Hi Jon_King, and welcome to WmW. The problem with trying to identify a "top" e-comm development tool is that if you ask 5 different shop owners what features they want, you get 5 different answers. If you ask 5 e-comm developers what features they want, you get about a dozen different answers.
There are as yet no good standards in this field, no minimum feature set you can point to and say
"This will make a successful product" at any point in the market.
I personally prefer the toolkit style ecomm packages, that give you a great deal of freedom over layout and functionality on your site. Many small businesses prefer the easy to use, highly automated packages you seem to be interested in.
Its also necessary to bear in mind that the packages that have the most press exposure, are not always the best actual programs....
Basically, most people will recommend whatever they have had success with, which tend to be the packages they know quite well, and have learned to get the best out of. Just because someone else has made it work is no guarantee that you will be able to emulate their success, unfortunately.
Try Erol at www.erol.co.uk If you are interested in looks this must be one of the most flexibles shopping carts regarding free of design. Be aware that is no cheap and is no either as easy as they will try you to believe when reading their website
Looks like a great package! I'm going to give it a go.
I am using Erol on my current project for a client...to be honest im glad i am a design and very PC savy, otherwise i could see myself get very fustrated...BUT - it is by far and away the best e-commerce tool. There is no other product that provides its flexibilty of design, and once you've got your head round it...anything under the sun is possible...plus i have never in all my life know customer support so good...they are very helpful and friendly, and are more than willing to help you out on any problems you have...
if you are at all patient, or want the very best results in the end...erol is for you...
Good luck, hope that helps
Try to add live support for online sales and support too.
A good ecommerce software might get your product listed nicely. However, a online sales can close out a lot of deals for you.
[edited by: TallTroll at 1:03 pm (utc) on Aug. 1, 2002]
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Along with a few thousand others, I use Miva Merchant. I haven't used any other e-commerce packages, though I've toyed with OSCommerce.
Miva Merchant full licenses cost $595, but quite a few hosting companies offer Miva Merchant as part of their e-commerce hosting package.
As TallTroll mentioned, you'll likely get a wide variety of opinions and the "best" package is the one that fits your needs and budget.
Miva Merchant includes features such as product attributes and attribute templates (with separate prices for various attributes), inventory tracking, interface to a dozen or so payment modules, etc.
Most importantly to me, there are a number of very active producers of add-on modules, most of which are under $30 or so.
I've been using XMart-ecommerce by digitalplacebo.com and it's easy to use and cheap... you should look into it
I run a very small site and have had a lot of success with mals e-commerce and its free.
One of the reasons we've stuck with Actinic Catalog, Actinic Business etc, is this family of products ability to produce a completely search engine friendly store.
I do not recommended AT ALL but there is quite a few people using it so...
I keep saying, once the initial learning curve has been learned (just a couple of days), there is no other software (in every way) or tech support as great as Erol (www.erol.co.uk)
PLEASE NOTE that I have not relation with Erol other than being a super satisfied customer
Erol 2.5 required IE5+ the software installed an access runtime?!?
All Erol stores are all framed right? A technique which makes a spider/robot's job that little bit harder... this is NOT a good thing.
I said in an earlier post that a trial wasn't available - it is. 2.5 is available as a trial. I encourage anyone to download both Actinic catalog *and* the Erol trial. Choose the one that works for you.