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We love to Shopp

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Back in September, a client needed an e-commerce solution for WordPress MU that had some specific requirements: it had to handle both PayPal and Google Checkout, had to support digital downloads and intangeables as well as physical goods with various tax and shipping options, and it had to be secure and customer-friendly as well as play nice with MU.

After a quick search only one WordPress plugin could (possibly) fit those needs: WP E-Commerce by Instinct Entertainment in New Zealand (WPSC for short).

A download and install revealed its impressive options. A quick configuration seemed to go ok, and we began to style the shop. That seemed to go ok too—at first. Cutting a long story short, there were lots of problems. After two full days, it was apparent that the plug-in (in our humble opinion) just isn’t ready for the prime-time, particularly with MU. So what to use?

The next choice was to go for e-Junkie a bolt-on Javascript shopping cart that allows a lot of flexibility. But there were two problems: WordPress MU strips many tags from posts, and requires (in our experience) some degree of finagling to get it to accept many of the tags we needed for e-Junkie—something which my client didn’t want to deal with. The other problem was the monthly fees—the longer you use it, the more you should have purchased a long-term solution. This client was in it for the long-haul, so e-Junkie was ruled out.

Almost by magic, at the exact time we needed to close in on a solution, Shopp appeared, then in Beta. The install went smooth. And the configuration. And the styling (remarkably easy to port a WPSC styling into Shopp!). And, low and behold, the ordering.

Shopp works! And, it works with MU (at least where we installed it, in the plugins folder).

It’s not 100% yet, but it’s very close—in only a few months it’s become a very solid product and the best option for WordPress when a great deal of flexibility is needed (if you don’t need so much flexibility, check out eShop—it’s free). At $55, Shopp will pay itself back many times over. If you accept your own payments through authorize.net or HSBC, those gateway additions are $25 each.

The biggest feature lacking in our experience is the lack of customizable download options by product—all download options are universal, so every product must share the same download limit, expiration time, etc. A minor thing to be sure, but something which hopefully will be added soon. Otherwise it fits our needs perfectly.

Support on the forums is excellent. Good work Jon!

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