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Shopping Carts I've used, quick rundown.

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to give a rundown on the shopping carts we have used or are using over the years since there seems to be a lot of questions in this area - plus I should be working but need a break.

A company we utilized for our first shopping cart on OSDS is creating a new cart IC Cart that promises to offer more bells and whistles such as integration with quickbooks, but I haven't used it, though I did take the tour and it looks nice.

Mal's You absolutely have to have some HTML knowledge if you use this free shopping cart. You 'program' your products yourself and plug the code in on your own HTML pages. This allows for a lot of flexibility as to how you want your site to look but can be cumbersome and difficult if you are handling a lot of products with high turnover. There are some shopping carts that work WITH this cart that build your pages dynamically for you - Waterswebshops offers one that works well and is easy to customize.

Secure Net Shop is super easy to use and has merchant account options that do not require separate gateways, hidden fees, or a secure certificate for your site. However, this shopping cart is a 'cut and paste' cart - you have to cut and paste the HTML (it builds it for you) and you insert it yourself on your web page. Less complicated than Mal's but still a lot of work if you have a lot of products. We are currently using this on OSDS while we figure out what cart we want to use more long term and it is a pain in the butt to manage our 250+ products... BUT, the checkout process is terrific and the invoices are 'pretty' enough to print without having to re-enter them and it integrates with quickbooks beautifully. It can work dynamically with a CGI script but I have not tried this yet.

OS commerce This is a free shopping cart and is fairly easy to use but is more difficult to customize. Most OS sites 'look' like OS sites and that bugs me. It's written in php and since it is a free opensource script, the tech support comes in form of a forum.

Zencart is a spin off from Oscommerce, still free, still open source but I find it a bit easier to customize, though I still think it would be difficult for someone not well versed in HTML. It is written in php and there are some confusing elements but you can make it look less like the rest of the zencarts. They are working on a mod that will allow you to integrate with quickbooks. There is a $20 add on that you can purchase from a contributor that allows you to upload your products in bulk and maintain them in an excel file. This is very helpful if you have lots of products - but it is not the best bulk upload tool I've seen. The forum is also pretty helpful.

WAHMshoppes Okay, I know a TON of wahms use this but I think it is poorly designed. It is very confusing for a 'newbie' to figure out how to upload say, a banner, and then give the banner url to an advertiser. But it does offer options and is a fairly good shopping cart for beginners. I have customized this cart for clients and it is possible to make a 'break' from the typical framed look. It does not integrate with quickbooks or allow you to upload products in bulk and I think there are some shipping and merchant account limitations. Customer service can be sketchy since Tony has a regular day job, but I have had good responses to my questions when I email him.

X-Cart This shopping cart offers a lot of bells and whistles, and we were very interested in it for our business. It works 'right out of the box' but isn't very pretty. We paid the X-Cart people quite a bundle to customize it and design it around our existing web design. It was a long, and expensive process and then in the end I decided that while the PHP script is flawlessly written, there were a lot of user-issues I didn't like. I did not like the checkout process and changing built in languages was difficult - these problems would have been difficult to impossible to change. (By languages I mean where the cart said "log in here" and I wanted to change it to "Please log in" - this was difficult to change). While the Russian men who worked on my cart were nice and answered my questions the time zone differences made getting quick responses impossible. I had to stay up until 3am to talk in 'real time'. I think it is a good cart if you aren't picky about what it looks like - or if you use an existing X-Cart skin. They do have a helpful forum and the cart integrates with quickbooks and many shipping providers.

Lite Commerce is a smaller version of x-cart, I have not used it.

Go E Cart and Monster Commerce we signed up for to experiment with. While both of these carts offer a lot of bells and whistles: integration with quickbooks and shipping providers, you do not have complete control over your website. This may not be an issue for most wahms, but I need access to my FTP and php admin to build scripts. If you don't need this, these carts may work nicely for you. They are not cheap BUT they come with secure certificates and easy to set up merchant accounts. Go E Cart allows you to bulk upload your products and manage them via a csv file, which is great. Monster Commerce also has a bulk management feature, but it costs extra. A lot of the features you need with Monster Commerce cost extra - a lot of people seemed upset about this on the forums. However, I know one wahm who uses this cart and is very happy with it. It came close to meeting our needs.

Click Cart Pro I use CCP on my Very Baby site and have set it up for several clients. It's a nice shopping cart for beginners and offers a lot of options - one thing I really like about it is that in addition to having different options for a product (choose blue, pink, or green) you can also change the price and weight of each option - for example, if you were offering a size choice, you could have the medium size add a dollar, and a fraction of a pound. I think wahmshoppes lets you add to the price for each option, but not the weight. The weight is important if you are calculating shipping in real time. CCP also has an easy set up for real time shipping with USPS and UPS so you don't have to figure it out or offer blanket flat rates that you can lose money on. It integrates with quickbooks and you can maintain your products with a csv file.

I hope this helps some of you!


Cube Cart - this is a pretty basic cart that looks like it is easily customizable, I haven't used it myself so I'm not sure what all the integrations are.

VeryCommerce - this is a cart developed by my brother helped develop. It integrates with Quickbooks but this script needs some work. Unlimited products and inventory control. It has a lot of nice features.
post #2 of 33
Wow, thanks!! That was nice of you to type that all up - and damn, have you tested a lot of carts! I didn't know there were so many. LOL
post #3 of 33
I can second just about everything you wrote Jess, LOL. We have been through : Mals, OScommerce , Zencart, WAHMshoppes, X-cart, and Click Cart Pro as well. I agree with all of your comments on them.

Click Cart Pro is one of my absolute favorite carts... BUT the fact thats it not PHP causes it to be a bit slower if you are running a big site or a high traffic site.

I've messed around with a few other carts (cubecart, squirrelcart, etc) and will add a review when I get a bit more time. Kyla has broken free from the bedroom again and I'm off to tackle her, LOL.
post #4 of 33
can you copy and paste that into our shop/cart sticky at the top of the forum?
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
I posted the link in that thread Lala, sorry - I should have posted this there

Tiffany, I'm interested to hear how Cubecart etc. worked out for you, Bret told me you had switched again, Sun cart or something? My brain is fried.

I definitely think when you're running a high traffic site and/or a site with a lot of products, a good shopping cart solution is hard to find. One of our biggest problems was all of the extra work we were creating for ourselves. Eric would take all of the orders every morning and enter them into Quickbooks by hand, and then print the invoices to use as packing slips. Depending on the day this usually took from 7am until noon! Then he only had 3 - 4 hours to cut fabric and package orders until UPS or Fed Ex arrived, we were/are always behind! Once the orders were cut/packed he weighed them and typed the customer information in AGAIN to print the label and postage.

We desperately needed a shopping cart that integrated with quickbooks and shipping providers so we weren't wasting so much time re-entering information the customer had already entered when they ordered! We're STILL on the hunt for a stable shopping cart that is easy to customize and design around, but will cut out those time consuming steps. Many come close... but none have met every need yet. Secure Net Shop speeds up Eric's order processing time but is a royal pain in the butt on MY end, updating products and building entire HTML pages for a single item has got to stop. I've done a ton of work on zencart but I don't think it's going to fit the bill completely either.

Star, there are about a zillion more available on the web!
post #6 of 33
Which of these carts will sync up with Quick Books? I'm having a rough time deciphering which ones will and which ones won't.
post #7 of 33
Thread Starter 
www.securenetshop.com works beautifully with Quickbooks.

www.clickcartpro.com does too but you have to follow their instructions and set up your Quickbooks program right so it will work right.

www.monstercommerce.com works with Quickbooks but if I remember correctly you have to pay extra for the bulk uploader. www.goecart.com works beautifully with Quickbooks as well.

X Cart is supposed to but I hate it and do not recommend it.

OsCommerce and Zencart both have mods/hacks that you can install to get them to work with Quickbooks, I haven't tried it yet though.

post #8 of 33
Thank you thank you! I have been through lots of these carts too, and I don't even have that complicated a business.

I just wanted to add for anyone interested in OScommerce or zencart that there are known issues synching with paypal--you have to configure your paypal return correctly for the orders to show up in your database. It's a regular pain in the &**

There are lots of threads on their support forums about this issue. I have had it with both of them, can't get paypal to work at all, plus I don't like the way the product attributes work...there should be more batch copying of attributes. It takes me freaking forever to enter products. I am both cheap and have little time, so I'm looking for the easiest and cheapest alternative. I have a linux host and would prefer php since I figured that out and don't want to learn another system
post #9 of 33
I will have to beg to differ on X-Cart...personally, I love it. It's been wonderful for us, and the 4.0.x version that's out yet is apparently a HUGE improvement over what was previously out there.

I haven't found a perfect cart yet, but X-Cart is closest to it for me. There are several companies now creating mods for it that alleviate some of the yuckier parts, like the checkout.
post #10 of 33
Mals Ecommerce works with Quickbooks as well, with the mOrders v. 3 download.

post #11 of 33
I love X-Cart too I have also heard the older versions were a nightmare but the new one is wonderful, it is very easy to change text, languages, etc!
post #12 of 33
I know with zencart, if you request in their forums, folks might work on a mod that would enable integration with quickbooks. I use zencart & as I learn more about php I find that I like the versatility of this cart more & more, but I haven't tried nearly so many carts as some of y'all, however they seem to have a really good support community & have many downloadable & easily installable mods available. I really like the new products scrolling box (it's on my site on the left side, just below my logo if anyone wants to check it out)
post #13 of 33
Originally Posted by Sleepymama
I just wanted to add for anyone interested in OScommerce or zencart that there are known issues synching with paypal--you have to configure your paypal return correctly for the orders to show up in your database. It's a regular pain in the &**
It took me a good 2 months to get the Paypal to sync correctly with Zen Cart. : None of the threads on their forum helped at all & I ended up having to do a fresh install which finally helped it to work, but then it was a PITA to move everything over from the 1st install to the 2nd, and in doing so, I noticed a lot of files missing, even though they said they were the same version.
post #14 of 33
has anyone used cubecart? Any thoughts?
post #15 of 33
THANK YOU soooooooooo much for posting this! I have been debating for over a week on who I am going to use! thanks a MILLION!
post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
I'm glad to hear they made improvements with X-Cart. Part of my beef was with how it was written and how deep into the php includes you had to dig to change one word of text, I think that's all the same. But also how slow it was. I had fancy categories installed and it was super slow on my cable internet connection. Are any of you who like it using the Fancy Categories?
post #17 of 33
cubecart is a good simple cart.... but requires a lot of modification i think. I couldnt just use it as is.

There was supposed to be a new release out that was much better "out of the box" ... no idea if it is out yet or not tho.
post #18 of 33
Bummer. I think I'm going to delete everything except my database and give zencart a good clean install with the latest version and see if I can get paypal to work before shelling out money for a nicer cart. Hopefully that will work!!!
post #19 of 33
here's some info on paypal & zencart:

hope those help, I don't use paypal so haven't encountered these problems. There's a whole lot more if you do a paypal search on the forum, in case those don't help, but one of those threads specifically said upgrading should fix the problem.
post #20 of 33
Originally Posted by Moonbucket
I'm glad to hear they made improvements with X-Cart. Part of my beef was with how it was written and how deep into the php includes you had to dig to change one word of text, I think that's all the same. But also how slow it was. I had fancy categories installed and it was super slow on my cable internet connection. Are any of you who like it using the Fancy Categories?
There's a link in the admin side for "Languages"...you go there, pick your language, and then search for the text you want to change. Change it, and it's done. The other nice thing (don't know if they had it in 3.X) is Webmaster Mode...you click a button on the admin side, and it will tell you the location/label of any text or template on the site once you navigate to the spot. VERY helpful for those little odd ball changes.

I will also state that I have a custom-designed template system that I did myself...I don't use any skins. I'm definitely more techie than many store owners due to my background, but once you get used to the syntax of Smarty, it's not too terrible to do changes.

I have Fancy Cats installed, and it's not too bad in HTML mode (which is how I have the site setup for incoming customers). It slows down a bit once you switch over to PHP, but not horrendously so. I'm on DSL, and don't see a noticeable difference when I switch over--I run mostly in PHP so that I can see changes that I've made on the fly without having to run my HTML build, which takes over 2 hours due to the number of products.

After using osCommerce and ZenCart, I wanted NOTHING more to do with true open source systems. Yes, they're cheap/free...but, IMO, they're that way for a reason. I spent so much time trying to get everything to work, and then there'd be another quirky bug pop up.

X-Cart definitely costs a LOT more than most of the carts out there (I'm on X-Cart Pro, so it's even more spendy), but I find it to be very robust now that they're on a stable release. There are tons of mods available, both commerical and open source, to help "customize" the activity of the cart as well. I've only had to have X-Cart do one mod for me, but it's something that's VERY custom and very atypical. I have another commerical developer doing another mod for me right now (I just don't have the time to develop anymore), and this one again is fairly unique to my business.

I'll never say that X-Cart is for everyone...IMO, you need to be a pretty good-sized shop to really need that step up to something as powerful as X-Cart. But, for me, it's been wonderful...not to say I don't curse it sometimes, but I've found that to be true for almost any system.
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