Today I will review the WP eStore plugin (shopping cart for digital products). I have used this WordPress plugin for a few years now and I love it. This plugin has become a very important part of my eCommerce business. In this WP eStore review I will try to go over the pros and cons of the eStore plugin.
One thing I really love about the eStore plugins is the automation of my eCommerce business. I just did some simple setup (they have great video tutorials) and I have been off and running since. This plugin has freed up so much time and allowed me to concentrate more on making my products rather than how I am going to sell them.
The WP eStore has way too many features to list here. I have provided a link to the full WP eStore’s features page at the end of this review. I will mainly focus on the features that I think are worth mentioning in this plugin review.
Reliability and Stability
When looking for a plugin, the first thing I look for is signs of reliability and stability of the plugin (not the feature set). If a plugin is not reliable and breaks after every upgrade then it can be a maintenance nightmare. A long list of features mean nothing if the plugin is unreliable.
The WP eStore plugin looks very reliable and stable based on the following facts:
- This plugin has been in the market since 2008
- There are a lot of users for this plugin
- In general the users are very happy with the stability of the plugin
- The team behind this plugin knows what they are doing
The WP eStore plugin is extremely secure and will never send out a download link to your digital content unless all the security checks have been fully verified. One of the security features of the WP eStore that I love is the payment must be verified by the payment gateway. This information can only come from the payment gateway and can not be faked. The eStore is also PCI compliant and works with SSL (this is fully optional with the standard eStore install).
Now I would like to take a minute to talk about one of the features that I feel sets the WP eStore apart from other eCommerce solutions out there. This is the encrypted download links feature. The download links for your digital content are sent out as encrypted download links, this keeps the true location of your files hidden. With this feature you can also set a link expiry by time (example 24 hours), clicks (example 3 click) or both (example 24 hours or 3 clicks).
Digital Product Delivery
As I explained in the paragraph above the WP eStore sends your digital products as encrypted download links. However there are many other options and features to help you sell and deliver your digital products. Here are some examples:
- Bundle Products – You can bundle products together. Example you sell a PDF file and a video and you want to offer them together for a discounted price. You can simply make a bundle product.
- Multiple Parts – This is a great option for large files or files with many parts.
- Variations – You can allow your customer to customize their purchase with variations. Example: Different file types such as PDF, ePub, Text files.
- Product Specific Instructions – You can send product specific instructions per product. These instructions will be included in the email with the links and on the thank you page.
- License/Serial Keys – This is great if you have a pre generated list of keys and you need to send one with a product. You can configure this on a per product basis.
- Squeeze Page – The squeeze page options is great for building your email list, at the same time delivering a free product to your customer (the product will be delivered by encrypted download link) as a reward for signing up to your email list.
- Pay Per View – This if good if you sell steaming videos. This allows you to sell pay per view content.
Payment and Button Options
The WP eStore has many button options. With the Store you can use the following type of buttons.
- Add to Cart
- Buy Now
- Download Now
- Squeeze form button
You can use any combination of these button types on a page. This allows you to offer different payment options to your customers.
WP eStore comes with the following payment gateway options by default:
- Manual/Off-line payment
The payment gateway library bundle plugin can be used to add more payment gateways to the WP eStore plugin if you need them. The Payment Gateway Bundle can be purchased for an additional $35.00. You get all of the extra payment gateways and any they add to this plugin in the future:
- Google Checkout
- PayPal Pro
- Authorize.net (ARB and AIM)
You can also allow customers to specify their own price per product and use multiple payment gateways (example: you can allow you customers to choose any of the payment options when they check out. You can specify they ones you accept in the admin of the eStore).
Shopping Cart Options
The WP eStore has many shopping cart related options. In this section I have listed some of the more important options.
- Minimum and maximum checkout amount limit.
- Per customer checkout amount limit if you want to apply one. Great if you want to limit the maximum amount a customer can buy at one time (example $150.00).
- Save and retrieve shopping cart feature. I love this feature. It allows your customers to save their cart and load it at a later time.
- Continue shopping link in cart.
- Ability to place a nice looking compact version of the shopping cart in your header, sidebar or footer.
- any many more…
The eStore allows you to have almost full control over the design of your Store. The eStore plugin does not create a whole bunch pages for you. It gives you lots of tools in the form of shortcodes so you can create the post or page however you like and design them then finally hook in the purchase button where you want on your landing/sales page. This gives you ultimate freedom in how you want your store or sales letter or landing page to look like. As a designer it is important for me to be able to fit a store easily into different sites. Since the eStore takes most of it’s CSS from your theme it usually fits seamlessly into your existing site without any code modifications.
The eStore uses shortcodes to display the buttons, shopping carts, compact shopping carts and various other elements required to create a successful store; this allows you to place them anywhere you need to. There are also many pre-made product display templates that you can use as is via shortcodes.
I have included a link at the end of this review to the fancy display templates that eStore plugin offers so make sure to check them out.
The WP eStore integrates with the three major autoresponders so you can signup your customers to your list automatically after a purchase:
There are also integration options with
- NextGen Gallery
- WP eMember
- WP Affiliate
- Member Wing
- WP PDF Stamper
- Amazon s3
- Many More
Admin Related Features
In this section I cover some of the admin features of the eStore plugin.
The WP eStore admin settings and features:
- Different Currency Support
- Language Support
- Terms and Conditions
- Up-selling on the Thank You Page
- Collect Customer Input for Per Item
- Coupons and Discounts
- Report Options
- Regenerate Download Links
- Customizable Emails for both Buyer and Seller
- and many more …
One of the great things about the WP eStore plugin is the support. Hands down they have the best support team out there. They are both professional, experienced and quick. The developer is one of the main supporters and is on the forum everyday answering questions. He also replies to some emails. Ivy does both emails and forum support. She has answered many of my questions quickly with quick and easy to understand responses. I can not forget to mention the other great moderators on the forum; they are all very knowledgeable and ready to help. The best thing is that you can go and take a look at their forum and see how their support is before you even purchase the product (not many developers can offer this kind of transparent support).
The WP eStore also has free updates for the lifetime of the plugin. This is something many plugin sellers do not offer any more (you have to pay for updates in most cases). Besides the support this is one thing that sets the WP eStore apart from the other eCommerce plugins.
You can also use the eStore plugin on all of your sites which is a really good option (buying single site licenses can be very costly if you have a few sites).
WP eStore Cons
Nothing can be perfect so I have to talk about the cons of the eStore. The eStore plugin was designed mainly for digital products and services. So it doesn’t have advanced and complex shipping options.
You can sell physical/tangible products with the eStore plugin, however they mostly offer simple shipping and tax options. This is about the main drawback I can find with the WP eStore plugin. Since I only sell digital products and services this does not really have an impact on me.
Another thing that some may consider as a drawback is that the developers of the eStore plugin are hell bent on keeping the plugin lightweight so the page load time of your site is faster. This is why they don’t like to include heavyweight feature in the plugin. However, they do have some free eStore addons that you can add to your site to add more functionality.
- WP eStore Plugin Page
- You can see a full list of the WP eStore features here
- Fancy Display Options
- If you are interested in the WP eStore you can grab a copy here
Make sure to tell us about any experiences you have had with the WP eStore plugin below in the comments section.