WordPress and e-Commerce
The active WordPress development community offers several e-commerce solutions for putting a shopping cart in your WordPress blog. I’ll discuss the four best here to help you decide which WordPress shopping cart plugin to use.
Note: Not all of these WordPress shopping cart plugins are compatible with older versions. You should always be using the latest version of WordPress anyway for security reasons.
WP e-Commerce was designed for ease of use and clean, elegant Web 2.0 aesthetics. It’s a full-featured shopping cart plugin, ready out of the box to customize for selling music, books, DVDs, clothing, crafts, art and more.
I’m particularly impressed by WP e-Commerce’s attention to detail, such as AJAX confirmation alerts that unobtrusively pop up when visitors add products to their cart and extensive customization settings in WordPress. You can customize the CSS, but if you’re code-shy, the in-WordPress dialogs are quite comprehensive.
Another feature-packed WordPress shopping cart plugin. eShop stands out for its multitude of merchant gateways and product listing options. Paypal, Authorize.net, Cash/Cheque, iDEAL, eProcessingNetwork, Payson, and Webtopay are all built in to eShop, so you can accept payment in virtually any method you wish.
You can offer downloadable products, create product listings from WordPress pages or posts, and utilize a plethora of listing options.
The developers even actively support eShop in the WordPress forums, though they can’t afford to answer CSS questions any longer. It’s still a great perk and pretty nice of them to do. Highly recommended.
Quick Shop is a bit more hands-on than the other shopping cart plugins: you’ll have to customize the CSS yourself. However, the developer has built in a complete set of CSS classes and ids to make things easier. It has “just enough” features: a shopping cart sidebar widget so visitors can see what’s currently in their cart, integration with the CFormsII plugin, ability to add drop-down product options, and WordPress MU compatibility.
A handy little feature of Quick Shop is the TinyMCE inventory listing button. Basically, Quick Shop puts a product listing button in the bar above where you type your post. Just click the button to add a product to your post.
Overall, Quick Shop is a simple, yet complete WordPress shopping cart plugin option for basic users.
WP e-Commerce, eShop, and Quick Shop are all free plugins. Shopp, on the other hand is the premium WordPress shopping cart plugin, costing $55 for one site license and $299 for a developer (multi-site) license.
As you might expect from a pay product, Shopp is chock-full of features, too many to list here in full, but here are a few major ones: it has a streamlined installation system; just install and activate, shortcodes, widgets, drag and drop shopping (drag and drop shopping is available in WP e-Commerce as well as a paid upgrade), a slew of payment options, shipping calculators, and search engine optimization.
For heavy-duty users or developers, or if you want the benefits of a commercial product, Shopp would be the choice for a WordPress shopping cart plugin.