Based on Joomla MVC framework with all its advantage:
- Template overriding,
- Implementation of Joomla Plugins for: payment, shipment, coupons, calculation rules, custom product fields, ...
- Simple installation and integration of other joomla extensions.
- Joomla 2.5 ACL
- nested categories
- with meta tags for seo
- with description and media
- with meta tags for seo
- short and long description
- dimensions (weight, size)
- multiple media
- variants, attributes
- unlimited child products and derivated levels
- product pattern (Parent product used as pattern for child products)
- related products
- reviews and ratings
- pricing depending by shoppergroups
- price display depending by shoppergroups
- payment/shipment depending by shoppergroups
- customizable shopper input form
- input form depended on registration, checkout or shipment
- default Bill-to and Ship-to address
- default payment and shipment method
- stock warning
- virtual stock (ordered but not finally bought)
- various type of prices to display depended by shoppergroup
- prices adjusted by shopper choosen currency
- different currency format per currency
- unit price
- quantity based pricing
REAL MULTI CURRENCY
- auto updating rates
- add your own currencies for fixed currency rates
- default SEF/SEO integrated
- discounts based on time, category, shoppergroup, country, and state
- tax based on time, category, shoppergroup, country, and state
- discounts, tax per product and/or order
- discounts, tax have their own currencies (for duties)
- based on plugins: PayPal, Authorize.net, PayZen, Systempay, Moneybookers, Klarna and Klarna Checkout, Heidelpay, Sofort and Sofort iDeal
- minimal amount / maximal amount to use a payment
- transaction fees
- by countries
- by shopper groups
- based on plugins
- by shopper groups
- by countries
- guest checkout; completly anonymous checkout
- option to register at begin of checkout
- cart is an object, competly overridable by template
- cart is stored in the session
- multi-page checkout
- one page checkout
- payment/shipment workflow
- order tracking for anonymous users
- order editing
- pdf invoice, delivery note
- topten (most sold)
- native with joomla 1.7
- with extra joomla components (joomfish) for joomla 1.5
MARKETING PROMOTION AND TOOLS
- coupon handling
- recommend a product to friend link
- mail to shoppers who bought the product
- debugging tool
The templates don't work well (new templates don't work and even when you customize the default templates there aren't enough options to make it worth doing. You have to re-code the back end to provide enough flexibility!)
Tax and shipping configurations are buggy and confusing. I STILL haven't figured them out yet.
The overall code complexity is higher than it needs to be which makes for difficult customization (which is required to get it running, they say so right on their website).
It's a noble effort, and one that I hope succeeds, but they need some seasoned developer help.
After 40 hours of development time on my end... I'm giving it 2 stars, grudgingly.
Use it for a while now and it is stable, and easy to handle.
Offcourse it is still a wok in progress and always can be improved,.. but what isn't?
For downloads only, or for products which needs to be shipped, this shop is a great solution. It's easy to handle and needs almost no explanation for the shop holder.
For multi lingual and/or international shops... I don't know if this is what you should use. But as long as you use 1 language and a differsity of shipping- and payingmethods, this does the job.
It can't be compared to OSCommerce, yet, since it's much younger, and new features regularly come out. And Virtuemart has an integrated CMS solution which OSCommerce can't offer, the strength of Joomla!
At the end the best plus for me and most joomla users is the seamless integration with our favorite CMS.
If you need support for the hundreds of questions you'll have, then this is NOT the product for you.
This is a fully featured professional-standard ecommerce solution IMHO.
Only thing I had trouble getting my head around is the taxes, virtual tax, displaying and discounting tax, but if you read hte forums there are work-arounds and explanations.
the installation manual is probably the best I have ever read - SO clear and easy to follow - you won't have any problems installing VM if you follow the simple instructions - they don't assume any particularly technical knowledge.
Creating products and building the shop was a pleasure, and the range of modules which are included is fantastic, although the modules' layouts are pretty tacky-looking. I WISH this component relied more on CSS rather than the inline styling - we should be able to easily choose product title font sizes etc.
It is also not clear how to test the whole system from the outset - example dummy data would be helpful, and somewhere to point and test the payment methods would be appreciated. I for one have no ide how we are supposed to use the PayPal IPN testing page :S
I am generally VERY IMPRESSED and I look forward to this just getting better and better! My clients are going to LOVE it!
1. Allow me to tweak the modules for left, center, right alignment in the admin side. (Still don't know how to do this, the code doesn't like being edited at all)
2. Tweaking the tax thing for US users better. I like that it calculates sales tax, but it's a bit hard for beginners like me.
This is a handy component if you need a fairly SIMPLE e-commerce solution that works with Joomla. However, what has already been said is VERY true.. The support on the VirtueMart forum is TERRIBLE.. I've used enough OS solutions where I come to expect that you will find an open RESPONSIVE community of folks who can assist with setup & configuration, error messages, as well as customizations and tweaks.. This component has VERY LITTLE, and asking a question on their forum is like PULLING teeth.. You either get NO response, a HALF response, or some weird coded "Pod People" like message in response to your questions.. You will have NO problem finding other folks asking your same question.. What you will have trouble with is getting someone to RESPOND in a coherent or comprehensive manner to ANY of the questions that get asked over and OVER again.. I can't tell you how many posts only include the responses of other forum members asking the SAME information, but no actual responses GIVING that information.. When 20 people ask the SAME question, it means we ain't ALL stupid or lazy!!!! It means we need an ANSWER!!! I even PM'd Soren on of my questions (a question MANY members had asked and not received and answer for BTW), and he NEVER responded.. That's NOT good..
IMO, there a COMMON sense features MISSING from the core code.. I can give you TWO examples:
1. The PayPal payment module does not pass shipping info over to PayPal by default, leaving the shopper to either re-enter the data again, or leaving the store owner to manually enter it when doing order fulfillment. You want an example of the POOR support on their forum; it took SIX posts on several different topics before I got ONE member to respond on how/where to correct this, and while he was helpful, his answer did not provide a COMPLETE response.. It took another FOUR posts and some digging around that useless forum (using some really weird and obscure search criteria BTW) to find out how to format the country and state codes so that I was passing over correctly formatted data to PayPal.. After all of that I was wondering, "WHY DID I HAVE TO DO THIS???!!!" If this solution offers PayPal as a payment option, why isn't it coded to really WORK COMPLETELY with PayPal.. At the VERY LEAST why did they not provide folks with the info they need to get it to work completely with PayPal.. Why isn't the admin tool setup to configure this???
2. VirtueMart offers (I think) a neat feature which allows users to do a passive signup. This uses the shoppers e-mail address as their user login. Shoppers do not need to create a username and password when they register for the store.. They simply enter in their billing data, and VirtueMart creates a username using their e-mail address.. HOWEVER, VirtueMart truncates the username if it is over 25 characters.. I had to finally come over to THIS forum (the Joomla forum) just to find out how to remove this retarded mismatch of code, and I had to go to TWO places to do this.. Did they not anticipate that e-mail addresses MIGHT be over 25 characters when they added this to their code??????????? Why not tell folks how to change it??? WHY NOT PUT IT IN THE ADMIN PANEL WHERE YOU ACTIVATE THE DARN PASSIVE SIGUP???????????????????????????????
That all said VirtueMart is a DECENT out of the box solution if you want a shopping cart which integrates with Joomla. Expect though that the road to get there may be hindered by the LACK of support on the VirtueMart site, and expect that you will find a few features which are incomplete or do not work well (CSV upload is a feature that REALLY does not work well.. DESPITE the developer’s claims -- the MANY (largely unanswered) support questions regarding this topic prove this point..).. It's a darn shame really, and I hope this doesn't to sound ungrateful.. I know that the nature of OS software development is a labor of love for many of the developers involved, and as a site developer, I applaud and appreciate their efforts. However, there is also a small amount of responsibility to support the work which is clearly missing in the VirtueMart project.. Perhaps the VirtueMart team gets away with this lack of community support because they have been the only game in town for a while (it appears) for an e-commerce solution which integrates with Joomla.. I banged VirtueMart into place, but I have only used it for ONE of my sites... I'm not sure if I'll use VirtueMart again even with all I've learned unless the support improves.. While it's been a good learning experience doing this, if I do anymore e-commerce sites using Joomla, I will either configure a cart outside Joomla and link it to my Joomla site or I'll be giving ECJoomCommerce (once they get their 1.5.3 release out) a more serious look..
One word of caution - previous versions of VirtueMart did not verify the amount of money paid by PayPal. I believe this problem has been fixed in the most recent version.
I am forced to use the more comlex osCommerce solution due to the inability to add custom fields to product descriptions. I am a MySQL programmer, but its not what I am looking for in a simple storefront.
On the upside - some of the winning features:
1) I easily added a new "Product Type" (which I simply called "Features") and then added a number of new descriptive attributes (as drop down lists with multi-selection if desired, free text, dates etc) to each "Product". This allowed a significant number of extra and searchable (filterable) attributes for each of my products (items in my catalogue).
2) Adequate multi-language support - that meant I could (and did) change every reference of the word "Product" to "Release" by simply changing one file - and this is reflected in both the user and admin interfaces. I also changed "SKU" to a more friendly "Release ID" (and published it - see below).
On the downside.... it's a little hard to customise the user interface as there is:
1) extensive use of inline styles (I repaced those when I needed to) and
2) inconsistent coding for some of the modules (they were written outside the original project and tacked on 'as is' I suspect).
The impact of that was that when hacking, I got used to the way the core product had been coded and then found that I had to (a) look in a totally different part of the site and (b) adapt to a whole different way of coding to make the change ("featured products" being the an example).
But hey! What should I expect for nothing?
(Hint, in the absence of a easily found Component / Module to -> backend file map, I went into english.php to find the language variable and then used Grep to find where that was referenced in the site files.)
Anyone who's worked in application development (corporate or for yourself) can atest that creating something with anywhere near this level of functionality takes hours (and hours and hours).
I should point out that I do not expect to take any upgrades for this product. I've left the core Joomla well alone but I've hacked this to the point where this will be the only release I use on this site (other than my own future customisations of course).
For the next site, I'll take the latest release and, using the experience I've gained in the last few days, do it again but hopefully a bit quicker and/or better....
Listen to that!! "The last few days" - that's all it's taken to get something pretty decent up and running and it's my first attempt at a Joomla site.
Many thanks to the people who've created this. If I ever make a dollar or two profit I'll send a bit your way.
You try and scan the docs for the solution but they only show basics too so the user is left in a stalemate. I would love to show support for virtuemart and donate to the developer if on ANY occasion I have had a question about functionality it had been dealt with or at the very least be in the documentation, as it stands though this is the best cart software available for Joomla and I find that very off putting.
Dont get me wrong, I dont hate it, in fact I use it for a couple of sites I designed but if I had a choice I think it would be put to the curb. Developers, consider a similar method to SMF charter members to gain revenue in order to provide a higher level of service, I would pay as long as there was a decent support system in place and I KNOW there are others that would do the same. We need a product that works and works well and one we know how to use..
Joomla definitly needs to demand a code standard fromt he component developers , as until now is just a carnival.
In Virtuemart for example to print a Thumb , 800 lines of redundant code is needed and is not at all OOP.
Unluckly is the best cart solution for joomla. And you will endup using it. but i dont recomend.
If the system isn't easy and seamless (and requires extra steps be taken by the customer) then the customer will shop elsewhere.