Ecommerce for Joomla: The Variety of Choices
Joomla is more than just software. That’s a powerful website management system, that’s developers who stand behind it. And though we might not know their names, we are sure the product they created is simply marvelous.
Joomla is so rich and versatile, so it can be used for different types of websites: blogs and brand websites, celebrity’s websites and community websites, e-shops and web forums, online galleries and government websites, personal pages and news websites. The list seems to go on forever. And with Joomla we can be sure these websites not only meet users’ expectations, but exceed them. You don’t have to be a professional to use Joomla. This CMS can be perfect for people with different technical skills and expertise.
The best thing about Joomla as well as any other content management system is that its functionality can be extended by a great variety of plugins and widgets. And this time we want to bring to your attention the most popular free ecommerce plugins for Joomla.
Read on for more details.
VirtueMart is one of the most popular open-source ecommerce solutions for Joomla. Its secret is in its simplicity, as the shopping cart is easy to configure and manage for both developers and non-tech savvy people, though some experience working with any content management systems is desirable. As VirtueMart is open source, the support is mostly community driven, but if you are looking for a fast qualified help, you won’t go without some additional costs. But that’s true of any other CMS or shopping cart.
VirtueMart is search engine friendly: it provides Meta tags for products and categories, SEO-friendly URLs, etc. It is also great for practicing your marketing skills. You may upsell and cross sell products (related products feature), enable products reviews and ratings, coupons, display pricing, payment and shipment options according to shopper groups and much more. VirtueMart allows guest checkout and 1 click checkout.
JoomShopping is another ecommerce plugin for Joomla that is distributed both as free and commercial. Currently it supports German and English only. Some customers note low customer support. And that’s true: the community forum is quite silent, but the creators of JoomShopping try to help and resolve as many issues as they can.
JoomShopping is also easy to use. There are a lot of customizable features among which are customer accounts and shopper groups, multiple payment options, multiple currencies, unlimited number of products and categories, tax management options, order history, order confirmation mail, etc. In terms of marketing it is necessary to point out such features as: product ratings and testimonials, wishlist, guest checkout and more.
HikaShop has been released in three different editions: Starter (free edition), Essential and Business (commercial editions). HikaShop Starter is rather limited, though it still provides a great deal of modules that can be customized to fit your website properly.
With HikaShop you will be able to manage your products and categories, customers and sales, currencies and tax rules, discounts and coupons, order statuses and payment options. The shopping cart makes it possible for merchants to customize the views, emails, translations, content menus, content modules, and visualize the statistics (though the statistics options are very poor if you use free edition), etc.
redSHOP proved to be an effective ecommerce solution for Joomla. It provides different plans and pricing. A free plan is very limited. And if you only need a limited number of modules and plugins and can configure and manage the shop without support, then go with it. But if you want to enhance your online store with additional payment or shipping options, detailed statistics, or some other features like products and categories search, product image slideshow or comparison feature, you’ll have to fork some money out for additional functionality and improved shopping experience.
Some of redSHOP key features include: gift certificates and gift wrapping, unlimited number of products and categories, multiple currencies, payment and shipping methods, statistics and SEO features, etc.
Tienda is a complete ecommerce extension for Joomla available for free download (the community version). In case you need comprehensive assistance with the software setup or configuration, you may subscribe for Tienda support. The developer’s team also encourages users to participate in the development of Tienda by reporting bugs and feature requests.
Meanwhile Tienda is ready to present the following key features: unlimited products, categories and user groups, multiple currencies, payment and shipping options, stock level control, coupons, wishlists, featured products and product comparison. The user interface features include: order history, address book, payment methods and viewed products log. You may enhance your web store with additional features and add-ons available in the Dioscouri Marketplace.
If you need a really simple shopping cart with a basic set of features, J2Store is for you. Even a novice user will find it extremely easy to install and manage. But note please: the non-commercial version is only a base. And if you need some additional functionality, you need to pay at least $10 (for example the Paypal plugin costs only $10). Probably the best thing about J2Store is its support. The staff is really helpful on the forum.
J2Store is ideal for small shops that don’t need automated stock control feature. There are no extra features like track-and-trace, full shipping methods, zone/region based shipping. But the basic features include: product attributes, tax rates, standard shipping methods, global discount option, ability to sell digital goods, 2-step checkout, guest checkout, user registration, etc.
SimpleCaddy is a simple, yet powerful ecommerce plugin for Joomla. Similar to J2Store, it is perfect for small shops. Developers find SimpleCaddy to be very easy to modify, whereas it is highly recommended for non-tech savvy users to have basic technical skills in HTML and CSS to do some tweaks.
The latest version of SimpleCaddy (v 2.0) is fundamentally different from its predecessors. It uses only plugins for displaying any type of screen. For example, taxes and shipping are handled using separate plugins. The order lists are also provided as a separate plugin. If you don’t need any of these plugins, you may simply disable them in the configuration. Here is another peculiar feature of SimpleCaddy: it is completely SEF-ignorant; that’s Joomla who is responsible for your URLs, be they search engine friendly or not.
We tried to gather the most popular ecommerce plugins for Joomla that are distributed for free. Some of them are intuitive and easy to manage; others are tailored more to developers rather than to non-tech savvy users. They all have different set of features, but are united by one great content management system – Joomla!