Online shopping is growing faster than ever and every ecommerce merchant knows that having a powerful, flexible, and customizable shopping cart is essential to the success of their business. More than ever shoppers are checking websites for deals and steals before heading to their neighborhood shopping malls. According to Forester Research, US online retail sales are forecast to reach $248.7 billion by 2014 which makes it essential that online shop owners create a user friendly, scaleable, and powerful shopping mall.
Shopping Cart Plugins
When choosing a shopping cart plugin merchants and developers should keep in mind the main features that are required for developing a powerful and lucrative online shopping experience.
Features to Look For:
Here are some features that you should consider when making an event calendar choice:
- Open Source Code
OS Shopping carts are an awesome choice for merchants and developers because they are FREE. They integrate well with themes and plugins and make it possible for you to create a powerful custom shopping cart. Make sure that your OS plugin is well documented and supported. Check out their forums and user groups to make sure that questions are being answered in a satisfactory and timely manner.
- Multiple payment gateways
If Paypal is your payment processor of choice, you may not need to look any further. Paypal has a variety of account types giving you many options on payment authorizations, recurring billing, and even checking account payments. However if you are building a “super store” with multiple merchants, you may want to offer more than one payment gateway.
- WordPress MU/Buddypress compatibility
WordPress allows you to create community sites that offer blogs to members. Though these sites are technically subdomains under your main site, some plugins require a multi-site license in order for them to work properly on MU or Buddypress. Check the plugin details to see if it is compatible with multi sites or if it requires a developer’s license.
- Large catalog vs. limited products
If you are building a large online store that carries many products with variations and stock limits then shopping carts that limit you to buttons on posts or pages will not be efficient. However if you offer a short list of products that are offered via squeeze or landing pages your better choice would be individual paypal buttons. Consider the size and variations of your products before choosing a cart plugin.
- Physical vs. Digital Goods
Digital goods require a different type of order fulfillment in order to protect against piracy. Encrypted URLs, redirected URLs, limited downloads, and download expiration are features that single paypal buttons will not include. If you are building an online store with digital goods you will want to consider the features
Your top WordPress Event Shopping Cart choices
WP Academy has chosen three of our favorite shopping cart plugins with the most robust features with a range of pricing. Whatever your shopping cart needs, you’re sure to find something of value within these four choices.
Wp eCommerce is 100% customizable allowing merchants and developers to use their own HTML & CSS and have complete control over the look and feel of their online store. This plugin has plenty of payment and shipping methods but also has an extensive library of add on’s to choose from.
WordPress Ultra Simple Paypal Shopping Cart is a great choice for merchants who have a small catalog with a few items. Users can easily add an ‘Add to Cart’ button on any posts or page. The shopping cart shows the user what they currently have in the cart and allows them to remove the items.
This product is an amazing choice for the price. Shopp has a very sleek design and integrates well with your current theme. Its flexibility and scalability makes it desirable for merchants and developers. This product has tons of features and add on’s such as extra shipping and payment gateways. Depending on the scale of your store, however, the add on’s can start to add up at $25 and up.
TheCartPress is a WP Academy favorite. It is highly scalable, flexible, and open source with the ability to extend its functionality with plugins and themes to customize your store exactly in the same way that you do with WordPress. TheCartPress is ideal for merchants, theme constructors, and developers.
|Shopp||TheCartPress||WP Ultra Simple Paypal Shopping Cart||WP e-Commerce Plugin|
|Easy WP Integration||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Multiple Payment Gateways||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Email Marketing Integration||No||No||No||Yes|
|WordPress MU compatible||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Goods||Yes||Yes||Yes but not recommended||Yes|
|Multiple Product Images||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Best Selling Products||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Multi language support||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Extras||Shopp Toolbox:A collection of Shopp integration tools with MailChimp, Facebook, Google XML Sitemap, Google Merchant Center plug a post-order courtesy email plugin.||Purchase extra payment gateways and shipping methods||n/a||
|Pros||Over 200 comprehensive template tags for unparalleled custom template development (no hacking necessary)||Compatible with many existing WordPress plugins||Great if you’re selling one or a small list of products||Extremely flexible and excellent documentation and support.|
|Cons||No Free or trial version but they do have a 60 day refund policy and online demo||Not efficient for digital goods or large catalogs||Lots of great ad on features but at additional cost. Could add up depending on needs and budget.|