1 – What made you decide to go out and write an E-Commerce plugin for WordPress?
Years ago I wrote a WordPress wish list on my blog. One of those wishes was for a Shopping Cart plugin – months later when a client asked me to build them a shopping cart application for WordPress I positively jumped at the opportunity. The only other option at the time was EzStatic Micro Shop and that was not a plugin – i.e. too hard for me.
2 – There are lots of good WordPress themes out there, but I haven’t seen a lot of them that are geared for E-Commerce sites specifically. What is your favorite WordPress template for E-Commerce?
At present K2 because it is easy to use – even then though it has its quirks and a lot of my developers find it difficult to customize I still like it because it is quite powerful as far as themes go – especially when coupled with the modules plugin (which extends the widgets functionality).
I think the simpler the theme the better – people want to be able to customize their sites as much as possible which is why it makes sense for us to make as many widgets and tag includes for WP e-Commerce as possible.
Back to the point though. I don’t think that there are any really good themes designed specifically with e-Commerce in mind. This is something we have recognized and it is something we’re working on – we’re especially excited about the next generation of DropShop that we are working on with Nick La from n design studio – here is a sneak preview:
3 – Looks like you guys have been rolling out some nice new features (for those of you that haven’t tried out the drag and drop shopping module, try it out here). Care to tell the audience about any upcoming features?
Well if you like the live search feature in the Apple.com website then you’ll like the new enhanced search form coming soon. DropShop is about to get another visual overhaul, product tags are on the way in, product zooming is being planned, and future versions will be heavily optimized and we know that the next version of WP e-Commerce will load more then 70% faster then before.
4 – Are you taking appropriate steps are to make sure that your E-Commerce system is SEO ready?
Of course. This is very important to us and we have already integrated WordPress Permalinks with WP e-Commerce to make URLs more human readable and search engine friendly – plus we are about to release the new product tags feature.
I’m not sure if this is the right place to mention it but the ‘share this’ social networking feature is also integrated with WP e-Commerce and we have RSS feeds for all products and product categories.
5 – I’m under the impression that blogs are overtaking the web by force. They are indexed by search engines faster, can be a news authority, have most all of the features that a content management system (CMS) has, and now they also have the ability to do E-Commerce. How to you envision the future of blogging?
Funnily enough I was thinking about this today.
You see I use WordPress for everything, there is not much that it can’t do (and if you can think of something it can’t do then I’m sure you can make a plugin to make it do it) and so it struck me that I haven’t refereed to or even thought of WordPress as an actual “blogging tool” in years – so although you are right in that blogs are taking the web by force (I think that they always have been) I think that in some funny way the word blog is becoming synonymous with the word website. Strange huh…
But you asked about the future of blogs not WordPress. Blogs are here to stay. It is as simple as that.
Here’s a thought. When I was studying New Media one of our tutors told us that the porn industry drove website design and technology I think that now possibly it is blogs and blog developers that are changing the face of the internet. We are the new driving force…
6 – Since your E-Commerce software is a plugin, are there things that you think you will never want it to do as compared with a full scale E-Commerce system?
WP e-Commerce is becoming more and more full scaled all the time – we have OS Commerce, Zen Cart users, and e-Junkie users migrating to us all the time. I think this is because the first two pieces of software are legacy (old school) and e-Junkie users would prefer an all in one WordPress experience.
To be totally honest I believe that the only missing features in WP e-Commerce that would stop it from being called a “full scalle” solution would be UPS / Fedex shipping integration. And these are in the planning stages now. In fact if there are any readers reading this now who have experience integrating UPS etc that would care to lend a hand we would love to hear from you!
However I also think that for the average e-commerce user this does not matter – especially if you are in the business of digital downloads then it does not matter at all.
[Editors note: more product info for the E-Commerce Plugin can be found on Instinct’s Wiki located here.]