ShoppShopping Cart Plugin Review

Shopp review

Overall rating: ★★★★½

Version: 1.2.1

Reviewed by

The first thing that strikes you as a Shopp plugin user is its professionalism. Aside from minor bugs here and there, everything about this plugin is made with high quality and care. If you are a developer and peek inside the Shopp code, you will see that it is built with good design principles and object oriented methods, making Shopp easy to extend and modify.

If you are looking for a light ecommerce system that can take payments through the web using PayPal, Google CheckOut then give Shopp a try. There are enough options to sell physical as well as digital products successfully online; in the league of ecommerce WordPress plugins, Shopp definitely is a standout.

Shopp is also great if you want to build a large ecommerce store with robust shipping and tax and promotions management capabilities. It also has one of the widest range of support for payment gateways and shipping carriers.

However, you may not want to use Shopp if you just want to sell digital goods or if you’re not willing to invest in customizing the appearance of your store, since Shopp doesn’t include any good pre-built themes. And customizing the appearance will take some effort.

Overall, it’s one fine piece of a shopping cart plugin for WordPress!

Installation

Once you make the payment, you’ll be sent a download link via email. After downloading and installing the plugin, you’ll have to enter your license key and perform the initial settings, like setting the location of your store, target countries, your email, etc. It’s all pretty smooth and easy with Shopp and its professional user interface. You can also re-download the plugin from your ‘Account->My Downloads’ section of the Shopp site.

Technical Support & Documentation

All Shopp customers get access to the help desk. The current response time is any where from 21 hours to 4 days. If you’re not happy with that, you can buy priority support (jump the queue, $49), or escalated support (one-on-one with the lead developer, $199). As always, terms and conditions apply. Note that according to the support policy, regular support is “not guaranteed”.

You may not have to use the ticket system with Shopp since there are plenty of community resources and documentation. The community support forum, which is only available to paid members, is active and helpful. You can also submit feature requests as a paid Shopp member. But note that many questions in the community forum go unanswered.

The documentation of the plugin is also reserved for paid members, but I can tell you that it’s comprehensive. The goal of Shopp team is to reduce support requests as much as possible by creating comprehensive documentation. They even provide advanced tutorials and examples for customizing Shopp. There are also great videos that can be accessed from within the plugin so that you can learn efficiently as you go. You can also get help from various Shopp community professionals.

How It Integrates with WordPress

On activation Shopp creates 11 new tables in the WordPress database. Products are created as WordPress posts and make use WordPress custom post types and custom taxonomies. However, the product price data is stored in Shopp’s custom tables. Shopp seamlessly integrates into WordPress; from the administration to the public website, Shopp development follows WordPress theme and plugin guidelines to make it as compatible as it can be. In the latest version (1.2.1) WordPress integration has been enhanced by utilizing more WordPress API functions.

Unlike other ecommerce plugins, Shopp includes two built-in storage engines for product images and downloadable files, database and File System storage. Each has benefits and drawbacks that should be considered when determining which to use. By default, Shopp is set up to store both product images and digital product downloads in the database using the database Storage engine.

For small files database storage can be somewhat secure, as you do not get easy access to the database as you might to the filesystem. However if you plan to upload files larger than 2 MB, it would be better to use the File System storage engine; you do not want to store large file in your database, these can impact your database performance considerably. This is an issue you should consider carefully during your initial store setup. More information on both of these methods and their pro and cons can be found in the relevant Shopp documentation.

Product & Stock Management

The first thing you need to do after setting up Shopp is build your product catalog. All products in Shopp are stored in the WordPress ‘wp_posts’ table and makes good use of WordPress custom post types and custom taxonomies. However, as mentioned earlier, the product prices, purchase details, product variations are stored in the custom Shopp tables. Each product has its own SEO friendly URL. Editing and deleting products is extremely easy using Shopp’s Product Manager.

Product inventory in Shopp is as good as any other ecommerce plugin. However, inventory tracking is only available for Shipped and Virtual products. Note that you must enable the ‘Track Inventory’ option in the ‘Shipping’ settings before Shopp can automatically deduct the inventory after a purchase.

Product Variation Management

Shopp‘s ability to handle product variations is above and beyond all other shopping cart plugins. It creates different versions of the same product depending on how many variations you have for it. You can create as many product variations as you want, and specify a price, inventory count, sale price, and shipping fee for each variation. The Shopp admin provides an inline variant editor so that you can enter products with a completely uninterrupted workflow. If you still want the advantages of setting up your variant attribute sets ahead of time to speed up data entry, you can do that using category template.

One of the useful and time saving features of variants is ‘Linking’. Linking variants makes your workflow faster by allowing you to more rapidly enter pricing information for lots of similar variants. When you make changes to a variant price editor that is linked to other variants, the changes are copied to all of the other linked variants at the same time. This is helpful when editing a product with a large amount of variants.

In addition to variations, you can also specify products with add-ons in Shopp. Add-ons are extra customization and configurations that are made-to-order.

Customer Management

Shopp uses it own comprehensive customer management system, different from that of WordPress. Shopp supports three modes of customer management:

1. No Accounts:
Customer records and orders are tracked, but no login to the store is created for the customer.

2. Enable Account Logins:
A customer login is created (associated with the email address of the customer) to login to their account dashboard to access past orders and downloads, and to make future checkouts faster and easier.

3. Enable Account Logins integrated with WordPress Users:
A WordPress user is created when the order is finalized, and it is associated with a Shopp customer to track their purchases. During checkout, customers set both a login name and a password to access their account. The login name they set is used as the WordPress user login name when the account is created. Customers can then login to their account on the store’s account page with their WordPress user name and their specified password.

Customer information can also be exported in a variety of formats with any number of available customer data columns needed. This can be useful if you need to use the data in some other program, e.g for sending flyers or emails.

Shopp currently supports the following export formats:

a. Tab-separated.txt
b. Comma-separated.csv
c. Microsoft Excel.xls

For Tab-separated, comma-separated and Microsoft Excel file formats you can select the columns to include for each record in the export.

Shipping and Tax Management

Shopp takes the prize for one of the best shipping and tax management support in a WordPress shopping cart. For shipping, Shopp can do flat rate or calculate shipping based on customer location, order amount, item quantity, and order weight. Shopp also offers extra modules to calculate shipping live with FedEx, UPS, USPS, AusPost, Canada Post, Shipwire, each costing $25.

For tax management, you can specify a tax rate for each country or region you ship to, as well as a default rate. You can choose whether shipping fees are included in tax calculation or you can choose not to charge any tax at all.

Admin User-Interface Design

Shopp utilizes the WordPress admin UI, and is clean and professionally designed. The interface looks just like the familiar WordPress UI, making it easier to navigate around it. The primary menus around which everything is categorized are: Shopp, Catalog and Setup.

Accepted Payment Methods

Shopp supports the following payment gateways out of the box: PayPal Express, PayPal Standard, Google Checkout, 2Checkout, and offline payments (phone, check, etc).

Additional payment gateways are also available for $25 each: Authorize.Net, CyberSource, eWay, Beanstream, FirstData, and more.

Selling Digital Downloads

Handling downloadable products isn’t Shopp‘s strong suit. I couldn’t get it to consistently upload files as the upload mechanism is buggy. The alternative is that you upload the product yourself, via FTP, and protect the upload directory using your web-server administration mojo. However, once you are done with the uploading part, which most people will probably do less frequently, Shopp provides various options to control the download. From the ’Store Preferences’ section you can set how many times the buyer can download the product after purchase, and the expiry time for the download. You can also restrict the buyer to download the product only from the IP from which it was purchased.

Offering Discount Coupon Codes

The discounts feature is called ‘Promotions’ in Shopp and is very thoughtfully designed. You can set 4 types of discounts: percentage, fixed amount, free shipping, and ‘Buy X Get Y Free’ type. You can select to apply the discount to a catalog item, shopping cart subtotal or to each cart item.

Furthermore, you can set a bunch of rules on when the discount could be applied. This is where the discount feature really shines. You can set a variety of rules, e.g. only apply a particular discount when the ‘Cart Total’ exceeds $150 and the ‘Total quantity’ in the cart is larger then 10.

The discount feature also allows you to set the promotion dates, which will enable you to create a number of promotions in advance that will automatically start and end at the specified date.

Sidebar Widgets

Shopp has many useful sidebar widgets that allow you to add dynamic features to your online store.

Shopp Cart — adds a summarized shopping cart to a widget area providing at a glance reminder of the current contents of the customer’s shopping cart. By default it shows the number of items in the cart and the total cost of the items.

Shopp Product — this widget allows you to display products in the sidebar by category, or simply by bestselling, highest (or lowest) price, newest (or oldest), or randomly. You can also specify the number of products to display.

Shopp Categories — this widget displays a list of the categories and subcategories in your store. It is highly customizable.

Shopp Category Section — like the Shopp Categories widget, displays a navigational menu of category links for all categories related to the current category by sharing a common base category.

Shopp Faceted Menu – when a customer is viewing a custom product category that has faceted menus enabled, this widget will display a drill-down navigation menu for filtering products by shared product attributes. Setting this up requires editing Shopp templates.

Shopp Account — this is for account login and management capabilities. This widget is only visible if you enable ‘Account Logins’ from your Shopp ‘Store Preferences’ settings.

Shopp Search – as the name implies, this allows your customers to search through your online store.

Shopp Tag Cloud – adds a weighted list of links for the most frequently used product tags.

Shopp Recent Shoppers – Adds a configurable listing of your most recent customers to a widget area.

Themes and Styles

There’s a lack of pre-built themes for Shopp. The only theme I could find that was built for Shopp is Flexx by iThemes.

Shopp works pretty well with any standards-compliant WordPress theme. But you’ll most likely want to customize the appearance of your online store, in which case you’ll have to rely on Shopp’s own templating system. It’s a new skill to learn, but the process is well documented.

Affiliate Management

Shopp lacks affiliate management capability. However, the good folks at Tips and Tricks HQ have outlined instructions for integrating their popular affiliate’s management plugin with Shopp. It is not free though, and costs $49.95.

Multi-Language Support

Shopp supports most of the popular languages and translation files are available free for download. The current available languages include: Nederlands (Dutch), Svenska (Swedish), Polski (Polish), Italiano (Italian), Suomalainen (Finnish), Français (French), العربية (Arabic), Deutsch (German), Español (Spanish), Român (Romanian), and Magyar (Hungarian).

Translation files for Shopp use the same translation system as WordPress, so no integration problems should arise. Many more languages are being added. Here’s the complete list.

Who’s Using It

Shopp currently has a large number of sites using the product, many of which you can find in their showcase. Some of the recently added sites are: eternal beauty products, personal wine bottles.

Money Matters

Shopp is licensed under GPL v3, and comes in 2 licenses:

Single Site Access ($55) This license entitles you to download the core Shopp plugin and use it on a single site with auto-update and online support for that one site. Online documentation and community forums are available but not the developer forums.

Additional add-ons purchased can, however, be used as many times as you like. Auto-updates for add-ons will only be provided for sites with valid, activated keys.

Developer Access ($299) This license entitles you to download the core Shopp plugin and use it on any number of sites with auto-update and online support available for all the sites. Online documentation and community forums are available along with the developer forums.

Single Site Upgrade ($259) You can also upgrade your Single Site license to the Developer license.

Ingenesis Limited, the creators of Shopp, provide a full refund for requests posted to their Support Help Desk within the first 45-days of purchase. Check out their refund policy for more details.

22 comments. You can post one, too!

  1. Highly energetic article, I loved that bit. Will there be a part
    2?

  2. I want to create two promotions with a common promo code, but only one promotion works. Can anybody help whats the reason? actually i want to offer two discounts (10% off and free shipping) and i guess its not possible to offer both in one promotion. Right?

  3. Justin

    DO NOT BUY SHOPP!!!! they never developed a way to import products….so, if you store has 10 or 15 things to sell, then you can manually add products. but if you need to add losts of stuff, or your inventory changes from time to time…then THIS WILL NOT WORK FOR YOU. other than that, its fine. its just useless is all.

  4. galina

    I enjoy using Shopp in my business. It combines numerous useful features with intuitive, user-friendly management. what’s more, i found one tool which made migration to shopp fast and effortless. can share a link for the future Shopp users:
    http://www.shopping-cart-migration.com/supported-carts/2602-shopp

  5. Anonymous

    Shopp is an atrocious excuse for an e-commerce plugin. Advertised features are simply broken with no explanations. Try submitting a password reset request? Not gonna work. Of course, it LOOKS like it works. But the new password simply fails. Customer support? They do everything just short of telling you to “f$#! right off”. Tax calculations are broken out of the box, with the explanation that “this is how Shopp works.” For example: Item is $100 with a 10% sales tax. Setup a promo code for 10% off. Tax gets applied to the ORIGINAL item price instead of the discounted price. Customer gets ripped off. I’m not sure if it’s even LEGAL to calculate tax on the original price of the item.

    The first thing that should have tipped me off was that Shopp’s documentation and support forum are behind password protection until you purchase the plugin. This is obviously an effort to hide the ridiculous amount of bugs. Please folks, DO NOT PURCHASE THIS PLUGIN. YOU WILL HAVE NIGHTMARES.

  6. Shopp 1.2 is still full of huge bugs – it crashed, you can’t order products in each category or order the categories themselves manually, both of which are really fairly crucial to good presentation? And you need a good coder to work it – I say avoid or proceed with caution and patience.

  7. I think WooCommerce will take the reigns on the WordPress Ecommerce market. I have a few clients running Shopp, it’s not SO bad. However, quantity pricing is a must for me.

    So I made a plugin for Shopp’s lack of ‘quantity pricing’ or ‘tiered pricing’. If anyone using Shopp has a need for this, please check my plugin out! Thanks

    http://www.fancyfoxcreative.com/shop/shopp-tiered-pricing-plugin/

    • Justin Sainton

      Interesting plugin, that’s awesome man!

      Equally interesting analysis that WooCommerce will take the reigns. I’d be surprised if a company specializing in premium themes (that has not, by any measure, “taken the reigns” in that niche) would take a significant leadership position in the e-commerce niche.

      FWIW, the WP E-Commerce plugin has had this feature for a long time, they call it “Table Rate Pricing”.

    • Austin Kelly

      Thanks for that…I might check out WP e-commercet. Does it have as many bugs as people say it does? Hah!

    • Austin Kelly

      Just an update to anyone reading the comments. I’ve just now moved to WooCommerce and it’s like heaven.

      They are coming out with so many premium plugins that are well built and offer so much customization without paying the price of custom coding.

  8. Steve Mattor

    Shopp announced v1.2 in July 2011, its now December and its still not been released, whats worse is that they don’t reply emails and prospective customers have no access to their forums to see what kind of problems others may be having with the software.
    If the product is that good why the secrecy and frankly I am leery of buying product from a company that does not even bother to answer pre-sales questions.

  9. I’m trying out the eCommerce plugins to WP, and finding that each one has serious downsides (so far). The worst is JigoShop which is difficult to customise – to get into the developers code is a minefield.
    MarketPress is good – but doesn’t have a gateway to SagePay, which is the UK’s default payment gateway.
    Shopp… hmmm. Sounds possible. But there’s no way I’m buying something only to find it’s not suitable. Shopp should allow a lite version free – or maybe a time trialed version. Gotta move on to the next one.

  10. mark77210

    Does Shopp have PayPal Adaptive Payments integrated into it? (See MarketPress for an example.)

    • There’s no mention of Shopp using PayPal Adaptive Payments anywhere. My understanding is that Adaptive Payments is just a flexible API that PayPal offers. What exactly do you hope to accomplish with it, what’s the end goal?

    • mark77210

      Forgive my ignorance on this one. I wish to host a multisite store (a “mall” or “marketplace”) where I can set up micro-stores on behalf of real store merchants and take a 10% cut of the sales without any messy accounting. My understanding with MarketPress is that there’s an admin interface to set commissions for each store.

      Are you suggesting that what MarketPress does is nothing special and that an API call could easily be set up for most carts? I’m not a programmer, so I’m looking for an integrated solution.

    • I see what you mean now.

      Yeah, I think your choices are limited to only MarketPress. Your requirements are pretty nichey, but I know that WPMU DEV makes a point of catering to multisite and BuddyPress needs specifically.

      I don’t think Shopp, Cart66, or GetShopped can do what you want.

    • mark77210

      Thanks for the reply. Yes, I was definitely starting to feel a bit “nichey”, but was also wondering if the tech was maybe just lagging a little behind the demand for such services. Cheers..

  11. This looks so awesome – but I have a really important question, having been burned by WP cart plugins in the past.

    Will you be offering (or do you offer – I couldn’t find the answer in your online documentation or in the forum) PayPal subscriptions as product types, and access levels to products based on those subscriptions like Cart66 does? I’m really tired of wrestling with Cart66 – I’d love to be able to use a solid plugin like yours appears to be, but I’m selling video and audio classes in zip files as downloadable products, tickets to my workshops and subscriptions to those classes – I didn’t see in the docs where you were able to do that. I know you can handle physical goods and digital downloads, which I also need, but I’m looking for that total solution that includes subscriptions, tickets and discounts.

    Please, please be MY Heroes. Yes, I said that.

  12. S S

    I hate Shopp, I had a horrible experience using it. I found something better, you can read more here if you like. Just my 2 cents.
    http://www.customgraffiti.com/?p=813

  13. Would just clarify one thing – I believe the GetShopped Showcase has substantially more showcased sites.

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