What's missing from free software such as ZenCart and similar offerings?
I would suggest two.
2. AspDotNetStorefront (ONLY Version 8.x)
#1 is cheap, and very solid
#2 is a little more costly, has more features and is a little more robust
I recognize what you're trying to do with the ownership thing, but you are much better off with a hosted solution. If you had bought the top of the line shopping cart 4 years ago, it would be so outdated that you wouldn't want to use it (no social plugins, etc.). Facebook and Twitter might be today's Kings & Queens, but that might not be the case in another two years. Anyone remember MySpace?
Stick with the hosted cart. Another opinion why: [ronrule.com...]
The thing is...I was hoping to use alot of the same products for those customers that carry our line, and I'm talking about at least 500 different tools. Is there a hosted solution to that?
digitalv, you don't need a hosted solution to stay up to date. You need a solution that provides for routine updates. I don't need and really dont want a new update for every update that comes along, I like having the ability to pick and choose when I update.
Pretty sure there is a hosted cart out there that lets you run multiple stores that run on different domains & different looks, but against the same product database. That would be ideal.
The down side to scripts is that once you customize it (which you would have to for the type of thing you're talking about) those updates might not work. I can't think of a hosted cart that does what I just described off the top of my head, but I know there has to be one, they've thought of everything else.
I really like vpasp I use them myself and do well over a million dollars with it. Because they give you the code you can alter it in so many ways. As you gow you can get it to do lots of different stuff. Good luck
Have you tried magento? You can have multiple store fronts running off the same backend...
Or MagentoGo easy to use, and look professional site.
my goodness, magento must be awesome - 3 users in a row (currently with a total post count of 5 between them) all recommend it.
I have found a variety of ecommerce software available online for sale.
I think it first depends on the size of your business, what kind of experience you have with ecommerce software (e.g. are you technically savvy), what are your needs as a merchant (what kind of functionality is most important to you?). In addition to this, your solution should fit your customer experience because let's face it, if you don't have customers, you can't sell!
I would say CoreCommerce and 3dCart are solutions with top notch customer service. I also found a great resource to search for ecommerce software and purchase the best ecommerce software [zippycart.com] the site categorizes its ecommerce software for easier purchasing. Best of luck!
I think Magento is trash. Makes simple things overly complicated and tries to do way too much.
Hosted solutions seem to be taking over and quite frankly, they've gotten pretty good. You lose a little customization and control over the server, but most stores don't need that. Also, they are typically updated more frequently. Many of the software carts that you purchase once have stopped updating and lack the resources to evolve.
One thing to take into account is that you're going to need something powerful to host a Magento store. At least looking at $75+ a month in hosting (and that's a low end). So a hosted solution that comes in at or around that likely ends up being cheaper.
I've been building Volusion sites for about 6 years. Prior to that I setup my ecommerce customers on my own (perl based) shopping cart script.
The problem with "roll your own", shareware, open source or other non-hosted shopping cart software is having to keep up to date with shipping and payment modules and other add-ons -- sooner or later one part of the software doesn't work with the other and you have a huge mess that needs to be migrated to another platform.
Another thing to think about if you are going to feed the product database to numerous customer AND provide the cart software, is that everyone's store will pretty much appear the same to search engines.
I think a better solution is to build your own "Dealers Only" wholesale storefront, and develop and distribute product data feeds for multiple software solutions.
I've done this for other wholesale level sellers.
The idea is the retailer can run anything they want for cart software, (you can suggest a few packages), but I don't think you want to support ecommerce software, payment gateways, shipping modules and customization to all the software if you're in the "wholesale tool business" -- yu would need to offer 24/7 support for everything from email failures to printer errors.
Also, many of your retailer customers may want to sell other products that your "all in one solutions" won't handle, (which is good -- e.g.- they could have vertical markets that carry 100x as many products as you offer -- but due to volume that retailer outsells one of your clients that only carries your products).
I'd spend the time looking into the top 5-6 carts product import capabilities, and script up some routines to output feeds for those and NOT go into the ecommerce hosting business.
At the same time, run some info on "How to setup an online store" for those who don't have a clue.
...and Magento would NOT be on my list.
Not just because eBay bought them last month, but because in all the times I've tried to review it for customers I've had to jump through hoops just to try to get a copy running.
I've downloaded and installed dozens of ecommerce packages, (or registered and setup in the case of hosted package), and if you can't set it up in 15-20 minutes and build (1) $1.00 test product and be able to test adding it to a cart as a user -- it's either overly complicated or poorly documented.
My $0.02 --- steer clear of Magento.
Hi, I can't help but agree that Magento is one ecommerce solution with many bells and whistles and not to mention with eBay backing it up, I can see how it is an obvious choice however, there are a few fatal flaws that people tend to overlook because of its big name support.
One flaw that I need to highlight and that has been seen a couple of times in this discussion is that Magento can be slower to run if you don't have the right set up for it. This may affect page loading which in turn can affect conversion rates which for an online merchant is a flaw hard to overlook. I always suggest testing out a solution first before committing to a full package. Many solutions offer FREE trials. Although the initial sign-up is time consuming, it is worth it in the long run.
I think a more coveted functionality online merchants look for today in ecommerce solutions is SEO. I think SEO is key to bringing an online store visibility in the sea of ecommerce sites. Two ecommerce solutions I have found (continuing on my last post) are BigCommerce and AmeriCommerce which can be considered to have the strongest SEO functionality for best ecommerce software [zippycart.com]