Shopaholic: One of its Kind OctoberCMS eCommerce Plugin & Ecosystem
October CMS is gaining increasing popularity worldwide because of its open-source nature and the fact that it provides a magnificent developer experience. It is truly one of the most trending PHP-based CMS on the market. It’s rapid rise to prominence can’t be unnoticed, especially if you look at its main repository on Github, which has gathered over 6 500 stargazers. In comparison, the world’s most widely used CMS, Wordpress, which in May of 2018 will be celebrating its 15th anniversary, during all of the years of its existence has gathered just a bit over 10 000 stargazers. Drupal, which is another leading CMS that is nearly 18 years old, hasn’t yet reached 3 000.
More and more developers are choosing October CMS as a platform for their new projects. Here are a few factors that drive them towards this decision:
- Cutting-edge PHP technology stack (with Laravel 5.5 at its core) allows them to write high-performance, functionally complex code with lower working-hours spent;
- Ability to expand functionality thanks to built-in and well-documented API, as well as by using the powerful Laravel API that’s also available to developers;
- Extremely high level of security which is achieved by providing access only through index.php file;
- Powerful and fast-growing marketplace of plugins and themes, with ability to install them directly into the CMS.
By the end of 2017 the number of available plugins came close to 500. Making straight comparisons of this number to other prominent PHP content management systems shouldn’t be considered reasonable. In most cases their huge databases of plugins contain ¾ of low-quality or unsupported solutions. For instance, only 20% of the 22 000 plugins of Drupal CMS are compatible with the newer versions of the system (ver. 8 and 9).
It would be interesting to follow and make an evaluation of October’s official plugin marketplace growth rate, which has escalated by 70% over the past two years and is not showing signs of declining.
Each of the plugins being published in the official October marketplace goes through diligent quality control in conformance with October CMS guidelines. Therefore, there is no chance for low-quality plugins to be posted on October’s official marketplace.
October CMS has rightfully become respected among the PHP developers’ community and is surely the CMS you should consider using for your next web project.
Ecommerce & October CMS
However, in terms of eCommerce solutions and building solid marketplaces, the CMS has been lagging behind other content management systems for quite a while. There were some OctoberCMS solutions that provided minimal functionality, while a few others were out-of-the-box over-bloated with features and came with a predefined feature set for a considerable amount of money. In other words, there was no suitable solution that provided enough flexibility to use it to build your own, personalized marketplace or even a simple online shop. That is until now.
LOVATA Company, a distinguished software & web developer with immense experience and strong expertise in complex, feature-rich eCommerce design & development, has been working with leading retail and eCommerce companies for over a decade now. We have worked on solutions with tens of thousands of products in stock and large monthly audiences. LOVATA decided to share this vast experience and contribute it to OctoberCMS. As a result of 2 years of active development, we created a scalable and highly flexible ecosystem of plugins for October: Shopaholic.
The ecosystem is based on the signature plugin, Shopaholic, which provides basic functionality to showcase products or services online. The absence of redundant functionality makes Shopaholic a great starting point for your online business. As your business begins to grow, Shopaholic provides the scalability you need to expand your online presence.
In order to cater growing scalability demands, the Shopaholic eCommerce ecosystem provides extra plugins to extend the basic functionality. Moreover, the architecture of each plugin allows customization of existing methods, fields and other data without interfering with internal code. This way regular updates will remain available.
Shopaholic is just the starting point, as LOVATA company has created a set of extensions and plans to further develop a complex ecosystem of eCommerce components that allows the developers to easily scale their projects.
There are several additional plugins already in place. Some of the plugins provide limited functionality and come free of charge, while others expand the solution by adding complex features and are sold at competitive prices. All plugins go through rigorous testing, as usual, and come with extensive documentation.
The development of Shopaholic’s ecosystem is guided by the similar philosophies of October CMS and Unix systems, where the main focus is to create simple microarchitecture solutions that communicate with each other through smart APIs.
Supreme quality and reliability of the Shopaholic platform is achieved by:
- Strict adherence to October CMS quality guidelines;
- The code is at least 80% covered by unit-tests;
- Timely creation of thorough documentation for developers.
Let’s take a closer look at Shopaholic’s infrastructure.
Shopaholic is definitely intended to shake up the status quo in terms of flexibility in eCommerce design and development using OctoberCMS. Out-of-the-box Shopaholic comes with a limited set of functionality, enough to create a basic online shop to showcase products online. This functionality is easily extendable should the necessity arise. The basic Shopaholic plugin is provided free of charge and includes the following set of features:
- Showcase products with basic descriptions, image galleries;
- Create unique product offers with custom properties assigned to a product;
- Group products by brands and categories;
- Basic filtering by brand, category and subcategory;
- Sorting by new additions and price.
From the developer’s point of view, the minimalistic approach allows software engineers to keep performance, security and functionality of code to a really high standard. On the other hand, from the client’s point of view, he/she gets a back-end UI that is not over-bloated with features and provides smooth UX.
Orders for Shopaholic Plugin
Orders for Shopaholic plugin adds shopping cart functionality to the Shopaholic eCommerce solution. This allows retailers to manage incoming orders online, display various payment and delivery methods. It’s a simple tool that any modern online store or marketplace should have and takes your small online shop to another level.
The plugin gives admins the following rights:
- Oversee the orders in the back-end, overlook and change their state or delete them upon completion;
- Create, and modify delivery methods;
- Create, and modify various payment methods.
Omnipay for Shopaholic Plugin
The Omnipay for Shopaholic plugin provides integration with the Laravel adaptation of the popular Composer package Omnipay and also demonstrates the platform’s simplicity and competitiveness in terms of pricing. The plugin adds a consistent payment processing library, with access to over 100 online payment systems,which you can add to your online store as soon as you’re ready to receive online payments.
As of December 2017, the Packagist plugin database contains 13,000 Composer packages that are compatible with the Laravel framework, while in general it contains 170,000 packages, most of which can also be adapted to Laravel.
Properties for Shopaholic Plugins
Properties for Shopaholic plugin allows to create special kinds of properties to tailor a certain market and specific products that the retailer provides and assign them to products, product offers and product categories. If the featured products have certain characteristics vital to the customer’s decision on buying them, it is recommended to install this plugin. Users of online stores will be able to find the products that match their requirements. It’s a very useful tool and can be a great improvement to your projects UI/UX design, while also boosting conversion rates.
The plugin allows admins to:
- Create custom properties for products, assign name, ID and the measurement of the property. It’s also possible to assign which components will be used to display the properties in the back-end (text, textarea, checkboxlist, dropdown, datepicker, colorpicker, mediafinder, etc.);
- Assign properties to a category of products. So that individual types of products, like hardware, mobile phones, tablets and other products could have their own specific sets of properties, like technical specifications;
- Create groups of properties and assign a group name, like general characteristics or a detailed overview of the product.
Filter for Shopaholic Plugin
A wide variety of products with similar characteristics presented to a customer may lead to the “paradox of choice”, as described by psychologist Barry Schwartz, which eventually has a negative impact on the store’s conversion rate. Lowering the number of choices by specifying significant criteria, applying filters provides a good solution.
Filter for Shopaholic plugin introduces complex filtering features where you can create filters by brand, category and other properties, including special properties provided by the Properties plugin (if it’s integrated into your Shopaholic solution):
- Technical specification;
- Price and discount info;
- In-stock availability;
This extension is a great accessory to the basic online shop functionality, giving the users a more convenient way of searching for products and improving their overall shopping experience. It’s a must-have feature for an average to large-scale online shop or a complex marketplace.
The universal Buddies plugin allows to create a database of users and provides basic authorization and authentication features, abilities to display error messages and create custom user profile settings (like sex, company, email, job position, phone number and others) that can be represented through various form elements (input, select, checkbox, datepicker, etc.). This is also a useful tool if you’re looking to create a successful eCommerce project that engages the target audience to the full extent and allows retailers to learn more about their customers.
Tags for Shopaholic Plugin
When an online shop contains pages with thematic lists of products, it has a positive effect on the website’s overall organic traffic. Tags for Shopaholic plugin allows to create tags and bind them to products and filters. With the plugin installed you are able to:
- Create tag pages;
- Display products by tag and lists of tags for product categories;
- Tags can be used for filtering purposes.
This plugin is extremely valuable, as it extends the website’s SEO functionality and competitiveness.
Popularity for Shopaholic Plugin
The Popularity for Shopaholic plugin adds functionality to calculate the popularity of products. Product popularity is calculated based on:
- How many times the product is viewed;
- The times it’s added to cart;
- The times it has been actually bought.
This plugin also extends the functionality of the Shopaholic plugin, allowing users to sort products by popularity. Product popularity feature acts as motivational factor towards buying products online and is also an important asset of an online store.
Immediate Plans for the Future
LOVATA Company is serious about its investment into this solution and plans on further developing the Shopaholic platform by introducing extensions on a regular basis. Currently there are several plugins at different stages of development. They are:
- Accessories for Shopaholic - binds accessories to products;
- Bundles for Shopaholic - create product bundles, that are sold under special conditions;
- Compare for Shopaholic - display products for comparison;
- Reviews for Shopaholic - plugin allows users to leave comments on products;
- Stickers for Shopaholic - plugin allows to add stickers to products;
- Stores for Shopaholic - bind product offers to stores and group stores by region;
- Gifts for Shopaholic - bind gifts to products;
- Multicurrency for Shopaholic - set prices in different currencies.
Shopaholic was originally intended for personal use by LOVATA, but it evolved into a stand-alone product. By incorporating Shopaholic into your projects you can be sure of their flawless performance, as the ecosystem has already proved itself in various projects. Over 25 000 products, 50 000 SKU and 500 000 unique properties - that’s the definition of a typical online store built with October CMS and based on the Shopaholic eCommerce plugin ecosystem.
Choosing Shopaholic as your eCommerce platform you can be sure not to be bound by any constraints in terms of implementation and other technical aspects of building your solution. The fact that LOVATA constantly uses Shopaholic for its own projects insures that the platform will receive regular updates and further development.
If you are a web development company or studio and are planning on continuously using our solution for eCommerce development, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will discuss providing you with individual support and other partnership program options.
LOVATA Company welcomes any constructive feedback, insight or other contributions to Shopaholic. Help us further develop our vision. Get involved and contribute to the project. You can help us by:
- Contributing to the project or giving us feedback on our GitHub issues page;
- Assisting in localization to your language using Crowdin service.
Also follow us on the project’s media platforms: