Looking for the solution for your future e-commerce? We have tested and present must-have e-commerce Joomla Extensions. Pick the one you need the most.
Good impression counts when speaking about successful e-commerce website.
“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”- That’s the quote of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and I can’t agree more with him.
Curious buyer who visits your e-commerce website should be able to tell what you sell, easily navigate through products, read detailed description, view the product at its best. These simple yet important points are going to help the customers easily scan information and digest whether they want to purchase the needed item or not.
During the past two years developers have been trying to put more functionalities to their Joomla extensions, focusing on large scale of options. The goal was to bring Joomla on a new level of CMS platforms and become competitive with open source e-commerce shopping carts. And this had its aim.
Hard work and competitive spirit of developers helped Joomla e-commerce extensions come very close to open source shopping carts, bringing alternative experience to those who are searching for another stage for their shopping website.
This idea moved me to find out the best available Joomla extensions out there.
Just before that, let me remind some good point of using CMS platforms instead of creating your e-commerce on open source shopping carts, like Magento, Prestashop, LemonStand, CS-Cart and so on. First of all, products are more affordable. Instead of $500+ subscription, there are extensions available with a number starting at $40. Another side of the medal is that with independent platform you can not always get support from the developers, unless you are subscribed to an expensive plan, not all of them update their tools on regular basis, flexibility is limited as you have no chance to pick alternative options or modules and so on, in a contrast to that, points mentioned above are pretty fixable on CMS platforms.
Having this idea in mind, I decided to make my own 4 points checklist to evaluate an e-commerce experience.
Hikashop is the number one extension I would like to talk about.
It’s free version comes very basic. Although it does the job and is easy to setup and use. Whilst it might not have as much functionality as other free e-commerce shops in this list that we are going to talk about. Yet if you’re looking for a simple free extension that’s easy to use, then this is for you.
But additional fee is needed for rather important features such as coupons, discounts, social links, payment methods and currencies, language and discount options. Speaking on language, let me tell the readers that this product has been translated in more than 40 languages, which is pretty much impressive, when compared to other similar extensions.
Forum is another great experience when using Hikashop. It is almost ‘live’ and nope, I don’t exaggerate at all. They receive a lot of positive feedback here and there giving thumbs ups to the proper and effective customers’ service.
Multiple ship-to addresses in check out is the tool that capture my interest. It’s quite unique actually, when comparing with other similar extensions of this category.
Business subscribers can use affiliate and email marketing options too. Hikashop has 5 available subscriptions starting from an extension for a Starter Essential and ending with Business plan subscription.
With a history starting from initial release in 1997 Virtuemart is among one of the first successful e-commerce extensions available. Many popular websites started their business via Virtuemart.
The main trick with this extension is that you need to add a lot of add-ons, components, templates and modules for building an e-commerce website. Some claim that overvalued price tag cloud costs over $300. And the free version does not give any advanced experience, coming with pretty basic functionalities. Yet all these extras would make the extension really big and productive with a lot of tools and options to work with. I will not recommend this extension for personal use, due to its complexity. You would really need some pro skills to dig through CSS and html to smarten your website.
Custom Fields, Tax and Calculation editor which allows to target or sell specific products to certain people, select the countries and cities you want your product to appear. Order and Shoppers Statistic tool is another important tool available in this extension.
J2 Store is quickly becoming the most innovative shopping cart extension for Joomla. Although basic free version is quite standard and everything else is reused from the Joomla core; it is easy to understand, neat simple backend layout and hover over admin panel. Written tips on dashboard especially would help the new and inexperienced users to assist during the surfing over extension. The simplicity and lightness of this extension- also affects the load and upload time period, which isn’t the same in the case of other extensions.
That’s the most simple yet pretty productive experience you could have when using this extension. Less development time, less documentation and forums to visit for additional tutorials and explanations on how to build desirable functionality. I have recorded a lot of comments stating on less bugs in product updates. The mentioned aspects of course would give more time to focus on giving the customer a better interface and user experience.
In a word J2 is a nice tool for beginners and not only for easy customizable interface, but for the bunch of free options available in lite version. That’s a good tool for those who still navigate through different extensions and still not sure about the one they want to use for their website.
I like the wide list of payment gateways available, including Paymill, SagePay, Cash on Delivery Service, Bank Transfer, Money Order Integration and offline payments methods. Yet all these payment & shipping adds-ons and extra modules are available for additional fee, which looks pretty costly, if you compare for example with Virtuemart. In their case all the extras cost around $13, yet J2 asks $20 for every single integration.