NopCommerce Review: Features, Architecture, and Pricing
This article is part of a series of blog posts dedicated to the best .NET e-commerce platforms out there: nopCommerce, Virto Commerce, DNN, Umbraco, Kentico, Sitecore, and Sitefinity.
Over the next few weeks, we will publish a post for each of these platforms in which we will discuss the platform’s background, architecture, features, marketplace, ecosystem, and pricing.
First in line is nopCommerce.
NopCommerce is a highly scalable open-source ASP.NET Core e-commerce platform. Developers have full control over the front-end markup and the back-end features. Thus, they can create highly sophisticated e-commerce websites, themes, add-ons, etc.
NopCommerce was launched in 2008 in Yaroslavl, Russia by Andrei Mazulnitsyn - a .NET developer and an online store owner.
11 years later, nopCommerce has been installed thousands of times and is strongly supported by its community and partner companies, which together with the nopCommerce core team, constantly extend the platform’s capabilities.
- Based on ASP.NET Core. At the foundation of nopCommerce lies one of the most popular and robust open-source frameworks which is backed by the ASP.NET team at Microsoft.
- Open-source. NopCommerce is community-driven. It is actively being developed and new features and improvements are added to it constantly.
- Extendable architecture. Developers can develop custom themes and plugins without interfering with the platform’s core architecture.
- RESTful API developed by Nop-Templates.
NopCommerce sports a myriad of built-in e-commerce features:
- Multi-store. You can have as many stores as you want. You manage all stores from a single admin panel. In addition, since all stores share a single database, you can easily share data between them.
- Multi-vendor. You can create a marketplace and allow other merchants to sell their products on your website.
- Dropshipping. You can assign each product in your store to a specific vendor. When a customer orders the product, the vendor will receive an email and ship the order on your behalf. Thus, you won’t have to worry about logistics, inventory turnover, or storage space.
- ACL (access control list). You can control the permissions assigned to each product, category, vendor, etc.
- Responsive web design of the administration panel and the storefront.
- Multilingual support provided by 300+ language packs.
- RTL support for languages that are written and read from right to left such as Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, etc.
- SEO. XML and HTML sitemap support, Twitter and Open Graph (Facebook) META tags support, breadcrumbs support, URL canonicalization, SEO-friendly URLs, etc.
- CMS support. You can create a blog, a forum, custom pages, etc.
The nopCommerce blog offers only basic functionality, enough to get you started with your content writing. However, if you need more power when managing your content you can purchase a rich blog plugin.
The rich blog plugin allows you to organize your blogs into categories, add a featured image to each post, feature selected blog posts on your homepage, have a blog search enabled, add social sharing buttons to each blog post, and more.
- Product attributes. SKU (a unique stock keeping unit), size, weight, color, price, etc.
- Rental products. You can enable customers to rent products.
- Recurring products. You can enable customers to subscribe to products.
- Downloadable products. You can enable customers to download digital offerings (i.e. digital products or services) such as e-books, online courses, music or software.
- Reward points program. Your customers can gather reward points by spending money on your website. For example, if a customer spends $100 on one order, they get 1 point each worth $1. When the same customer places another order they can use the point and $1 will be subtracted from their order total.
- Discounts, coupons, and gift cards support.
- Multi-currency support.
- Tax configuration with EU VAT support.
- Multiple payment methods. NopCommerce integrates with more than 50 payment methods and gateways.
- Anonymous/Guest checkout. You can enable customers to complete their orders without having to log in to your website.
NopCommerce doesn’t offer one-page checkout out-of-the-box. If you want to add such a feature to your store, you can purchase a one-page-checkout plugin.
- Multiple shipping methods. You can define custom shipping methods or work with major shipping carriers such as FedEx, or UPS. You can also enable in-store pickup and more.
- GDPR compliance.
These are some of the more significant built-in e-commerce features nopCommerce offers.
If you need to add more advanced features to your e-commerce website, you can purchase a plugin from the nopCommerce marketplace.
If you cannot find what you need in the marketplace, you can easily add a custom feature to your website. Since nopCommerce is open source, all you will need is access to the source code. If you are not a .NET developer yourself, you can work with a nopCommerce expert - either a certified developer or a partner.
There are 170 themes in the nopCommerce marketplace - 51 free themes and 119 commercial themes with a price range from $13.68 to $249.
51 of all themes are compatible with the latest version of nopCommerce - nopCommerce 4.10. 11 of these themes are free. The other 40 are commercial with a price range from $9.99 to $249.
All themes sport a variety of features and capabilities. More expensive themes normally offer more functionalities.
For example, all 29 themes developed by Nop-Templates come with a set of 10+ plugins. By purchasing one of these themes, you receive advanced functionalities without having to pay extra for them.
Next, we will take a closer look at the types of extensions you can find in the nopCommerce marketplace.
There are 1800+ plugins in the nopCommerce marketplace. They are divided into 8 categories: language packs, payment modules, user interface & widgets, shipping & delivery, marketing & sales, administration, customers, and security.
In addition, there are 24 subcategories which enables you to find the extension you need in no time.
Let’s say you are noticing high cart-abandonment rate on your site. All you need to do is filter all plugins that fall into the ‘Remarketing & abandoned carts’ subcategory and pick the one that best suits your needs.
Moreover, you can filter the plugins based on the version of nopCommerce they are compatible with, their rating, price, and more.
NopCommerce Partners & Community
NopCommerce sports an extremely active community. The nopCommerce forum bears testimony to this - dozens of new posts appear every day and there are hundreds of active discussions.
The forum is the place where .NET developers, digital agencies, marketers and store owners ask for advice and gather to discuss future collaborations, updates, bugs, and more.
Note that there are 217 certified nopCommerce developers who contribute to the nopCommerce community on a daily basis.
Asides from the community, nopCommerce is strongly supported by its 164 partners who are classified as:
- Solution partners - Currently, nopCommerce has 133 solution partners divided into 3 subcategories: gold, silver, and registered partners. These companies provide services such as nopCommerce development and digital marketing. You can see the number of websites, themes, and plugins each partner has developed, the number of certified developers in the company, as well as the years of partnership with nopCommerce.
- Technology partners - Currently, nopCommerce has 21 technology partners whose software helps store owners handle logistics, payments, and security.
Square, for example, the well-known payment provider, integrates with nopCommerce and is a high profile technology partner. Other such partners are MailChimp and FedEx.
- Official hosting partners - these include companies like Everleap, A2 Hosting, PeoplesHost, and more.
NopCommerce is completely free. Additional costs may appear in several cases:
- If you need to add a feature to your website that doesn’t come out-of-the-box. In this case, you will either have to purchase an extension from the nopCommerce marketplace or work with a certified nopCommerce expert. Unless, of course, you can build and implement the feature yourself.
- If you want to remove the ‘Powered by nopCommerce’ link from your website. In this case, you will have to pay $250 for the copyright removal key. You can also buy this key at half price from a solution partner like Nop-Templates.
- If you want premium support from the nopCommerce core team. In this case, you will have to purchase a support plan.
By purchasing a support plan, you are guaranteed a 24 hours response time and 5 days bug fixing warranty (excluding weekends and holidays).
However, you are not guaranteed support for any themes or plugins developed by third-parties. In this case, you will have to turn to the company that developed the theme or the plugin.
We hope this article helped you get a better idea of what nopCommerce can offer. If you have any questions, drop us a line in the comments section below.
Stay tuned for our article on Virto Commerce - the next blog post of the series dedicated to the best .NET e-commerce platforms.