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E-commerce with ExpressionEngine

It’s a popular question on the forums: How can I do e-commerce with ExpressionEngine?

The only built-in way to do e-commerce is using the Simple Commerce Module (SCM), a first-party module from EllisLab. This method is, of course, limited to using PayPal as a payment gateway and some clients are hesitant to do that because they (incorrectly) perceive PayPal to be an amateur solution and not secure. Also, SCM has limited functionality; it’s called Simple Commerce Module for a reason.

One of the features that is not in SCM is the ability to sell subscriptions. This is a frequent request on the forums and as of right now the only tool that is integrated with EE to do this is FoxEE by HCC Development.

FoxEE is an ExpressionEngine module that bridges the gap between EE and the Foxycart hosted e-commerce tool. With FoxEE you can use Foxycart to sell subscriptions, downloads or physical goods. It can also apply discounts to member groups. You can get a better idea of how FoxEE works by reading through the documentation.

Those are the only two integrated e-commerce solutions for ExpressionEngine that I know of. What am I missing? Have you used any others?

Posted on Jan 09, 2009 by Ryan Irelan

Filed Under: E-commerce, EE Add-ons, EE Modules

Ryan Irelan08:32 on 01.09.2009

If you’re looking for an example site that has used FoxEE, check out this thread in the forums that covers the recently launched site.

Jonathan Longnecker09:00 on 01.09.2009

FoxEE is really cool; I ran across it a month or so ago. But I’m curios to see if there’s any other integrated options. I think it’s the biggest hole in EE right now.

Philip Zaengle09:48 on 01.09.2009

Right now I’m actual attempting to integrate EE and Magento, at least to some extent. If it goes well I’ll post the process.

Ryan Irelan10:20 on 01.09.2009

Philip, I have looked at Magento, but never used it in a project. I’d be interested to hear about your experience.

Philip Zaengle10:54 on 01.09.2009

Magneto is very different from EE, The templating system is much more complicated, but is still very powerful.

This article has a good example on how to integrate a small portion of EE with Magento ( It’s not very much, just a start.

I’d love to be able to connect the user databases… but by the time I do that I’m sure Ellis Labs will have released EE 2.0 along with a supper e commerce module smile

Scott11:35 on 01.09.2009

I’d like to see a solution that didn’t require my customers to sign up or pay for any other service. FoxyCart fails in this regard.

As for Magenta, I tried to install it, but both times I downloaded it from the server the install pooped out halfway through. Not a good sign.

Ryan Irelan11:43 on 01.09.2009

Scott, at some point they will have to pay for a payment gateway, since those just aren’t free. Whether it’s something simple like PayPal and Foxee that include the shopping cart or if you code a cart from scratch and talk directly to the payment gateway, you still have to pay to process the transactions.

So, yeah, I agree that it’s ideal to not have to rely on someone else’s hosted service (like Foxycart), but no matter what you do, you’re going to pay. smile

Angie11:58 on 01.09.2009

Don’t forget aMember! aMember was built specifically for subscriptions. We’ve worked with a client who sells subscriptions using aMember and their CMS is EE. It works pretty well.

shaun08:30 on 01.10.2009

Magento has some server requirements that many shared hosting providers don’t do such as having the PDO Mysql extensions for PHP installed.

It’s very good e-commerce system. I’ve got about a dozen users running it on my servers.

The EE integration mentioned by Philip does work but it relies on scraping the output from EE using curl and injecting it into Magento so it wraps the headers/footers.

Kelly13:08 on 01.12.2009

The only thing I’ve used with EE is Mals shopping cart, and it works well. This client also wants subscription style sales this year so I’ll be looking at FoxyEE. I’m really hoping EE 2.0 brings news of a more robust commerce module, either bt Ellislab or other.

Shannon09:51 on 03.27.2009

Hi Ryan,

I was wondering if you could explain to me why Simple Commerce can’t do Subscriptions. In the Simple Commerce documentation, it says that it will change a member’s group with purchase and Paypal standard can do subscriptions and recurring payments. I’ve never used Simple Commerce yet. What parts of it will not work? Is it more an issue of dealing with expirations?


Tyler M.14:28 on 10.21.2009

This is a great discussion starting point and I’m off to the thread that Ryan mentioned after this.

I’m wondering if anyone has tried ? It integrates Magento and EE, in theory. We recently tested the beta version but it was buggy and all source code is encrypted (Magento will be encrypted soon too I hear).

Chuck17:38 on 11.04.2009

Dido on aMember. It’s not the pretiest system ever, but have a HUGE LIST of other cms’s it integrates with also. For really big organizations it’s great.

We just developed an EE front end site for a University - used aMember for all the member groups. It also integrates with their Moodle setup, drupal for another department, and their online library. Very powerful software.

GDmac07:12 on 11.13.2009

Nathan Pitman made an addon for SCM for having paying members, Ryan from mdesign tweaked it further:

Geoff17:01 on 11.26.2009

I have found foxee cart and the services supplied in general a complete waste of time..I outsource work to an EE developer who used to work for Ellislab and he described it as containing the worst documentation he had ever seen from any module..Not only that the CEO doesnt return emails when he is out of town so support wise you can be left hanging for days on end..Definiately On the “Not to do ever again in this lifetime list”

Pat Dryburgh16:15 on 11.09.2010

Hi there, just wondering if the information in this post is current to EE 2.1? I’m interested in getting into the Simple e-commerce module, but don’t want to neglect other possible solutions if there are better ones out there.

Any thoughts on this?