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Shopping cart reccomendations please

     
10:43 pm on Apr 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

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We are currently scoping out a new all-in-one e commerce site for our stores and would like some candid feedback on some of the more prominent ones. First, some background on what we have/need:

- We have beginner to intermediate level programming and graphic design skills.
- We run moderately busy sites (less than 1000 visitors per day) that generate moderate sales per day (less than $1000)
- Our price points are low ($20-$50), margins are decent, and we tend to operate in the "impulse buy" world of online shoppers.
- We are spending WAY too much time now with order processing, inventory control, shipping, site maintenance, and other activites not related to the growth and promotion of our stores.
- We like flexibility, but do not want to spend the majority of our time programming. For example, we want to be able to shift the look/feel of the site, add specials/coupons, highlight products, etc...

Now, what we've been looking at:

- MonsterCommerce
- Volusion
- StoreFront
- Yahoo
- X Cart

Any help is definitely appreciated as we do not want to make a change only to have to switch again 1 month later. What have you found to be major pros and cons of these? Do you have good or bad experiences with them? please do not flame one of them due to a single incident. We'd rather hear facts supported by opinions than the other way around.

Thank you all in advance

4:20 am on Apr 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Xcart might be good option, btw You should also check zencart/cubecart.
12:03 pm on Apr 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I, and several others here, would vouch for Shopsite. Backend software is available from Stoneedge. Very flexible products with excellent handholding from the companies and large, active group of users.
4:19 am on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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ablecommerce
softslate commerce
cs-cart
11:10 am on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Xcart is very good
Great support
Many coders are ready to tweak it.
Further any Xcart ordered custom work is highly affordable.

digicam

5:30 pm on Apr 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I can tell you from experience that Storefront6 is a badly programmed nightmare, tons of service packs that need to be installed for example and poor features without expensive addons - they think a six stage checkout procedure is a vote winner for example, so you have to spend a few hundreds more dollars on a addon from a developer to correct this flaw - no way, other things like the inability to display subcategories is laughable in 2006 also no breadcrumbs ect. ect.

I have spoken some developers who write addons for Storefront - these guys obviously know the code and they all say the same thing - it is badly coded.

I have looked at X-Cart and quite liked it, the features look very complete and the support seemed good, the technology did not personally suit my needs as I do not know php but dont let that put you off it is probably the best on the list. Dont know about the others you mentioned.

cheers

4:59 am on May 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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thank you everyone for the feedback and suggestions. For us, it has come down to Volusion, Monster, and X-Cart.

We are leaning towards Volusion because we feel it has a solid balance of built in functionality, ability to customize easily, inventory control, responsive support, and a decent user forum.

We liked X Cart, but just want to get away from time hogging programming and finding Programmers (sorry, no offense meant).

Monster just is too new, with some major limitations for tracking abandoned orders and inventory control.

Thanks again

7:01 am on May 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

I am a hardcore open source believer so i would recommend oscommerce.

and trust me installing oscommerce is easy unlike the popular perception.

The good things is the scalability and evrytime you need to add something cool just log on to one of those freelance sites and get a php programmer.

I have worked with everything under the sun and i liked oscom so much i got 4 php developers and started work on a better version oscommerce which would have the ease and global scalability of ecommerce solution provided by a volusion or venda.

and believe me im more thn glad to take this decision.

Try oscommerce and see if it works what have you gotta loose?

Adi

[edited by: lorax at 11:55 am (utc) on May 1, 2006]
[edit reason] edited sig [/edit]

12:01 pm on May 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>> trust me installing oscommerce is easy

The install may be easy but customizing the spaghetti code isn't worth it. I used to be a big fan of osCommerce but after working with it for years I've realized there are better alternatives out there.

12:03 pm on May 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"For example, we want to be able to shift the look/feel of the site, add specials/coupons, highlight products, etc..."

You can do all this (for free) with OS-commerce. The learning curve is pretty easy. I also suggest the Open Source path.

8:30 pm on May 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I used to be a big fan of osCommerce but after working with it for years I've realized there are better alternatives out there.

like ...?

10:49 pm on May 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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X-Cart for one. It's a great alternative to osC and comes with a robust feature set straight out of the box. Skinning and customization are relatively easy.
12:00 am on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have been looking at X-Cart too. Along with others but I keep coming back to that cart. I read that you can have html pages or php pages. Could someone explain how the html pages work and if they require any thing specific? I currently have individual product pages plus cgi with an older cart furnished by my host that is now obsolete.
11:31 am on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I looked at Volusion, but don't like not hosting myself and hate the monthly fees
Take 1/2 of that Volusion investment amount
Email the X-cart dev for a quote they will deliver your very own solution at a very reasonable cost and you OWN it
1:34 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use AspDotNetStorefront at my site. It's nice to have the source code, because you'll eventually want to tweak the functionality of the cart to fit your business needs.

I can host the site on my own server, and besides my monthly costs for a business DSL connection, my additional monthly cost is zero. Highly recommended.

2:00 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>> explain how the html pages work

From what I've seen (I have no installs using this as yet) it's an export tool within the Admin area. You can export the entire PHP version out to an HTML version. This is for the catalog portion only. The checkout process still relies on PHP as does the cart (I'm pretty sure about this but not positive). There is a mod that provides SE friendly URLs too if that's the concern.

digicam

2:33 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yes, I like Xcart as they have plenty of support, I would not touch open source unless you want to be a code jockey.

In my view you can either be a professional webmaster and run a business to make money or you can be a code jockey, spending time fixing things because you like playing with technology - nothing wrong if that is the direction you want to go in.

But I do not think that open source ecommerce software is the professional way to do business, spending a few hundred dollars on a supported cart such as xcart is an easy decision imo.

cheers

2:42 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I guess my concern is that I have nearly 400 product pages in my current site which are all html with form links to the cart. My current cart uses cgi not sure what language..it was included with hosting. The cart creates on the fly pages - dynamic - so I have that in my robots text file for the duplicate content issue. The cart is obsolete, meaning there is no support for that cart anymore other than my host. I want to be able to use a cart that will allow me to keep the pages I have because most place very well is serps, plus the time factor of creating all new pages with php which I have NO knowledge. Also looking for more flexibilty with catagory and product listings. I am not a real experienced designer and try to keep things simple. I really find this shopping cart search very time consuming and confusing. A friend suggested that I could gleen some good, solid and experinced info and help in this forum. So far it's been a pleasant experience..thank you!
2:53 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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But I do not think that open source ecommerce software is the professional way to do business, spending a few hundred dollars on a supported cart such as xcart is an easy decision imo.

Thanks because to me all os commerce sites all look the same...I don't mean to slight anyone it's just the way they appear to me. I looked at skins/templates and I haven't been able to find any that fit my biz. I am not a code junkie and I still struggle a bit with some hand coding so having to learn php would be over the top for me at this time. I read that the support for X-Cart is very good. Something that I know I would need.

3:51 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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... because to me all os commerce sites all look the same

That's because most developers don't take the time to customise them. OSCommerce sites can be readily customised. My developer does this for me all the time.

4:31 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I am also looking for a new cart. We have 1200+ static html pages, over 5000 products and an antiquated cart. The cart code is proprietary and the owner will not upgrade to todays needs nor will he let us make the necessary changes ourselves. The current cart is pearl/cgi. Without completely rewriting the site, I think an open source cart is the only way for us to go. My tech says if I find one that suits to say 75%, he will fix the rest. I seem to only find carts that are database driven. Any reccomendations?
5:45 pm on May 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Carey, you could get someone to modify a search script such that it would crawl the existing site and populate the database of your new cart with all of the info found on those HTML product pages. It's actually rather simple to do - just time consuming.
12:38 am on May 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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digicam - i think you hit the nail on the head. There appears to be 2 very distinct camps in this forum, those that are programmers and those that are running a business. Nothing wrong with either of those 2, just different priorities.

for myself, as I am trying to run a business, grow it, and remove myself from the grind of coding, a pre-packaged, non-OS solution is probably best.

2:57 am on May 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Have you looked at ecommercetemplates, easy setup and product management, flexible design.
8:21 am on May 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have just completed a site using an Ecommercetemplate and it was dead easy. This may be the way for you to go and it will not cost you a fortune.
10:44 am on May 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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BDW, what is the story with ecommtpl, it can't be "hand" modified, one should only use a WYSIWYG?
Looks like the only versions they offer are built for specific editors.

In reply to the split forum position
I belong to a third category. I code for myself, customers and run my biz with or without E-comm solution.

12:07 pm on May 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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BDW, what is the story with ecommtpl, it can't be "hand" modified, one should only use a WYSIWYG?
Looks like the only versions they offer are built for specific editors.

Yes they can be hand modified and they provide a generic version than you can easily edit. They recommend that you buy the Dreamweaver version because it contains very little proprietary code.

1:59 pm on May 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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what is the story with ecommtpl, it can't be "hand" modified
I have used text editors for both design and code editing. the ecommercetemplates shopping cart has separated design from code making it easy to edit or intergrate into your own design. When using FrontPage I mostly use text editor when working with the php version.
2:39 pm on May 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you both for of your input

Next time I will need a cart I will look also at those templates

2:53 am on May 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Dreamhost just dropped oscommerce from their installer because of security issues and they dropped Miva because of poor support. Guess what they have now? Zen-Cart :)
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