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I think its difficult to specify a Top Ten in this field though. Do you measure by number of sites? The developers revenue/month? Functionality? A combination?
Even the term "shopping cart" is open to question : I went to an exhibition recently to check out the market, and found that there are plenty of proprietory systems out there, needing a specified back end, or *nix only compatible, or so-called "enterprise-level" products where the srating price is around £30k, but precious little going on in the generic shopping cart, slap it on your site and away you go packaged sector
If you read the newspapers, you may also have picked up on the fact that a certain UK e-commerce developer is within a gnats whisker of being declared dead on its feet, as the cash pile is evaporating, and is due to run out before the projected break-even point. Their loss would probably distort the market. I also happen to know that another content managment/e-commerce house recently took another dip in the VC well, and has undergone some changes. Presumably if they don't start to perform, they are gone too, when the VC types press for a break up to recover their capital
There is a fair amount of segementation in the market too. What would be perfect for one company won't suit another (I know this is generally true, but I feel it is more pronounced in this area). What works for one vertical doesn't necessarily carry over anywhere else. New packages with brand new, never before seen features keep appearing due to the immaturity of the market. It isn't even possible to create a definitive "must-have" feature list that will make an e-comm package a success, so without a viable yardstick, how do you measure the market?
edit : typos
(edited by: TallTroll at 4:18 pm (utc) on April 3, 2002)
Any shopping cart search really has to start with a determination of the basic functions that are needed.
Many times the custimization is the bigger expense, falling into the 'web services' label and integrating with in house databases.
Nevertheless, I am interested in using a shopping cart that I know is going to be :
1. undergoing upgrades on a regular basis
2. offers support
3. Is going to be around for a long time
4. Full of features, minimizing the cost of customization
Yup. The low-end package i deal with already is
Other points :
1) All packages are doing this. The landscape changes so fast they have to, some customer driven, some planned development
2) Support is spotty, and largely related to the ethos of the development house. Some packages have Usenet groups and the like. Some are basically written by some bloke working out of his shed, and are only supported from 9 - 4:30 out of the coarse fishing season
3) Sheesh, you pays your money, you takes your choice. The previously alluded to e-comm house was THE player in the UK masrket a couple of years ago when I got seriously into the field. Now I think they'll be lucky to see next year. Size is no guarantee in this game
4) Pointless, IMO. You'll often end up paying for features you don't need, which complicate the customisation process. We are currently looking at doing 2 separate custom jobs based on our base package, a SQL conversion, and a version with better basket layout control, designed for a specific vertical market. They will each stand alone (although they could be combined... in theory). Mostly if you look closely you find the longest feature lists have the least real content. Its the programmers showing off what neat C++ routines they can write, intended mostly to boost their CV, and land them a cushy senior programmer/consultant role at a City institution or the like
In a normal situation, though, I don't think you'll be able to hack the code for Miva as you might on a cart you buy and install. Also, Miva doesn't seem to offer heavy fulfillment integration, though in truth I haven't done much with that area.
Yup, for now ;). Also InterShop and Shopcreator have a good rep (InterShop is a bit upscale), some of the c/c authorisation providers (WorldPay and PayPal come to mind), and various offerings from some of the big online brands BT, ntl - again, for the moment, Sage, Virgin etc
Then again, at least 2 companies we work with closely have written custom e-comm basket scripts, and I know that there are a number of members of this board who write e-comm s/ware also. Most of these smaller players will instal 10 - 100 copies of the software, then change direction to something more profitable, or lose interest, or something. The mere fact that we are having to cast around like this shows how fragmented the market is
now that i know a little bit of PHP, i've started installing osCommerce and hacking the front end to customise it. the more i do it, the easier it gets. if my workload eases a bit then i might just get the time to create a fully customisable version where users simply create the HTML for the top and a menu on the left and upload it as a separate file and it'll work.
if only there were 96 hours a day and 21 days a week ...
A couple of people I have talked to said they had some clients that used it and they thought it was a slick system. I have not had time to really sit and mess with it, mind you. But it is another lead.
Here is another thread to look at