Top 10 Best Free WooCommerce Plugins for 2017
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With over 16 million downloads, WooCommerce is far and away the most popular eCommerce platform on the Internet.
The stats alone tell us that the core plugin is a handy bit of kit, but it can’t do everything. To really get the most from WooCommerce, you’ll need to enhance the core plugin using extensions and add-ons.
There’s big money in eCommerce, so the majority of extensions come with a price tag. Fortunately, though, not every WooCommerce plugin has to break the bank — there’s actually a really good selection of free options out there (if you know where to look).
In today’s post, I want to help you improve your eCommerce store by sharing ten of the best free WooCommerce extensions, add-ons, and plugins — note: we’ll be using these three terms interchangeably throughout.
If you’re looking to further your store’s traffic, revenue and/or appeal without spending a small fortune, the following options should be right up your street. Enjoy!
1. YITH WooCommerce Zoom Magnifier
For the vast majority of products, no on-page factor has a bigger impact on the conversion rate than the product images displayed — other than, perhaps, price.
Customers want to see what your products look like, they want to inspect them for quality, and they want to know that they prefer your products to a competitor’s. Do you really expect customers to achieve all that from a tiny, barely discernible photo?
If you want to display your images loud and proud, I recommend the YITH WooCommerce Zoom Magnifier plugin.
When visitors hover their mouse over your images, they will see an enlarged pop-up of your products. You can configure the dimensions of this pop-up as well as the zoom levels for optimal viewing.
So have confidence in your products and show them off with pride — you can expect a serious jump in conversions as a result.
2. WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping by Mangohour
As most online store owners know, unexpected shipping charges can really eat into those margins. If you want to protect your profits, you might want to charge flexible shipping rates, dependent on a number of variables.
With so many potential variables, this functionality is usually reserved for the realm of premium plugins. However, the free WooCommerce Table Rate Shipping by Mangohour plugin offers the basic features and is a good entry point.
For a start, you can set your shipping costs based on the customer’s shopping cart weight or sub-total — you can charge more for costlier heavy shipments, or offer free shipping for orders above a set value.
For international store owners, you can also split countries into different “shipping zones.” You can then set shipping rates based on a customer’s geographic location.
3. Stripe Payment Gateway
In the past, out-the-box WooCommerce supported only one payment gateway: PayPal Standard. However, this gateway was hardly desirable for most serious store owners — to make payment, customers are diverted to the external PayPal website.
As such, most eCommerce stores install a payment gateway that facilitates card payments on-site — typically Stripe or PayPal Pro.
If you opt for Stripe, I have good news: the official WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway is available completely free of charge.
Now, in the past, you would have had to download and install this extension like any other plugin. However, due to the immense popularity of the Stripe payment gateway — and PayPal Pro, too — WooCommerce have streamlined the installation process.
You can now install the Stripe gateway during the WooCommerce installation wizard at the click of a button.
After syncing your store with the Stripe API, you’ll be able to accept Visa, MasterCard, and a whole host of other cards.
The one downside is that Stripe isn’t available globally. To date, Stripe works in 10 countries (with a further 15 in beta testing), so make sure your country is on the list before committing — the US, UK, and Canada are already supported.
And, if Stripe ain’t your thing, the official WooCommerce extension store stocks over 20 other free payment gateways. This impressive list includes the aforementioned PayPal Pro, plus Amazon Payments and PayFast among others.
4. WooCommerce Direct Checkout
If you ask your visitors to jump through too many hoops, some of them will simply abandon ship — a conversion opportunity lost in an instant.
Now, the default WooCommerce checkout process isn’t overly flabby: storefront > product page > shopping cart > checkout.
Even so, there is still an opportunity to streamline the checkout process. Enter WooCommerce Direct Checkout.
The plugin lets user skip the shopping cart completely, meaning the typical customer journey will look something like this: storefront > product page > checkout.
By reducing the number of hoops by just one, the WooCommerce Direct Checkout can boost conversions significantly.
And, if that checkout process is still not streamlined enough for you, the plugin can also add “Checkout” buttons directly to the shop page. This means visitors who know exactly what they’re looking for can skip the product page screen, too.
Best of all, the plugin can be downloaded, installed, and configured in under two minutes. The settings screen is as efficient as the checkout procedure it creates!
5. WooCommerce Menu Cart
WooCommerce Menu Cart is another plugin that aims to refine the checkout process.
The plugin adds a shopping cart button to your menu, making it super-accessible from any page on your website.
The shopping cart button fits the menu seamlessly and can be fully configured to your liking. This includes the option to display the number of items and/or sub-total in the menu, a choice of 10 cart icons, and the menu alignment.
6. WooCommerce Checkout Field Editor
We’ve already covered a few plugins that let you improve the default WooCommerce checkout process. If you want ultimate control over your checkout, though, WooCommerce Checkout Field Editor is the plugin for you. It lets you customize every field displayed on the checkout screen.
While there are probably more advanced plugins out there — for example, WooCommerce Checkout Manager has a lot more features — this plugin crams only the essential functionalities into a highly usable package. (Incidentally, usability is WooCommerce Checkout Manager’s biggest downfall, having too many features for its own good.)
The WooCommerce Checkout Field Editor plugin lets you add either text or drop-down menu fields to your checkout. The one noticeable weakness is a lack of advanced fields — a calendar date selector field would not go amiss, for example.
You can then customize the label and placeholder text, plus specify whether the field is required. You can also use the plugin’s drag-and-drop to rearrange the order of the fields.
The plugin even lets you customize the default WooCommerce checkout fields. However, don’t go overboard with this, as some fields are required in a certain format by payment gateways, so you could cause your checkout to break.
Not to worry, though, as WooCommerce Checkout Field Editor comes with one important safeguarding feature: a ‘reset to defaults‘ button, just in case.
7. WooCommerce Product Gift Wrap
For most stores, the holidays represent the busiest period of the year. If you want a piece of that annual buying frenzy, you’d better cater to people looking to buy gifts.
While your products’ ‘gift-worthiness‘ will depend on your niche, adding a gift-wrap option is a simple convenience that can be enough to persuade some gifters during a particularly stressful time of year.
Sounds good? Then you need the WooCommerce Product Gift Wrap plugin.
The plugin adds a few simple fields to the WooCommerce settings screen — enable gift wrapping, default gift wrapping cost, and gift wrap message. These settings can be manually overridden on individual product pages, too.
When configured, the plugin adds a simple gift wrap option to your product pages that look a little something like this:
8. WooCommerce CSV Importer
Running an online store is tough. Sometimes the small tasks really stack up, making you feel as if there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to stay on top of everything.
Take, for example, a scenario where your supplier increases their wholesale prices across the board. This is a situation most eCommerce stores face on at least an annual basis.
What now? You need to update your own prices to protect margins, but it can take an awfully long time to manually update them if you stock a lot of products.
To save you time and energy, I strongly recommend the free WooCommerce CSV Importer plugin. Simply upload a properly formatted CSV file and your products will update automatically — tested to up to 10,000 products at a time.
After uploading your CSV spreadsheet, you’ll need to configure what each column represents, enabling you to manage all aspects of each product from one file — including product name, images, stock levels, price, tax status, and shipping class. The plugin then applies your figures to each individual product. Nice and easy.
9. WooCommerce Currency Switcher
The rise of online shopping means your humble eCommerce store could potentially cater to a truly global customer base. However, before you get carried away dreaming of hordes of international customers, you must first deal with the practicalities.
First and foremost, your website needs to be capable of currency conversion. After all, a shopper is unlikely to buy without seeing the product priced in their local currency first.
Perhaps surprisingly, there seems to be a real lack of currency conversion plugins on the official repository. However, because this is super-useful and profit-boosting functionality, we’re making do with what’s available — this list really needs a plugin in this category.
The WooCommerce Currency Switcher is the best free plugin for the job — although it has several obvious limitations.
First, this free version only allows two currencies at a time.
This appears restrictive at first glance, but it needn’t be. My recommendation is to use the currency of your primary market, then use a global currency like USD or EUR for international customers. (Or you could purchase the premium version of the plugin to unlock unlimited currencies!)
Second, although the plugin supports the flags of your chosen countries, you’ll have to upload the flag manually to your media library.
If you can put up with these limitations, the plugin does have plenty of redeeming features.
For a start, it pulls the exchange rates in real-time directly from Yahoo Finance, so you can trust that they’re accurate.
WooCommerce Currency Switcher also ships with three dedicated widgets. One switches the currency site-wide, the next acts as a conversion rate calculator tool, and the last one displays the latest exchange rates.
Finally, the plugin also uses Geolocation to detect and display a visitor’s local currency based on their IP address.
10. WooCommerce MailChimp
Did you know that it’s far costlier to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one? Depending on the sources, customer acquisition can cost anywhere between three and 30 times as much.
The easiest way to build a database of your existing customers is by collecting email addresses in an email list. The WooCommerce MailChimp plugin is probably the best free plugin for the job — if you’re using MailChimp for your email marketing, of course.
The plugin automatically subscribes your customers to a mailing list — or, if you’d prefer, it gives them the option to subscribe on the checkout screen by ticking a checkbox.
Remember: your existing customers are your best friends. Treat them well and they might remain customers for years to come.
Which completes our rundown of the top free WooCommerce plugins. That said, it’s worth remembering that with a plugin as complex and powerful as WooCommerce, this list of ten really only scratches the surface — there’s actually plenty of other useful functionalities that, sadly, just missed the cut (or were too niche) to be included.
Know of any other great free WooCommerce plugins? Thoughts?