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How to Choose an eCommerce Package : Comments

By Shannon Watters

June 18, 2007



June 19, 2007 11:29 AM

Thanks Shannon! This is certainly a superb resource for anyone looking for a new ecommerce solution.

Geof Harries

June 19, 2007 9:51 PM

That’s a mighty intimidating list to keep in mind, but very accurate when it comes to the real world. Having worked with teams of developers on the design of several e-commerce sites, I can attest to how complex of beasts they are to organize and implement. My brain hurts just thinking about it.

As an aside, I’m interested to know why Varien has chosen to “roll its own” with Magneto despite a long history with osCommerce. Would you care to share this insight? Is osCommerce too limiting (or too ugly, ha!).


June 20, 2007 6:43 AM

A while back ago I found a good shopping that works with several programming languages, and is very customizable – I haven’t had a chance to see if it meets the list of considerations, but I’ll definitely have to go over them again to see how they do.

Geof – Regarding osCommerce – I’ve seen some really amazing design layouts for osCommerce but I guess it would depend on what type of project your working on.

For websites that are just starting out and need to keep their costs low then oscommerce is a good option. If they have a little bit more funding, and they want to incorporate the shopping cart to match their design and don’t need too much customization then buying a 3rd Party Shopping Cart software might not be a bad idea.

But if it’s a website that needs customized shopping cart for non traditional products or a combination of products and services, then they might want to consider some type of customized shopping.

Very complex beast indeed. Also It’s more a rarity because there are so many customizable solutions available. It might be a good idea to just start with one that you like and then customize it further.


June 20, 2007 8:15 AM

Geof – Thanks for your question. We’ve been providing eCommerce services using osCommerce for the past few years and it’s been a great ride. That said, osCommerce has some serious flaws from our standpoint: inability to upgrade versions (without complete loss of customizations), lack of templating engine, no real module/plug-in architecture, long release schedule, etc.

With Magento we

Geof Harries

June 20, 2007 2:02 PM

Y’know, from a pure visual/interaction design perspective, this is where I believe the Magneto admin will absolutely steal the show. The same can be said for Shopify which, while a little too heavy on the gloss, is a big step up from osCommerce’s drab interface. That’s the point I was trying to make about being ugly. Scary, geek only back-ends.


June 20, 2007 2:55 PM

Shopify is visually appealing, but as a hosted solution there are inherent constraints (core functionality and checkout, come to mind).

What’s great about Magento is that you’ll be able to modify the backend as well as the frontend using the same methodologies. If you don’t like the way something is done out-of-the-box, you have the flexibility to change it. That said, I believe Magento’s biggest asset will be the functionality. We have some very interesting features planned that are going to make a significant impact on conversion for many online merchants.

Brant Tedeschi

June 20, 2007 9:41 PM

Its a nice article, but I was hoping to see recommendations for specific commerce applications in certain situations. Instead, this is more a broad brush.

Matthew Pennell

June 20, 2007 10:46 PM

@Brant: Watch this space! ;)


June 21, 2007 5:27 AM

I have been using a php based cart called DigiShop and I am very happy with it. Good for SEO, etc.


June 22, 2007 5:06 AM

A really great list -I would also agree that this list is very real world. I have completed a handful of E-commerce websites with varying results. The problem I have found with a lot of older systems is that they are just that – very old, full of javascript, unvalidated coding, but your client needs the powerful features. I have recently switched over to shopify as an alternative solution for my clients, its commission based hosted solution seems to appeal to new online shop start-ups.

Lee Wong Seoul

July 21, 2007 9:07 PM

There are very decent open sources application out there. You can make your e-commerce site up and running in 30 min with those apps like oscommerce..

Thanks for sharing your info ..


July 24, 2007 6:12 AM

The link on this article to Cart Compare seems to be worthless – the shopping carts listed (only 4 or 5) are all hosted solutions. No mention of Magneto, X-Cart, Miva, SalesCart, etc. Not only that but the “comparisons” aren’t there — each hosted cart has it’s own page with a feature list. Not quite the resource link I’d expect Digital Web Magazine to point me to.


July 27, 2007 7:26 AM

Ive been using which is XHTML/CSS/WCAG AAA valid and is completely customisable for both the front and back end.

A great product to work with!

josh jones

July 30, 2007 2:07 PM

I loved the article. I am a shopping cart builder and find it so very hard to keep both sides of the coin happy…

on one hand, you must make the client happy with features, and the list of features in this article is amazing, difficult to construct, and very next generation web.

on the other hand, you want maximum flexibility in the store, so it can be tweaked, designed, and added to… not easy to do as you start to commercialize software, which tends to have set parameters and ridged design.

I work with flash (yes… ahhh… flash…) and have a very small market niche. photographers, desingers, fashion industries, etc… those where appearance is everything. It seems that the next generation of ecommerce will really cater to everyone’s needs differently.

I think everyone wants a list of ecommerce software and who is the best, 5-star, rated 4 out of 5… but that just will not fit with many businesses as every business has it’s own unique characteristics and wants…

great article and great list of things to look for in ecommerce…

Austin Storm

August 3, 2007 12:15 PM

Reviews of specific carts are definitely what I crave. I’ve never been able to find good reviews, and as a consequence I’d be able to review 4-5. I’ve never used the same cart solution twice.

Sorry, comments are closed.

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