I am making an ecommerce site for my wife to sell her art and am at the point where I need to decide on a shopping cart system. I have done some research and searched the forums here. I found this particular post very helpful:
ScallioXTX broke down the basic principles which match the cart that I have already made (using the session variable). I like the idea of rolling my own because of the full integration of my layout (I like having things match), BUT searching through these forums there seems to be a lot of very good "pre-rolled" options as well.
Now, the features of OpenCart (and many other pre-rolled carts) are incredible and I can see why they are such good options, especially if I were to make something like this for a client - then it seems like a no-brainer to go with OpenCart or the like. The only thing that turns me off is the idea that I might not be able to essentially "embed" it into my current layout. I really dislike the idea of users having to "go outside" of my layout into something that does not look like the site they originally arrived at.
So I'm wondering; is it a fools errand to try and continue building my own cart? Should I just get over myself and use something like OpenCart? Or maybe OpenCart can be placed inside of my current layout so my concerns are a non-issue?
I realize that this must be an opinion based subject also depending on the skill level of the developer (me) so I guess I'm looking for some guidance, experiences of those who have been down these roads already, and your opinions if you have time to share.
I appreciate any input on this thank you!
It's all going to come down to your own preference, but if you don't need a crazy amount of features and you are comfortable in your own coding, a shopping cart is very easy to write. You can create one with just a few files and database tables.
IMO the most important thing and the most time consuming is to make some sort of administration system so they can add and modify products and manage orders on the site without any support.
I like Open Cart. My second choice would probably be oScommerce as long as I can find a decent theme. The default theme really isn't that great and looks outdated.
Thank you for you responses. I have one more question if you don't mind. I am fairly sure that I am going to stick with building my own and have most of it developed using the session variable. I have started working on a shopping cart that uses SQL so that I can review abandoned carts and such, but it will take some time.
How do you all feel about shopping carts using the session variable? Viable or not?
I would advise against making your own cart. I don't think you realize the many hundreds of thousands of man hours that go into making a cart without any security holes.
At the same time, I would suggest that you spend a little time learning how to template a cart. You can get any design you want, it is just knowing how to manipulate the template. With templates on most carts all you are dealing with is variables that need to be inserted, you can make your own template and insert the variables where ever you want.
Have you looked at FoxyCart.com ? I pointed a couple of my more developer oriented clients to it and they were happy.
I think she need a easy to use shopping cart instead of complex featured one.
If your wife don't have any experience on online business, I would highly recommend you use some hosted online store service. For example Jooy.com, bigcommerce.com, wix.com ...etc. (Or simply setup a wordpress store by using some e-commerce plugin.)
Some of them provide free plan starting plan and most of them are very easy to use than normal "Open Source" shopping cart. (coz "open source" product are always packed with FULL features, which may not used by beginners)
Also, you don't need to pay for the hosting, setup the shopping cart, troubleshoot when she got some problem... while your wife still can sell her products online!
Finally, you always can switch to other platform or build your own when the website have steady traffic and cash flow.
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