So over the past few days I’ve been researching various eCommerce plugins for WordPress. I used to be particularly fond of Ecwid because of its’ incredible ease of use. If you need something super quick and free, this is the way to go. The jist of this free solution is that your online store is hosted at www.ecwid.com where you create your product catalog, customer database, payment methods, and manage your orders. It is nice, and good for simple startups, but not very flexible if your a WordPress Theme Designer. There are some bits of CSS you can customize, but it is cumbersome. You’re pretty much stuck with their layout and the dragging and dropping of products in your “Basket”.
It’s a cool concept don’t get me wrong, and you don’t necessarily have to drag and drop your products in the basket, but I think it’s an unnecessary feature. The cool thing about Ecwid is that your transaction are secure using SSL, and they support a variety of payment methods such as Authorize.net, PayPal, etc. Really not a bad product if you’re just getting started and need something quick.
If you want more customization and flexibility, I just started using the commercial plugin PHPurchase. For a single site license it only costs about $50.00. But here’s the beauty. Each product is a Post in WordPress. It uses the core concepts of WordPress to structure your online store. I’ve seen it used on a variety of websites mostly geared towards selling services, or singular products or digital downloads. However I am using this for a large Jewelery store website. It tracks inventory, applies state taxes, has a nice order management interface, and much more. Of course it is all hosted within your WordPress site too. No 3rd parties are involved.
I just love having the ability to customize my .post class DIV containers making a nice frontend catalog appearance and also utilizing the Post Categories within WordPress to easily categorize my products. It too also supports a wide range of payment methods. There’s a great support team and forum too. Not to mention to get free updates to the software. I’ve always been one to look for free solutions, but this was one product I was super happy to pay for. They even offer you a 60 day money back guarantee. Can’t beat that. Worth a shot for any of you out there that need something like this.
The only drawback I’m having right now is figuring out a way to sort the products. It would be super cool if the user could be prompted with the ability to sort products by Price if they wanted to. The only issue that I’m aware of so far is that the price is not a meta value. I could make a custom template that sorts the posts (products) using the query_posts(); function, in conjunction with the orderby& parameter, but there’s simply no meta data for the product price. Waiting on a response from their team now. Hopefully they’ll figure out something. Other than that, definitely worth the fifty bucks. If I come across a solution I’ll certain post it.
Man I’m glad it is Friday. Kentucky Friday at that. Perhaps I’ll ellaborate more on this next time.