This is a guest post by Anna Green – a Web Designer at Media Heroes – an Australian Web Design and SEO company based in Brisbane. Follow us on twitter and facebook.

A review of the WordPress Jigo shop plug-in

About 6 months ago we were contracted by a client to deliver a competent, easy to use ecommerce store that was relatively affordable to create and above all, easy for them to use. Normally the first and only platform we would recommend to our clients would have been Magento, but in this case it seemed a little like bringing a bazooka to a water fight, so we went away and did some research into other platforms on the market. We wanted a solution that was scalable and offered the client a certain amount of options whist being easy for us to work with and train the client to use.

What we found was the WordPress driven Jigo shop plug-in.

So what’s so good about Jigo?

Well, in a lot of ways it’s very similar to Magento. First of all the range of extensions for the store is quite comprehensive and features Paypal Express, table rate shipping, FedEx, Mail Chip, Google Checkout, and product CSV importer to name but a few! For the full list please see the Jigo website.

Next are the features that come as standard, which are pretty much the same as what you would expect to get with Magento and even a few that you wouldn’t.

What’s included?

  • One-step-checkout
  • Easy Paypal integration
  • Australia post integration
  • Multiple categories
  • Multiple product types: simple, downloadable, grouped, virtual, variable and even external/affiliate
  • Multiple images for products
  • Product reviews
  • Price reductions with sale sticker highlight
  • Featured product slider and sidebar widget
  • Sliding scale price filter
  • Recently viewed products

And because its powered by WordPress an integrated blog, lovely.

Usability

Being powered by WordPress of course the back end is a delight for the user no matter how web savvy they are. The widgets are particularly easy to work with allowing users to easily experiment with search filters, up selling tools such as sale items, random products and top rated products as well other useful tools.

From a web developers point of view

The plug-in is easy and quick to style or customize (no white screen of doom!). We do advise that you buy yourself a plain template as a start point this will save you a lot of time and some of them have some cute little features such as the sale sticker which uses the CSS3 animate rule to create a pulsing effect, unfortunately this isn’t supported by all browsers but its nice all the same.

For developers who are just starting out with ecommerce development and have past experience with WordPress this is a natural and comfortable progression that shouldn’t give you any cold sweats or sleepless nights.

Support

The Jigo website itself offers a great range of information and support with its online forum, Docs, Extend (recommended plug in’s), support pages and range of well design themes making this platform accessible to both web developers and do it yourself designers.

The downsides

For all of its good points Jigo does have a few downsides one being its poor reporting and basic stock management, these are fine for a smaller business cards printing store but bigger companies with large amounts of sales, traffic or stock could find that it doesn’t quite meet with their needs.

It also can’t be integrated with MYOB and this is a big downside for some retailers. However, integration with 3rd party accounting programs is a headache for most ecommerce platforms, so although many say they can be integrated, relatively few actually can.

Lastly, while is does have a good range of plug-ins it could do with more, but I’m sure they are on the way.

Conclusion

We love this plug in, hats off to its developers. They have delivered a tidy, easy to use ecommerce solution that has all the major bases covered and is perfect for small business and web store start-ups.

While it is clear that Magento is the heavy weight champion of ecommerce platforms Jigo really stands its ground in the mid weight category and we can only see it going from strength to strength.

For further reading and Jigo training please visit our blog.