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Old 10-18-2006, 10:52 AM   #1
dthomsen8
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Default Shopping Cart Packages

Any advice on shopping cart packages for me?

I have a good prospective client with a web site hosted by Godaddy.com with her products, but no shopping cart, and another prospective client (the bookstore, see the thread elsewhere) who already has the Godaddy.com shopping cart.

I have to learn more about shopping carts, and quickly.
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Old 10-18-2006, 02:03 PM   #2
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Try www.zencart.com. Very popular open source ("free") package. Pretty easy to do the basic install which gives you a running website quickly, but requires knowledge of CSS to redesign. The PHP and mysql database stuff is well taken care of automatically so you don't need to know too much about that stuff. If you know some Linux you can get webhosting at very decent prices, or set up your own VPS.
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Old 10-18-2006, 02:29 PM   #3
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Default Zen Cart Package

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Originally Posted by roaryg View Post
This package looks good to me. I do know some PHP and MySQL if needed, and I can handle some changes in CSS, too. I have been publishing on Linux web hosts for years, and never needed to know anything much about Linux that the web hosting company tech staff couldn't handle for me, no charge.

From poking around briefly in the ZenCard web site forum, I see that PayPal is often used with ZenCard. I am familiar with PayPal from a consumer viewpoint, but I am not sure how well it works out for a merchant with a shopping cart. It is a good way to avoid the fees and complexity associated with merchant credit card processing, though.

Do you have any clients using the Zen Cart package?
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dthomsen8 View Post
I have to learn more about shopping carts, and quickly.
It's a steep learning curve. A lot depends on the budget and the server. Relatively easy to learn and layout is Actinic catalog, but it does cost $499 for a single domain licence. There are a lot of other choices at around the same cost or more.

If looking for free there is Oscommerce the development of which goes in fits & starts, but does function reasonable well, and has a good range of plugins. Zencart is based around Oscommerce with most of the plugins pre-installed, but does suffer from the same issues as Oscommerce in the slow development of the main program core. Both have good and active support forums.

Also free is VirtueMart, which is a Joomla! component under continual development and also with a useful support forum, although most of the effort goes on development rather than on answering the basic questions from potential users which get asked over and over again!

Paypal offer some cart solutions, including a shop/cart builder, so it may be worth poking around there.

For a shop with just a few products there is a simple solution provided by Mals E-com which is run on an external site, but easy to set up and use. This can be free to use if only using customer not present card processing or the basic PayPal system. And a small annual cost if using another card processing facility.

I use VirtueMart or Mals for my e-commerce solutions. With Mals I provide product /price updates etc, and for VM, as it is based on Joomla, the client can handle all their updates.

With any cart system you will need to keep up to date with security patches etc.

   
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Old 10-19-2006, 06:24 AM   #5
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I don't do web development (I'm in prepress) but I am building a zencart at palestream.com as an offshoot of my ebay business. Nothing to look at as it is down for construction. Go to the zencart website in the forums, there are tons of people participating, and most have links to their zencarts. You'll be able to see a wide variety of them.

Also try webhostingtalks.com (hope that name is right, I don't have the link handy), a very large bbs dedicated to webhosting and evaluations of all the shopping cart packages.
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Old 10-19-2006, 09:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roaryg View Post
Also try webhostingtalks.com (hope that name is right, I don't have the link handy), a very large bbs dedicated to webhosting and evaluations of all the shopping cart packages.
Take off the last 's' and you've got it: webhostingtalk.com

   
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Old 10-19-2006, 09:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dthomsen8 View Post
From poking around briefly in the ZenCard web site forum, I see that PayPal is often used with ZenCard. I am familiar with PayPal from a consumer viewpoint, but I am not sure how well it works out for a merchant with a shopping cart. It is a good way to avoid the fees and complexity associated with merchant credit card processing, though.
Sorry, forgot to mention this: Paypal plugs into zencart quite easily, as do most of the major merchant accounts. Paypal in a zencart works just like on ebay, it takes the user to the paypal website where they pay. When paid paypal signals your zencart that the transaction is done. Paypal is good for a site with a low volume of transactions as you just have your transaction fee (there is usually a basic monthly fee for a merchant account). The merchant accounts are quite expensive in comparison to Paypal if you only do a few transactions a month, they start to pay for themselves as your volume increases.
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Old 10-19-2006, 11:39 AM   #8
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Default Steep Learning Curve

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Originally Posted by Kelvyn View Post
It's a steep learning curve. A lot depends on the budget and the server. Relatively easy to learn and layout is Actinic catalog, but it does cost $499 for a single domain licence. There are a lot of other choices at around the same cost or more.
If there is a lot to learn to set up a shopping cart, and the client cannot afford a $499 package, I think I have to be cautious about setting up a site for a very non-technical potential client, especially since the client's handmade products face stiff competition from a great many existing competitors on the web. There are a great many small competitors in her market, making reasonable search engine or directory ranking difficult to achieve.

The Philadelphia bookstore potential client already has a good shopping cart and a service that updates the data, so that situation is quite different from the non-technical potential client. That situation has been described elsewhere in this forum.

To me, one advantage of taking on either of these clients is learning how to do the work for other clients in the future. The risk is working very hard without much business success for the client, or income for me.
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