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Most Efficient Shopping Cart
Posted 12 November 2007 - 05:57 AM
i'm presently using romancart but the more customers i get it just becomes too much work, on every order i presently have to copy and paste the customers details into sage so i can print the invoice and update my stock balance, then i have to copy and paste everything again into my access customer data base. It has become real pain and i'm thinking there must be a better way, is there any shopping carts where you just press a button and its automatically downloaded then all i have to do is print out the invoices
thanks in advance for your suggestions
Posted 12 November 2007 - 10:41 PM
What do you need it to do?
Actually I wouldn't mind seeing a long, drawn out thread arguing the merits of various products. It would be very informative.
Posted 13 November 2007 - 08:00 AM
For instance, in seth's case it sounds like Roman Cart is actually working out okay, but there's a data export issue that needs to be resolved in order to provide better efficiency after the sale. In this case we're talking about how to easily get data from cart transactions into a format that can be imported into both Sage and MS Access format. This shouldn't be too difficult, and may be something that's already been developed. Dunno since I don't use any of the three things mentioned. (Roman cart, Sage's inventory software or MS Access)
On the larger issue of which cart is best or most efficient, it think it depends. As a for instance, I've been a huge fan of x-cart for some time now. It's robust and has an active 3rd party development community that can whip up modules that'll do almost anything. However x-cart is known to be pretty resources intensive when compared to other PHP/MySQL carts. You can overcome some of these load issues by using their built-in HTML Catalog functionality, but from recent experience I can tell you I wouldn't recommend x-cart for very busy stores or stores that require a lot of product updates anymore.
Why I wouldn't recommend that particular cart anymore for these very busy stores has everything to do with how much server load it can produce and nothing to do with anything else. I've come to this conclusion because of the experiences of a client of a friend recently switched from CKGold to x-cart to get some additional functionality from a 3rd party provider. It's absolutely killing a server, and there's not much else that can be optimized in how the back end database connections are being handled. So if they want to stick with x-cart they're going to end up paying every month for a dedicated database server box, just to keep those 50,000 visitors per day during peak season from crashing the server. I'm actually recommending that they set up a separate MySQL Cluster, where there are multiple boxes to run the MySQL side of things for this site to provide some load balancing. Which of course carries an additional cost. Whereas if they'd stayed with CKGold --and given up the additional functionality-- they'd not have had to change anything on the server side of things for at least another year or two.
Posted 13 November 2007 - 07:34 PM
For me - I want a shopping cart that is 100% flexible in how it can be skinned and products displayed. Good, common sense navigation features (one thing I've never checked ahead of time if the quality of the search and the ability to tweak improve results based on site search data). She needs to be cooperative with clicktracks & google analytics (auto-installation (or easy intallation) unique URLs in the funnel-prone areas and a search URL structure that can be understood by GoAn*). Convenient export/import.
Most importantly, I want it to be easy for clients to understand, preferably with customisable user/admin limitations options. Anthing that mentions database fields and contantly explains things algorithmicall is missing the point.
*I haven't really looked into it properly yet, but if its what I think it is, the new search report feature will bring in the strays and put them on GoAn- I'm talking to you Randy! Give up your Data!
Posted 13 November 2007 - 09:52 PM
I am going to install the new version of Urchin one of these days as soon as I have a spare 48 hours to work out the issues that I know are going to be there with the particular types of servers I run, if that's what you're referring to. There have always been issues in every previous version of Urchin with Plesk, the permissions it uses by defaults and also the user/group Urchin needs to run under, so I'm expecting the worst! Hence 48 hours to sort it out.
The thing with x-cart is that it's really, really good, has a lot of neat features built into it and a lot of 3rd party modules you can install easily to do pretty much anything you want that don't cost an arm and a leg. I've probably recommended it or installed it on 100+ sites over the years.
But the other thing with x-cart is if you have a site that has a couple hundred thousand products or product variations (think colors and sizes for variations) and you have a site that gets a lot of traffic (even as little as 5k uniques per day) it can bring a server to its knees if you're not careful. Some of the queries are just strange, and there's no easy way to fix it. To give you an idea, I've been logging slow queries on the site I mentioned above. The ones that show up in the log say stuff like MySQL had to roll through 345,000 rows in order to return 10-40 resutls. No wonder they're slow queries!
Just one example, but it illustrates why I'm pulling my hair out over that one. No way to fix it without recoding the whole shopping cart. Or simply over powering it with waaaaaaaaay too much processing power.
Posted 14 November 2007 - 05:14 AM
Posted 14 November 2007 - 06:40 AM
I think you're probably going to have trouble finding something that works with those specific other software suites out of the box. However if you can figure out what sort of data formats (eg sql, csv, xls) each can Import, you can probabl find someone who can build you an application/modification that'll let it do what you need it to do.
Start there. Find out which data formats your additional software can work with. Then work backwards to make something compatible available in your cart. Or start looking for a cart that does all of the other stuff you need it to do, but also supports the data exports in a format that will work.
Posted 14 November 2007 - 06:09 PM
A lot of the big shopping carts are happy to 'work for you'. They know their software and will take on small jobs (under 100 hrs and even under 5) quite happily. Its a question of budget really, and I find that different people see a 'big cost' completely differently.
IE, I have seen people going off at 'how could you possibly be expected to pay $1500 for shopping cart software!' (Randy is one of them, but suspect that its cuz he's a DIYer). For others, they total the time they spend at the shopping cart's admin or reading technical manuals , going on the providers forum, trying to make little tweaks to templates and files and then cleaning up the mess they made and they 'pay' themselves a McDonalds salary (developed country McdDonalds salary - not US McdDonalds salary) & pretty much whatever the software costs they are willing to pay if it'll save them that time. Ad on to that the tantalising prospect of lifting sales from 1.3 to 1.4% and they're sold.
My point is, if you find a product that does almost what you want it to do and you can put a few $K on the table to have them make the modifications, your prospects are wide open.
BTW seth, I'd like to say that you're in a great starting position, you are looking for a product out of your existing needs. IE- you have a shop, You want a better one, one that'll do XYZ. That'll protect you from mistakes and cons.
Posted 14 November 2007 - 06:20 PM
Why not use Sage e commerce? Too $$$?
OSCommerce/Creloaded is efficient, cheap, and well-supported.
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