When you sell online, the tools that you use are just as important as the products you create. Choose the right ones and you’ll be more successful, more efficient, and less stressed.
One of the biggest benefits of WordPress is its customizability — you can easily use free or premium plugins to add just about any functionality you can imagine. But the number of choices can become overwhelming. We’ve made this easier by putting together a list of the types of plugins you may need to grow and streamline your business.
Choose the best with WooCommerce
Begin with an eCommerce plugin that allows you to list products, accept payments, and ship items to your customers. We recommend WooCommerce — built and maintained by the Automattic team, it’s incredibly powerful, flexible, and accessible. It’s the best eCommerce plugin for WordPress, and undoubtedly the most popular, with over 5 million installs as we write this.
With WooCommerce, you have full control and ownership over your brand, products, and store. Build, design, and manage your site without needing to edit a single line of code, and sell everything from physical and digital products to services, memberships, bookings, and tickets. The best part? It includes unrivaled documentation and customer support to help you along the way.
Extend your eCommerce store
While WooCommerce includes everything you need to run an online store, there may be times in which you want to extend its functionality. Here are a few types of plugins we recommend to make your store more secure, efficient, and user friendly. Of course, you may not need or want to install all of these — pick and choose based on your specific requirements.
1. A security plugin
Security is incredibly important for an online store. Not only do you need to protect your reputation and hard work, you’re also responsible for your customers’ personal information.
Jetpack Security includes a full suite of features to protect your store, all in one plugin, without slowing down your site, including:
- Downtime monitoring (free). Get an alert the second your site goes down so you can troubleshoot and fix the issue without losing sales.
- Brute force attack protection (free). Brute force attacks occur when bots guess hundreds of username/password combinations until they find the right one. Prevent brute force attempts by enabling the feature.
- Two-factor authentication (free). Require a verification code in addition to a password for your login page.
- Malware scanning (paid). Turn on automatic scans and get an instant alert if any malware is found on your site.
- Spam protection (paid). Prevent spam comments that make you look unprofessional and could send customers to unsafe third-party sites.
2. A backup plugin
The last thing you want is to lose all the hard work you’ve put into your store, along with all of your valuable order information. Make sure that doesn’t happen with a high-quality WooCommerce backup plugin.
Look for a solution that stores files off-site, so that you can restore even if your store is down, and separately from your host, so if your server is compromised, your backup won’t be. Jetpack Backup checks both of those boxes, going above and beyond to protect your content and make it easy to restore your site in an emergency.
Choose between daily backups, which save a copy of your site every 24 hours, and real-time backups, which save your site every time a page is updated, product is added, or post is edited. The best part? Whether you restore a backup from an hour ago or a week ago, all of your order information is saved up to the minute, so you never have to worry about losing an order.
3. A payment gateway
Of course, every online store needs a way to accept payments. And while there are a variety of excellent payment gateway options, we recommend WooCommerce Payments for its simplicity. Unlike other providers, you can manage everything from transactions to refunds directly in the WordPress dashboard. Plus, customers can purchase products on your site, which keeps them happy and protected.
4. A shipping plugin
If you sell physical products, you’ll need a way to get them to your customers with as little expense and hassle as possible. WooCommerce Shipping is a great solution: it enables you to print USPS and DHL shipping labels directly from your dashboard and save up to 90% at the same time.
5. A plugin for unique product types
If you sell something a little more complicated than a traditional physical or digital product, you might need an extension to make setup a little easier. There are a variety of options, but here are just a few:
- Subscriptions: Collect recurring revenue with service subscriptions, themed boxes, or annual software packages.
- Memberships: Offer memberships with recipes, exercise videos, software tutorials, or whatever you can imagine.
- Bookings: Book classes, appointments, consultations, or restaurant reservations.
- Box Office: Sell tickets for events, concerts, fundraisers, and more.
See a full list of the unique product types you can offer.
6. A high-quality search plugin
A good search feature is critical to eCommerce success, especially if you have a lot of products. After all, you want customers to be able to find what they’re looking for as easily and quickly as possible, without having to wade through endless pages and menus.
Jetpack Search is a super-fast solution with powerful filters. Customers can narrow down search results by category, date, tag, and more.
7. A customer chat plugin
When shoppers aren’t physically browsing in a store, they don’t have the opportunity to ask you questions that may help them determine if your product is the right fit. Emulate that experience with a live chat plugin.
LiveChat for WooCommerce is one great option that simplifies setup. Customers can reach out with questions about your products or their existing orders, and you can answer them quickly and efficiently. You can even view the contents of their cart while chatting with them, so you can provide the highest level of customer service.
8. A CRM plugin
A CRM (customer relationship management system) is a tool for managing relationships. It helps you stay connected with customers, be more efficient, and increase sales.
Jetpack CRM is a simple but powerful solution that was built specifically for WordPress. Pick and choose just the features you need, so you never have to pay for unnecessary options. Customers are automatically added to the CRM, which you can then use to send emails based on their order history, track their purchases over time, and learn information about them to improve marketing and sales. It’s a great way to get you to the next level.
9. Plugins for advertising and marketing
If you want to grow your online store, you’ll need a way to drive site traffic and turn that traffic into sales. While you don’t necessarily need plugins to accomplish this, they often empower you with more features and simpler processes. Here are just a few advertising and marketing extensions:
- Facebook for WooCommerce: Sync products to your Facebook store, chat with customers using Facebook Messenger, and get a leg up on advertising.
- MailPoet, AutomateWoo, or Creative Mail: Send abandoned cart emails, offer sales and discounts, and keep customers updated.
- Google Ads: Promote products on Google Shopping, YouTube, Gmail, and more.
Check out all the options in the WooCommerce extension marketplace.
10. A caching plugin
Speed is critical for eCommerce. The longer your site takes to load, the more likely it is that potential customers will leave and shop somewhere else. And that’s the last thing you want!
A caching plugin helps solve this issue. Typically, every time someone loads a web page, their browser has to download a lot of data so they can view everything. Caching, however, saves a copy of your files so that the next time that person visits your site, it will load much more quickly. WP Super Cache is one example of a caching plugin that offers additional features like GZIP compression and file minification.
11. A tax management plugin
Taxes can be complicated, especially if you sell internationally. But a tax management plugin can take all that hassle off your plate!
WooCommerce Tax automatically calculates sales tax for you based on city, state, and country so you know you’re doing it right every single time.
12. Plugins for international stores
If you’re an international store, there are special measures you need to put in place to make the shopping experience excellent no matter where your customers are located.
First, you’ll need a translation plugin so visitors can read your content and shop in their own language. Two great options are WPML and MultilingualPress — while they take different approaches to multilingual websites, they’re both well-supported and documented.
You’ll also need a tool for currency conversion to make the browsing and checkout experience as easy as possible. We recommend WooCommerce Multi-Currency — automatically calculate exchange rates and display prices to customers in their own currency.
13. An accounting plugin
Integrating your accounting tool with your online store makes things easy for you and your accountant. Instead of manually importing order and customer information, it’s all synced automatically. This saves you a lot of time and ensures you have everything you need when it comes time to file taxes.
14. A spam management plugin
Comment spam makes your store look unprofessional and can even direct customers to unsavory and malicious third-party websites. But filtering and managing spam can quickly become overwhelming.
Jetpack Anti-spam solves this problem. It automatically blocks spam for comments and forms, so you never even have to deal with it.
Bonus: An app for on-the-go store management
As a busy entrepreneur, you may not be near your computer all day long. You might be creating products, connecting with vendors, or traveling from your store to your warehouse.
The WooCommerce App makes it easy to stay on top of your shop no matter where you are. Create products, process orders, and view analytics all on your mobile device.
Make the most of your WordPress eCommerce store
Plugins are one of the biggest benefits of WordPress. But they don’t have to be confusing! Navigate through the list above to find the best WordPress plugins for eCommerce and customize your store with the exact functionality you need.
Not sure where to start? Pairing WooCommerce with Jetpack sets you up for success. Get everything you need to sell online, along with shipping, payment, and tax tools, security features, search functionality, and more.