WooCommerce vs Easy Digital Downloads: How to pick?

eCommerce, Reviews

Both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads turn WordPress into a powerful eCommerce application. How do you know when to choose which?

Some people will tell you that the simple answer is to always go with WooCommerce since:

  • It's really popular
  • It's has massive market share (37%)
  • It does it all

But I don't think that tells the full story.

WooCommerce vs Easy Digital Downloads

Speaking of stories, have I mentioned that several times I've gone golfing with a single club—the 7 iron? It's great at the tee; it performs well on the fairway, and if you raise it just a bit, it works on the greens. Everyone has a 7 iron and it's much easier to master than trying to learn a bunch of clubs.

If you know anything about golfing, you'll know I'm an idiot when it comes to golf. I only go so I can smoke cigars with friends while they frustrate themselves (all golfers frustrate themselves all the time).

My point, if you didn't catch it, is that it's pretty easy to make the case that specialization over-generalization can be powerful and useful.

Never has this been truer than when thinking about WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.

What that means is that other people (beyond the “some” from above) will break it down this way:

  • Use Easy Digital Downloads for software / downloads eCommerce sites
  • Use WooCommerce for shipping physical products

This is better guidance than above (“Always use WooCommerce”). But I think it still leaves a lot unsaid.

What other factors should go into your decision?

Payment Gateways: You should begin by checking to see if your payment gateway is supported by both products. If one product doesn't have the payment gateway you want, it's pretty easy to make the decision, right?

Price: If you're building a site that can run on either product, and you need an extension – and it's available for both products – you might want to compare the prices. Easy Digital Downloads extensions tend to be less expensive. That might be important to you!

Themes: If you're comparing WooCommerce vs Easy Digital Downloads – be sure to look at the available themes for each. I find that there are more themes for WooCommerce but there are better-looking ones for Easy Digital Downloads.

Don't believe me? Check out these by Astoundify, Array & Theme Foundry. They all work for EDD and they're gorgeous!

Features: Easy Digital Downloads has some features (their marketplace features or points/credits system) that are just awesome and do more and better than what's available for WooCommerce.

Software Licensing: Both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads provide software licensing systems for your digital sales. This can be really valuable if you're offering a plugin that you activate with a license key. Having used both on production sites I can tell you that my personal experience is that EDD provides a better solution at this point.

Memberships And Subscriptions: I believe that the code and features provided by SkyVerge and Prospress for WooCommerce Memberships and Subscriptions are better than what EDD has at this point.

So when does a blue creature beat a ninja?

All things equal, I think when you need a software licensing solution for a digital product, with a beautiful theme, and are looking to spend your cash in other areas, Easy Digital Downloads is a good call.

Also, if you're building a marketplace of digital assets (licensed or not), EDD likely wins.

If you're running a shop with physical shipments or you are using your eCommerce site to manage a membership site, then WooCommerce will likely be a good fit.

What's your take?