Top 5 Joomla Shopping Carts

Joomla Shopping CartsWith online shops becoming more popular every year, the number of Joomla shop extensions continues to grow.

But with many shopping carts to chose from, how do you find the right one for your Joomla site?

This guide will walk you through 5 of the best Joomla e-commerce extensions currently available.

We're going to cover many details of each cart from their cost to their complexity and their support to whether or not they're ready for Joomla 3.

Comparison table

In a rush? The summary below may give a good indication of which shop extension will fit your needs.

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Disclaimer: All details are correct at the time of writing but they will change with time. For the latest information, look for the shopping cart listings on the Joomla Extensions Directory.

VirtueMart

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The grandfather of Joomla E-commerce. It's been around since 2006 and been on a long journey over the last 7 years.

It's an extraordinary achievement that after 7 years, Virtuemart remains, by many counts, on of the most popular open source e-commerce platform:

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Beloved by many, it's been through 2 major versions thus far. Many users who loved version 1 have been a bit disgruntled by version 2, however when you rebuild a product with a giant userbase, you're not going to be able to please everyone. Don't let this put you off. VirtueMart's strength is in its community support. The forums are excellent. If you're willing to Google your issue, you'll most likely find that someone has already resolved it in the forums. You may have to get your hands a little dirty with altering code, however if you're happy diving into the FTP and altering lines of code based on forum suggestions, then you can pretty much mold VirtueMart to your will.

VirtueMart comes with a lot of functionality as standard, and there are also a number of VirtueMart extensions floating about on the JED.

If you are happy with the basics and don't need anything bespoke, then VirtueMart should fit the bill. It nicely inherits your website template style for the most part, so it tends to slot right in without too much re-styling effort.

Features:

  • Price: Free
  • Shop Size: Medium to large
  • SEF: Yes
  • Compare Products: Requires additional extension: $39.95
  • Default Look: 8/10
  • Support: Outsourced to third parties
  • Forum: 9/10. Very strong community
  • Documentation: 8/10. http://docs.virtuemart.net/manual.html
  • JED Reviews: 6/10. A mixed bag. VirtueMart 1 users miss what they know and love. Users that skipped version 1 and started with VirtueMart 2 seem to be rather happy
  • Joomla 2.5: Yes
  • Joomla 3: No. The VirtueMart team seem to be gearing up for a Joomla 3.5 compatible version which should release in March 2014 (around the same time as the Joomla 3.5 release)

Perfect for:

  • Medium-size budgets.
  • A shop size of 100+ items.
  • Shops that need a range of different features.
  • Beginner to mid-level developers. There's a large community, and the forums often have the answer to your questions. You just have to look for the answers and implement the fixes.

Avoid if:

  • You want a quick and simple setup.
  • You have a small shop. VirtueMart can be a lot of overhead for a tiny store.
  • You want personalised support.
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MijoShop

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The new kid on the block. Added to the JED in September 2012, MijoShop hasn't been around for very long, but it's already making a big impression.

With its smooth, clean, professional looks, it slides nicely into most websites without much of a fuss at all.

Based on the widely respected (and nicely weathered) OpenCart it turns out that MijoShop actually has a lot more going for it than meets the eye (which was quite a lot in the first place).

MijoShop contains a diverse range of features that are easy on the eye. Unless you're looking for something bespoke, this shop should fit the bill.

Brace yourself though. OpenCart (and therefore MijoShop) have their own particular way of doing things that are a little "non-Joomla". Overrides are done through a system called vQmod's (XML based), and not through normal Joomla overrides. If you can make your peace with this, then you and MijoShop will get along just fine.

Features:

  • Price: $59 for 6 months (all MijoShop features included)
  • Shop Size: Medium to Large
  • SEF: Yes (uses default Joomla SEF URL's, or MijoSEF)
  • Compare Products: Yes
  • Default Look: 9/10
  • Support: 8/10
  • Forum: None (but you can use the OpenCart forums as a plan B)
  • Documentation: 5/10 (good for some topics, non-existent for others)
  • JED Reviews: 9/10 (adored by users)
  • Joomla 2.5: Yes
  • Joomla 3: Yes

Perfect for:

  • A slick looking user experience. This shop will impress.
  • A shop size of 10+ items.
  • Shops that need a range of different features.
  • Personalised support.

Avoid if:

  • You want a free component.
  • You have bespoke requirements and are not comfortable with XML code.
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Hikashop

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HikaShop does the job and is easy to setup and use. Whilst it might not have as much functionality as other shops in this list, if you're looking for something that's simple and works, then this is for you.

Features:

  • Price: Free (Starter version only. Paid versions are available with more features)
  • Shop Size: Small to medium
  • SEF: Yes
  • Compare Products: Only with business version (€119.48)
  • Default Look: 5/10
  • Support: 8/10
  • Forum: 9/10
  • Documentation: 8/10
  • JED Reviews: 8/10
  • Joomla 2.5: Yes
  • Joomla 3: Yes

Perfect for:

  • Non-developers
  • A small to medium sized shop.
  • Shops that don't need a large range of features.

Avoid if:

  • You're expecting a lot from the look of your shop.
  • You want a large range of features.
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RedSHOP

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RedSHOP is an attractive shop with a range of features, but with a slightly different pricing structure. You get the base package for free, and then just buy the particular features (modules and plugins) that you want. At $24 a pop (plus VAT), if you only want a small number of features, this could work well. Be sure to price up all the features that you want before you invest in RedSHOP to make sure that it's the right price for your budget.

RedSHOP doesn't offer support for free users (i.e. you have to be a subscriber if you want help from the RedSHOP team), however the forums are open to all (users helping one another) and the documentation might well be enough to resolve any problems that you might have.

Features:

  • Price: Free (but you have to pay for additional features)
  • Shop Size: Medium to Large
  • SEF: Yes
  • Compare Products: Additional extension required ($24 + VAT)
  • Default Look: 7/10
  • Support: Only available for paying subscribers
  • Forum: 5/10
  • Documentation: 6/10
  • JED Reviews: 4/10
  • Joomla 2.5: Yes
  • Joomla 3: No

Perfect for:

  • Medium to large shops
  • Shops that need a particular set of features, as you only have to pay for the features that you want. If you want a lot of features, this could get pricey.
  • Mid to high-level developers.

Avoid if:

  • You're on a budget
  • You have a small shop. RedSHOP can be a lot of overhead for a tiny store.
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JoomShopping

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JoomShopping is a lightweight, user friendly, quick and simple solution to getting a shop up and running in no time.

Additonal functionality can be purchased, but this can quickly add up, so if you want a fully featured shop you might want to check out one of the other extentions in this article.

Features:

  • Price: Free
  • Shop Size: Small
  • SEF: Yes
  • Compare Products: Additional extension required (€32 + VAT)
  • Default Look: 5/10
  • Support: 7/10 (but you have to pay for it)
  • Forum: 7/10 (fast responses)
  • Documentation: 7/10
  • JED Reviews: 7/10
  • Joomla 2.5: Yes
  • Joomla 3: Yes

Perfect for:

  • Beginners.
  • A small shop.
  • A quick and easy setup.

Avoid if:

  • You need a range of different features, as this could become pricey.
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Over to you?

Do you have any experiences with these shopping carts?

Are there any great Joomla carts that aren't on this list?