Now that we’ve discussed how to create a plan for your WordPress eCommerce website, we’re going to move on to comparing your criteria to the Shopping Cart plugins capabilities.
WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin Comparison Checklist
Once you’ve got a plan based on the kinds of products you want to sell and how you want to sell them, now you can catalog your criteria. I’m going to direct you back here to the seminar page for a moment and I have this checklist available to you both as a PDF file and as an excel spreadsheet.
You can download both or either one of the checklists. They have the WordPress Shopping Cart plugin comparison and the requirements checklist. We’re going to start off by looking at this requirements checklist but we’re also going to move on over to the plugin comparison.
How to Use the Checklist
Essentially what you want to once you’ve gotten that plan down, that plan essentially follows this checklist. I started off with product definition. So within that is the kinds of products and variations and how you want to organize them. ,
Then you’ve got product display, order processing, order fulfillment, customer management and marketing. Finally, there’s this bit for theme compatibility. That doesn’t really have much to do with your store but it will have to do with how you’re going to choose your plugin.
Identify Essential Functions
I’m recommending that you make a distinction between the things that are essential, things that are important and things that would be nice. Then everything else really is what’s not important or not applicable.
You may discover that no plugin has everything you want and so then you have to winnow down what your expectations or what your needs are based on which plugins are available. So it’s good for you to be able to identify those things that are absolutely essential.
For example, if you live someplace where PayPal doesn’t work and you want to be able to take funds in a system that is available in your country, that maybe the one essential that controls everything else. You may have to choose the one plugin, more than likely WooCommerce, but choose the one plugin that will work in your country because of that.
A similar kind of thing is the case with shipping. There can be a lot of different instances here but if you’re in the UK and you want to ship via Royal Mail, then you’re going to need to pick a system that calculates shipping for you via Royal Mail and so you’ve got those things which are essentially deal-breakers.
The chances are, you only got a handful of things that are absolutely essential and then the next category is those that are important and really, this is all of the functionality that really matters to you.
Then you have things that are essentially the tie-breakers. So this feature here would be really nice but it’s not really important, it’s certainly not essential. If you have a couple of different plugins that are going to work based on your essential and important then you can use additional nice features as a tiebreaker.
Complete Checklist Then Compare Plugin Features
So what you’re going to do is go through this checklist and fill it out. Once you’ve got it filled out, you come over to the WordPress Shopping Cart Plugin Comparison which exactly follows that checklist and compare it to what the plugin comparison shows. The way this works is an X means, yes it works, with extension means yes, it will work with an extension and no means no, it’s simply not available. So it’s one of those 3 things.
Versions of the Plugins Being Compared
This is obviously based on a snapshot of the plugins at a specific point in time so Cart66 is at 188.8.131.52, Shopp is 1.2.5, WooCommerce is 2.0.10, MarketPress is 2.8.7 and WP eStore is 184.108.40.206, that’s the snapshot that this comparison was made with.
It is the case that all five of these guys are updating their systems regularly. It is also the case that I will probably redo this seminar repeatedly as things change and as they add or subtract features from their shopping cart.
My Interpretations of Features Available
I have taken the liberty to say “No” to some things that the cart author says “Yes” to and I’ve done that when I felt like their “Yes” was a misleading. I haven’t really indicated that anywhere but just bear that in mind. So if the plugin says it does something and I say it doesn’t do something, the chances are I’m saying that because when I tried to do it with their system, it didn’t work or it didn’t work as it ought to work or it had restrictions which made it essentially useless.
I’m just trying to cut through sort of the sales hype to get to the reality of whether or not the feature is a viable, functional aspect of the plugin or not or did they just toss it in there in order to get hype.
The most obvious example of that is this question of subscription. Look at that though, I said “Yes” but that’s actually “No”, my mistake. This is not going to be right on the PDF by the way so if you’re looking at the PDF, I don’t believe that Cart66’s subscription system is viable.
It’s enough there to say they’ve got it as soon as you try to use it with the regular PayPal system so if you’ve got PayPal payments standard and you’ve got their recurring payments add on to it, it will not work. It only works in a very isolated context which means as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t actually work.
Next up we’re going to take a sample project through its paces with the checklist. We’re going to talk about what its plan is and then we’ll fill out the checklist and then we’ll compare the checklist to this comparison and we’ll draw conclusion about which plugin to use.