Web site: http://www.greenhillsoaps.com
WP ver: 3.3.1
WP e-Commerce Ver: 188.8.131.52.2
I have posted this comment in the GetShopped.org support forums. There has been no response, and I notice that others have similar problems.
I looked at many other e-commerce plug-ins and found that WP e-Commerce represents itself as having some base functionality that is important to me. For the most part, I have found the conceptual design of the plug-in to be good from a commercial perspective.
From a commercial perspective, a basic e-commerce plug-in, has to be able to do a few things very well, and very simply from the perspective of the customer and the store administrator. It must be easy to enter, present and display products. Customers must be able to get the information they need about each product easily and simply.
Once a customer decides to purchase an item or a number of items, they must be able to move to checkout or their shopping cart easily. Once there, they must be able to see the details of what they bought, how many of each item and how much they have spent. They should be able to simply choose how they would like to receive their shipment. Then they must be able to enter their billing and shipping information simply and completely, agree terms and conditions, see a total for their purchase, and then purchase in a safe and secure way.
WP e-commerce does much of this very well. Until you get to issues like taxes, shipping, integration with payment providers, checkout, lets say the boring and non sexy part of what makes a store successful. This comment is not about the overall design, which is very good. This comment is about basic functionality, underlying code and user support. Here things are not as represented. Let me give you two examples.
We all want to generate lots of sales. But to make a sale, the entrepreneur must find a way to deliver what the customer has purchased. So a critical functionality of any e-commerce platform must be its shipping module. Further, this functionality must interface with third party vendors such as UPS, FedEx, USPS and others, who have well documented and robust systems for processing shipping transactions and managing logistics.
By using WP e-Commerce of the box, the intrepid entrepreneur is told they can choose to set up their own shipping rate schedule or choose the option to use UPS and USPS. Given that I have a fair amount of experience with shipping small items in large volume, I chose to use a third party like UPS and USPS.
As the initial setup and integration with UPS and USPS is highly standardized, one would think that there would be detained and well documented instructions about how to get these services working. Not true.
First I tried USP. I opened an account on the UPS website, that was easy. I then went to their developer web-tools and selected the service I wanted (shipping rates) and requested the API information. I then went back to the shipping module in WP e-commerce and entered all the information as instructed. I checked everything and updated the module. Then I checked that the update had everything as entered. It did. Now UPS requires that you "test" your transactions with their servers before going into "production". When you select UPS in the shipping module, you have to enter the information UPS provided, including your account#, UPS user name, password, and API key. There is also a check box called "Use Testing Environment" which should be checked along with the details of what kind of service you want from UPS.
In theory, when a test order is transacted and shipping is calculated in Checkout, you should be able to see accurate pricing from UPS based on your base zip code, which you enter in the shipping module. UPS calculates shipping on a weight by zone basis and is dependent on the zip code of the shipper to calculate the rates for each level of service. A delivery address in San Francisco, California would be a zone 8 for someone living in New York, but a zone 2 or 3 for someone living in Los Angeles.
I made sure all my individual products contained both weights and size measurements (HxWxL). It turns out that this is important. I ran a test transaction. I bought 3 items from my store, weighing just under one pound, and shipped to my zip code. The UPS rate sheet gives a rate of $8.01 for this shipment.
When I went to check out, I saw the items. I entered the delivery country, state and zip code in the shipping calculator and clicked calculate. The result for a 12 oz package was $11.35! It turns out that this rate is the shipping rate for 4 Lbs shipped to Zone 5. I tried changing the number of items and deleted one item, still wrong. However, I got an error message that shipping is not available to that destination. So I reentered the state and zip code and clicked calculate again; same message. So I then deleted the remaining items in my cart and intended to pretend to want to go back to shopping and try again. When I deleted the last item in the cart, it refreshed the checkout page and displayed, unencrypted, all my UPS account information; including name, password, account number, and API key, in a big error message at the top of the page. There is something about this that makes me fee this event is not good.
It turns out this module was developed by ECSQuest and support issues must be sent to Greg. It also turns out that other have had the same problem. I sent a detailed email to Greg at ECSQuest and have heard nothing. I have posted this problem in the GetShopped forum, no response or acknowledgement. Ok, so we know something about the UPS module does not work.
I have registered with USPS and have received all my necessary account and API information. I do about a days worth of research and find out that to get the USPS function to work, I have to get UPSP to switch me from "test" to "production" mode. I call USPS technical support, ask to be switched over from test to production, no problem. I then run a test transaction to see if USPS choices come up along with UPS, and they do. But the order gets stuck at shipping. So I go back to the shipping module and turn off UPS, and update.
I create another test transaction and go to checkout. I see the item I added to cart. The cost is $8.50. Just below that is the Calculate Shipping. I then enter the US Zip code to calculate shipping and I get the two USPS rates. I click the radio button on the least expensive. Shipping is $2.15.
Then below shipping is the tax and tax $0.63.
I enter my email address. My order shipping and billing information is entered. I then check the accept terms and conditions.
At the bottom of the page it shows
Total Shipping: $0.00
Total Purchase: $9.13 PURCHASE ($8.50+$0.63)
When I click the purchase button, the page is refreshed and I am taken back to checkout. I go through the entire process again. Then I click Purchase and the page refreshes and I am back at checkout.
I go through the entire process again. This time I enter the same zip code and click calculate and I get the message that shipping is not available to that country or region. So I click Calculate again and I get my shipping pricing again. I select the lower price and below that is the tax. I click the accept terms& conditions again and at the bottom of the page is:
Total Shipping: $0.00
Total Purchase: $9.13 PURCHASE
I click purchase and I am taken back to check out. And so it goes, where it ends nobody knows.
Because the shipping amount does not appear in the total, I have no idea if the rate selected is in effect or being processed correctly. I know the rate was right because I went to the USPS site and checked. Since I am stuck in a loop I cannot get to paypal to see what is being sent to them. This is not good.
In addition, in another post on the GetShopped.org forum, it was suggested that I go back to permalinks and click save twice. I did that. Still no change. Then it occurred to me that perhaps I should get a pot from the kitchen and run around naked, banging it until the neighbors call the police. My dog thought that was a bad idea and licked me.
I am quite frustrated and starting to feel angry about how difficult this plug-in is to use and how many of its components do not function correctly. This frustration is about promoted features that are basic core functional components of the plug-in. It is not about customized add-ons or modifications.
I bore the WP community with this because, getting this plug-in to work correctly opens a huge market place for those of you who are developers and designers. I really need help getting the shipping module working correctly, the Checkout or Shopping Cart function to work correctly.
Please reply as soon as possible - I cannot open for business until this critical functionality is fixed. My dog also want you to help me as I have not paid attention to him in a few days.