Well, well, well…what a year for WordPress shopping carts it’s been…the entry of WooThemes‘ free WooCommerce plugin has really changed the landscape, so much so that everyone’s got into the act of offering a free version of their solution!
Last year this time, only a handful of solutions were to be found. And while the market of options for eCommerce solutions that literally plug into a WordPress site has only grown ever-so-slightly, the landscape has indeed changed in a grand way, only somewhat unseen.
At least by a casual glance, anyway: only two or three new plugins have debuted but now everyone feels they have to provide a lite version with limited functionality. This is in the hope that widespread adoption will enhance if not also contribute to creating brand recognition, as well as the belief that some will so wholeheartedly adopt the solution as to upgrade to premium, paid-for versions. But will this work?
Well, it certainly can…this is the entire premise behind WordPress itself, after all — open-source and free to use and change. But can a business really survive on, essentially, others’ goodwill?
No, but then again none of these free shopping cart plugins need to rely on charity, either — only in the full versions that must be paid for will users find the whole range of functionality, in many cases quite crucial to running a real business. Most WordPress shopping carts nowadays, see, provide the ability to operate a simple online store. But for anyone doing business more robust than an occasional sale — for those moving hundreds if not thousands on a daily basis — the extra functionality is a must and not “extra” at all.
Such folks must, then, pay.
And that’s the state of WordPress shopping carts this year. As an affiliate marketer for many solutions, I have to say that I’m dismayed since “free” seems like it will cut into my business. I represent these eCommerce plugins, after all, and stand to make a commission on any sale made through my affiliate links within a certain amount of time. And yet if all these carts are now basically free, well, folks will play with them until they conclude they really can’t do without those added features — by which time my “affiliate window of opportunity” may well have come and gone.
In effect, that means I’ve introduced the product but won’t be making a commission since most affiliate programs only allow for anywhere from fifteen to sixty days (some can be as short as just a week, with others as generous as offering up to a third of a year — but these are very rare indeed and certainly not the case for any WordPress shopping cart I know of) and it may well take a prospective consumer quite a while to finally feel compelled to shell out the necessary dough. Again, not fun from an affiliate marketing point of view!
So, them’s are the changes for this year…better for consumers, yes. What a time to be covering WordPress shopping carts! The Wild Wild West days are coming to an end as the widespread adoption of WooThemes’ solution helps bring a certain amount of standardization to this niche.