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The Best Shopping Cart for <= $2500

ecommerce, e-commerce, shopping carts

     
8:04 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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To "Crazy_Fool" and others,

After reading some of your posts in the "ecommerce" section (found with a Google search for information about shopping carts), I think that you could help me with a suggestion.

Regarding e-commerce software, it would help me greatly if you would provide me with your opinion of the best 2 shopping cart/e-commerce software products available that:

(1) cost no more than $2,500 and,
(2) are as easy to use as possible

SoftCart is, I think, unnecessarily complex given the ease-of-use software advances other products like ShopSite are offering. I do know a bit of HTML and the very tiniest bit of CSS (I can change font and link styles via CSS but that is all). I want to be able to produce the "look" of the pages with HTML and CSS. ShopSite however, does not even offer features like, for example, an always viewable cart summary (i.e., without having to click on a "review cart" button) as many free shopping carts offer (e.g., osCommerce, Interchange, etc.).

Reading your earlier posts has caused me to think more about products that are "free" (e.g., osCommerce) versus those that cost more initially but will likely reap greater long term benefits. Since I am asking for your opinion, I hope that you will provide me with this help (i.e., via providing me with your forthrightly offered opinion in this matter). Please help me - I am relatively new at this and would like to learn from your experience and make the best investment (up to $2,500) possible.

[edited by: oilman at 10:59 pm (utc) on July 29, 2003]

[edited by: engine at 7:17 pm (utc) on July 31, 2003]
[edit reason] [edited by: oilman at 10:59 pm (utc) on July 29, 2003] and tidied up [/edit]

12:02 am on July 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Everyone,

It would be worth as much as $3,500 if the ease-of-use and features from $2,500 to $3,500 are significant. I am in a bit of a time crunch so learning from your experiences (everyone!) would be greatly appreciated.

An example of something similar to what I am trying to accomplish may be found at:

[grocerygateway.com...]

The "Getting Started Tutorial" link found on this page (the page associated with the link provided above) will show you a series of shopping cart pictures.

Those who know about such things please please help.

[edited by: engine at 7:18 pm (utc) on July 31, 2003]
[edit reason] tidied up [/edit]

11:49 am on July 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Use Interchange. It's free and open source it also has a great backend admin interface thats easy to use.

If you do that you can spend your budget on getting someone to customise Interchange for you.

[edited by: engine at 7:22 pm (utc) on July 31, 2003]
[edit reason] no promos, thanks See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]

12:56 am on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I have read a lot of forums, but can't seem to find what i'm looking for. My budget is <1000usd. I have been expanding rapidly and growing past my website limit. I need something that has both 2 empty text boxes were a customer can enter their name or something unique, as well as a couple text boxes. At the same time I wan't to start a database where a customer can choose 2 drop down boxes then it will go to a page with another drop down option. After that it has a selection of choices that matched the query.
I'll stickymail anyone that would like to see a url example.

Can any one recomend a good software that is capable of this?

Also I am looking into salescart pro and salescart sql. There is no info on this company in the webmasterworld forums. Has anyone tried them?

2:05 am on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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ecommerce_man >> ditto

Interchange [icdevgroup.org] is the ticket. DEMO [demo.icdevgroup.org]

2:16 am on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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ambassador, Welcome to WebmasterWorld!

I've used ClickCartPro for a number of sites, it's coming out with a new update this week - cost: $99. It's completely customizable look and feel wise. It will also export to Quickbooks or Peachtree with the latest version. It integrates with many gateways for credit card processing, allows for coupons, will also handle digital goods by download. There's a lot to it, but it's pretty simple to set-up (Perl and integrates easily with MySQL) if you've installed cgi scripts, and know some html, you can do it.

automotivetouchup: you can specify fields for custom user input and/or have options for each product... several ways to do what you mentioned.

Hope this helps.

LisaB

3:03 am on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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what is a better platform to work with linux? or NT? I feel brainwashed. Mixed feelings. Salespeople. Yuck.

Linux has less problems. Linux is more stable. Blah, Blah, Blah. Please don't leave us. Blah.
NT is the only way to go. You can do more with nt. Blah, Blah, Blah. I want my commision. Blah

Do any real people have an opinion?

Has any one tried salescart pro or sql?

LisaB supose you had a product that had 3 special widgets that was availible in 20,000 different colors. seperated by the year the widget was born, who made the widget, and the name on the widget. Any advise? I'm kind of new. I have been researching for a year on and off for a better way. I spent 5-6 hours today on Instant messaging with companies.
I have a hosted cart right now, and it is getting old, their server shows an error message sometimes for users and sometimes too slow.

3:22 pm on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well, I'm a real person, I think?

No seriously I'm a developer / consultant that's had a lot of experience with various ecommerce technologies both running on NT and Linux. I've been run the guantlet a few times when companies have needed to move technologies so I know here your coming from. The trick when specifying a technology and a platform is to analyse the needs and source the right solution. Sounds simple?

The problem is that most companies providing consultation on ecommerce and stuff are headed by sales people. They ussualy don't care about what's best for you, more about what's best for them as far as commisions go.

[edited by: engine at 7:22 pm (utc) on July 31, 2003]
[edit reason] no promos, thanks See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]

3:32 pm on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Do any real people have an opinion?

Anything but NT is the way to go. :)

I prefer FreeBSD for my servers, but linux is probably a more viable option if you're looking into a hosted solution. I administer servers that run FreeBSD, Linux, and Windows 2000. As far as stability goes, I've actually had more problems with hardware crashes than software. If you do go the windows route, try to get to Win2K at least. It's a good deal more stable than NT4. But you're just better off altogether avoiding the Microsoft solution and finding a good RedHat box.

3:57 pm on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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automotivetouchup, consider a program called productcart 2.0. It's does have two custom fields and is pretty cool. We have been trying it out and are thinking of moving over to it.
4:52 pm on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Marco, I just looked at productcart2.0. The website part with the full features list was crashed, It's bookmarked, but I'll have to check it out later

LisB ClickCartPro looked like a really good example. It is real flexible, linux or windows and has other cool options too. A blank box to add text multiple drop down boxes ect.

5:20 pm on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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automotivetouchup, I'll be glad to answer any questions.
5:25 pm on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I don't believe anyone has mentioned Miva (offered by WestHost for less than $20/month including hosting). I use it on 5 sites. Some people have said that Miva is difficult to optimize, but you can certainly use your own front end and take care of that problem (I did).
5:27 pm on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Folks I really need your experience-based recommendations please. Thank you ecommerce man but, as the earlier post mentioned, any required programming must be possible with only HTML and/or CSS and/or I will now add Visual Basic.

Is there no off-the-shelf ecommerce product, at any price, that can be completely customized with knowledge of only these three "languages" (i.e., HTML and/or CSS and/or Visual Basic)?

No pay per month options are acceptable - only buy it outright options please. The tantamount issue is <b>easy-to-use</b>.

[edited by: engine at 7:17 pm (utc) on July 31, 2003]
[edit reason] tidied up [/edit]

5:43 pm on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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ammbasador. I'm only a beginner so please don't laugh at this reply. I think any cart writtin in html only creates a link that is pointed to a hosted cart. Like paypal. everything is on their end and in whatever language. I have used securenetshop which is cut and paste html, but it works just like paypal but more options.(a hosted plan)That is why i'm leaving them.

LisaB Your recomendation looked close. It doesn't print labels, but seems to be a really good underpriced software. How does it merge with frontpage? Could you sticky me some of your urls created with this product?

dvduval Miva was the first place I checked. They seemed to be good but very limited. I contacted them and the software would not give me the right options. I am using a hosting company that offers it too.

5:56 pm on July 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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ambassador, I've only used Actinic and Productcart. I recommend you try productcart. Among other things I wanted it to work smoothly with my Frontpage site (not everything does) and to be easy to configure and use as I don't know VB, or even CSS for that matter, and just elementary html.

In fact I don't believe you even need to know html to use it. No recurring fees. No tying you down. They even give you all the asp code in case you wish to modify/personalise it in the future. And their support has been brilliant - even on a Sunday.

11:15 pm on Aug 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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-------
Aug 2, 2003

Does an ASP-based shopping cart have any inherent advantages over shopping carts by ShopSite and SoftCart? Some folks say yes - why?

If one knows a little about Visual Basic 6, can that knowledge plus HTML and nothing else allow one to build an ASP shopping cart?

Is ASP free?
-------

7:49 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If one knows a little about Visual Basic 6, can that knowledge plus HTML and nothing else allow one to build an ASP shopping cart?

I didn't realise you were looking to build an ASP shopping cart. That's a big job. Good luck.

If you are looking to use an existing asp package then no there's no cost to ASP itself. Ensure that your ISP supports the latest version.

Try renaming one of your existing html page from mypage.htm to mypage.asp and you'll see that you can open it in any browser. It's just like a normal html page but you can add bits of asp code into an asp page that allows it to connect to a database and get data from there, and other cool things like that.

10:32 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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-------
Aug 5, 2003

Thank you folks.

Tell me, I have just learned of the "Erol" shopping cart. The most recent vesrion of it looks pretty thorough. Has anyone tried the latest version of Erol? Does anyone know how Erol compares with ShopSite?

You are welcome to "sticky mail" me if that venue is more appropriate to convey your experience.
-------

10:47 pm on Aug 5, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Interesting no-one has mentioned Americart.

I realize that you are looking for an outright purchase, but at about $15 USD a month, that initial outlay you've described practically DOES buy the cart.

I chose it because I wanted work on selling my products and so far I absolutely love it. It's not for everyone, but it has some sweet cusomization that is just great.

A REALLY sweet feature I just noticed recently, but have not tried is the ability to set up your own affiliate code...

I'm certainly not an expert with this service, but it has a LOT of nice features that may suit your products. Since I have no idea what you sell, it may or may not work.

(Disclaimer-no affiliation with the people-just a simple-to-use cart for me.)

3:43 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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-------
Aug 11, 2003

If I were willing to spend $20,000 USD on a shopping cart/e-commerce solution on which to standardize for all my clients, and the software must be:

(1) an outright purchase - not pay per month
(2) off the shelf software - not hire to build it
(3) capable of operating with JavaScript off
(4) EASY TO USE
(5) feature rich
(6) able to produce search-engine-friendly pages
(7) available now!

You folks who have much experience in setting up various shopping carts, your advice is being sought here. Sticky mail me if you prefer. I will be checking for responses this afternoon.
-------

4:35 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Able Commerce is a very robust shopping cart and goes for about $1000. Not only is it available in ASP, but also Cold Fusion and JSP. The pages are search engine friendly. There is no customization necessary in most cases (but it depends if you have special needs). It's as easy to use as any other shopping cart. The admin interface is straightforward yet offers lots of flexibility.

I think we could say AbleCommerce does "all of the above".

3:17 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure what features you need that Miva Merchant + a few add-ons can't provide. Like DVDuval, I use MM for a number of sites; its a mature product with a great 3rd-party community.

For various reasons (mostly a concern about the ability of MM to handle many thousands of products), I went searching for an alternative for a new site. I looked seriously at about 4 different products.

I settled on CandyPress. Despite the goofy name, this ASP-driven system has easy-to-modify code and supports Access and MSSQL databases. I'm not an ASP guru, but I've been able to quickly and easily customize the system (and I don't mean just for appearance, but adding entirely new features). $49, but beats some packages at 10x the price. Plus, there is a community that eagerly helps out.

9:34 am on Aug 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We are developers for actinic catalog and in our opinion the software is easy to use, customisable, data dase driven and even prints out the invoices and packing lists saving you time and money.

The simplest ecommerce system with its own ftp.

Bek

10:57 pm on Sept 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I have been burned with free software before...ie Oscommerce and Interchange. Support was a huge issue for me, followed by the ability to customize

[edited by: TallTroll at 9:53 am (utc) on Oct. 2, 2003]
[edit reason] tidied up [/edit]

10:59 pm on Sept 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I cant believe someone recommended Miva or shopsite. Yuk!

pinkster

9:56 pm on Sept 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I've looked at a lot of different shopping carts both pay and open source. One thing that I found is all I checked were flawed at the product item and SKU level. Features like the ability to have different prices, weights of SKU items but also being able to group those into one item always seemed incorrect. (always some inherent restriction like, all sku items in this group have to be the same weight, size, etc)
When you are selling a shirt,it is a product item but you group say 5 size sku items into that product. Each sku item may have a different price, weight, etc.
I just found that the carts out there were not programmed by people that actually had to run the store, but by some programmer that thought they knew how things work.
I ended up writing my own store from scratch including, backend, exports to quickbooks and shipping software, currency conversion and credit card processing.
May not be as slick on the graphical side but processing, shipping and accounting is very easy.

[edited by: TallTroll at 10:32 pm (utc) on Sep. 15, 2003]
[edit reason] URL drop [/edit]

10:35 pm on Sept 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Actinic developer can now do all that and more, the earlier versions were pretty limited, but if you understand perl and html you can do lots and also make the pages very search engine friendly.