Boston WordPress Meetup: Best E-commerce Plugins
|May 2, 2012||Posted by Anharris under Communications, Content Strategy, Events-past, New Media, Technology, Web design|
This Monday, Boston Meetup participants applauded when organizer Kurt Eng announced that, with 1200 members, the group is now the second largest WP meetup in the world. Not surprisingly, his mention that New York is first, by far, was met with a generalized groan from the 110 people gathered at the Microsoft Nerd Center in Kendall Square.
I was sad to learn that founder Jim Colletti will be leaving Boston for San Diego–but wish him the best. He, Eng and last summer’s “Wordcamp” were extremely helpful as I was building this Website.
At this week’s meeting, Brian Piccolo of the digital marketing agency AMP reviewed what AMP considers some of the best free and premium e-commerce WP plugins.
In evaluating the plugins, AMP considered “standard” and” advanced” e-commerce tools, Piccolo said.
Standard tools include catalogs, inventory management, order management, search engine optimization, shipping and taxes and payment gateways.
Advanced features include indicators for product availability, discounts and promotions, template tags and short codes, active and filter hosts and developer API, among others.
*** WP e-commerce (getshopped.com) the oldest of the lot and one of the original e-commerce plugins is “solid” and has been around for more than 5 years. It offers great SEO, robust features, and has extensive documentation. It is “a bit buggy” but has more than a million users. It offers a premium upgrade. Picllo gave it three stars.
Cart 66 Lite has 44405 users,takes a simple approach , has no store front or catalogue and a standard feature set. Fine if you want to use it for one thing, such as downloading an e-book from your site. After experiencing a security break , Cart 66 lite has improved its support and security. My apologies; I wasn’t quick enough to jot down the number of stars AMP gave it; will link to the chart as soon as it’s posted on WP Meetup Web site.
****--Jigo shop with four stars, offers good features, allows cross selling, and reviews. Jigo Shop allows you to localize sales using different languages, and provides good support.
****Woo Commerce also received four stars. AMP found it flexible, easy to use, and that has a templating engine. It offers free and premium add-ons, and provides “great” user support.
The main difference between paid and free ecommerce plugins is that the paid plugins offer better support–not just from user groups as is common for free applications.
Market Press, from DPMU Development, costs $39-$79 a month. It offers robust features and support. “It’s a great ecommerce service, ” Piccolo said.
Shopp $55 single, $299 developer. It’s great; offers more develper tools and APIs; has been around for more than 3 years.
Cart 66 premium is very specialized–for memberships and subscriptions, AMP found. It allows you to create and restrict content behind a paywall allowing you to require that surfers “Sign in to read the rest of the article.” It includes a variety of contact management and email forms.
Piccolo said that most e-commerce plugins work with mobile applications and provide for reporting and analytics. Newer e-commerce plugins are starting to allow for social commerce on sites like Facebook. Piggy, for example, offers a mobile dashboard and storefront within Facebook an increasingly popular site for doing business.
I was not able to stay for the developers session, in which Blaise Freeman and Ned Lomigora of soon-to-launch zeen media explained how zeen will use WordPress to quickly prototype and test novel web applications for promoting books. They showed the group a plugin to simplify and accelerate creation of promotional platforms for authors, according to the meeting announcement.
I’ll link to videos of both presentations when they’re posted. If you’d like to receive notification, please let me know in the comment section, below. Thanks!
—Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, a Cambridge, MA-based PR 3.0 firm specializing in integrated strategic PR and marketing communications, content strategy and social media services,