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Which CMS for an online shop?

Business needs to alter products & prices without my help

     
3:06 pm on Jun 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've been asked to set up an online shop for a small printing business. The business needs a shopping cart, and since I've set up a similar shop before using Mal's shopping cart, I thought I'd use that again, and hook it up to a WorldPay account for this business.

But the business also needs a CMS (if that's the right buzzword) so that the business owner can add, edit and delete products for sale, and their prices, without my intervention.

It's this CMS part that I need some suggestions and help with. I have access to hosting that provides me with "mambo" CMS, though I can't tell if it's suited to this sort of project. Any good? Any others?

All advice most gratefully received!

2:15 pm on June 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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wouldn't any eCommerce application have a means for store owners to add, edit, and delete products easily?
2:57 pm on June 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Mals is just a remotely hosted shopping cart that bolts on to a website to enable webcommerce. Changing content probably requires making changes to both Mals and the user's website, a somewhat complex and time consuming task.

Wouldn't it be better to find shopping cart software that generates the site pages? That would be a better course if there were many products with frequent price changes. Special CMS software may not be required with some newer commerce packages.

I'd appreciate any comments on this subject too. How about Yahoo Stores in that regard? Do any cart packages come with a pretty idiot-proof owner interface?

3:05 pm on June 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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ecommercetemplates have an interface the most web-inept client will be able to use and can do little harm to.

The thing most of the clients I have set up with those templates, or indeed any other cart, find hardest is learning to make images smaller than about 600Kb. Once you get them over that hump they have no problems.

If they are not happy ftping images you will need to provide them with an upload interface also.

3:17 pm on June 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If the products do not have many attributes, try Drupal. There is an ecommerce module, but there is a limitation. The products must be listed separately - one product, one price. So different prices for different sizes or whatever would have to be listed as separate products. Organization with the taxonomy system would make a nice store. The CMS portion is pretty cool also. Zen Cart is a good shopping cart system if you need something more robust.
3:26 pm on June 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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thanks jsinger. So Mal's, though it works, is not recommended for any online shop where the owner wants to upgrade stock and prices relatively frequently.

So the recommendation is to find a server-side shopping cart that will enable just such updating by generating new pages with updated stock/prices (if I've got that right).

abbeyvet - thanks for the recommendation of ecommercetemplates -they look promising. Does anyone have any other recommendations?

3:40 pm on June 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The thing most of clients... find hardest is learning to make images smaller than about 600Kb.

Good point and not just in regard to non-techie site owners. The vast majority of smaller commerce sites have awful images: Fuzzy, bloated, uncropped. Because product images come from many sources and are rarely web-ready, streamlining that important function is difficult.

Ever look at images on Ebay? Yikes!

4:19 pm on June 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I should add that since the business is a printers its products will have many different attributes and price scales, etc.

Who is drupal? Not the .com..?

I guess what I really want is a shopping cart with the maximum of html editability to keep the brand design, with the minimum of effort to update stock/prices! Oh yes and to integrate with WorldPay.

I am struggling to configure OsCommerce, though I'm not sure yet whether it meets these criteria.

4:33 pm on June 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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osCommerce will break your heart.
6:45 pm on June 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Shopsite is very flexible. You can have tons of product/price attributes. Not a free cart by any means but good, established and well supported.
12:59 am on June 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I've heard really good things about mambo as far as its CMS abilities go. It also appears to have an e-commerce module called phpshop (http://www.mambo-phpshop.net/). Mambo will probably be way more flexible than most shopping cart solutions.
8:07 am on June 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I use Mal's for my smaller clients and I built a simple CMS catalog system so they can update their products, prices, upload new photos, add new products.

They don't have to update the info in two places, because Mal's is just the cart and ordering part. It's implementation is very close to PayPal - you just drop the HTML 'add to cart' buttons in.

It works quite well, and shouldn't be hard for you to build one, since you don't have to have all that shopping cart and logging in functionality, just a simple catalog.

2:21 pm on June 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the suggestions, but surely this doesn't exhaust the list of shopping cart packages that I could use? Am I right in thinking that OsCommerce and ecommercetemplates aren't very adaptable to the site's existing design? Has anyone experience of using X-Cart? Does anyone have any more suggestions, or know of a review site? As the business is a printers (business cards, booklets, etc) it will need to cope with situations where any one product will have many variations according to quantity and special finishes, etc.
3:04 pm on June 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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there are lots of sites that list scripts, try hotscripts - I also posted a review of Xcart in this thread: [webmasterworld.com...]
5:16 pm on June 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The site that I'd like to set up would have to have the same shop cart ability as that used on this site: [rcs.plc.uk...] . Does this look like I'll need more scripting than the average shopping cart provides?
5:21 pm on June 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Am I right in thinking that OsCommerce and ecommercetemplates aren't very adaptable to the site's existing design

In the case of ecommercetemplates you are absolutely wrong. Just look for the generic template which is essentialy blank. It takes about 20 mins tops to slot into your own design.

3:07 am on June 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

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um...I think 20 minutes is kind of unrealistic. I mean, I guess it depends on how customized and streamlined you want your design to be. I've seen a lot of oscommerce sites that you can really tell are oscommerce, they all look the same, even though they've done a little bit of 'design' to them. and I've seen completely redone websites that you would never know were oscommerce unless you look closely at the source code, and i'm sure those took weeks to do by a design firm. so it's always a range.

nevdev, you'll need to demo several different scripts to get a feel for how easy they are to customize, both in terms of the design and extending the code for custom features.

You might look for a script that is especially made for print shops. Scripts like oscommerce are made for "normal" products, which have a one to one correspondence between photo, price, and item. The page you posted has a lot of different options all of which modify the price. I think it would take a lot to try to make oscommerce work with that product model - it's not the normal product pattern. I would recommend either finding a script that is made especially for print shops, or have someone build you a custom system.