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  • #967856
    Jayrr
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    • Total posts: 3
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    Hello everyone,

    How are you today?

    This is my first post on your wonderfull forum

    Okay i have a fairly simple question for anyone with an online business, but for some reason i cannot find a simple answer :)

    Which shopping cart is easy to use and customize when starting an online business?

    I will have about 5000 products to start and will be shipping australia wide only, i have looked at CS CART (I would like to know other alternatives) if anyone has any experience with the running an online business i would like to hear from you.

    Thanks in advance JAY :)

    #1029224
    SomeBoy
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    • Total posts: 8
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    I own more than one e-comerce sites and all of them run zen-cart (http://www.zen-cart.com/)
    It is very user friendly and it has many add-ons so you can customize the site to fit your needs. :)

    #1029225
    Jayrr
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    • Total posts: 3
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    SomeBoy, post: 35039 wrote:
    I own more than one e-comerce sites and all of them run zen-cart (http://www.zen-cart.com/)
    It is very user friendly and it has many add-ons so you can customize the site to fit your needs. :)

    To SomeBoy,

    Thanks for your prompt reply i did consider ZenCart but i wasn’t too sure on desgin and customizing the template i have read on other forums that its alot of coding and you need to know PHP have you ever heard of Avactis? they say its alot easier to use but the support isnt so great lol:) (so many choices) But i would love to hear about your personal ZenCart experience

    #1029226
    Ali Dark
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    • Total posts: 101
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    ecwid is great – can easily be integrated into any website.

    It’s free, and I’m not sure how powerful it is because I’ve only seen it going on smaller stores.

    I set up my first shop with it last night and can vouch – it’s an easy experience! demos: http://nursingnatuarally.com.au
    http://extremelynappies.com.au
    oficcial demo: http://www.ecwid.com/demo-frontend.html#ecwid:category=0&entryPage=Y&mode=category&offset=0&sort=normal

    http://ecwid.com

    #1029227
    Jayrr
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    • Total posts: 3
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    Ali Starbright, post: 35052 wrote:
    ecwid is great – can easily be integrated into any website.

    It’s free, and I’m not sure how powerful it is because I’ve only seen it going on smaller stores.

    I set up my first shop with it last night and can vouch – it’s an easy experience! demos: http://nursingnatuarally.com.au
    http://extremelynappies.com.au
    oficcial demo: http://www.ecwid.com/demo-frontend.html#ecwid:category=0&entryPage=Y&mode=category&offset=0&sort=normal

    http://ecwid.com

    Dear Ali Starbright,

    Thank you for your suggestion :)

    http://ecwid.com is abit like joomula with virtuemart its content with a store i am thinking about leaning somewhere towards zen cart or Avactis just have a straight ecommerce business and maybe link a forum to it using vbulletin

    By the way i like your store :D

    #1029228
    SewSpunky
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    • Total posts: 49
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    I went with Zen-cart. I started with a free template then just kept ‘fiddling’ to change it to look the way I wanted. I have next to no web-design experience, but I do know how to google for help (and coding) ;-)

    I figured it didn’t hurt to start out with Zen-cart as it’s free. If I couldn’t get it working or it was too hard then I could always go the paid option. But so far I think I’ve done okay. (I still have lots to work on, but at least it is up and functional!).

    Everything I have struggled with I have simply had to be more creative in my Zen-cart forum searches and voila – there’s the answer!

    #1029229
    marketingweb
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    • Total posts: 625
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    Hi Jayrr,

    Firstly best of luck with your ecommerce setup. It can be a big step beyond a normal website in terms of skill level, and there are a lot of things to consider, but it’s definitely a lot easier then when I first set one up over 10 years ago!

    I haven’t used Zen cart a lot, but I do read good things about it. The default templates are rubbish in my opinion, but you can purchase some quite nice ones from places like Template Monster which can then be modified to your requirements. Will run to about $US140 for most of the templates here, but will look a heap more professional than anything you will get starting from a standard zencart template (unless you are a designer of course). Do expect a certain degree of difficulty though in modifying if you aren’t a coder.

    Another reasonably good option is CubeCart. I find it easier to work with than osCommerce and it’s derivatives (which Zen Cart originally was and CRE Loaded is also). If you do use it, take it from someone who made the wrong choice once – go for the paid version 4, not the free version 3 – simply the SEO benefits alone of the built in URL rewriting are worth it. It runs to around $US180 for the software. Standard templates are better than the Zen Cart choices but not perfect, unfortunately further template options are a little less prevalent but can be found.

    The other really popular choice right now is Magento. Basically my thoughts on this for you are to steer clear. It’s very powerful software and ideal for very large websites with big budgets, but it’s a bit of a resource hog and basically needs it’s own server to run on effectively, as well as being much more complicated to work with. In my mind it’s really a enterprise level solution that has become popular with smaller businesses only because of it’s free version and feature list, not suitability to task.

    My personal choice wherever possible is Interaspire Shopping Cart. It’s very easy to work with and set up most stuff even for a novice, yet it’s also quite powerful with all sorts of built in stuff including being designed from the ground up for SEO to a greater level than most other carts (something i’m very passionate about – what’s the use of a website if no one can find it?). The standard templates are pretty good, and it has a lower learning curve in my opinion than many of the others, and you can achieve most stuff without going directly to code. It’s also a commercial product, which has the advantage of a company responsible for support. The disadvantage is the initial price of the software. Up to 100 products version is $US295, Up to 5000 products version is $US995, and Unlimited products version is $US1795.
    The do also have a hosted version called “Big Commerce” which has no upfront cost but is based on a monthly fee which includes store hosting. However this would probably work out a lot more expensive for you in the long run due to the number of products you have, as the unlimited products version is $US150 a month.

    Hope all this helps! If you would like any more specific assistance please let me know via PM.

    Matt
    Marketing & Website Solutions Australia.

    #1029230
    NigelBurke
    Member
    • Total posts: 37
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    I also recommend Template Monster. Check out all their shopping cart templates for osCommerce, Zen Cart, CRE Loaded and Magento.

    As Matt said, Magento is an enterprise level shopping cart that uses a lot of resources. I currently developing a site in Magento and putting it onto it’s own server.

    I work on a lot of shopping cart website and that CRE Loaded is great. It’s the same as osCommerce with a lot of modules already installed and a friendlier looking admin area.

    ____________________
    CartXpress – Shopping Cart Software

    #1029231
    Samith
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    • Total posts: 187
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    Hi Jay,

    Sounds like an interesting Ecommerce project, considering the number of products you are hoping to start with, I would say use a software that will help you in the long run. CRELoaded and Magento both are enterprise level softwares and can be scaled up or down as you required to, I have a magento site that only got 4 products:) but if you are thinking of coding a template by yourself you will have to learn php and the software architecture itself, you might end up wasting good 2-3months on it that you could have used to grow your actual business.

    When you have over 5000 products there are so many marketing opportunities within the online store, things like Cross selling, up selling, specials, featured products plus you get the opportunity to rank for at least 5000 key phrases (each product name) So you need a system that will support you with all these aspects as your business grows.

    Have a look at one of the websites I consult http://www.ozhut.com.au/ they have a large number of products, huge traffic volume and built on Magento. I would highly recommend you get a professional to build your site :)

    Best Regards,
    Samith W.

    #1029232
    Southerngirl
    Member
    • Total posts: 21
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    marketingweb, post: 35179 wrote:
    My personal choice wherever possible is Interaspire Shopping Cart. It’s very easy to work with and set up most stuff even for a novice, yet it’s also quite powerful with all sorts of built in stuff including being designed from the ground up for SEO to a greater level than most other carts (something i’m very passionate about – what’s the use of a website if no one can find it?). The standard templates are pretty good, and it has a lower learning curve in my opinion than many of the others, and you can achieve most stuff without going directly to code. It’s also a commercial product, which has the advantage of a company responsible for support. The disadvantage is the initial price of the software. Up to 100 products version is $US295, Up to 5000 products version is $US995, and Unlimited products version is $US1795.
    The do also have a hosted version called “Big Commerce” which has no upfront cost but is based on a monthly fee which includes store hosting. However this would probably work out a lot more expensive for you in the long run due to the number of products you have, as the unlimited products version is $US150 a month.

    Hi

    Sorry – don’t mean to target Matt here but just a bit more to think about…..
    When purchasing software make sure that there are security upgrades and that they will stand by their product if a hacker manages to infiltrate it.

    Purchasing Interaspire for $295 only gives you 12 months support and upgrades and the Bigcommerce is actually a better idea as you get free automatic upgrades.
    I’m with a big American company on a hosting basis similar to Bigcommerce (I won’t say who it is as they don’t allow non-American companies but I’ve been with them for 2 years and they keep charging the credit card).

    OK – I pay 1.5% of each transaction as a fee but the piece of mind that they are so well known that they wouldn’t dare get hacked is well worth it – I actually use this on the website to assure the security side of it (or if they do they fix the problem immediately – though I can’t recall an issue). I did have a techie offer to build me an e-commerce site but the cost involved and there were no guarantees they would get the code as tight as possible or be able to fix an issue if the hackers came to call.

    Good Luck!

    #1029233
    marketingweb
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    • Total posts: 625
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    Southerngirl, post: 36013 wrote:
    Sorry – don’t mean to target Matt here but just a bit more to think about…..
    When purchasing software make sure that there are security upgrades and that they will stand by their product if a hacker manages to infiltrate it.

    Hi Southerngirl,
    I think that is one of the reasons why I would consider software like interspire in some cases over open source – the fact there is a commercial organisation who is someone to be made accountable for this type of thing. There are plenty of open source software carts that haven’t been updated since circa 2007 which is a big risk. Also hackers are less likely to be targeting less common platforms.

    Southerngirl, post: 36013 wrote:
    Purchasing Interaspire for $295 only gives you 12 months support and upgrades and the Bigcommerce is actually a better idea as you get free automatic upgrades.

    I actually agree at that level of the $295 option – but to be honest if I was doing a project that had under 100 products I wouldn’t be using interaspire shopping cart at all, I’d be using something like a hosted site or something really basic, cheap and probably open source unless I needed advanced functionality.

    However when you are looking at a store with say 2500+ products with a reasonable budget, there can be some savings in the long run by going for something like this software that is around $1000 upfront, but has lower implementation time and costs than a lot of other options. It can also work out cheaper than hosted ones like big commerce which get very expensive on big sites.

    Basically just a horses for courses.

    Re the upgrades etc, I believe (although I haven’t confirmed 100%) that if there was a major security hole that was making their software insecure, they would issue a patch regardless of if you were within the 12 months. What the 12 months refers to is new versions with feature upgrades and the like, for which additional 12 months upgrades can be purchased at half the price of origionally. I will admit though this is one thing I don’t like about their software – upgrades should be cheaper and they should be clearer about security patches vs feature upgrades and what applies when.

    Southerngirl, post: 36013 wrote:
    OK – I pay 1.5% of each transaction as a fee but the piece of mind that they are so well known that they wouldn’t dare get hacked is well worth it

    Interesting though – i’ve always found that hackers target the bigger guys more often because the payoff is so much greater if they succeed. Just look at windows – it’s owned by Microsoft and hackers find security holes in it all the time.

    Also re transaction %, I recommend using a payment gateway such as eWay to handle the actual transactions, this is where the security comes in.

    As I said before, there are plenty of options and it really is a horses for courses thing, and no one can accurately recommend a software without knowing full details of what the product types, product quantities, where you are shipping to, projected volumes, budget etc. I’m in no way affiliated with Interaspire, just putting it out there as an alternative option to some of the free software that can end up taking more time to develop in the long run.

    Best wishes to all in your search for the perfect shopping cart!
    Matt
    Marketing Web

    #1029234
    Southerngirl
    Member
    • Total posts: 21
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    Thanks Matt

    You raise many valid points and supplied a lot of food for thought not only for the opening poster but for all of us. :)

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