I need to create an e-commerce site with WordPress, but not 100% e-commerce. It is just a catalog site without shopping cart. Users can see various products on the site, for example, car showcase website.
I am a newbee to WordPress. To build such kind of site:

  • What is a good start point to study?
  • What plugins do I need to install?
  • Do I need to install wp-ecommerce plugin?

I appreciate for any help and suggestions.

5 Answers 5

  • What is a good start point to study? Read a few tutorials on Custom Post Types and Custom Taxonomies. Here´s a good one to get started.
  • What plugins do I need to install? It wouldn´t be too difficult to create the site structure without any plugins.
  • Do I need to install wp-ecommerce plugin? Based on the information provided I don´t think you need that.

If your looking for an e-commerce plugin that allows you to remove the "e-commerce" part of it, WooCommerce along with Catalog Visibility Options is a good choice.

Here's a description of what that add-on plugin does:

Transform WooCommerce into an online catalog by removing eCommerce functionality

Wait, what? Remove eCommerce functionality? It may sound strange but when you think about it, if you take out the cart, checkout process and 'buy now' buttons, WooCommerce is actually the perfect platform upon which to showcase a catalog of products which aren't currently for sale online. The added beauty of this solution is that when you do want to start selling, you can do so with the flick of a switch.

But this extension does much more than that. Rather than just taking the entire store offline, you also have the option restrict it to specific users levels. You can also configure messages to replace the price / add to cart button components or just remove them completely.

  • The extension "Catalog Visiblity Options" is a paid version. Thanks anyway!
    – Sithu
    Aug 16, 2012 at 5:53
  • 1
    What does that have to do with anything? You should not expect every plugin/theme to be 100% free. Is the only reason you're using this site is because you can get help for free? People need to make a living and most web developers are more than willing to support their efforts. I'd rethink your last comment.
    – Zach
    Aug 16, 2012 at 11:24
  • Great answer @Zach didn´t know of Catalog Visibility Options, but it looks like this is exactly what the OP is looking for.
    – Mattvic
    Aug 17, 2012 at 9:45
  • Ledgen I have been looking for this exact option! thanks a bunch! going to "BUY" and test it tonight... The user levels is exactly what I need! Oct 15, 2012 at 21:34

It would all depend on your skill level and the time you have available ... and how much time you have to read other plugins / themes / and the WordPress source code.

Are you being paid for the project? Is it for yourself?

It would be helpful if you could elaborate a bit ... but until then I'll suggest a workable, cheap, quick solution that may be implemented with varied programming skills.

  1. Find a workable grid based theme that supports Custom Menus (Appearance > Menus)
  2. Create a separate top-level category in the WP admin, say 'Catalogue' and a few sub-cats, if you wish, say, Animal, Plant, Human
  3. Create your products as posts, format the product images / leaflet layout / etc with the WordPress Editor. Set a featured image for each product.
  4. Create a custom menu in Appearance > Settings (separate from other menus) and add your product categories to that menu as you'd like them ordered
  5. create a short_code in functions.php or via a plugin to add a 'call to action' to product post content in the wordpress post editor quickly so that each product has a 'enquire more' or some other call to action, ala [call_to_action product='productname', email='email_address'].
  6. Create a single-post template for posts in 'catalogue' (a quick google search will set you on the right path / there a a myriad of plugins too)
  7. Create a template for listings of posts in this category (i.e. a archive-type template ala category-catalogue.php) and adjust the loop to sort the listings for you as you wish (most likely not reverse chroniologically) and pull minimum info, like the permalink (to link to the product), a short excerpt as a teaser and the 'featured image'. Add some css to you style.css to render this out in a grid for you.

I am getting carried away ... but Voila! If you're uo to 'hooking into wordpress' then I can suggest a trillion more things to do that a slightly accomplished php dev can do in less than a day (barring the styling ... that always takes me long as I am NEVER happy with the look and keep tweaking)

If you can't code these alterations yourself, most assuredly you'll find plugins coming out your ears for the different bits and bobs I've suggested ... but that should put you on a good starting path :)

Oh ... and I'd stay away from wp e-commerce if I could, the last time I tried to eat 'that bowl of spaghetti' I almost choked to death and it's certainly overkill for what you are trying to accomplish. I've developed quite a few of these solutions so there must be freemium solutions like this in the public domain as well.

Plugin suggestions: I recommend that you still implement the suggestions above with relation to theme modifications as this pulls all the 'catalogue/shop' bits visually together for your user, but here are a few 'quick and dirty' plugin suggestions. They are plugins, so have the benefit of pluging-in on top of any WP Theme so you are not invested in a e-comm-specific theme which encapsulates the functionality you want. a. http://dukapress.org/features/ (Free, catalogue only mode [can later be switched to full-featured e-comm solution], various other features, ready to use widgets, easy to use API if you want to extend / customise) b. http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/eshop/ (Free, catalogue only mode [can later be switched to full-featured e-comm solution])


Honestly I would give http://shopplugin.net/ a try. Its $55 but it has a product catalog feature built right in to it. I will be using it in the next month for the exact same reason. Hope this helps a little.


I know it's old question but I have an update if somebody is asking similar question.

I needed such functionality for many sites I create. So instead of creating everytime custom post types for every different theme I developed an universal plugin which works with every theme (sometimes some small customizations are needed). It is available for free in WordPress repository: http://wordpress.org/plugins/ecommerce-product-catalog/.

If you need such solution feel free to try it :)

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