A Look at Commerce Kickstart 2 for Drupal E-commerce

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We first blogged about Drupal Commerce in late 2011.

Since then, there have been some huge changes in the Drupal Commerce world.

  • Drupal Commerce grew enough to pass Ubercart as the most popular shopping solution for Drupal.
  • A good number of large and prestigious sites moved to Drupal Commerce.
  • Commerce Kickstart, their distribution which allows people to get a store up and running quickly, become the most popular Drupal distribution.

Version 2 of Commerce Kickstart was recently released, and it provided a complete redesign. So we decided to take a look.

If you haven’t done so, it’s worth taking look at our orginal Commerce Kickstart review. That explains a little of the history behind Commerce Kickstart and provides more details about the modules that power it.

Installation

You can download Commerce Kickstart from Drupal.org.

The installation steps are completely customized as you see below:

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The installation process is considerably smoother and better designed than the Drupal default:

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One thing I did notice, as did a good number of other users in the issue queues, is that installation looks smooth but can be a little difficult.

This is nearly always because Commerce Kickstart is a huge distribution. Here’s just a sampling of the modules that come with it. I did need to modify my php.ini file so that the server had a lot more memory and could install Commerce Kickstart successfully.

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The first screen you see after completing the installation is really well done. There’s an introductory video, quick links and clear links to the Commerce Kickstart documentation.

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The frontpage of the site is perhaps even better. There’s a custom theme built on Omega that looks provides a beautiful experience out-of-the-box:

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The Drupal toolbar has been completely customized:

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All of the normal Drupal toolbar links have been moved under the Site settings link:

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Commerce Kickstart provides sample content under most links so you can see how Products, Orders and more are setup. The exception is Reports. Unfortunately, there are no reports available under that link unless you sign up with a partner.

One thing that struck me immediately is how similar the redesigned interface is to Drupal 8. You can see screenshots from Drupal 8 here. They share many similar styles and both remove much of the clutter from the default product interface.

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Here’s an example of a Commerce Kickstart product. They provide a photo gallery and several product variations.

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The shopping cart appears in a very attractive lightbox:

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The actual checkout process is also well-designed:

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And so is the search process which is faceted by default. This is done by providing a custom Search API.

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So far so good. Let’s take a look at the actual store configuration:

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If you can sum up the Commerce Kickstart configuration in one word it would be “Rules”. The Rules module powers almost every feature of the Commerce Kickstart configuration from payment to shipping and tax to currency conversions. You could probably run a store using Commerce Kickstart out-of-the-box but you’d almost certainly need to get a good grasp of Rules to run the store successfully.

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Conclusion

Compare Commerce Kickstart 2 to the previous release and you can see how much work has been done.

I think it’s fair to say that Commerce Kickstart 2 sets a new bar for Drupal distributions. Most distributions are a collection of modules. Commerce Kickstart is complete product. The level of attention to detail is outstanding and, unlike most distributions, it really is ready to use immediately.

Author

  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.

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igotrailed
igotrailed
8 years ago

I have a Drupal Commerce project to do with a tight deadline, and was reading your nice post and installed Commerce Kickstart.
I have some experience with Drupal 7, but no experience with Drupal Commerce or its distributions and related modules.
Before starting with Commerce Kickstart I was checking themes to use with my installation, then understood themes, other than the default basic installed themes (ex: Omega), will break on this distribution.
I was highly considering using Porto theme, but the theme author told me he does not recommend me to use it on a distribution.
What is your experience using premium Drupal Commerce supported themes on an Commerce Kickstart distribution?
My requirement need a rather sophisticated theme, specially because I want to avoid manually customizing themes.
Thanks in advance.

Brandon Ma
Brandon Ma
7 years ago

I have actually been very curious about the question below as well. It seems like a premium Drupal theme would make the customization go quite a bit faster, but I am also unsure of how well these integrate with Drupal Commerce.
I guess my specific question would be more do you think the premium Drupal themes (such as are on Theme Forest for example) are worth using or is it better to stay away from these types of themes?

daniel-pickering
7 years ago
Reply to  Brandon Ma

Hi Brandon it is very hard to say.
You really need to look at what kind of long term theme support they offer. Many premium themes don’t offer much in the way of support and you have to figure out issues yourself. It is best to ask them before purchasing and be sure of the arrangement you are entering into with them.
Thanks

Daniel

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