The Joomla! Community Magazine™

e-Commerce for Joomla! Part Two

Written by | Monday, 01 November 2010 00:00 | Published in 2010 November
Today, there are many choices available that allow site builders to quickly configure products, display small product catalogues and enable customers to easily add products to a shopping cart. In most cases, these solutions hand off payment processing to a service like PayPal or Google Checkout. For many, this limited processing is all that is needed and the simplicity translates to much appreciated ease of use. This month, Team EaSE takes a look at five easy-to-use options that will help you quickly offer eCommerce on your Joomla! web site.

This month, Team EaSE reviews several simple eCommerce solutions that enable Joomla! site builders to quickly add basic shopping cart capabilities. The intended audience of this article are those who need to add a shopping cart for a limited number of products. If your eCommerce needs are more sophisticated, we invite you to read last month’s article which focussed on several fully functional Joomla! eCommerce choices.

Team EaSE looked at two Joomla! Extensions, RokQuickCart and SimpleCaddy, a powerful Web Service called Ecwid and how to integrate PayPal and Google Checkout using widgets. Each of these options are extremely simple. Each offers great capability.

RokQuickCart is offered by RocketTheme and it is useful for those situations where you have no more than 20-30 products. All products are displayed on a single page. The shopping experience couldn’t be easier as customers are able to simply ‘click’ to add products, check out and then interact with PayPal or Google Checkout. It’s not a solution for more than very simple shopping cart needs, but if that describes what you need to do, RokQuickCart could be a good option.

SimpleCaddy by Atlantic Intelligence is also very easy to configure. There are a few additional options, like Categories and Vouchers, that enable more options for your eCommerce needs. Google Checkout is not supported, but PayPal is supported. Because SimpleCaddy uses Plugin code inserted into Articles, products are searchable and Category Blogs can be used to present products. The workflow during checkout could use smoothing out since it was not immediately obvious during testing that we needed to press the “PayPal” button to finish processing.

Ecwid is a hosted Web Service with a very sophisticated Product Catalog, Customer Information and Order Processing environment. The capabilities mirror higher end e-Commerce solutions and the User Interface is well designed. You can sign up for a powerful free environment and take advantage of a rich array of payment processing, including both PayPal and Google Checkout. Higher end functionality can be obtained at a monthly charge. We found the free services quite adequate for most simple and even moderate to advanced solutions. Simple copy-and-paste HTML Widgets are used to embed shopping cart functionality into any Web site, including Joomla!.

PayPal and Google Checkout capabilities can be used without a Joomla! Extension, too. Creating a sophisticated and secure e-commerce Web site can be a daunting task. If you are a business owner or professional in need of a simple e-commerce fix, going right to “the source” may be your best choice. Both PayPal and Google Checkout are online merchant services providers who offer simple solutions for selling goods and services online, without having to know how to code or master a complex e-commerce solution.PayPal and Google Checkout capabilities can be used without a Joomla! Extension too.

Creating a sophisticated and secure e-commerce Web site can be a daunting task. If you are a business owner or professional in need of a simple e-commerce fix, going right to “the source” may be your best choice. Both PayPal and Google Checkout are online merchant services providers who offer simple solutions for selling goods and services online, without having to know how to code or master a complex e-commerce solution.

Check out Issue 5 Comparison Spreadsheet .pdf below

RokQuickCart

RokQuickCart is offered by RocketTheme. It builds on a javascript cart system called SimpleCart by adding a Joomla! Component and utilizing Joomla!’s Menu environment.

Installation

The RokQuickCart Component installs as easily as any other Joomla! component. By using the Component Parameters, you can name your cart page, establish shelf and cart dimensions, and enable a lightbox display of larger images.

Configuration

rockquickcart configuration

The configuration enables specification of a single tax rate and use of either Paypal or Google Checkout payment processing. All values required by either payment processor can be configured.

Product Manager

rokquickcart manager

The Product Manager allows you to specify a specific order for product display, if desired. Products can be published and unpublished.

Product Editor

rokquickcart product

For each product, RokQuickCart allows you to define the name of the product, price, shipping cost, and image. A formatted description field is available that you can use for formatted text, links and images. In addition to those basic product attributes, RokQuickCart also allows color and size choices.

Menu Item

rokquickcart menu item

There is a RokQuickCart Menu Item displays products for site visitors. It should be noted that this simple option does not allow you to specify a category or tag for display, but rather very simply displays all published products.

Site Display

rokquickcart frontend

The results on the site are attractive, even without customization. If you wish to change the appearance, you can turn off the default CSS using the Component Configuration and define your own style.

The user interface is very easy. All products are listed on one page and added to the cart with a single click. Without a page reload, the cart updates the total and displays selected items in the cart. Incrementing or reducing items selected is accomplished using the up and down arrows. Tax is automatically calculated

.

Links & Further Information:

SimpleCaddy

SimpleCaddy is offered by Atlantic Intelligence. It is an easy to use interface to offering products to site visitors and handing off payment processing to PayPal.

Installation

In order to install, download the SimpleCaddy Package, and unzip it locally. Next, separately install the Component and Plugin located within the zip file. There is a Module that can be installed if you want to display the cart on the page. If the developer were to create a package installer for all extensions, it would make the installation easier for novices.

simplecaddy configuration

The SimpleCaddy Control Centre allows you to choose options available.

Configuration

simplecaddy manager
The Component Parameters allows definition of product categories, communication requirements, including whether or not a confirmation email is sent to the customer. Options are available to localize the currency and presentation formats. PayPal payment processing is available and can be configured via the Administrator interface.

Voucher Editor

simplecaddy voucher

A nice feature is the ability to define vouchers that can be used for specific periods of time.

Product Editor

simplecaddy product

The Product Editor provides a means for defining a produce code, name, Category, available quantity, unit price, and shipping points.

Product Manager

simplecaddy product manager

Items can be sorted by code, description, category, price, or quantity. Products can easily be published and unpublished.

Checkout Fields

simplecaddy checkout

Custom Checkout Fields can be defined and ordered for order processing. There is also an interface for viewing orders. SimplyCaddy passes off order processing to PayPal.

Product Display

simplecaddy product article

SimpleCaddy displays products using a normal Joomla! Article. To display a Product, simply add the Plugin code: {simplecaddy code=1} to your Article where the code number matches the product number defined.

Site Display

simplecaddy product frontend

To display the products on the site, use normal Joomla! Article Menu Items. Product information is added to your article. The customer can enter the number of items desired and press the Add to cart button.

Cart

simplecaddy shopping cart

The shopping cart is then displayed and the customer can place the order, continue shopping, or empty the cart.

PayPal Interface

simplecaddy paypal

Before the order is processed, the customer enters information configured as required and then presses the PayPal button to complete the order. The workflow seems confusing and could result in lost sales if customers do not recognize they must press the Pay Pal button to continue.

PayPal

simplecaddy paypal2

The user experience is relatively easy. Integrating the product display with the Article makes the
product information searchable and offers flexibility with display and layout override options.

Links & Further Information:

EWID

Ecwid is a Web Service that makes it easy to embed e-Commerce capabilities into any Web site, including Joomla!. It is well integrated with other Web services, allowing you to authenticate with services like Google email, Facebook, Flickr, Yahoo!, Twitter, and Windows Live ID.

Configuration

ecwid configuration

Product catalogs, customer, and sales data can be accessed and configured using the Ecwid Web site and a secure protocol. You can sign up for a free account, and also upgrade to a professional service for added functionality.

Product Editor

ecwid configuration

To begin, you can define your products. There is a rich array of attributes available. Basic information like product name, price, description, unit of measure, product weight, and images are available. It is possible to include a gallery of images per product. The interface makes it easy to distribute software and files after payment processing is complete.

Product Categories

ecwid configuration categoryecwid configuration category

You can define categories (and subcategories) using text and images.

Shipping & Taxes

ecwid configuration tax and shippin

Several shipping options are available and tax can be calculated using a fixed rate. There are sophisticated options available for different shipping options, taxes, payment options, and so on.

Payment Processing

ecwid payment processing

Payment Processing can be accomplished in a number of ways including Google Checkout, PayPal, Credit Card, ECheck, Check, Fax order, Money order, personal check, purchase order and phone order. The choices are extremely flexible.

Standard & Custom CSS

ecwid custom css

The standard CSS provides an attractive, nuetral look that blends well with most designs. There are choices of standard CSS themes available, along with ability to customize the CSS, as desired.

Copy & Paste HTML

ecwid widget

Ecwid offers widgets that display single products or groups of products within your Web site. You simply copy the HTML code from Ecwid.

Joomla! Custom HTML Module

ecwid copy and paste html

To display products within your Web site, create a Joomla! Custom Joomla! Custom HTML Module, and paste the Ecwid HTML into the Module text. Alternatively, you can paste the HTML into an Article and use the Article to display single Products or the entire Product Catalog.

Note: Make certain you are logged on as an Administrator so that the HTML is not filtered by Joomla! (or modify the HTML filter settings, as needed.) Also, turn the WYSIWYG Editor off for the Administrator to prevent filtering of the HTML.

Site Interface

ecwid site interface

The interface is attractive and very simple to use. Customers can specify the values required, like color and size, and press the “Add to Bag” pushbutton.

Shopping Cart

ecwid front end checkout

Once a product has been added to the cart, a small “shopping bag” is displayed at the bottom of the page, containing an “Open Bag” link that leads to the checkout process, payment options, and confirmation, placing the order, email notifying the customer, and providing a “print this invoice” option.

Customer & Order Information

ecwid website orders

Within the Ecwid Web site, you can review your list of orders, and individual orders. Each order can be reviewed individually, too.The Web Service is very powerful and extremely easy to use. Novice users should feel very comfortable with the User Interface and integrating with Joomla!.

Links & Further Information:

GoogleCheckout

Google Checkout offers services and methods that help create simple e-commerce functionality. Google merchants can create “Buy Now” buttons with custom attributes and paste resultant code into their Joomla! website with ease. Although, not as feature rich as Paypal with mobile and virtual payment enhancements, Google Checkout offers an extra layer of simplicity to create a basic online shop with a gadget.

3 Simple steps to a Google Checkout Gadget Store

  • Sign-up or sign-in to access your Google checkout account;
  • Select or Create a Google docs spreadsheet to populate inventory information.
  • Copy and paste to embed code into your Joomla! article or module.
    •  
      1. Login to access your PayPal Merchant Account;
      2. My Account tab > Click on Profile>Selling Preferences> Click on My Saved Buttons;
      3. Click Create New Button in the right sidebar:
        • Step 1: Choose button type and enter payment details;
        • Step 2 : Save button and modify selection of optional features which include track inventory as well as profit and loss;
        • Step 3: Customize checkout pages and advanced HTML form variables;
        • Click Create Button to generate your button code.
      • Copy generated code;
      • Paste into your article or module position of choice.
    • Google Checkout (Buy Now Button Code)

PayPal

The process of integrating PayPal into your websites can be extremely simple. You do not have to have a Joomla! extension because PayPal offers merchants a button creation tool that generates several types of buttons, including: Buy now, add to cart, donations, gift certificates, subscriptions, automatic billing, and installment plan.

You can add attributes such as sizes, colors, and any custom attribute, with a few clicks of a mouse. Once the button code is generated, simply copy and paste into your article or Custom HTML module and publish. Yes, it is just that simple.

Step by Step

PayPal Button Code

Summary

Warning!

Always use SSL encrypted buttons to sell goods or services over the Internet. Both PayPal and Google provide secure options for checkout and maintaining your merchant account. Unencrypted eCommerce buttons can leave your shop and customers open to security attacks and malicious code. Worse case scenario, Mr. Hack Master the invisible surfer of the web, could redirect your buyer to a faux checkout and take a free vacation on their dime. Beware and take all reasonable precautions to ensure the integrity of the data that is transmitted to your merchant services provider, it will save the integrity of your fledgling e-commerce shop.

Keep it Simple

The benefits of keeping it simple is a good idea as it’s easy to provide adequate security and to implement good functionality. Coupon and discounts, inventory management, email links and invoicing, and shop promotion methods are just a few of the slick services that compliment any e-commerce shop.

Now get going on creating and enhancing your simple Joomla! online shop and the shopping experience of your potential customers and buyers.

December is the Holiday Issue! expect some rather nice presents from Team EaSE.

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Team EaSE

Team EaSE

Current Team EaSE Members: Bo Astrup, Babs Gösgens, Brian 'Sully' Sullivan (Team Lead), Miljan Vujosevic

Grateful thanks also to Steve Burge

Past Members: Hilary Cheyne, Amy Stephen, Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos, Neri Valentin-Macias