With CartThrob, we've built the finest cart solution available for ExpressionEngine (EE). The way we did this was to build a cart that gets away from the whole feature-benefit trap. We call it a trap because it requires you to work within a predefined universe: your options are this, your feature list is this, your box is this. The result is, you can do anything you want… as long as you don't leave your box.

We approached things differently. We believe the only way to make something you are truly proud of is to make something that is genuinely new, that moves your business forward. So, instead of giving you a set of benefits, we give you the ability to create your own. To define for yourself what is of benefit to you and your clients.

That's what a focus on tools, instead of features, gets you: if you can think of something your cart needs to do, we can help you make it happen. That's the CartThrob promise. That's the reason that, like all great products, you didn't know you needed CartThrob until you've seen it. And once you've used it, you will not know how you lived without it.

CartThrob allows you to focus on providing a great and unique shopping experience, as well as a backend that is customized to your complete satisfaction. Harnessing the power of ExpressionEngine to its fullest, CartThrob lets you have complete control.

CartThrob is a unique ecommerce shopping cart system built expressly for the ExpressionEngine CMS. CartThrob was built to allow a wide variety of online businesses to quickly and effectively present their customers with a shopping experience that is wholly unique, tailored to the exact needs of their business. ExpressionEngine is incredibly flexible, with few limits on the type of website or the type of content that can be managed. CartThrob, similarly, is built with flexibility, adaptability, growth, and maintenance in mind. Unlike a typical shopping cart, CartThrob makes few assumptions about the structure or nature of your business, it allows you to pick and choose the shopping cart functionality you need to build your online shopping experience with few limits on what you can do.

CartThrob Ecommerce shopping cart is made up of several parts.

  • CartThrob Module: This provides ExpressionEngine template tags to control the front end appearance of your shopping cart.
  • Payment Gateway and Shipping Plugin System: CartThrob has its own plugin system for developing payment and shipping plugins. We provide a common interface for processing payments and working with shipping systems. When your payment gateway or shipping system changes, all you have to do is update your configuration settings.
  • Access Points for custom processing: CartThrob has over 20 extension hooks that can be used to extend and modify its functionality without hacking the core, in the same manner that you extend ExpressionEngine itself. It's a developer's dream.

Like other ExpressionEngine add-ons, you will complete basic configuration of your store using the CartThrob configuration settings, and then use the CartThrob template tags within ExpressionEngine's template system to build your shopping cart. We've tried to place few limits on what CartThrob expects of your data, so it can handle just about anything.

Example Uses

CartThrob can be used in many different situations. CartThrob was built to provide a flexible, quick-to-implement, and totally custom shopping carts that work well with the rest of your system. With little more than CartThrob's default shopping cart templates you can do the following:

  • Create a non-profit donation site. Many donation sites would like to give the option to take any denomination. With CartThrob, you could provide a simple text input field to allow the user to pick any amount of money to donate.
  • Provide product sales, forums, and a wiki, with one common membership system. ExpressionEngine manages everything, without the need for software bridging.
  • Build a shopping cart for a very limited number of products. Many software sites only have a few products. You don't need a complex shopping cart for that. You can hardcode items into your templates if your site only has a few products. You can have a working cart built and tested in a couple hours.
  • Integrate with a third-party shipping company. Many sites take money, and then send a list of products to a drop-ship distributor. Typical shopping carts make it difficult to integrate with a third party after a sale has been made. CartThrob provides several access points for integration with external systems.
  • Create a cart for products that have many different configuration options. Because you can store products as channel entries, or as hard-coded data in your templates, you can do just about anything. Each product could have 200 different configuration options. CartThrob can handle it because ExpressionEngine can handle it.
  • Sell wildly different products. Do you take donations, sell products, services, and software all on the same site? CartThrob can handle it.

The power of ExpressionEngine makes it easy to build the front end of a site with all of the features you could dream of: categories, cross-sales, upgrades, configuration options, multiple product types, reviews, and password protected content. ExpressionEngine Handles the content, CartThrob handles the sale. It's as simple as that.

Why is CartThrob so great?

CartThrob piggybacks on ExpressionEngine, so whatever ExpressionEngine can do, so can CartThrob shopping cart. A site with CartThrob can provide any of the following and more:

  • integrated forums
  • channels with user commenting
  • different pricing levels for each membership level
  • password-protected content and downloads
  • product categories
  • coupons and discounts
  • dynamic, configurable products
  • wiki with membership
  • donations
  • want ads (purchaseable channel entries)
  • classifieds (purchaseable channel entries)
  • cross-selling and upgrades
  • related content and product links
  • multiple payment systems
  • third-party systems integration
  • multiple shipping systems
  • multiple stores (used with Multi-Site Manager. MSM Does not enable you to share products or carts between stores however.)
  • multi-language shopping carts
  • free products
  • customer notification
  • shop owner notification
  • order history
  • customer account management
  • security: CartThrob can be as secure as you need it to be. When you use channel entries to store product data, CartThrob provides multiple validation checks to make sure the final price is correct.

CartThrob is an ideal product for:

  • shop owners with access to an ExpressionEngine developer,
  • ExpressionEngine, HTML developers,
  • PHP developers,
  • a store owner that has content to manage, products to sell, and forums to run.