Dieter Petereit September 11th, 2017

Open Source: nopCommerce is a Powerful Yet Easy-to-Use Online Shop System

The search for the right shop system is often a tedious one. Which system is suitable, and offers all the functions and options that I need? nopCommerce stands out here, due to its comfortable, straightforward and clean interface and beautiful shop designs. Thus, it's worth taking a look at this e-commerce system, which is also in use by several popular brands. nopCommerce is distributed as open source.

Safe, Stable and Expendable

With over 27,000 installations, nopCommerce is pretty popular. The system has been in development since 2008 and is currently available in version 3.90. With all that experience and success, it is understandable that the developers are confident enough to state that nopCommerce is one of the safest and most stable e-commerce systems out there.

In addition to the already vast scope of functions, there's a marketplace that lets you expand nopCommerce in any way you like. For instance, you'll find market themes to give your shop a new look, as well as many functional extensions.

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[caption id="attachment_102955" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Clear and Clean Backend[/caption]

Among other things, you'll find widgets that allow you to promote offers or price reductions. You can add different payment methods, and add services for parcel delivery. Many extensions are free; some have to be paid for. The selection is broad and leaves little to be desired.

Download and Installation

The source code of nopCommerce has an impressive weight of 115 MB. After a free registration, download said code as a zipped archive. Since nopCommerce was developed using ASP.NET, a Windows server with IIS is required. MS SQL is the only possible database system.

Microsoft's web platform installer easily installs nopCommerce on your server. Aside from the front end with the shop, there's a capable, feature-rich, yet clean backend to manage your products, orders, and customers.

Extensive Product Management With Many Features For Clients

A comfortable and powerful product management is essential for any online shop. nopCommerce not only allows you to add meaningful images and descriptions to products, and categorize them. It also lets you set up a product in different versions. This means that a shoe in different sizes only needs to be created as a product once, and then you get to define the various characteristics of that shoe. These can be the already mentioned different sizes, colors, or materials. Price adjustments for individual versions are possible as well.

Tracking the stock is another important aspect of a working e-commerce system. With nopCommerce, you get to choose if you want the stock to be tracked for every single product. Of course, with products in different versions, you get to manage the stock separately for each version.

[caption id="attachment_102958" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Produkt View in the Backend[/caption]

To simplify shipping, there's also an option to enter the measurements and the weight of the product.

Digital Products For Download

When working with digital products like e-books or music, nopCommerce is a well-equipped shop system for you as well. In the end, nopCommerce doesn't care whether products are sent via email or another physical way of delivery, or made available for download after payment.

You can also sell your music via nopCommerce, for example. Each product can be labeled as a digital product. Subsequently, the respective file is uploaded, and nopCommerce takes care of the rest.

Comparing and Remembering Products

The client gains a lot of information via the many characteristics that you can add to your products. As a unique feature, nopCommerce offers a product comparison. To do that, customers select multiple products from the shop, which will then be displayed next to each other.

Those that don't want to purchase right away can add products to a wishlist, allowing them to add them to the cart at a later point.

When a customer finds a product that one of his friends might like, he can send the link to the product page to that friend via email.

Easier and Faster Checkout

Often, the customer's shop experience cringes at checkout. Unfortunately, this is the point where the actual purchase is made. Checkouts are too complicated or too arduous in many cases. If a customer has to go through a tedious registration process before being able to purchase anything, that alone can be a lethal obstacle.

Selection of the Checkout Method

Thus, nopCommerce took some precautions here. Aside from the classic checkout, a so-called anonymous checkout is possible, too. Of course, it's not completely anonymous. Nonetheless, your customers can order without having to create a customer account. Personal information is only recorded for this one order.

The so-called one-page checkout unites all information for the checkout on one page, reducing the number of purchase cancellations, which are a pretty common occurrence on multi-page checkouts.

Over 50 Payment Methods

In a lot of cases, purchases in shops fail when it comes to payment. Here, every consumer has their preference on how they wish to pay. If the preferred method of payment is not included, they'll look for another shop that accommodates their desire better. To prevent this from happening to you, nopCommerce offers more than 50 payment methods.

This includes classics, such as paying via credit card or payment on delivery. Many payment providers, PayPal, and others are included as well. If you run a brick-and-mortar store besides your online shop, you can also offer the method "pay in store." Here, the customers order online, but pick up the product at your physical location.

Shipping and Calculation of Shipping Cost

nopCommerce also cares for shipping. The delivery costs are calculated based on the measurements and the weight of the product. This allows you to ship your product as affordable as possible.

[caption id="attachment_102956" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Overview of the Orders in the Backend[/caption]

To be able to track shipping from your shop system, you can integrate providers like UPS or DHL. To do so, you need an account with the service that the shipping is taken care off by. Then, you'll always see the status of your shipments.

Marketing, Marketing, Marketing

Unfortunately, good products and prices alone are not enough. They also need to be communicated accordingly. Thus, marketing is of particular importance in e-commerce. nopCommerce provides plenty of options here.

One classic are bonus points that you can credit to your customers for their purchases. These points can then be spent in a future order.

Discounts and coupons are a welcome reason to revisit a shop as well. Here, you have the choice between relative and absolute discounts. It's also difficult to imagine an online shop without the option to rate products and write reviews. And you need not, as nopCommerce covers this perfectly.

[caption id="attachment_102957" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Managing Marketing Campaigns from the Backend[/caption]

nopCommerce has many other marketing tools for you - ranging from newsletters to gift cards. In the market place, there are tons of other options as well.

Conference in November

The "nopCommerce Days" in November are a sign of how actively nopCommerce is being developed. The two-day conference deals with the current and future development of the e-commerce system. Aside from technological aspects, like the optimization of 3rd party extensions, and the integration into WordPress, the question how an online shop can be turned into a real business is one of the topics.

The "nopCommerce days" take place on the 16th and 17th of November in New York. One of the keynote speakers is Microsoft's Scott Hanselman.

Photo by Mark König on Unsplash

Dieter Petereit

Dieter Petereit is a veteran of the web with over 25 years of experience in the world of IT. As soon as Netscape became available he started to do what already at that time was called web design and has carried on ever since. Two decades ago he started writing for several online publications, some well, some lesser known. You can meet him over on Google+.

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