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nopCommerce is a popular open source e-commerce solution built on the top of latest ASP.Net MVC 4.0 with MS SQL 2005 or higher as database backend. It has all the features that any modern e-commerce site will need.
Compared to other open source e-commerce solutions, nopCommerce’s project structure is very well-organized and easier to customize and extend. It is extremely powerful and flexible yet very easy to use.
nopCommerce is among the top 5 featured apps (only e-commerce app featured on top 5) on Microsoft Web Matrix, downloaded more than 395,000 times from there and witnessed more than 883,142 source code downloads from Codeplex.
nopCommerce is gaining popularity & momentum faster than ever before. And with the recent release of nopCommerce with multi-store and multi-vendor features, nopCommerce is the only open source e-commerce platform that has multi-store and multi-vendor support. Yes, you read it right! nopCommerce is the only fully open-source e-commerce platform that support multi-store and multi-vendor features. No other open-source shopping cart software has it available out of the box.
Since this review was originally written when nopCommerce 3.0 was not released, and with couple of months already passed… we have decided to update this review article with few more interesting and good to know facts about nopCommerce, its recent releases and the changes and improvement being done to the nopCommerce platform. Here is the history of the update made to the article:
Since nopCommerce 3.0 release in May 2013, there are already hundreds of e-commerce websites utilizing the nopCommerce’s multi-store and multi-vendor features. I suggest you to download nopCommerce to test-drive it.
After nopCommerce 3.0 release, the recent release of nopCommerce 3.1 includes many other features that improve the platform. We’ll look into this later in this document.
While we cannot review each feature of nopCommerce, here are the major features introduced in recent versions of nopCommerce.
While there are hundreds of other features added, many issues fixed and other areas of nopCommerce improved with optimization and refactoring, let me focus on the few most prominent & important features only, i.e. Multi-Store, Multi-Vendor Support, New Product Logic and Bundled Product Support.
Multi-Store feature allows you to run more than one store from single nopCommerce installation. So you can host more than one retail store front-end on different domains and manage all admin operation from your single administrator panel. It supports most use cases for single owner – multiple store scenarios.
Multi-Store has been implemented by creating a mapping with several entities which are restricted to selected store. If none is selected, it will be available to all stores. So you can map entities such as category, manufacturer, product, language, currency, message templates, topics, news, etc. to the store.
This allows store owner to decide what category, manufacturer, products, language, currency, etc. he wants to map to each store. For example, creating product mapping with store can be done simply like this:
You can either make product available to all stores or make it restricted to selected store. Similar mapping is also available for Categories & Manufacturers.
All the contents like Topic pages, News, Blog, and Message Templates are similarly mapped to store which make it very easy to manage.
You’re also given an option to override any setting value per store. For example, refer to the Catalog Settings Screenshot.
This makes nopCommerce multi-store configuration very robust, powerful and makes it easy for you to configure and manage your store.
nopCommerce multi-store solution will not work for sites in virtual categories on the same domain. So for example, you cannot have one store published at http://www.store.com/store1 and another at http://www.store.com/store2.
Moreover, all the sites are using a single application and app pool in IIS, and you need to host it on same server stack. So you cannot host your store on different servers. The disadvantage could be centralized server which might be closer to one target market but far from other target market, adding a little latency to each request.
With nopCommerce 3.1, many of the missing features are added like Configurable Payment and Shipping modules settings per Store, Plugins per Store, Price per Store, etc. However, it still lacks few features like Discount per store, Checkout attributes per store, etc.
nopCommerce multi-store implementation is also missing few features like Configurable Payment and Shipping modules settings per Store, Discounts per Store, Plugins per Store, Tier prices per Store, Checkout attributes per Store, etc.
However, the overall multi-store implementation is robust, well architecture and very well implemented. And most of the limitations I’m talking about, are already on the nopCommerce work items so I’m sure it will have these features very soon in upcoming versions. And it should not be very difficult to add one if you need it now.
Multi-vendor feature allows you to sell products from multiple vendors. Vendors can manage their product catalogs, orders & shipments. So products from multiple independent vendors appear in your catalog and your visitors can buy from them.
Using multi-vendor feature you can now start selling products that are managed by your vendor. Vendors will have a login account to your store from where they can manage their products, orders & shipments.
There are certain features missing from this multi-vendor implementation. Some of them are Vendor profile page, Vendor rating, Configurable Shipping options by Vendor, Filter by Vendor, Reports for Vendor Payout Tracking for completed orders by vendor.
Multi-vendor support in nopCommerce is basic, but still very powerful and opens a huge possibility for online retailers to start monetizing it. Just like any other feature, multi-vendor in nopCommerce can also be enhanced with customization to add other features you might need.
The most important feature of nopCommerce 3.1 release is the changed product logic. With this change, nopCommerce no longer has Product Variants. All you have is just the products, which could be either Simple Product or Group Product. And all your products with product variants are replaced with group product with simple product underneath.
So now you should be looking at the Associated Products tab, using which you can map associated products underneath the Group product.
Let’s look at what it means for a store owner?
These changes in the product logic make perfect sense for complex catalog requirements of the modern e-commerce store. This makes nopCommerce catalog system simpler and at the same time more powerful!
For example, if you’re selling a Shoes that comes in two colours. So you will configure one group product and two simple product associated to it as Shoes (Blue) and Shoes (White). And both products will have different SKU, inventory and price. So on your main Shoes page, you will have list of these two associate products which your visitors can buy. Moreover, now you can display both of these products individually on catalog pages and search pages, so your visitors can find it easily. Previously this scenario was not possible because the product variants were tied to the specific product which was leading the entity in the catalog.
Another most important feature added in nopCommerce 3.1 is Bundle Product Support. With bundle product support you can now offer a product that is bundle of existing product or let’s say a Kit product which includes another product you also sell on your store individually.
A bundle product can be created simply by associating a product with an attribute value. Now, when customer buys this product, nopCommerce knows that it is actually buying a set of associated product.
For example, you are selling jewelry on your store and you already have a catalog of Rings, Bracelets, Earrings, Necklace, etc. Now with bundle product support added to the nopCommerce, you can create a bundle product that includes a selected set of existing products that you offer as a one. And your customer can buy it as one single product.
Note that at the moment, nopCommerce does not support setting custom price override for bundle product. However, you can offer a discount for this product. In the next version (i.e. nopCommerce 3.2) a custom price override is already coming using which you can offer bundle product at cheaper price.
If you’re using older version of nopCommerce, then you should consider upgrading the newer latest version of nopCommerce. nopCommerce is adding several serious newer business enabling features which will surely help you improve your online business.
With recent version of nopCommerce 3.1, you can now open newer stores using single nopCommerce installation or allow your suppliers or vendors to manage their products themselves which you can sell on your store. Even if you’re not going to use Multi-Store or Multi-Vendor features… you will definitely benefit from the other enhancements that includes new improved powerful product logic, bundle product support and several performance optimization and SEO related changes, and bug fixes.
These are just the tip of the iceberg, and all changes being done by incredible nopCommerce team makes nopCommerce the most powerful, complete, flexible and easy to use incredible open-source e-commerce platform.
nopCommerce is quickly gaining a strong position in e-commerce market. In next few releases, nopCommerce is going to rock the e-commerce ecosystem by introducing more enterprise level features like Web Farm Support (Support for multiple instances in Windows Azure), Paid Registration, Rental Product Support, and many other enhancements which seems to be on its roadmap.
To find more about nopCommerce, you might like to review these as well.
nopAccelerate is an extension for nopCommerce that integrate Apache Solr with nopCommerce. It makes nopCommerce very fast, responsive, more reliable & scalable. And you also get the better, more powerful searching for your store that your visitors will love.
It is a must have nopCommerce performance extension for all e-commerce sites using nopCommerce that wants to improve their e-commerce business. Find more about nopAccelerate.
We also specialize in offering nopCommerce development services including e-commerce website development, nopCommerce theme & plugin development and nopCommerce store performance optimization services.
If you’re looking for a capable and reliable nopCommerce development company, then contact us today.