WP e-Commerce, WordPress Plugin

I’ve been working on setting up my new site and decided to try out the WP e-Commerce plugin on it for dealing with selling the products. I would have used Secure Delivery however I need to give the option of a shopping cart to visitors as most will hopefully purchase two products, the main product and an upgrade license (more on this another time).

WP e-Commerce is just like any other plugin for the installation. Just unzip the files and upload the directory to your plugins directory, and activate it in the WordPress admin. You then get an extra menu for it, where you can set your shop settings, other preferences, and start adding categories, brands and product information. It can deal with physical products or digital products, the latter was what I was interested in. You can also easily select which fields to have in the form on the front end, and which of these fields to send PayPal so that they’re prefilled. As I’m only looking to sell digital products I took the address details out as these are not needed.

The lite version of this plugin allows you to sell products via PayPal only. Whilst it’s called ‘lite’ it’s not that simple as such. You can have your products in categories, there’s a shopping basket and it uses the PayPal IPN for instant notification. I’ve not gone through the whole process but I would assume that if you’re selling a digital product it will also then provide a download link to the buyer to download the product, as I’ve had the option to set how many times the product can be downloaded by the buyer.

There are optional extras that cost a little extra (very little to be honest!) which I may look at in the future if the site gets busy enough to need them. Whilst I could have coded this all myself I figured that it was worth looking at the plugin and to be honest it’s a good plugin to use. I may also convert one of our other product selling sites over to it as that’s been needing a shopping basket for months but I’ve just not had the time to sit down and really finish the coding myself. With this plugin I could probably get everything added over a couple of days (100+ products) and convert the site to WordPress and hopefully, if my thinking is right, see the sales rocket 🙂

So if you’re after a free, light, product selling script then this is a good option to look at.

46 Responses

  1. RJ Levesque, Jr. says:

    Personally I love os-commerce. I just wish there was a way to smoothly intigrate os-commerce into wordpress. wordpress is the best choice for many of my low budget clients with real business they need online. WP offers me and them everything we need without me having to reinvent the wheel…all ready to go and easy for them to use right out of the opensource box. ;)nnAlthough I think this plugin has lots of potential I agree with Sarah, I find the GUI part of it awkward. The functionality seems to be well done and getting better as they develop it. But I would suggest keeping it simple, but go for more of a os-commerce type GUI or look and feel. Is that more of what you are looking for Sarah?nnRJ

  2. Sarah says:

    Personally I hate osCommerce! I only have one client with two sites on it but I’m really not a fan of osCommerce at all. I also don’t have a problem with the GUI part of the WP eCommerce plugin. I find it pretty simple and straightforward to use.

  3. I have a question about the download functionality in WP E commerce. I had not problem uploading the MP3 file. But I must be missing something. When I finish the PayPal payment process I don’t see a link where I can download the MP3 file. Also, the link the leads back to my site does not work either. Any ideas?nHere is the site: http://www.MusicForAnimals.org

  4. Sarah says:

    Hi Christian,nnYour best option is probably to try the support forum on the site for WP e-Commerce

  5. ecommerce-uk says:

    We’ve had a lot of success with OS commerce too. However as an e-commerce platform it’s not the fastest out of the box it can be very rigid if you’re doing something out of the ordinary with it. I prefer these WP plugins for some projects because they separate the site from the shop. Which means they can be bolted onto more or less any site. This gives the flexible and bespoke edge sometime lacking from OS installs. Just my opinion though.nnJim

  6. Kalhorda says:

    Hi, I’m looking for a wordpress plugin that let me create an e-commerce site without really selling any product – I want to promote a catalogue of products and send the user directly to an affiliate site. Does WP e-Commerce let me do that?? importing a products catalog and defining an external link for the “Buy Now” action?nThanks

  7. Sarah says:

    Kalhorda, please see Dan’s response (a developer of the plugin) below.

  8. Dan Milward says:

    Sarah; Hope things are well. Have you seen our new site design and documentation project?nnKalhorda; We are actually talking about two import modules + you can use the “external link” under advanced options to send people an affiliates site… Importing will definitely happen 😛

  9. Sarah says:

    Hi Dan, cheers for your response as always. I’ll be honest, I’ve had barely any time to do or look at anything besides client work! I’ll try and remember to take a look one evening this week 🙂

  10. I have installed the ecommerce on my site and being totally new to coding and all the bells and whistles that go with word press I found it quite daunting. but i read and read the forum until I think I configured the return ipn right. but now my dilemma is how to set up the download link to begin with. I know it must be done or rather I think it must be done in variations. where to start, what to put. I have now downloads and the variation as .zip. but where do i put the link per item. totally confused.. I would ask on the forum but wp forums don’t take kind to beginners. if anyone can help it would be appreciated. Thanks

  11. Sarah says:

    Hi Robyn,

    So if I’ve read your comment right you’ve got everything set up but you want to offer digital products for sale? When you add a product at the very bottom is the image/thumbnail options, below this is the option to upload the product if it’s an image or file eg. MP3. This is where you add your product. It will then be stored on the server but encrypted.

    Then when someone buys the product, once they’ve paid they’ll get the download link automatically.

    If that’s not what you’re after you may need to explain it a little more 🙂

  12. hi sarah I saw where your speaking of . to be more specific . I want a .zip download off of a ftp client. I have 8 gals designing digital scrapping products. so were all .zips or .rar we ftp and that is how I try to keep count of what the gals upload so I pay them straight once they have a sale. so to upload I need to have them input a url thats off my ftp. like http://www.(mysite)/wp-content/uploads/designers/theirname/thefilename.zip … how do i do this?

    Thanks Robyn

  13. Sarah says:

    Hi Robyn, you can upload the zip via the product downloads page I mentioned in my last comment. FTPing the product directly to your site will
    a: Not be picked up by WP eCommerce
    b: Be unencrypted so anyone looking can find all your products and download without paying.

    When you upload your product via the plugin pages it will store the file on your FTP hosting, under the uploads directory. When someone pays for that particular product the site knows which file to unencrypt and give them a download link for.

    If you put the files on manually then there’s no way (to my knowledge) of telling the WP eCommerce plugin where to retrieve the file for a sale.

    I hope that makes sense. The idea with the plugin is that it’s self contained and doesn’t require you to use FT P.

  14. Hi Sarah, Okay so each gal uploads from her computer at that spot, then I can go into the ftp and keep a control there of whos done what. thats sounds simple enough. They will love it! no having to figure our their url’s. lol

    I already saw posts on having problems with doing the downloads via paypal, so I went and changed my configuration with paypal as to how they had said to in the forum. Its like I guess I’m working backwards, lol.. I hope I did it right with the ipn url’s and stuff. we will find out. But at least us gals can start inputting our designs now. Thanks again


    Hey where having a Halloween party starting at midnight tonight, come on over. I will be giving out prizes all night and all day tommorrow and tommorow night, some cosmetics, psp siggy tags and scrapbook items for digital use. you just might win something. lol
    You are most welcome if you can stop by.

    Thanks so much Sarah I really do appreciate it and you are so much nicer than nasty word press techs. ( you don’t evan want to know, lol)

  15. Sarah says:

    Hey Robyn,

    I think once you start using it fully you’ll get to grips with how it works. Post back up here if you get stuck with anything and I’ll do my best to help out 🙂

  16. Riadh says:

    sarah, i guess there is a problem with the line breaker symbol (\n) coze i read the comments and sometimes it goes like “nn” where u need “\n\n”
    just thought to mention that out, anyway have a nice day and great stuff u got here 🙂

  17. Sarah says:

    Hi Riadh, yes when I imported my old AIS blog into my main site, it lost all the line breaks in both the posts and comments. My guess is it lost the forwardslash before the newlines.

    I’ve just not had the time to sit and fix 200 posts!

  18. Jem says:

    Boo 🙂 Are you still using wp e-commerce Sarah? We’re planning on using it at work for a client’s new site but I can’t find many demo samples. Could do with some feedback from someone who’s not going to BS me with “sales” type talk. If you’ve got 5 mins spare I would love to hear from you on it. Thanks!

  19. Brad says:

    wp-ecommerce still lacks any meaningful documentation. It is a feature rich product, but it’s not efficient to use as you have to trial-and-error every aspect of the thing. You’d do much better buying just about any commercial shopping cart software that has decent documentation.

    • Sarah says:

      If you’ve got the budget to buy a shopping cart or have one written then sure, JShop is probably a better option or a custom built one is always more suitable. But for a free shopping cart, this cart does exactly what you need with a few extra features in for good measure. I’ve not needed any documentation to set the bulk of it up and have referred to the documentation and searching the forum on their site for anything I’m not sure of.

      Yes I’ve also hacked a few files around to set things up how I want them to be but I really wouldn’t say that you have to ‘trial-and-error’ every aspect. It’s pretty straightforward to use.

  20. Ryan says:

    I’ve been documenting my adventures with creating a download store with WP e-Commerce and PayPal
    Writing it down for the next person at
    How to turn on the IPN, PDT, and such on PayPal, but it still doesn’t work for me.
    Basically, PayPal returns a status of Pending, so the download link is not available in the first email or the Transaction page.
    I’ve tried the forum with no additional info.
    the link appears in the email if I manually change the order status, but that is not acceptable.
    Anyone have a working example of WP e-Commerce using PayPal and creating automatic links? Maybe post an example of the return ULR from PayPal so I can see if I am getting the right variable