Discover the top WordPress plugins that streamline your sales of digital goods and SaaS subscriptions.

We’ll start by distinguishing between physical and digital goods and why their sales platforms are different.

Next, we’ll define common terminology for searching for the ideal payment plugin to integrate with your WordPress website.

Finally, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of popular payment plugins and highlight the type of customer they best cater to. 

Required Features of Payment Plugins for Selling Digital Goods and SaaS Subscriptions

Before proceeding, we must explain the difference between selling tangible goods, digital goods, and SaaS. Each has unique requirements for taking payments and delivering the purchased product to the customer.

The Main Requirement for Selling Digital Products Versus Physical Goods

Physical goods are tangible items you can pack and ship to a customer, like a t-shirt or a bicycle. By definition, you can only have a limited amount of tangible goods at any one time, so you’ll need a way to keep track of your inventory to avoid overselling and under-delivering. 

Digital goods, on the other hand, are cloud-based media files such as music files, videos, ebooks, and PDFs. Hypothetically speaking, you can sell an unlimited amount of digital goods, and therefore, you do not need to manage inventory. 

This post focuses on plugins developed for selling digital goods and SaaS subscriptions.

Therefore, most of the plugins discussed below do not include inventory management systems. You could, however, use the plugins below for selling hard goods if you do not need to keep track of your inventory.

What Are the Requirements for Selling SaaS and Subscriptions?

Software as a service (SaaS) also falls into the digital goods category but usually requires the added feature of renewing subscriptions.

Therefore, WordPress payment plugins for selling SaaS subscriptions must include a user management system allowing customers to modify a card on file, switch, or cancel a subscription. 

Definitions of Requirements for Selling Digital Goods and Services

Here’s some common terminology you should be familiar with when evaluating WordPress plugins for selling digital goods and products:

  • Payment Gateway – The way to process and manage secure credit card transactions. Stripe is probably the most established because it easily allows recurring payments, aka subscriptions
  • User Onboarding – The process of guiding a new customer to access their digital goods or services. This is usually done in a sequence through the checkout page, followed by a thank you page, and an email notification sent to the customer leading to a user management page.
  • User Management System – The customer page behind the paywall where they can access their digital goods, modify their subscriptions, and change their payment method on file.
  • Upselling and Cross-selling Upselling and cross-selling, if you have more than one product, you’ll be able to suggest it to your customer at checkout and in your onboarding email. 
  • Branding – The ability to keep a consistent look throughout your website, including on your checkout page and onboarding emails.

Pros and Cons of WordPress Payment Plugins for Selling Digital Goods and SaaS Subscriptions

Now that you have an idea of the payment plugin requirements let’s look at the most popular payment plugins in WordPress to sell digital goods and services.

WooCommerce: Best Plugin for Selling Physical and Digital Products

WooCommerce is a complete online store for selling both physical and digital products. It offers lots of different add-on plugins that allow you to customize your online store to your specific needs.

We have to include this in the list because it is the most popular payment plugin for WordPress sites.

WooCommerce is a complete online store for selling both physical and digital products.

Best suited for: Sellers on WordPress that have lots of different products for sale, both physical and digital.

Setup time: with multiple plugins to think about and integrate, it could take hours to set up just your basic needs or days to set up an entire functioning store

Payment gateway: Requires an add-on plugin to integrate with a payment gateway of your choice

User management, Onboarding, Subscriptions, Upsells, Branding: All possible, but each requires its own add-on plugin and/or coding

Price: Starts at $279/year with the most basic requirements for the Woo subscription models.

Pros:

  • Can handle both physical and digital products.
  • Customizable as you please with a bunch of available add-on plugins.
  • Can connect to a variety of payment gateways.
  • Low base fee for extra plugins plus pay-as-you-go pricing model. 

Cons:

  • Setup is time-consuming as you look for the correct add-on plugin to personalize your online store.
  • Since WooCommerce stores are so large and versatile, they are heavy on resources which may affect site performance
  • The use of caching can break site functionality, making it more difficult to optimize.
  • Usually gets expensive due to paid add-on plugins.

Easy Digital Downloads: Best Plugin for Large Digital Stores

Easy Digital Downloads was the first WordPress plugin for selling digital goods and products and it has become one of the most popular. Using EDD, you can feature and sell your eBooks, WordPress Plugins, PDFs, etc.

Their basic pricing model comes with default layouts, which you can customize through add-on plugins and/or code.

Easy Digital Downloads is a WordPress plugin for selling digital goods and products.

Best Suited For: Anyone selling digital products.

Setup Time: With multiple plugins to think about and integrate, it could take hours to set up just your basic needs or days to set up an entire functioning store.

Payment Gateway: Requires add-on plugins to integrate with the payment gateway of your choice.

User Management, Onboarding, Subscriptions, Upsells, Branding: All possible, but each requires its own add-on plugin and/or coding.

Price: Starts at $179/year with the most basic requirements for subscription models.

Pros:

  • Customizable as you please – just need to find the right customization plugins and/or code your modifications yourself.
  • Has been around for a long time so people are familiar with it.
  • A rich ecosystem of plugins is only available for this platform.
  • Can connect to a variety of payment gateways.

Cons:

  • Expensive.
  • Not block-based, so only modifiable by extra plugins and/or code.
  • Older tech, heavy on resources can affect performance.
  • Customers complain about a lack of support.

Mindspun Payments: Best Payment Plugin for Digital Creators and Plugin Developers

This company allows you to build a lightweight e-commerce store that uses only your WordPress site and the Mindspun Payments plugin.

Build your store using responsive blocks without coding, and brand your pages consistently and quickly throughout your site. All of this is included in one annual subscription price.  

Build a lightweight e-commerce store that uses only your WordPress site and the Mindspun Payments plugin.

Best Suited Sor: SaaS and plugin developers, digital creators, membership sites

Setup Time: Minutes.

Payment Gateway: Stripe integration built-in.

User Management, Onboarding, Subscriptions, Upsells, and Branding: All included in this one plugin.

Price: $129/year subscription – flat fee, no hidden fees or other add-ons necessary.

Pros:

  • All-in-one pricing allows for subscriptions, branding, onboarding, upselling, and user management – no other add-ons required, no percentages, or any other hidden fees.
  • Quick and easy setup.
  • Includes Responsive Blocks to easily brand every aspect of your store without code, including all onboarding cases and pages.
  • Product management within your Stripe account means faster response time.
  • One-click payment using a digital wallet.
  • Can be used with various caching solutions without the risk of breaking site functionality.

Cons:

  • No inventory management so less optimal for sales of physical goods.
  • Stripe is the only payment gateway.

Form Plugins: Best Plugins for Single Product Sales Without User Management Features

Exactly as they sound, forms plugins allow you to add forms to your site. One type of form is a payment form that allows you to take credit card information.

The form plugins are usually free but require a paid subscription for add-on plugins to connect with your payment gateway. There are many examples of form plugins.

Here are just a few: Ninja Forms, WSForms, and Gravity Forms.

WordPress form plugins allow you to add forms to your site.

Best Suited For: Simple one-time sales without the need for user management systems and upsells.

Setup Time: Minutes.

Payment Gateway: This may require an add-on plugin to integrate with the payment gateway of your choice. 

User Management, Onboarding, Subscriptions, Upsells, and Branding: This may be possible with additional paid plugins.

Price: Starts at $49/year to integrate your payment gateway of choice.

Pros:

  • Cheap or even free if you’re not looking for user management features.
  • Fast and easy setup.
  • Can connect to a variety of payment gateways.

Cons:

  • Difficult if not impossible to customize to your brand.
  • Becomes expensive and cumbersome to try to add user management features.
  • No additional features to help with the sales process.
  • Can only handle one product at a time i.e. no shopping cart functionality.

Link Plugins: Best Plugins for Selling a Single Digital Product Without the Need for User Management Features

Link plugins are even simpler than form plugins.

They allow you to create a “buy now” button for a product and then enter the customer’s credit card information in a subsequent popup or redirect the user to a different site entirely.

Once purchased, the customer is redirected to a “thank-you” page where they can download your product.

These plugins are usually free, and there are many plugins, such as Accept Stripe Payments and GetPaid Stripe Payments.

Link plugins allow you to create a “buy now” button for a product.

Best Suited For: Simple sales without the need for user management systems and upsells

Setup Time: Minutes.

Payment Gateway: Look for the plugin that integrates with the payment gateway of your choice.

User Management, Onboarding, Subscriptions, Upsells, and Branding: No. You can set up recurring payments through your payment gateway merchant account. 

Price: Free.

Pros:

  • Cheap or even free if you’re not looking for user management features.
  • Fast and easy to use.
  • Use the payment gateway of your choice.

Cons:

  • Difficult if not impossible to customize the “thank-you” page for your brand. 
  • Becomes expensive and cumbersome to try to add user management features.
  • May require your customer to leave your site to modify their subscriptions.
  • Can only handle one product at a time.

Conclusion

There are many options for digital creators on WordPress to selling digital goods and products. But you can quickly narrow down your choices depending on your needs.

If you have a large inventory of both digital and hard goods, WooCommerce is the way to go.

EDD is the way to go if you have a niche use case that requires a plugin that is available only through their platform.

But if you just want a simple platform to sell digital subscriptions, one that doesn’t affect your website performance, yet still enhances customer engagement through user management features, Mindspun Payments is the clear choice.  

Author Bio

Dolev Schreiber is the founder of DetourOn and a content writer for various travel blogs. Before settling down to a more sedentary and technical lifestyle, she worked nonstop as a tour guide in the National Parks of the American Southwest. She recently began selling PDF guidebooks on her WordPress site, which required a thorough payments plugin research journey.

About the Author

WP Webify

WP Webify

Editorial Staff at WP Webify is a team of WordPress experts led by Peter Nilsson. Peter Nilsson is the founder of WP Webify. He is a big fan of WordPress and loves to write about WordPress.

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