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Not all Shopping Carts are Created Equal

Choosing and the right shopping cart

At our specialty is WordPress shopping carts. Because of that we have had the opportunity to use almost every brand and type of shopping cart made for WordPress in existence today. Once there was only one or two but now the number is quickly growing as WordPress begins to explode into the world of the Internet as the number one choice of web designers.

But not all WordPress shopping carts are created equal. We had one project where the customer was constantly making bad decisions about his website and changing the project because he thought he know about shopping g carts when, in fact, he was not living in reality. What was wrong you might ask? Basically he constantly tried to make the ecommerce shop function as it was never intended to do.

Some shopping carts for WordPress come complete with a theme and the software for the shopping cart is integrated into it. So after you install it you will need to modify the look of your theme to customize it to your unique brand identity. If these modifications are extensive and time consuming then maybe you should have chosen another type of WordPress shopping cart. These types of theme integrated WordPress shopping carts are good if you want to put together a site quickly and have minimal changes to make. But if you want to use your own WordPress template you designed or purchased then you can’t use these types of carts. Often modifying the layout will require the use of an expensive programmer who will need to be careful to not break the shopping cart as they change the code so the site will look and function as you like. Many customers want to change the checkout forms to add or remove information so these shopping carts are not for amateur web designers. Even worse if the company that made the shopping cart has really bad technical support and poor quality service you might eventually find out that the shopping cart that you thought that looked good is actually nothing more than useless eye candy. We had many such experiences at The shopping cart demo site might work well but how easy or hard will it be to get it working on your site?

The other type of shopping cart for WordPress you will find is the one that allows you to adapt the shopping cart to your existing WordPress template. Posts are used products and categories are used for product categories. This is very good because it allow you to use other WordPress plugins and does not need you to tweak them to work properly with the shopping cart. For example, let’s say you wanted a plugin that allowed you to rotate  a product image 360 degrees.  With the “complete” solution we might not be able to use it because it would interfere with the shopping cart. But with the WordPress independent solution it would not affect how the shopping cart works in any way. That is one major advantage to WordPress independent shopping g carts. They work well with all other plugins.

One of the common disadvantages with WordPress independent shopping carts is how items are displayed in something called “grid view”. Some shopping carts either don’t have a “grid view” or require you to pay extra money for this important feature. The catalog or “grid view” is an important part of any ecommerce store. In “grid view” small thumbnail images of products are read from the WordPress database and displayed on a page with the price of the item. Customers can click through multiple pages quickly and scan the images for items that are what they want and that are at the right price. This allows the customer to browse the entire catalog quickly to search your store. When a customer clicks on the product thumbnail they go to a “detail view” page of the product to get more information. Some carts allow customers to simply press a button that says “add to cart” to select multiple items in grid view while some carts allow you do this only once you view the details of an item. In cases where items require detailed information to be displayed shopping carts can have an “enhanced grid view” or something called “detail view”. In the detailed view the image or multiple images are displayed with important technical information that is required for the customer to be able to choose to buy the product. For example a computer could be listed in grid view with a photo, model number and price but when they click on the image they go to a detailed view with many images and technical information such as physical dimensions, hard drives, RAM, the model of video card and more. It is important that your shopping cart is capable of working the way you want before beginning a WordPress design project.

Other important considerations for your cart are the payment gateways supported and shipping types included. Do you want to track inventory? Does the shopping cart allow for coupons? Does it allow them to track their orders and send them an email when the transaction is complete? These and many more questions are important to ask before you think about building your ecommerce store.

In conclusion, WordPress is an outstanding ecommerce platform capable of building online stores with hundreds of thousands of products. However, you need to give careful thought about what you want before you begin the project. Check what your completion has for a shopping cart. What do you like? What do you not like? But remember that website made by the multinational corporation might have a budget of one million dollars to develop their site; do you? What can you afford? Make a list of must-have-items and another one of would-like-to-have items. Be realistic and plan it out. can make any level of WordPress ecommerce website ranging from simple with a few simple items or services to ones with thousands of complicated products. But knowing what you want helps us to make sure the project is done on time and on budget and exactly how you want it to look and function. Call us today to talk about how we can put your business onto the Internet.

Gary Dawson | WordPress eCommerce Developer

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