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Shopping Carts - Need Suggestions / Advice


6:12 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I am trying to decide on the best shopping cart solution for my company.
I have much experience with frontpage and a good grasp of operating computers.
I am not afraid to learn new things, but I do not want to dedicate my life to it.

We are a company that sells primarly wholesale to retailers. Our current website
is basically a static catalog. Our prices shown are "retail" prices, our wholesale
customers get a discount off the retail price (depending on wholeslae level). I have
made many sales from the website at retail prices to end-users and want to continue doing so.

I have looked at over 50 shopping cart solutions and most do not meet our needs.
However a few come very close, but with some comprimises

>Here is my wish list...

We offer over 5000 items, so the site must be database driven. I can export inventory and
customer details from our current order entry system to excel and convert to .csv etc.

We need to provide wholesale customers with a log-in so that they may see their price.
Additionally each price level may be offered a discount for quantities of specfic items.
For example:

Item # 16612 - Widget Thingy

Retail Price- $10.00
Retail Price- $ 9.00 For 3 or More
Wholesale A - $ 6.00
Wholesale A - $ 5.50 For 10 or More
Wholesale B - $ 5.00
Wholesale B - $ 4.50 For 5 or More

Basically, a look-up table for each item.

Upon check-out we need to offer different payment options for retail vs. wholesale customers.
Retail would be credit cards only.
Wholesale would also be offered COD and Open Account Terms (established)

We also would like the system to remember customers previous orders and allow them to add
selected items from previous orders to current orders.

Real time credit card processing is not neccessary for wholesale level, but may be needed for
retail. We have established merchant accounts.

We also need to be able to create static pages for info such as trade show schedules,
about us etc.

I would also like to be able to add pages with .pdfs for my customers to download instrucion
manuals, sales data sheets etc.
Some of these pages need to only be available to wholesale customers.

>Some other wishes...

Support for more than one image per item - like a click for details page.

Items can be listed in more than one category.

Generation (automatic) of pages for search engines. (not sure how this works?)

Some sort of tracking tools for visitors (really like to know what they are searching for
and looking at on our site and where they come from or how they found us)

Coupon support - Discounts for customers

We do a few custom engraved items where I may need an inscription field for an item.

Nobody has to register before adding any items to cart. And you are not taken away from
the page to add an item to the cart (I just love those side bar mini cart types)
Removing items from cart is a simple click , not change qty to '0' (drives me nuts)
Also a customer who is wholesale, but does not login can login at checkout and item
prices will be updated.

Advanced search (within site) - by item number, description, item type and I would like to be
able to add hidden keywords (Like common misspellings)

Ebay support - Submit listings? Customer Checkout? We have sold on ebay before and may
go back at some time.

>Budget / Costs

This is the great unknown, our customers are used to a printed catalog and phoning or faxing
orders to us. (which we will continue to do). I want the website to attract some new customers
by using it in connection with some bulk snail mail pieces as well as new trade magazine
advertisments (i.e. "see our website for more info).

Intially we do not want to spend a kings ransom on the site.
Perhaps no more than $ 1000.00 for software and $100 / mo Hosting.
Do not want to blow the budget on support either.

I also do not want to spend the next six months setting this thing up.

Anybody have good workable solutions / experience / suggestions?

My top choices at the moment:

x-cart : PROS - looks real good, inexpensive, plenty of outside upgrades available
CONS - Not too sure about support & setting it up.

Monster Commerce : PROS - Looks good also.
CONS - Locked into their programming, at their mercy for hosting, customizing.

Storfront.net : Seems expensive, I didn't dig too deep.

PDGsoft : Also needs further review

I know that some items might not be possible under my current budget but I may want to add them

Thanks in advance for any advice. And sorry for the long post.


10:57 pm on Jan 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to the forums keyman!

Are you look for an ASP cart?


1:19 am on Jan 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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ASP , PHP , AC/DC its all french to me!

I am however willing to learn.

What are advantages / disadvantages to each.

I know ASP Requires windows
And PHP is unix/linux correct?

Beyond that, I just need it to work.


1:32 am on Jan 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hey keyman,
We are in the same boat. :)
I'm aslo looking for asp.net shopingcart component.

Would appreciate if anyone could recommand me any good product.
Prefer to get some classes components rather than whole customized shopfront.

Most of the functionalities required are same as keymans, except that i like to have it in asp.net with sql db driven.


4:54 am on Jan 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Usually ASP in ran on Windows & PHP on *NIX. Now PHP can be ran on Windows and some ASP can be on *NIX if the proper programs are installed.

We mainly deal with ASP and Windows hosting - but you will find a lot of programmers that prefer PHP.


6:04 am on Jan 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've been looking for a new shopping cart for my site for a couple of months now.

Most recently I've been looking closely at VP-ASP shopping cart. It seems to be capable of doing most if not all of what you need. I'm not sure about the different payment options for wholesale versus retail though.

I've been looking for a cart that integrates into my existing website and that one allows it with very little changes to my existing pages. There are various levels of the product so you can purchase the one that has the features you need.

[edited by: lorax at 1:26 pm (utc) on Jan. 19, 2005]
[edit reason] removed URL [/edit]

12:42 pm on Jan 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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VPASP is somewhat ok - but if any customized coding issues are needed, it is a bear to work with. This was the biggest reason we decided to just build our own for hosting clients


3:45 pm on Jan 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Use Interchange. It's a perl driven open source ecommerce solution.

Allows for everything that you've listed above except for eBay support (but somebody actually built a module to integrate eBay auctions into it). There's a huge support base out for this software, takes about 20 mins to install, and can be set to run almost all on MySQL databases. Very very good software.

The only downside is that it has a bit of a steep learning curve (took me about 2 months to learn it). But very very good stuff :)

[edited by: lorax at 4:28 pm (utc) on Jan. 19, 2005]
[edit reason] removed URL [/edit]

9:03 am on Jan 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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osCommerce (open source) with a couple of free add-ons can do everything you want. I started using it about 2 years ago, was using Mals-e cart plus my own HTML.

Mals-e was great for what I needed, but osCommerce was everything I never knew I needed.

Enough preaching - - check it out for yourself.


12:17 am on Jan 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies...

I am currently leaning towards oscommerce and zen cart looks good too.

How hard is it to get someone to set-up os or zen to fit my needs?


12:48 am on Jan 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Welcome to WebmasterWorld keyman,
Well there used to be a forum where you can meet up with developers at the osCommerce website. You can visit the osCommerce forums anyhow and after a bit of time you should be able to determine who's a developer and who's a shop owner. ;)

The more you know about what you want the better off you'll be when speaking with a developer. Judging by what your first post you seem to be pretty well there. Bare in mind there are so many options and while osComm is operational out of the box it should be modified to suit your needs and to improve the user interface which benefits from the addition of some of the contributions available.

7:01 am on Jan 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What Lorax said is right on target. It seems like you have already laid out what you want for right now but look at what you may want in the future as well...try to think at least 6 months to a year out in your planning and make sure you have the functionality when you start or you will find yourself regretting it later.

I will admit I can't remember how I got along without some of the tools I have now but that was my own fault for not planning far enough out.

By the way, I suggest OsCommerce and either find a good developer or if you have the time and patience learn how to mod it yourself. I can think of contributions available now that will provide you with just about everything on your list. And it's open source!

....I just read over my post...I need to stop late night posting I ramble too much

8:29 am on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If you're looking to hire someone, a new site just opened up (a week ago or so) specifically for shop owners to discuss paid projects with developers.

See osCommerce Freelancers for details.

Alternately, just post your questions on forums.osCommerce and there are many many folks (myself included) who are happy to help.


[edited by: lorax at 12:59 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2005]
[edit reason] removed DN & URL [/edit]

4:56 pm on Mar 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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oscomerce is great but you can get that with about 41 contributions (addons) already installed. i'm using creloaded.

[edited by: lorax at 6:14 pm (utc) on Mar. 8, 2005]
[edit reason] removed specifics [/edit]

12:41 pm on Apr 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

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How have you made out in your decision for a ecommerce platform. We have very similar requirements and I am leaning toward xcart instead of oscommerce because of the support.

Several people have recommended xcart and zencart to me.

Let us know how it is going.

5:46 pm on Apr 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

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why not have a look at the b2bparadise. this is a good shopping cart.its hosted ecommerce solution.and i think it suits your needs.
best of luck for your venture.

E-commerce works better when it involves reliability

[edited by: lorax at 7:46 pm (utc) on April 12, 2005]
[edit reason] removed link [/edit]


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