features.

With a simple interface and easy process, iThemes Exchange means you can get your store up and running in minutes. A fairly basic platform, the features are split in to additional plugins to make it easy to use and manage. iThemes
Exchange offers a range of themes, plugins and training.  When it comes to payment gateways; Stripe comes as standard and PayPal payments are available as a core add-on.

A free solution, WP eCommerce tends to get mixed reviews and has poor ratings on WordPress, despite a high number of downloads. 

This plugin is highly customisable but best used for very small shops. The basic version is free, but there are a variety of add-ons and extensions available. Useful features include flexible coupon codes, control over shipping and more, but critics say that the integration with https is poor and WP eCommerce can conflict with other WordPress plugins.

8. eShop

As a free option, eShop may not be feature-rich but it is great if you're just starting out and want something simple and straightforward. Offering several shipping methods and multiple payment gateways, eShop even allows you to create customer sign-ups.

A pretty powerful plug in, eShop may not offer the support provided by some of the larger plugins but it is surprisingly easy to install and quite flexible.

Another free option but a handy one! Although you're limited to PayPal when taking payments, the plugin integrates efficiently with your existing website or blog. You can easily create an 'Add to cart' button anywhere on the site, where customers can pop items into their basket as they wish. Compatible with other plugins such as NextGen Photo Gallery, it's mobile responsive too, providing you're using a responsive theme.

10. Ecwid

A free solution, Ecwid is recommended by WordPress and is designed to fit existing websites. This makes it easy to add a shop function to your website, without starting from scratch. Ecwid provides free secure hosting and mobile responsive design, an additional feature which sets it apart is its point of sale functionality. This allows you to take payments using an iOS device; great for physical payments on the go such as at market stalls or events.
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