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Ecommerce Forum

    
E-commerce packages under $5000
looking for a stand-alone package with the features of Yahoo Store
psage




msg:656412
 12:07 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

We currently have a store hosted at Yahoo Store, but their performance has been horrible lately, and this is causing us to lose sales.

So I am looking for an alternative, in software we purchase and host ourselves. I know how to run servers, so that part of it is not an issue.

Part of what makes this a little more complicated is that we are using a fulfillment company which is highly intergrated with Yahoo Store. They say they could do an XML integration with some other software, but no packages I've seen have the ability to do all of:

- authorize the customer's credit card in real time (not charge it) when the order is placed
- transmit orders to our system in realtime or at least frequently, over a secure link in XML
- transmit AVS approval status with the orders (so their system can decide whether to fill the order or place it on HOLD)
- accept status information back from our system when orders are shipped, and use that information to charge the customer's credit card.
- communicate with our system to obtain realtime inventory information to show the customer that the product is in stock (not an absolute necessity but nice)
- Keep our existing URLs (which are linked to and indexed)
- Use static pages or something which looks just like static pages (to search spiders) - this could be done via mod_rewrite in Apache if necessary, but that's not ideal

These seem to be the features which are difficult to find. Of course we also want to be able to:

- do complete page customization
- get really good statistics so we can track where links are coming from, cart abandonment rate, conversion rate, etc.
- have URLs with no query strings in them, which are SEO friendly
- support affiliate programs
- etc.

If we have to spend a LOT more to get these features, it would be useful to know too, although $5K is about what I can budget.

Things we've looked at which won't do what we need:
- oscommerce
- zen cart
- x-cart (without extensive custom modifications)
- Shopsite (almost what we need, but can't modify orders!)
- any hosted-only service

Thanks for any recommendations!

 

grandmf




msg:656413
 1:39 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Take a look at make-a-store. They will write custom software for you, but its not cheap. It may be cheaper and better if you write some of these requirements yourself (if possible) when you get a cart system.

[edited by: lorax at 6:14 pm (utc) on June 23, 2005]
[edit reason] removed URL [/edit]

psage




msg:656414
 3:01 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

make-a-store's featured sites load quite sluggishly for me, and their URLs are in the form:

<snip>

I want to be able to have URLs in the form:

http://www.mystore.com/simpleURL.html

Thanks for the suggestion though.

[edited by: lorax at 3:18 pm (utc) on June 23, 2005]
[edit reason] no URLs please [/edit]

Essex_boy




msg:656415
 4:14 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Check you mail.

grandmf




msg:656416
 5:09 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

just use mod_rewrite. Im using make-a-store and have mod rewrite. My URL's are in your format. There is an option (may cost money) for the cart itself to alter urls so there is no cgi in them.

jsinger




msg:656417
 5:18 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

- Shopsite (almost what we need, but can't modify orders!)

What does that mean? Remember that Shopsite integrates well with Stoneedge order management software

psage




msg:656418
 8:52 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

You can't modify orders once they are entered with Shopsite.

We don't and can't use Stoneedge because we use a fulfillment house.

The orders have to go to them, and the customer wants a change, we have to modify it on the server so that it will be charged properly when we capture the funds.

psage




msg:656419
 9:11 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks Essex_boy, but your friend's software seems fairly rudimentary and I gave up waiting for the checkout after about 30 seconds.

psage




msg:656420
 11:00 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the idea, but we do need something we can host ourselves. Shared hosting is what we are trying to get rid of, since the slowness is killing us.

Also, the <snip> site you posted is maybe not a great example, because none of the featured items on their main page work. Two give me blank screens, one gives me a screen full of code.

[edited by: lorax at 1:28 am (utc) on June 27, 2005]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]

CSE_Monkey




msg:656421
 11:19 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have not used their service, but you may want to investigate the storefront option from Pricegrabber. Their dashboard and tools are top notch on the comparison shopping side. I don't know how well this translates to their e-commerce hosting platform, but it is probably worth a check.

Cheers!

[edited by: lorax at 1:27 am (utc) on June 27, 2005]
[edit reason] No commercial URLs please [/edit]

marknwm




msg:656422
 11:47 pm on Jun 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

BEWARE: Sir, please be honest...
You should not use this forum for bogus advertisement of your own software, and by putting down the real good ones.
Anyway, good luck with your adventure.

psage




msg:656423
 12:02 am on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

marknwm: your comment is odd because:

- We have no software. We are trying to decide what software to BUY.
- I specifically asked for solutions we could host ourselves and you posted a suggestion for one that didn't match that requirement.

[edited by: lorax at 1:30 am (utc) on June 27, 2005]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]

psage




msg:656424
 12:04 am on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

CSE_Monkey:

Thanks for the idea, but that is another hosted-only solution.

We need software we can host ourselves.

tolachi




msg:656425
 8:14 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

You might want to check out lagarde/storefront. They came up on the radar recently when I was looking around for e-commerce software. I'm not sure they have every feature you want but they seemed to be fairly comprehensive.

psage




msg:656426
 10:09 pm on Jun 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the suggestion.

I called them and had a detailed conversation with one of their customization reps (what we want would require customization), and he quoted me a price somewhat higher than our $5K limit.

So it's still possible, but I'd like to search more to find something a bit more reasonable.

Another issue with Storefront is that they're ASP .net and run only on Windows servers, which are notorious for their security issues and stability problems.

He did say they are writing a version in c which will run on Linux, but had no timeframe.

So I'm still looking for more suggestions!

julesn




msg:656427
 8:32 pm on Jun 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm looking for something very similar to what you describe in terms of order and payment handling, static looking pages, and fulfillment web services integration.

It's frustrating that whilst there are plenty of very able "store fronts" out there, most of them lack basic order processing requirements that IMHO every serious merchant should be using.

It's no surprise that on-line fraud rates are rising, when merchants are happy to accept that their $99 e-commerce software has presented them with a "paid" order, and does not appreciate further checks (AVS, CV2, and the all important common sense..) that are available and should be used.

And why do credit card companies allow the PSPs to promote "charge only" services rather than insist on only authorisation of the card at the time of placing the order, with the charge being made only once the order (including card AVS and CV2 responses) have been checked, stock availability has been confirmed, and the goods are ready to despatch etc.

Anyway, rant over ;)

Back to the original question. I've been looking the following software to replace our existing (in house developed) e-commerce applications:

Make-A-Store
Evolve from Lynx Internet
Product Cart from Early Impact
Aceflex
eShop from Aivea

All the above would require customization to meet our needs, but this should be possible within your budget.

Make-a-store is full of features and I'd probably jump at it apart from all their sites seem very slow from here (accepting though that I am in UK and they are in USA), so would particularly appreciate any comments on its speed from any users.

I'd really appreciate any feedback from users or any of the above applications!

Regards,

jules.

[edited by: lorax at 1:32 am (utc) on June 27, 2005]
[edit reason] removed DNs [/edit]

grandmf




msg:656428
 2:37 pm on Jun 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

julesn,

I have been running make-a-store for 1 1/2 years, it always has been fast. I dont know what is going on with some of their 'featured sites'. We have over 5000 products. It has a lot of features that you can get with it, and they will even customize / write something for you if you want. Almost everything about it is customizable. We just have the bare-bone make-a-store system and it works great for us. We have made a lot of our own modules for it, since that works better for us.

psage




msg:656429
 9:25 am on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

JulesN,

Thanks for the tips.

I looked at these:

Make-A-Store
- The sample stores load well on my connection
- The URLs are not static, a possible SEO problem:
http://www.AN-EXAMPLE-SITE-NAMEcom/cgi-bin/category.cgi?item=FM300SET&type=store
(hopefully the moderators will notice that the above URL is not a real one).
- They charge extra for every feature, and some features are subscription only at quite a high cost (over time), such as the statistics.
- It appeared to lack features which should be standard, such as shipping costs based on number of items, dollar amount, etc.
- It was not clear how plug-ins can be written for it, or how it can be customized.

Evolve from Lynx Internet
Product Cart from Early Impact
Aceflex
eShop from Aivea

- These are all ASP, which I would like to stay away from (unless they can run reliably on Unix ASP)
- The one which seemed the most interesting of those was Lynx.

Any other suggestions?

[edited by: lorax at 12:17 pm (utc) on June 28, 2005]
[edit reason] delinked example [/edit]

julesn




msg:656430
 10:04 pm on Jun 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Make-A-Store has many sites with "static looking" pages for SEO, achieved by URL rewriting in the web server. I'm not sure why they have this as a webservice with a monthly charge, but will be asking them to clarify.

I agree about the issue with monthly charges for extra features being an issue. I guess you get what you pay for to an extent, and if it was a perfect solution that ticked all my "required" boxes then I wouldn't object to paying a fair price for it.

I also had some reservations about using ASP or ASP.NET - however my decision needs to be based on the best product for the business, and not my preference for open source, linux etc. I'm assured by people that know more than me that many of my concerns about reliability are outdated :)

One of my main requirements (integrating with the fulfillment warehouse) will probably need ASP.NET anyway to fully implement. A lot of future developments such as eBay and Amazon integration would, I gather, be easier to achieve in ASP.NET. Incidentally whilst make-a-store is primarily written in perl, a lot of the optional features are in ASP.NET.

Lynx Evolve has a new version due soon, but again this is ASP and ASP.NET based. Whilst not the most feature packed option, the advantage for me with them is they are UK based and under 3 miles away from my home!

I could gve you a list of 5 or 10 other applications I'm looking at, but they are all ASP or ASP.NET based.

If you really can't face using ASP(.NET) then you'll find hundreds of other applications by searching on google for "php ecommerce", "perl ecommerce", "java ecommerce" etc..

psage




msg:656431
 9:21 am on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

One of my main requirements (integrating with the fulfillment warehouse) will probably need ASP.NET anyway to fully implement. A lot of future developments such as eBay and Amazon integration would, I gather, be easier to achieve in ASP.NET.

This isn't true. We have both fufillment and Amazon integration and it's done through XML, which is the standard way to do such things.

ASP.NET was promoted by Microsoft as a big alternative to open XML methods, but it hasn't caught on for those uses (nor should it).

julesn




msg:656432
 11:55 pm on Jun 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

I didn't say eBay and Amazon could only be achieved through .NET, just that I had been informed it would be easier.

If you remain insistent against hosting on Windows platform, but the only software suitable is based on .NET then I gather the Mono Project [mono-project.com] are working on a solution to host .NET applications on other platforms.

Have you found any other packages you can contribute back to help me?

jules.

[edited by: lorax at 11:57 am (utc) on July 1, 2005]
[edit reason] relinked [/edit]

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