So, let me preface this article by saying that I have been amongst the most ardent of the WP E-commerce devotees. I was rooting for the team at Get Shopped when they had issues going into WP E-commerce versions 3, 3.3, 3.5, 3.7, 3.8 and beyond. It seemed like such a perfect product if only the bugs could be worked out. I invested time into learning their templating system, their shortcodes and common php strings for doing appropriate call in custom template files. I even figured out how to consistently get SSL working without breaking any plugins despite lack of native support for this. It had features that at the time were excellent options for Phoenix SEO companies, and I was wowed by the results, though this was 2010 and the internet was a different place.
Learning WordPress E-commerce
Now, like all things that come before, it was a great learning experience. By having every single part of E-commerce go wrong at some point, I really was able to learn the nuts and bolts of the E-commerce machine. When I went over to WooCommerce, the templating system took literally 10 mins to learn, the API is super simple and extensible, and everything I needed was available without needing to be custom developed.
To be fair to the poor guys at WP E-commerce and the whole Get Shopped / Instinct family, I did manage to get many years of very good usage from their software once I figured it out. It simply was never without bugs, and certain parts are insanely not obvious to the layman.
Let us take a great example. Variable Products. Variable products are products which have options, like small, medium, and large, or red, blue or green. With WP E-commerce, the options you add to a variable product create product variations, each of which creates its own separate entry on the DB and the sitemap as a distinct URL. The problem becomes when you have a products that comes in 32 colors, with 6 sizes, and 4 materials, and 4 neck style, and shortsleeve or long sleeve. How many variation / entries in our DB did we just create when using WP E-commerce?
The answer is 32 x 6 x 4 x 4 x 2 = 6144 separate products.
So, how could this be managed better? The answer is easy with Woo Commerce. In woo, your product attribute from which the variations are derived, these product attributes can be set display only, or use in creating variation. Moreover, the variation can be set so they only take into account products with different prices, so in the example above the only thing that might affect price above is size, material, short or long sleeve, and neck style. This means:
6 x 4 x 4 x 2 = 192
That is a lot easier to manage, and a lot less work for the DB. For those of you on shared hosting, it also means less out of memory errors. This is one example of where thing are managed more easily with WooCommerce than with WP E-commerce. I have also found the shipping configuration much simpler to manage, and the ajax for managing the products to be far less buggy and more lightweight. All in all, it seems like the Woo team is comprised of more thoughtful developers, though to be fair they did get to learn a lot of hard lessons from work the developers at Get Shopped pioneered, and they benefited from the capabilities that have been extended for Magento over the years, and mirrored for WP.
In closing, Woocommerce is a better platform, it is currently the only WordPress E-commerce solutions I would seriously developing on, it has a very bright future ahead, and the competition is going to have trouble staying monetized while Woocommerce eats their lunch, which may mean they fall farther and farther behind. If you need an Phoenix Web Designer who is experienced in E-commerce and WooCommerce, I am an excellent choice for this type of development.