e-Commerce for Joomla! Part Two

Written by | 01 November 2010 | 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

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Links & Further Information:

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