Is Joomla Good for Ecommerce?

Many of our clients, who already have a Joomla website, reach a point where they want to sell products and/or services on their websites. They all come to us with this immediate question: “Is Joomla good for ecommerce?”.

Our answer is always: “It depends”.

Yes, whether Joomla is good or not for ecommerce depends on several factors, which are:

  • The importance of your website
  • The type of products you are selling
  • The payment method you will go for
  • The number of products you expect to sell

The importance of your website

Joomla’s most used ecommerce extension is VirtueMart, which is OK for websites that are not that prominent on the Internet. This is because VirtueMart is not the best looking extension out there, and the themes available for that extension are not that beautiful and not that abundant. However, a Joomla designer/developer hybrid can integrate your own template in VirtueMart, which will make your ecommerce functionality look very professional. If you decide not to do this, and you do own a large and important website, then the use of VirtueMart can easily compromise you website’s professionalism.

The type of products that you are selling

We have noticed that ecommerce with Joomla is great for some types of products, and not that great for some others. This is because VirtueMart can become very complicated when it comes to accommodating the selling of some products. For example, let’s say you own a pizza shop, and you want to sell customizable (make-your-own) pizzas. The user will go to your website, and choose a pizza, then choose a size, and choose some toppings. In theory, this should work very well, but what if you decide to have a different price for the toppings for each and every size of the pizza, or even worse, what if you decide to change the toppings altogether for each and every size? With standard VirtueMart, you cannot do this. (Note: We can customize VirtueMart to accommodate such requests, just contact us for a free consultation).

The payment method that you will go for

If you want to go with PayPal, 2checkout, and others, then you can use VirtueMart. However, what if you decide to use a non-standard payment gateway? VirtueMart won’t support it by default. You will need to hire a 3rd party company that will hook up that payment gateway for you (Note: Again, we can help you do this).

The number of products that you expect to sell

As a rule, the more products that you expect to sell on your website, the more you should consider integrating a non-Joomla custom component to process the payments for you. VirtueMart is good for a reasonable number of sales per day, but once you start selling more than 200 sales/day, then you should invest in an alternative, a better alternative, an ecommerce functionality that is made just for you and that will handle your own needs, that is very reliable, and can handle multiple sales coming through at the same moment.

As a conclusion, it’s good to use Joomla provided your website is not that big, your products are simple (they do not need customization by the buyer), you opt for a standard payment method, and you don’t expect to have more than 200 transactions a day.

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