As a company operating a service that works directly with all online shopping carts, ShopTab often is asked by many entrepreneurs and startup companies “what is the best online shopping cart when looking to start my own eCommerce business?” We will be taking the liberty to post some of our favorite options here on this blog in what we hope to be a new weekly tradition to benefit and educate you, the reader and business owner looking for suggestions on eCommerce Shopping Cart solutions.
Recently, we have been hearing much about eShop for WordPress. I had a chance to interview the designer of eShop, Rich Pedley, and get some insight about him and his program:
Several years back, Rich developed a script for a standalone online shop with his experience from creating a Content Management System (CMS) for Black Widow Web Design circa 2004. At that time, WordPress was still in its infancy and was not suitable for many clients. The script for what was soon to become eShop sat around unused for some time until a fellow GAWDS (Guild of Accessible Web Designers) member, Mike Cherim, approached Rich. Rich coded and adapted his script to function efficiently on WordPress to transform in to what we know today as eShop.
By the end of 2007, Rich had rewritten the code to be easier to use and released the early versions on http://quirm.net before taking the plunge and adding it to the WordPress repository in October 2008. eShop was written, and is maintained by a single person – Rich! There is no financial backing, it was written purely for pleasure.
Q: What features or benefits make eShop stand out?
A: My main background in recent years, and especially when creating eShop, was in web accessibility. Therefore, that is a major selling attribute; however, another was ease of use. I did a quick test of some free plug-ins some years ago and they all had good points, but sadly at that time some were difficult to install, and weren’t intuitive in their usage.
By hooking into basic WordPress functionality, I hope my plug-in is easy to use. The search feature is now linked with WP’s native search for increased customer convenience. Another benefit of using WP functionality is that it is far more robust when a new version of WP is released. I also try to code to WordPress standards, which helps with future proofing the plug-in.
Q: How many products will your eCommerce platform allow?
A: In theory it should be unlimited – but for obvious reasons I haven’t tested more than a handful of products myself.
Q: What is the cost for eShop’s service?
A: Free, and will always remain as such. However, for minor customizations I do ask for a donation. For larger builds, we come to a formal agreement and handle these through Black Widow Web Design Ltd.
Q: What are eShop’s future plans for development or additional features?
A: Google checkout would be nice but at this stage their requirements make it difficult to implement. So that is more of a long term aim. I’m hoping to add some more options for shipping rates, and I’m also looking at adding in tax – but that is a minefield and a half.
Q: How is support handled for eShop customers?
All support for the plug-in is free but no longer support CSS issues freely. However, Black Widow Web Design does offer a paid eShop CSS customization service.
eShop is an excellent example of a personalized e-shopping cart company that is focused on maintaining great customer relations. Check them out at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/eshop/. If you are currently using eShop please share your experience below in the comments.
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