Remember Omnidea? Foreground is a brand of Omnidea. They are a small Italian software smithy. They have a cool app that gives you rulers on your Mac’s screen and, as Foreground, they also develop some great RapidWeaver plugins. RapidMaps, for instance, lets you insert very flexible Google Maps into your web page… and then there is RapidCart, one of the first e-commerce solutions available for RapidWeaver.
RapidCart is a little long in the tooth now and, while it is still a great solution for smaller online stores, it’s not ideal for larger stock lists. So rather than update RapidCart, Foreground has decided to create a completely new store solution — RapidCart Pro (RCP). The decision to do a rewrite solves a number of problems that e-commerce solutions in RapidWeaver have had until now. You’ll see what I mean as we go along.
Adding products to your store is easy. RCP makes use of RapidWeaver’s resources, so you drag your product images there. If you are selling t-shirts, you can either add a blue t-shirt, a yellow t-shirt and a red t-shirt, or you can add a Led Zeppelin t-shirt with options for a blue, yellow, or red shirt. Obviously a variable for the size of the t-shirt can be set in each case.
RCP has support for long product description HTML editing and, if you’re thinking of moving up from RapidCart 3, your existing store can be imported directly into RCP.
If you add multiple images to your products, RCP automatically creates a slideshow. If you want to show larger images, just ‘Enable Lightbox’ in Settings.
If you offer discounts based on the number of items purchased RCP makes this process a lot easier than in the original RapidCart (I never was terribly good at numeration and found the old process complicated).
New laws in Europe dictate that some products must be sold with VAT calculated in the purchaser’s, not in the vendor’s country. RapidCart Pro elegantly solves this problem with a complete editable list of countries. You can even restrict the countries that your products are available in by activating or de-activating them in the list.
These vary with the number of products being shipped and with the shipping method used. RCP has extensive options to add costs based on the number of items, weight or total cost.
You can add multiple carriers to RCP. An example to demonstrate how much thought has gone into the programming: Let’s say your business is based in Belgium. You can add a Standard Postal service for delivery all over the world. Add a delivery service such as UPS for deliveries in Europe. Add Overnight Delivery for Belgium, France and Holland. You may add or remove countries that each carrier can deliver to. And If you offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount, there’s an option for that for each carrier too.
Special offers are a cinch too.
Add an offer, decide when the offer should be available and forget about it – come back next year, if you wish, and reset the dates to repeat the offer.
The plugin setup is an extensive set of three pages. In a similar fashion to the original, RCP will display standard buttons for adding articles to your cart and completing your purchase. You can choose between ‘Flat’ ‘Almost Flat’ and ‘Gradient’. However, geeks can easily add in CSS and JS to completely customise RCP.
The number of columns displayed at any breakpoint can be set – yes, RCP is responsive – and headers and footers can optionally be displayed on each page; on catalogue pages; on product pages and/or on cart pages.
There are multiple options for adding tax – too many to go through here – and extensive options for requesting customer details. Which brings us to payment…
Obviously payment via PayPal is available – for testing, PayPal can be sandboxed. Options for accepting orders without processing payments are available. Sensitive data, such as your bank account details, can be attached to the order details via the configuration.
Further payment processes may easily be added to RCP’s backend. As you read, payment via Stripe is in preparation, and I am assured that other options will follow. As JS customisation is available, payments can readily be set up by anyone with an understanding of PHP.
So what about Stacks Users?
RCP includes a set of stacks that will allow you to import your store, or parts of your store into Stacks pages. This is especially important if you use a freestyle theme such as FreeStack R, Foundation or Pure. Don’t be confused by the fact that your store front isn’t visible in preview, though. RCP is entirely PHP based and doesn’t become visible until it has been published.
A great deal of thought has gone into the re-creation of RapidCart and the new RCP version is easily the best solution available for setting up an online store that is hosted on your, or your customer’s server. It is a vast improvement on the original RapidCart and I can recommend it to anyone that uses RapidWeaver and has a line of products for sale.