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What is the best eCommerce shopping cart for a small business?

I am working on building a website and want to sell my jewelry online. I am either going to use Wix or Wordpress for building the website, but want to better understand my options for adding a shopping cart. Thanks for your thoughts.

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9

The concept of the best is rather subjective, and it's highly dependent on the set of constraints that each individual site has. As mentioned already by others, there are free platforms such as WooCommerce and Magento. However, Magento is probably an overkill for a small business, who don't need or want the complexity that goes into having a Magento site. A case of using a jackhammer when a simple hammer will do.

As a result, we deploy different cart based on understanding the parameters defined by the specific project. Although WooCommerce is free and quite popular, there are liabilities that goes along with it. It's something our studio offers, but we do explain the shortcomings of using WordPress in general. For one thing, it's open source and security is often a concern with WP due to its popularity. One has to weigh whether it's worth the risk for the savings that one would gain. So for situations like a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) to prove a concept, we would highly recommend it as the initial dollar investment is much smaller. However, understand that it's very much a play now and pay later model as it could be quite a handful down the road. Plugins are great, until you need to start customizing them. Things are constantly changing on WP and the plugins, which is handled by different parties. Therefore, they don't always play nice with each other over time. Certainly not something I would risk if that's a company's main income stream. We have gotten many nightmare stories from people scrambling last minute to either fix or migrate away from WP.

We also recommend Adobe Business Catalyst and Shopify as well. Neither is one size fits all. They are both hosted solution, which shouldn't be much of an issue for a small business as it's rare there's an IT that requires an on-premise solution. What's good about them is that they are geared towards small businesses and have quite an active community that could address a lot of different situations, which often arise in a project. It's not free, but the monthly cost is hardly daunting if the business is a serious business...and not a hobby. If nothing else, it offsets income through tax deductions, which every legit business would have expenses. Both come with SSL, but it is a shared one. Both save small companies the headaches from maintaining a system, which many small business simply lack the IT resources.

As for payment gateway, which works with your shopping cart, we generally recommend PayPal Pro or Authorize.net as they are both industry standards. Again, depends on the project's situation. We've done our studies and found that for a higher volume business, they will save more with Authorize.net as they offer better rates despite paying for certain features that are offered up front with PayPal Pro.

Ka Pang // Principal // VolumeSquared.com

5

Hello Kate,
As you mentioned small business shopping cart solution, I recommend you check Yo!Kart multi vendor eCommerce solution that is specially developed for eCommerce startups. The product is known for its cost effectiveness and reliability. You can either get a readymade eCommerce website in $250 or you can request for a customized one.
Following are the features of Yo!Kart that you should know:

> An intuitive interface
> A highly secure system
> Multi vendor capabilities
> Multiple stores for those vendors
> Real time shipping cost calculator
> All orders are split and consolidated for shopping carts with products from multiple vendors
> Most SEO is completely automated
> Divide customer into groups based on buying behavior

You can find full details of Yo!Kart including its demos here: http://www.yo-kart.com/

Anonymous User
4

In the past we've used WooCommerce to great effect for a few of our client sites. WooCommerce is an extremely popular and well-supported WordPress plugin. The advantage is that you're within the WordPress environment, so day-to-day management and administration is pretty easy.

For larger eCommerce sites we've found that Magento is a better option in terms of much greater flexibility, scalability, and control - which is understandable since it's a content management system that's been specifically designed for eCommerce applications from the ground up. However Magento may not be a fair comparison against WooCommerce, since the overall deployment is more complex - and usually more expensive.

Both WooCommerce and Magento are free. They make their money from you purchasing additional feature options (e.g. dynamic shipping rates, invoice/packing list printing, smart coupons, etc.).

If you don't see your eCommerce business ever handling more than, say, 2,000 items at any given time, then I'd say WooCommerce/WordPress is your best bet.

However make sure that you don't underspec your web hosting plan - both solutions function best with a decent amount of webserver horsepower. Depending on how you intend customers to pay, you may also need to purchase an SSL certificate for encrypting purchase details.


HTH.

Anonymous User

Great answer Gee. That would have been my choice too especially with WP offering more than adequate plugins (some for free). More importantly, I appreciate you making the distinction between learning curves in managing websites using the various CMS's and hosting requirements.

Anonymous User

Thanks Roland.

4

I stick with PayPal because people trust the platform. I know it's old school! But I don't want a potential client to get away because of an unsecured or unknown platform. I've been online a long time and I've witnessed

I agree with Ramiro

Anonymous User

I also... I agree with Ramiro: PayPal :)

Anonymous User
4

Hi Kate

First point of order is that you should stay away from Wix as not only it has challenges for SEO but also you do not own your website. It means you cannot move your hosting and you can only use their products, so you are in a dead-end. Just to prove my point, search for your keywords you think your customers would use to find your products and then check how many of the 1st page sites are made with Wix.

Second point to consider is that e-commerce is much more complex than just selling a couple of products online. You have to think about visibility on Search Engines, Ease of Navigation, Payment Gateway, Security, Logical Process, Billing, Shipping Tracking, Reverse Logistics, etc. All this depends on your product breadth, complexity of products (customised or off-the-shelf), etc. This will decide what is the best product for you. You can see my article on this mosaicHUB's Resource Centre http://tinyurl.com/h8mg5yg

Using WordPress or Joomla allows you not only to move and change your hosting company depending on services you need and how happy you are with their services, but it also means you have myriads of Plug-ins to enhance your service offers. WordPress also offers a number of well supported E-Commerce platforms such as WooCommerce and Magento plus 100s of Plug-ins to enhance your online service offer.

Your other option is to use Etsy, e-Bay, and Amazon all which offer you a quick and low cost start up without having to worry about committing to any engine or website design until you have established your business and know exactly what you need.

Finally, I agree with Ramiro Rodriguez about using PayPal for payment. We use it for our own site because people trust PayPal, they are easy to deal with, and they allow you to take multiple currencies, multiple cards, etc. Many people think PayPal is expensive to use, but considering the other costs for installing a bank/Credit Card Gateway such as SSL certificate annual costs, Integration cost, commissions, etc., PayPal offers great value. You can always negotiate your rates with them once you have an established run rate.

Will be happy to help if you need any more specific information or advice.

3

Depends on the number of products and complexity of your sales stream. Magento for complex and WooCommerce for less demanding sales requirements.

3

Hi Kate,

As others say stay away from Wix, besides the points that others brought up, it doesn't say "this person is a professional", it says "look, this person is cheap".. among other things.

If you are thinking on ecommerce think eCOMMERCE, not blogs, not selling platforms, pure SELLING, OUT OF THE BOX, open source ecommerce, and that's Zen Cart. Yes Magento is ok, but on the long run is going to cost you big $$$. Zen Cart will manage any size of inventory, any quantity discounts, attributes, discount coupons, mailing list, catalog or shopping site; and out of the box, without installing extra plug-ins, will give you more features than any other.

Of course, like some said before, every and each solution has their pros and cons and you will have to decide which one FITS YOU the best.

More info: http://ideascg.com/index.php/services/ecommerce

2

View my thoughts on my post at http://scafidi.com/tips/ at the end of the post you will see two resource links,... the ones i recommend to my customers are Volution and Shopify. To your success!

2

hi, I the 2 best carts for your needs would be opencart or aSQUAREDcart which is opencart with extra functionality. Both have many great features, are free and are easy to use and have thats of extensions. Both are fast and secure. Opencart has had a significant rebuild two years ago and I am really happy with its flexibility and performance. I would nit recommend Magento. Its extremely resource hungry which means you will be paying more for hosting. Its had some significant security issues in the past 12 months and extension are more expensive. I like most developers need to charge more for work with Magento because of these problems and I really don't see why its so popular still when there are other better options.

Steer clear of Wordpress plugins that add cart functionality. Wordpress is slugish and also has significant security vulnerabilities and is not a dedicate cart software. Other options are SAAS carts were you pay monthly fees for the use of a cart hosted on the carts hosting platform. The downside for this is that you can't moving your hosting as you are tied to the SAAS cart and you don't own the website content as such. The pros with SAAS carts is that the upfront costs are a little lower but then you arer paying indefinitely as opposed to a cart that you own and are only paying hosting as ongoing.

Some SAAS cart don't host email accounts either like Wix which means you will need to pay for email hosting elsewhere. Also, SAAS cart you can't extend the cart except with the SAAS cart plugins so you can't hire a develop to do any program work. One of my clients was on a SAAS cart and need a an option to add delivery times to all orders but we could do so without developing a specific plugin which would cost more to produce

Anonymous User

Dear Charlene

I have to disagree with your comments re WordPress. We design websites in PHP, pure HTML5, WordPress and Joomla, so have no axe to grind. However, a well-designed WordPress site using a well-coded theme is not any slower than any other PHP based website. Logically, pure HTML5 website with static content vs PHP dynamic database driven content will always be faster.

Security issues around WordPress and plugins is the result of owners failure to keep WordPress & plugins up-to-date as well as not following security guidelines re password & FTP, etc.

WordPress provides a great value for money solution for SME/SMBs and start ups, that do not have deep pockets but do need high functionality website. It also allows users to manage their own content, including their e-commerce engine.

Your comments regarding “Cart” plugins is valid but WooCommerce or Magento are not “Cart” plugins but are e-commerce engines in their own right that have been integrated with WordPress.

Ali Zartash-Lloyd - I didn't state magento was a plugin. I have no axe to grind but purely providing information based on over 20 years exp as a web hosting provider and developer. We too develop in many formats and existing software platforms.

0

The best way to figure this out is to do a layout of your products on paper and whatever options you want to offer people along with whatever differences they may make in the price then start looking into whether or not you'll be able to present them all in the different shopping carts available. Your current post doesn't really give us any criteria to know exactly what you need to present so we really can't say for sure other than rattling off some things we're familiar with.... but they may well not suit your needs. So if you can include more detailed info about how you want to lay everything out that would help you get more valuable answers.

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