Drupal and Commerce. These are two words that aren’t usually associated with each other. But do you know that Drupal can become a great eCommerce solution thanks to a dedicated software for it called Drupal Commerce? If you didn’t, then well, you are in for a treat. Let’s take a look at what Drupal Commerce is and how it can be used to create an eCommerce store using Drupal.
Drupal Commerce at its core is a set of modules for Drupal that enable a host of eCommerce functionalities for Drupal which I’ll be highlighting further in the post. It was developed and is maintained by The Commerce Guys. The great thing about Drupal Commerce is the fact that it isn’t just a software that has a limited set of predefined functions it can do out-of-the-box. Staying true to the Drupal philosophy, Drupal Commerce itself is a framework, meaning it focuses on what solutions can be built by using it. Owing to this, developers have the freedom to extend Drupal Commerce’s functionality even further by developing contributed modules for it.
Drupal Commerce leverages Drupal’s entities concept to bring some of the very basic eCommerce functions like Product, Order, Customer Profile, Line Item and Payment Transaction to the platform. Here’s what these entities represent:
- Product: Pretty much self-explanatory, a product is the thing you sell.
- Orders: These are the summary of what products have been ordered, what options have been attached to these products as well as whether transactions have been successful or failed.
- Line Items: Products with specific options attached to them. For example shoes with their size and colour options. If you order a shoe with size 10 and black colour, then this will be a line item which will be added to a cart.
- Payment Gateways: Payment Gateways are mediums through which online payments are made. Since developing a dedicated payment gateway is no small task, 3rd party gateways are usually integrated to eCommerce sites for processing payments. There are many trustworthy 3rd party payment gateways like PayPal, Payoneer, Skrill etc.
Apart from the basics mentioned in the previous section, there are also many advanced features offered by Drupal commerce that can be further extended by the use of contributed modules. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Shipping: Drupal commerce has a contributed module called Commerce Shipping using which you can make use of customer profiles to entertain cases where a customers’ billing address and shipping address is different.
- Inventory Management: Thanks to modules like Commerce Stock and Commerce Inventory, inventory management is made really easy on Drupal commerce.
- Commerce Rules: Buying a product online is subject to many variable costs like taxes, shipping costs etc. In order to implement these rules easily, Drupal commerce offers integration of 3rd party shipping sites like FedEx, UPS etc to implement these rules automatically.
- Tax: Ease of use is the name of the game when it comes to user accessibility for any website. Make it easier on your customers by displaying the total price with sales tax and VAT tax or any other tax included with your product’s price. This can again be done by using Commerce Rules.
Apart from contributed modules, Drupal commerce much like Drupal offers tons of hooks that can be implemented by developers in their own solutions to easily leverage various functionalities offered by Drupal Commerce.
There are currently two versions of Drupal Commerce: Drupal Commerce 1.x and Drupal Commerce 2.x. The 1.x versions are for Drupal 7 and 2.x versions are for Drupal 8. Both of these can be downloaded on the project’s official Drupal repository.
To get a feel for Drupal Commerce, it is recommended to give Drupal Commerce 2.0 Demo a try. It is the quickest way to get up and running with a prebuilt Drupal commerce site. It can be given a whirl here.
Are you an aspiring entrepreneur but aren’t sure how to go about building an eCommerce site using Drupal? Let us handle that and focus on making money yourself!