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Drupal for E-Commerce

Submitted by Kate on April 19, 2011 - 3:06pm

I just attended a webinar (online seminar) about using the Drupal content management system for e-commerce. Right now, Drupal offers two solutions for online stores: Drupal Commerce and Ubercart. But why use Drupal for e-commerce?

Drupal, as an open-source content management system, is supported by thousands of developers across the world. This community of developers has created over 9,000 modules for Drupal, for tasks and processes that range from obscure to everyday. Similarly, if a Drupal user needs a module or needs a feature added to an existing module, the communication between Drupal developers and users is open and inviting.

Modules expand the basic capabilities of Drupal, including Commerce and Ubercart. Some interesting capabilities are:

  • Variable Prices: Depending on the customer's user role, you might offer difference prices or incentives. For instance, if a customer is a member of your organization, they might be entitled to special sale prices or bulk discount. (Note: this only works if users log in)
  • Upsell Module: if a customer has an item in their basket, this module can recommend a slightly more expensive option (ie: "For just $__ more, you could get ___").
  • Subscription service: a store owner can designate that certain products are to be repeat purchases over a specific period of time. This allows the payment to be captured continuously and for the customer to have control over the duration of the subscription.

As with just about any Drupal site, e-commerce sites have the ability to be highly integrated with social media. That means less maintenance is needed to continuously sync multiple services. Such strong integration means that a Drupal e-commerce site can be more than just a store. It can be an entire website, complete with a blog, multimedia, social media and more.

The key to a successful e-commerce site is accommodating marketing needs while still focusing on customer experience. Things that developers and marketers might focus on, such as order and repeat sale tracking, might be completely irrelevant to customers, who focus more on price comparison, free shipping, and product reviews. Luckily, the broad range of Drupal modules allows for both of these considerations to coexist.

Misc. notes:

  • Use taxonomy to tag not only product characteristics, but customer targeting
  • Tokens: allow users to reuse same credit card on next visit, but site does not store sensitive info.
  • SKUs: make sure they are all unique, can cause problems if repeats.

Examples of Drupal E-Commerce Sites

Thinking about starting an e-commerce site or adding an online store to your existing Drupal site? Let us know!