I am currently looking at building my first ecommerce website, a small site with only about 50 products. With little experience in ecommerce I have been looking at getting an off the shelf package to run the site, but there are so many out there with +- points. Erol, oscommerce, actinic, everest, lynx. Are these the main ones?!

Can anyone kindly point me in the right direction of a package that would be suitable for a small business, allows me to be very flexible with the design as well as the running of the site. I would also like to find a suitable solution that I can then use on future sites.

Also, if there are any good books, info or sites that any one has used and can recommend, I would be very grateful as I havent had much luck so far.

Many thanks

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Well you first need to know where you are going to be hosting - on a Windows or UNIX platform. Typically, Windows will support ASP and PHP while UNIX will support PHP & some ASP. ASP & PHP are your server side languages that will operate your shopping cart basically.

Thanks for your reply.

Being that there are so many hosting pacakges out there, wouldnt it be more important to a suitable application to run the shopping cart first?

Do you have any suggestion on what I could use? or steps I should be following to set this up?

Well it all depends. How are you going to test shopping carts unless you have a server at home. I usually tell my clients - find a hosting company first. If they know what language (PHP / ASP) - that will always help.

Now once they find the hosting company, get the shopping cart(s) they are thinking about. And test them. And while you are testing the carts, you are also testing the hosting company. You are checking the downtime of the hosting company etc. This way - you know if the hosting company is worth it before you open shop

My client is leaving everything up to me to sort, so that is the process I am going through now. But before I build the site, i was finding it difficult which shopping cart, or off the shelf application to run the shop. Some limit the design/layout of the site etc. they all have their plus and minus point its hard to choose. Because this is quite a small site and I would like to keep the look unique, I am looing for a shopping cart that is quite flexible, but allows you to grow as you increase the products. Can you recommend anything. I have been looking quite closely at erol.

I use ecommerce wizard. Their support is really helpful when you're getting started. Also, you don't need to know about the whole html php mysql thing! Once I registered, they setup an online shop for me.

Instead of using open source software, they stress that your shop runs on commercial software - and I have to say the feature list is extensive - but don't let that put you off. You get to choose a template from a large selection (which are very, very, very good by the way!). But I guess most people want to change the design of their shop.

Although I havn't used it much (havn't seen the need), there is an online WYSIWYG editor so you can easily change the apearance of your template. But I choose them because of the price tag which will cost you £45.00 per year.

So far, I'm really happy and have been getting great results. However, there are others (e.g. ekmpowershop). They are usually more expensive and harder to use. You also don't get a great design unless you pay them to design your shop for you - or have all the time in the world to learn the ins and outs of website design.

I suggest that you give ecommerce wizard a look though...

Have been online for a long time however I am not a designer and have little tech skills. I have used oscommerce as a shopping cart and found it to be very easy and user friendly.

Just recently set up a cart with one of the big guys and found it not as easy and didn't like the way the pics looked.

Thanks, will take a look at the software. It definitely had to do with sizing.

I have used http://www.zeuscart.com which is the best open source e-commerce shopping cart software. Beside all other features this software is based on PHP Smarty templates, this makes it very flexible, seo friendly and easy to modify. They provide good support also.

hi! i've been using cre loaded but now i'm thinking about trying something different - maybe pinnacle cart. It seems to be not bad.

Though i don't exactly know how this should be done :icon_smile: maybe by any chance somebody knows how to upgrade to pinnacle. I would really not want to lose any of my data.


found this service on the net - cart2cart It seems to automate switching from one shopping cart to another one. Is it any good?

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