Moving from BigCommerce to WordPress
March 7, 2012 10:22 PM   Subscribe

First time using WordPress as an ecommerce site. Help!

My friend is transferring his whole shop from BigCommerce and will be using WordPress as a complete CMS platform. I am going to help him through the transition. I've experienced modifying WordPress themes and using plugins and such. Would it just be the same with an ecommerce site? What are the things that I should take into consideration?

My plan is just to look for a suitable ecommerce WP theme in ThemeForest and buy it. Should I look for something that uses a particular plugin? (Is the WP e-commerce plugin really reliable? What other plugins can you recommend?) Also, once I buy the theme, is the plugin already included or is this something I buy separately?
posted by pleasebekind to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You may want to check out WooCommerce, which has a bunch of themes that also have e-commerce versions that work with their plug-in. That may save you a bunch of time, as opposed to trying to adapt a theme to another plug-in.

I am just in the process of looking into this myself, so I haven't used the woo-commerce plugin yet. It was just something I came across during my own research.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 11:15 PM on March 7, 2012

Have a very good idea of the features that you need before buying a theme with e-commerce built it (such as some excellent themes on Theme Forest which are tailored to certain products). Can you do multiple variations, have sales, manage all the various tax needs, calculate shipping, have multiple payment options etc...?

Many themes are tailored for a certain plug-in or two which you'll then have to install. Some e-commerce plugins are too big to install through the dashboard and you need to ftp them. Some have awful color and design schemes which are hard to adjust. Some work perfectly then clash with another plug-in for no known reason. Others are all-in-ones which means if the theme maker goes out of business, you have no support or backup.

It's hard to know exactly what would suit your purposes without knowing the type of stock, location of most sales etc you would be making the site for. Which ever way you choose to go, register for a paypal sandbox account so you can test the guts out of it before going live.

I tried jigoshop the other day and it looked pretty good. I'm wary of WP e-commerce after reading a threads on the support forums where the maker was less than polite. I've also bought a ready-built e-commerce theme from Theme Forest which was very elegant but hard to get my head around, and it ended up not having a very specific thing I needed which was a nuisance.
posted by Kerasia at 3:18 AM on March 8, 2012

See if WooCommerce fits your needs. ThemeForest has some good themes, I'm sure, but nearly all of the themes I've used from there haven't really followed WordPress standards. That isn't so much of a pain if you plan to keep the site as is, but it is a huge pain if you need to customize.

Definitely read through reviews first, to see if anyone complains about theme standards.

Shopp is another alternative. It isn't free, but I think they're using custom post types now, so it may be a better option than it was a year ago.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:50 AM on March 8, 2012

Shopp is still a mess. Calculates shipping so every product is in its own box. They refuse to change this despite customer complaints.
posted by Wossname at 6:02 AM on March 8, 2012

Another plug here for WooCommerce. Nicely modular, and good support.

That said, investigate carefully before pulling the plug. For example, I'm lucky enough to live in a state with no sales tax, and no nexus in states that do, so my tax situation is simple. Others might not be so lucky.
posted by kaszeta at 8:31 AM on March 8, 2012

I used WP and WP E-commerce to build Greensforged for my buddy Greens a coupla years back -- before WooCommerce came out -- and designed the theme myself. I found it relatively easy to work with, with a lot of depth of customization for organizing the shop in the backend.

I think he's been happy with it from a user perspective, as well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:10 PM on March 8, 2012

I'm glad to see *someone* has found good ecommerce solutions on WP. Two comments above really stand out:

"not having a very specific thing I needed which was a nuisance."
"investigate carefully before pulling the plug"

You really need to analyze all the business rules you are expecting this software to accomplish *before* choosing the software. Spent quite a while trying to config WP e-commerce and Paypal for selling vinyl records and CDs online - eventually gave up & put my client on
posted by omnidrew at 8:52 PM on March 8, 2012

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