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WordPress and eCommerce: Time to Get Serious

Martin Neumann, from ePublishingDaily, was looking at my post on paying for WordPress plugins and how I thought the e-Commerce area is really lacking in great plugins, and could be a great niche market for someone willing to put the effort in, and so he expands on that in his post.

I haven’t done too much research in this area (just an hour or so and some quick reading ) – so who knows, there might already be thriving groups of plugin developers going down the e-commerce route. If so, let me know.

Hmmm, makes me think about heading over to RentaCoder and contracting a developer to make me the ultimate plugin for selling information products via WordPress.

Are there any plugin maestro’s out there with any ideas – preferrebly in regards to paypal and general ecommerce facilities for WordPress – drop me a line. We might discuss a joint venture or two.

He does mention two e-Commerce plugins that are already out there, but from what I have heard, neither are all that great. I look forward to seeing what people come up with. I think something like Shopify for WordPress would be perfect.

Categories: WordPress Plugins

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  1. Kellie says: 8/10/2006

    I totally agree. There is a huge gaping hole between the user-friendliness and presentation of wordpress and the equivalent free ecommerce software such as oscommerce. Someone is going to come along and apply some 2.0 styling/usability/customisation and turn the ecommerce segment on it’s head.

    Shopify looks/is great, but as soon as you go past hobby volumes, the commission starts to add up. Sure, they do the admin and hosting, but up if you have sales volumes high enough to provide a fulltime income, they are just too high.

    I am watching for people who are marrying oscommerce and wordpress, but there is not a lot happening in this area.

    I am watching this space with interest and intent.


  2. Mikee says: 8/10/2006

    Spot on big fella!

    At the moment I work for a small company in NZ who predominantly offer small eCom or CMS sites using osCom and WordPress respectively.

    With a lot of our clients there is a discussion as to what would be the better option. In most cases I attempt to push WordPress as it is just so much nicer to work with. But at the end of the day the functionality inherent in osC (clunky as it can be) far outweighs anything offered as a plugin at the moment.

    I would love to see a robust eCom application for WordPress and would even go so far as contribute time or effort if others were interested. Someone with experience coding eCom applications may be required.


  3. Martin says: 8/11/2006

    David, thanks for doing a write up on me about my write up inspired by you. :-)

    I too am learning the two I linked to are not really up to par (yet).

    Shopify – will have to look into it.

    Mikee – I had a look at osC a few years back and it gave me a great big headache :-)

    You’re right: You can’t really compare osC and a plugin for full-on features. but I’m sure the average joe blogger woldn’t need something full-on – simplicity is what would be needed.

    I’m interested in your NZ company (I’m an Aussie) – head on over to my blog and send me some details. Would love to have a chat.

    Kellie – I, too, am watching this space very intently – let me/us know if you come across anyting new.


  4. Kellie says: 8/11/2006

    I see a two alternatives. The first being an eCommerce plugin for WordPress. This is probably not super hard, until you want to add options for shipping, payment, discounts, different tax systems etc.

    I have osCommerce up and running and it is already supported with hundreds of ‘contributions’, including aussie payment and shipping modules. This is where osC is years ahead of whatever plugin is written for WP. But the interface is years behind WP!

    The alternative I would like to see happen is to develop a strong INTEGRATION between WP and osC. I have WP added onto my osc install at and I have fiddled with the CSS to try to get the styles similar. There are a couple of examples out there of people who have integrated WordPress into oscommerce, but they are people who know how to code. The other 95% of users (including me) just want to use a plugin, not have to fiddle with code.

    I would like to see someone make osC run from within the WP engine, and apply the style and ease of use that we all love about WP. That would be huge, and for those many ecommerce stores making real money from their sites, laying down $50 for the plugin would not be an issue.


  5. Tony Devlin says: 9/14/2006

    I would lay down $50 for a quality ecom plugin for WP. Note the word quality though, currently the two plugins I have found seriously lack the quality aspect.

    The problem with OSC is that it’s inherently flawed from a design point of view. Also, at least in my opinion, the code is irrevocably stale and cluttered. Too much overhead junk, you can tell there were too many hands involved with it’s creation and not enough direction, or at least common coding styles.

    But I digress, this conversation is about paying for a plugin, as stated I would generously give $50 for a quality ecom plugin, especially if it had the feel of shopify.


  6. Mikee says: 9/14/2006

    I would chip in with some time, effort, or cash as well. I’m currently pulling my hair out getting one of said plugins to work! I appreciate the developers taking the time to create such a tool, but am struggling to make it function as it should.

    The boys at Instinct (eCommerce Lite 2.0) are god fellas and very helpful. They currently offer a hosted Gold version that is close to a new version apparently. Could be an option for people in the interim.

    Good to see this thread picked up again…


  7. Teeks says: 10/24/2006

    Heya, been skimming through your posts because they’re along the lines of what I’ve been thinking. Although I haven’t put as much thought into it as some of you fine people. I’ve never used word press untill today but I’ll be setting up my site soon at and not too far down my list of priorities is to get e-commerce functionality for my users, which I plan to do as a WP Plug-in using Pay Pal for starters. I’m basing it off the Instinct widget ( for now and using Pay Pal’s own code for the e-commerce interaction. This is all conceptual at this point and I’m making it up in my head as I write this.
    Anyway, never made a WP plug-in either obviously but I’ve just come off making a hefty e-commerce site and a pretty massive online resource management app after dropping out mid-way through a software development diploma so I’ve got programming balls of steel and i’m gonna give it a shot.
    Wish me luck, I’ll keep an eye on this post.


  8. danmilward says: 10/31/2006

    Hey guys. I’m behind the WP e-Commerce lite plugin and I just wanted to say… hi and that we’re getting there!!! Its coming along and we’re about to launch 2.9 very soon. The whole idea behind e-commerce was “lets create a cool and easy to use plugin”. And it doesn’t get much easier then clicking activate. Like all software there are a whole range of settings and options but that’s all part of the parcel.

    Recently another guy has joined the team which means we’ll be able to setup things like nightly builds. We’d love more developers to come along and help us out!

    We’re also working on something very much like shopify – stay tuned for our WPMU version…

    Mikee – Thanks for the plug mate, how do you know about us?

    Tony – e-Commerce Lite is very good quality, check out and tell me that is an unprofessional quality website


  9. danmilward says: 11/23/2006

    Hi Guys,

    We’re even closer still.. we’re about to release version 3 but before we take the beta status away we want lots of feedback.

    The latest version has all sorts of features, coolest of all though is that it works with WordPress MU and WP Campaign Monitor.

    Other features include
    – Purchase log RSS feeds
    – Nicer admin interface
    – Gold Cart Option for serious shoppers ;)
    – .CVS Purchase Log download
    – Multiple Payment options available in checkout

    Please let me know your thoughts.




  10. uv22e says: 11/26/2006

    here is a ecommerce plugin


  11. Rebekah says: 11/27/2006

    Thanks uv22e, that works great! And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Just one thing: I’m getting an error when I try to change the header text on the categories-brands page:

    WordPress database error: [Unknown column ‘none’ in ‘field list’]
    INSERT INTO wp_post2cat (post_id, category_id) VALUES (14, none)

    Warning: Cannot modify header information – headers already sent by (output started at /blahblahblah/blog/wp-includes/wp-db.php:102) in /blahblahblah/blog/wp-admin/post.php on line 128


  12. Rebekah says: 11/27/2006

    Sorry – it did do something. It changed the title but wiped out my category and brand listings but the products are still in the system. The editing I did was through the Write Page. It doesn’t seem to want to let me put anything in the Content box.


  13. danmilward says: 11/27/2006


  14. flyingkites says: 6/7/2007

    The Instinct plugin is not open source which is kind of anti the whole concept of WordPress.

    In fact its licence is extremely unclear and it would be risky to invest too much into it without it being made clear. They could close it completely in 6 months as has been done before and where would people stand? Totally unsupported.

    Why is it not GPL? Not being GPL is worse then asking for money in my mind.


  15. Matthew says: 11/15/2007

    I just purchased the Instinct Gold E-Commerce plug-in and got a site up and running for my friend in a few days. (Most of that time was spent taking photographs and writing descriptions) Overall, I am very satisfied with how the cart functions. It’s worth the $15 price tag for the Gold and I would use it again.

    Take a peek at the site: – It’s custom hand made metal jewelry with very artistic design.

    If anyone has any questions you can get a hold of me through the contact page on my website – http:/


  16. Unhookt says: 1/15/2008

    I purchased and attempted to use the Instinct Gold E-Commerce plug in WordPress 2.3.1 and have had lots of trouble with it.

    For one thing, it doesn’t appear to confirm expiration date against the card’s actual expiration – it just checks to see if the expiration date entered by the user is not in the past, and passes the transaction through if that simple test is passed. Seems like a (major) security issue to me.

    I’ve tried posting on the incredibly slow Instinct forums for weeks now and though my posts are getting read, they aren’t receiving any responses. Maybe everyone’s hands are full with the next release?

    So, for the poster above worried about losing support should the company close in 6 months…looks like things would actually be status quo…


  17. Jon Davis says: 4/7/2008

    Since this post still seems relevant, almost two years later, I wanted to announce that I have a ‘serious’ response. I’m currently in development of a WordPress e-commerce plugin that I have high hopes will be the answer everyone is really looking for.

    Currently I’m looking for potential beta testers so I can get some useful feedback. I’ve been designing it to be both easy to setup & use, but still be flexible for fully customizing. Anyways, if you’d like details, I’ve posted an official announcement on my blog:

    I can’t wait to release it, but I also want to make sure it’s ready for primetime.


  18. sex says: 7/23/2008

    you very nice


  19. Orovo Tim says: 8/8/2008

    I’ve used e-junkie for my wordpress ecommerce site.

    It’s done incredibly well in the search engines – if anyone is interested how I did it, just shoot me an email.


  20. Jon Davis says: 8/20/2008

    Just an update that progress on the new e-commerce plugin is going very well and I’m nearing the private beta stage with the release likely a month out or so.

    It’s not quite Shopify for WordPress, but it is called Shopp. (Shop-(p)lugin)

    The website has more details, so if you’re looking for something besides what’s already out there, take a look at


  21. Jason Fonceca says: 9/23/2008

    i’m glad i came across this post. great job addressing a lack in the wordpress market :)

    i particularly enjoyed everyone’s comments. thanks again.


  22. Dan Milward says: 12/14/2008

    Update: WordPress e-Commerce Plugin

    I thought I better give you a quick update on our movements. We are gearing up to release the next version of WP e-Commerce. The biggest improvements are:

    – Sexy User Interface (for WP 2.7)
    – Optimized Code (better API plus more hooks)
    – Start of new Template Engine
    – A few more necessary features :)

    Will post back soon with all the details.


  23. Karaoke Blog says: 1/10/2009

    Thanks bro…..


  24. Shopping cart says: 1/23/2009

    WordPress is getting up to standard slowly. Some time ago i thought that wordpress is going under but they are still alive!


  25. ivan says: 4/7/2009

    i think eshop, a plugin for wordpress is quite powerful for ecommerce and they are (currently) total open source

    we created a theme using eshop on our website, and its quite satisfying features.


  26. Roger Sanjay says: 4/27/2009

    try this too
    it is very easy to install and has lots of features


  27. Dawn Sinclair says: 5/5/2009

    I wanted to like WP e-commerce.. I really did.. I should have taken the hint when after installing the plugin I go to Ecommerce>Settings>Shipping and select the USPS module and saw the message “Known issue: USPS doesnt support shipping inside the US, cutomer zipcode needed, which we dont have before checkout”

    Not to be discouraged I decided to use table rates instead. Only there’s one small hitch.. No way to support a separate rate table for international customers or even a way to add an additional handling fee for international customers.

    In the end I mainly ended up ditching WP e-commerce because the shipping functions did not allow me any options to work with both domestic and international customers. Had there been a working fully functional USPS option, it would have solved my international shipping issues.

    I’ve also used eShop. This plugin allows you to easily create products using WordPress Pages. While the setup of shop categories and products requires a little more “manual” work than WP e-commerce, I was able to ease the “manual” work by making use of the “Duplicate Post” plugin Enrico Battocchi.

    The shipping options in eShop are limited to variations of different table shipping options. There are no tax options in eShop, but I worked around that by configuring the PayPal account to collect taxes during the PayPal payment process, and this worked just fine. (I made sure to inform customers that if they resided in X state, the tax would be added) Overall I had less issues with plugin incompatibilities using eShop than I did with WP e-commerce.. (I found that WP e-commerce had to be activated BEFORE all of my other plugins or some of the tables it needed would not be created or populated during the install)

    IMO however, neither of these solutions is ideal for stores with more than 10-20 products. I think I will opt to NOT build anymore e-commerce sites using WordPress plugins (unless the client has 10 or less products to offer), but I will continue to keep an eye on these plugins. I hope to see some better shipping and tax options offered in future releases for both of these plugins as I think they are the closest to fully functioning e-commerce solutions available for WordPress.


  28. Dawn Sinclair says: 5/5/2009

    I should add that I’ve also been keeping an eye out on the Shopp project.. I’ve yet to try and test this one, but it looks promising..


  29. nooraza says: 5/6/2009

    I visited the shopify website. thank you for the info… but if you can set up ecommerce in wordpress for free why should we pay?


  30. Dan Milward says: 8/13/2009

    *** Update ***

    WP e-Commerce 3.7.1 has been released now and we’re just a few days away from launching WP e-Commerce 3.7.2 which has a nice range of new features – for instance:

    * A glorious new e-commerce template engine (finally decent e-commerce for WordPress theme designers)
    * We’ve included Paypal Payments Pro (its free too!!)
    * A nice and new improved user interface (including IE some fixes)
    * Thumbnail image crop for product images (Firefox only sorry)
    * Multiple currency support (right there in the edit product field)
    * Manual override of tax on a per product basis (under products price and stock)
    * Improved Shipping Options
    * Theme files have been moved to a safe place (check out presentation settings)
    * A new Quarterly reports Screen Option for the WP Dashboard (yyyy-mm-dd)
    * Sales Log page has a field for Tracking ID (this functionality will be expanded upon)
    * Single Product shortcodes
    * Product Reviews / Comments via integration
    * All in One SEO Plugin integration
    * Product Import (Beta)

    Read more on our blog:


  31. stylelead says: 8/24/2009

    I have read the some blogs(wordpress) with ecommerce,but all of it is demo,why can find a real e-commerce shop to study.


  32. Andre says: 11/12/2009

    We recently switched our website from Shopp to PHPurchase. PHPurchase was much less expensive and since we only sell a few different products we didn’t need all the fancy grid layout features and so forth. We just wanted to build the pages the way we wanted and then sell our headphones. Plus PHPurchase is backed by a nice bunch of developers at PHPoet which made me feel comfortable in case I needed some support. So if you are looking around, you may want to consider checking out


  33. Wymetto says: 6/8/2011

    I understand wanting to get paid for plug-ins – but you have to show that it will produce income – that’s the secret..


  34. ydeveloper ) says: 1/30/2012

    I never used wordpress for ecommerce, rather i have more idea of using it as a blogging. I am also using this for blogging for an ecommerce store.