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SHOPPING CART for SharePoint Site

or how to do smart eCommerce on SharePoint

Our team has been working with SharePoint long enough to be surprised by the unusual query from an american based chain of full-service electrical contractors. It wasn’t for some sort of document management or team collaboration solution, or any other known type of SharePoint related solution. Instead it was a question about … a shopping cart!

Immediately we’ve got a strange feeling of unableness to explain our amazement. First, we realized that there were nothing impossible or complex in this regards. On other hand, there were no simple arguments for explaining why shopping cart on SharePoint sounds unusual.

Most people in our team associated Shopping Cart extensions with online based merchants and relevant technologies like Joomla or Magento. SharePoint wasn’t viewed as a good option for this purpose, mainly because most of online merchants need a convenient and user friendly admin panel. This is a very important part of online business, and SharePoint is certainly not a convenient choice for small and mid-size companies in this regard. It just doesn’t have a simple and intuitively understandable admin panel. This is not how SharePoint works.

Certainly, one can purchase a ready-made complete SharePoint eCommerce. For example iCommBuy or eCommerce module from SharePointAMS. Both are very expensive and crushing for small business. The first solution is €12.600 per production front-end, and the second one is $9.750

So, a summary of our first impression was:

  • SharePoint ready-made e-commerce solutions are very expensive.
  • There are a lot of other more convenient technologies.
  • Development of Shopping Cart “from scratch” on SharePoint sounded...weird, but positively disturbing)

But, after a short brainstorm we came to an amazing conclusion: SharePoint is more advantageous for eCommerce!

Why? Because…

SharePoint doesn’t focus on eCommerce

Yes, we viewed it as a strength, not weakness! If you have ever developed a web site on Joomla or Magento, you know there are lots of ready-made extensions, that seems to be easily used for your eCommerce. They seem to be... and on the first steps they are. They look nice and pleasant, but… if you try modify them in order to support your purchase process, sometimes you may feel yourself in hell. They certainly can’t be viewed as easily scalable. SharePoint, on the contrary, is much more easily scalable, and can be more easily adapted to your business process. We understood that we can provide something that much more a pure functionality on SharePoint, than on other technologies. A functionality that can be further “translated” into the context of different web sites much-much more easily.

When a technology specializes on some part of business (Magento, Joomla - ecommerce, WordPress - blogs and etc.) it limits capabilities and leads to the forms and solutions that only seems useful, but in reality can be helpful in a very limited context.

There are a lof of businesses, other than eCommerce, that use shopping cart

One of our customers later was a charity company that helps population of one of the Asian countries. They needed a shopping cart for their web site. Why in the world, do the charity needs a shopping cart? So, it turned, that their representatives, when departing to this country, had been “ordering” sets of goods for people they care about. Also, it turned, that the representative could return some of the goods after the trip, and it was also a part of their so called “purchase process’.

This kind of context is hardly supported by the regular tools used for eCommerce. SharePoint shopping cart could be “translated” into their context with only a few lines of code.

So, if you want to try our Shopping Cart, and see whether it can be used in your context, please, download it here.

And remember that SharePoint is much more powerful than you may imagine!

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