January 17, 2017
Drupal has a powerful suite of tools and features for just about any type of website, and eCommerce websites are no exception. Drupal has a very active and healthy eCommerce community that creates some amazing features.
The Drupal eCommerce market mainly consists of Ubercart and Drupal Commerce, but there are also some impressive emerging technologies to keep an eye on, such as the Stripe payment API, that allow for more customized solutions.
The eCommerce solution that you choose will depend upon the particular Drupal site you’re developing. Is it a simple online store with just a few products, or a much more robust site with a wide variety of products? This is one of the strengths of eCommerce with Drupal: you can build the kind of solution you need without the extra, unnecessary features and functionalities.
Ubercart vs Drupal Commerce
Drupal Commerce is by far the most popular Drupal eCommerce solution these days. It’s the successor to the original eCommerce solution, Ubercart. Drupal Commerce was written for Drupal 7 by the same developer that created Ubercart, Ryan Szrama, using the latest APIs and features for Drupal 7.
Drupal Commerce is supported by Ryan Szrama’s company, Commerce Guys, and the Drupal community as a whole. Developers are more likely to add new features to Commerce because it is more widely used in Drupal 7 and beyond. The Drupal 8 version is still in beta, so more work needs to be done to get it to a full release. Check out the Drupal Commerce issue queue to see where you might be able to help.
Drupal Commerce learned from Ubercart's primary shortcoming; it was difficult to configure and not very modular. Where Ubercart was one module that was difficult to build upon, Drupal Commerce has a small set of features in the main module and a large suite of available contributed modules. This allows for easier configuration and more customizations.
Kickstart Your Online Store
One of the most useful features available for Drupal Commerce is the Commerce Kickstart Drupal distribution. This is a great way for non-technical store owners to get a Drupal Commerce store up and running quickly and easily. It comes with an impressive installer that allows you to install an example store to see how everything can be configured. It then allows you to wipe the site clean and start a fresh build of your own custom store.
The Commerce Kickstart comes with some additional built in modules and configurations that help get a Drupal Commerce site up and running quickly. This is a more efficient solution than building from scratch with the Drupal Commerce module and any contributed modules that are necessary to achieve the desired functionality. The Commerce Kickstart distribution shows off the power of Drupal distributions; it’s a turnkey solution for Drupal eCommerce websites.
One of Drupal’s greatest advantages over its competitors is how well it integrates with third party APIs. This allows for integration with many different payment gateways, one being Stripe API. Drupal developers can integrate Stripe with a Drupal site through a custom module and create highly customized payment solutions. This type of customization allows for a variety of solutions for selling and accepting payments that would be more challenging to implement with Drupal Commerce.
Which Solution Should I Choose?
The solution you choose depends on the site’s needs. A small online store that only needs a simple shopping cart might be best suited for Ubercart. At its core, Ubercart is still the easiest to set up without using a Drupal distribution like Commerce Kickstart.
Drupal Commerce is a much more robust eCommerce solution for Drupal with enterprise level features that large online stores use to sell products like product displays. On top of that, you get all the features of a normal Drupal website like content types, taxonomies, and user permissions.
If you are looking to build a very customized payment solution that doesn’t really fit into either of these categories, perhaps a custom solution with the Stripe API module is best.
In the end, the Drupal eCommerce solution you choose should be easy to use for your store administrators and easy for your customers to buy your products online.