I've been looking around for ecommerce functionality for a project that I'm going to be working on. My partner and I will be converting an existing static catalog site with lots of items. We want to do it in Wordpress because it's a basic CMS.

Many of the items are variations of other items, some items will have multiple variations. I guess the best example would be let's say a shoe...it has different sizes and different colors. But they don't stock every combination of variations. This is very typical of a store right. They have carry sizes 7, 9, 11 and the 11's only come in green/blue and red/yellow.

I need a solution that will allow me to specify these variations easily so that I basically don't have to enter each variation as a new product.

Looking around the web and on forums like Stackoverflow, WP e-commerce and Shopp seem to be the two standouts.

What have people's experience been with these two products? What are the pros/cons? Which one would you recommend?

Followup When would one move away from a Wordpress plugin to something like Magento or OS Commerce? What do those packages have that the plugins do not? I had a cursory view of Magento and OS Commerce and they seemed really complicated...lots and lots of options.

  • Because it is mentioned in the answers a lot, Shopp is no longer a paid plugin. It is open source and can be found on github and on the shopp website.
    – RST
    May 26, 2015 at 14:12

8 Answers 8


I have used both plugins. I tested them both extensively and have built and delivered client websites on both platforms. My tests were conducted over a year ago before I went with my preferred (Shopp) but here is what I found.

WP Commerce at the time had buggy code, poorly written markup and many elements were not given classes/id's making it hard to format via CSS. Support was almost non existent in fact I got better support from a guy named Shayne Sanderson who isn't even one of the developers (wrote an unoffical guide to the plugin though).

Their forum was poorly tended and the plugin was poorly documented.

Matt Mullenweg mentioned at a recent WordCamp that they have rewritten the plugin to use Custom post types. So they may have improved their code since I last looked.

Shopp on the other hand has proven to be more robust, better coded, and much better supported (at the time of testing). Yes they are a paid for plugin but they are also totally GPL. Their forums are well tended and questions are usually answered by a developer and with minimal delays.

WP commerce does have paid modules for their plugin which can extend its functionality beyond that of what Shopp can do but Shopp is far better documented for those interested in extending it's functionality themselves.

At the time of testing both provided the same core functionality and both handled the same payment options. I personally preferred Shopp as it was easier to get up and running, integrated with themes with less tweaking required, and was easier to use (for the client). The superior support was an added plus.


I've used both, and I would choose Shopp every time (so much so that I purchased a developer's license). As Ash had mentioned, the code for WP-ecommerce was quite buggy when I used it and it basically broke Thesis (a framework I've used a lot). For something as important as e-commence, I don't think paying for a product is too out of line. After all, you get what you pay for.


I can't claim to know much about Shopp (it seems good, but it's not free).

I set up a site with WP e-Commerce at the beginning of 2010 and it was not too hard. I used the SimpleCart theme as a basis for my design - http://upthemes.com/themes/simplecart/ (it was free when I used it.. I see it's not free anymore...)

Variations were easy to implement, but I only used one type of variation (in my case necklaces and bracelets... the variations were different lengths). You mention two variations in your shoe example (color and size). I guess the way around this is that you would have to create a different product for each color shoe (Red Air Max, Blue Air Max etc) and then, say, for Red Air Max you would select the different checkboxes for the sizes available (7, 9 etc) in the back-end. (you can set diff prices for each size too, or use one price for all)

On the downside, the forums were not too helpful ... most of my questions received no answers. It might have improved since I set up the site.


My first foray into ecommerce plugins for WordPress was last weekend, using SHOPP.

So far, so good. Very good, in fact.

I've built customized e-commerce solutions (and still do) and have a couple of projects using BigCommerce. What I really like about SHOPP is its template tags structure: it mimics WordPress. I should think other coders would really like this aspect. I must say I agree with their claim: "[Shopp] looks and works like it was meant to be part of WordPress all along".

PS: Hat tip to the fellow member of the LinkedIn WordPress group who pointed us to the 41-minute video of the WordPress NYC Meetup presentations on WP-Ecommerce, Shopp, and ECWID:


The Shopp presentation in that video - and comments in that LinkedIn discussion thread - were big factors in my decision to try Shopp.

While Shopp does treat product variations as separate products (which is a good thing if you're tracking inventory), it has a nifty grouping function which simplifies the workflow process.


Shopp is a far better ecommerce solution than wp-ecommerce. The code, documentation and presentation in the backed makes it a far superior product that justifies its price tag.

Also when creating products with Shopp, variations can be linked so you do NOT have to create the same product multiple times. So you can have red7/red8/blue9/blue10. And each one can have its individual stock amount and price. You can also assign variations to categories so that when you create a new product and assign it to that all the variations are automatically generated for you saving a lot of time if you have many products with the same variations.


I am using WP Ecommerce for the first time and having a blast with it. I created my own theme which is still in the works. My PHP is average but using what I know along with jQuery and CSS, the sky is the limit with this plugin. I also bought the gold cart edition.

It uses global variation settings so no worries.

Support is fantastic as I have gotten prompt responses from both the plugin developers and forum members. Here is a link to what I've done so far. Best when viewed in anything but IE as I use CSS3.


I am in the exact same position you are: I am looking for a 2-tier system to handle product variations. After some extensive screwing around with the demo of Shopp, I found that it does support this kind of functionality. However, the issue is that while you can disable certain certain sub options (eg. size 12s) when the user selects other options (eg. red shoes), these disabled sub-options still appear in the drop down menu as a selection. It is not until the user reaches the shopping cart that they find out that their selection is unavailable. I can't use the forums since I haven't purchased the cart so I don't know if there is a simple hack for solving this.

On a global level, Shopp seems to be much better put together and organized than WP-Ecommerce. I have used the latter on many occasions and it is a total mess.


So far, I'm having a lot of problems with large variation sets on WP e-commerce. I've contacted Shopp to get a sense of whether they'll have the same problems, but I'm still nervous about paying for the plugin without knowing whether or not it'll work with the large variation options I've got.

  • I'm in the same boat...I don't want to pay for it first. :)
    – milesmeow
    Nov 16, 2010 at 22:48

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