Starting webshop wandering which program to use?

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Hello,

So this is gonna be my first thread here ever . I have subscribed myself on the forum to learn more on selling, building and marketing.

Maybe this is a 'stupid' question for alot of you guys but still gonna ask it : which program do you use for ur webshop AND is it easy to use?

I am a 27 woman from Belgium, I do surf alot on internet and I know how to use programs. Though I don't know webdesign html or css. I am taking a course on building a webshop. My course is a little outdated because I find alot of faults in it. I started to buy multiple books on that topic.

So what i have learned is that
A) there are ready made programs to launch your website, but the options are few with what u can do with it. For example changing templates is most of the time not possible and the templates inserted are so ... lame.
B)working with opensource like Ecommerce, zen cart for example. But to be honest I'm a little bit afraid. Are the possibility's larger? Is it user friendly?


What would u sugest? All ears here ...

Jezebelle
#program #starting #wandering #webshop
  • Profile picture of the author robo-cop
    I have worked with opencart and it worked just fine for me. If you dont want to worry about uploading the script yourself to your server and installing it then i would go with something like shopify
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  • Profile picture of the author Ernest Simon
    Install Wordpress CMS: WordPress › Blog Tool, Publishing Platform, and CMS
    Install Wordpress WooCommerce plugin: WordPress › WooCommerce - excelling eCommerce « WordPress Plugins

    The rest is just configuring to fit your needs. There are many video tutorials on how to use these 2 platforms.
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  • Profile picture of the author Craig Allen
    Hi. I was running few stores in the past including clothing shop for teenagers, clothing shop for man (with luxury articles) and a bike store. During that time I've learned a lot. When it comes to software you have two options:

    1. Go with paid ecommerce solutions. Honestly? I do not recommend them. Software created by small companies will make it harder to add a particular feature to your shop. If you would want to perform any changes to your website in terms of design or features - you would need to request them from a company in a subcontract type of help. This means it will cost you and from my experience - it will cost you way more than having an open source software and buying an existing plugin/template or even request creating a custom one to a third party company. Besides, software that comes from small companies may have more bugs than the one that comes for free. Why? Well, with each release of a free open source software, thousands of downloads and updates are being done. Users catch bugs and list them on a particular website. The fixes appear very quickly. Even users themselves are sometimes preparing a so-called 'bug fixes'.

    2. Open Source Software. The community is way more rapid. Millions of plugins are already being offered. Often for free, sometimes for a small fee. By choosing an open source software, you save on costs of initial startup. You have a lot of documentation and tutorials all over the net on how to modify and create your own things. It's easy even with a small knowledge of HTML & CSS. Templates are quite cheap and look incredible. If you decide to buy one of them, be sure to receive a lifetime support from author and be eligible for updates anytime they appear.
    It's way easier to stay independent from all those dollar hungry companies that are willing to perform changes on your shop for ridicolous amount of paper. Even the simplest google analytics code requires a tiny bit of knowledge. Paid software may not come with a plugin for it yet and if it's avaible additionally then it's way overpriced (I was a witness of it already). When it comes to open source software, for sure you can find a google analytics plugin for free which you just install and activate.

    Here is a tiny list of open source carts worth checking out:
    OpenCart
    Magento
    SilverStripe

    Here is a tiny list of paid carts that are worth checking out:
    PinnacleCart
    Shopify
    FoxyCart

    Template marketplace: themeforest.net

    EDIT: For learning HTML & CSS you should not buy any books. From my experience when I wanted to learn PHP and bought book, I've noticed that some things I may need to know are discussed way too general and some of them which surely I won't use for now are discussed in a very detailed way.

    If you plan to learn HTML & CSS (Which you need to learn for at least the purpose of modifying your webshop) then visit W3C's online school. It explains things very well and teaches you the RIGHT usage of the code. Like that you can be sure that any changes you'll ever do will be valid with the W3C. Watch some highly rated youtube tutorials covering html + css usage, as well dig into blogs. For example CSS Tricks is a nice one.
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    • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
      Originally Posted by Craig Allen View Post

      Hi. I was running few stores in the past including clothing shop for teenagers, clothing shop for man (with luxury articles) and a bike store. During that time I've learned a lot. When it comes to software you have two options:

      1. Go with paid ecommerce solutions. Honestly? I do not recommend them. Software created by small companies will make it harder to add a particular feature to your shop. If you would want to perform any changes to your website in terms of design or features - you would need to request them from a company in a subcontract type of help. This means it will cost you and from my experience - it will cost you way more than having an open source software and buying an existing plugin/template or even request creating a custom one to a third party company. Besides, software that comes from small companies may have more bugs than the one that comes for free. Why? Well, with each release of a free open source software, thousands of downloads and updates are being done. Users catch bugs and list them on a particular website. The fixes appear very quickly. Even users themselves are sometimes preparing a so-called 'bug fixes'.

      2. Open Source Software. The community is way more rapid. Millions of plugins are already being offered. Often for free, sometimes for a small fee. By choosing an open source software, you save on costs of initial startup. You have a lot of documentation and tutorials all over the net on how to modify and create your own things. It's easy even with a small knowledge of HTML & CSS. Templates are quite cheap and look incredible. If you decide to buy one of them, be sure to receive a lifetime support from author and be eligible for updates anytime they appear.
      It's way easier to stay independent from all those dollar hungry companies that are willing to perform changes on your shop for ridicolous amount of paper. Even the simplest google analytics code requires a tiny bit of knowledge. Paid software may not come with a plugin for it yet and if it's avaible additionally then it's way overpriced (I was a witness of it already). When it comes to open source software, for sure you can find a google analytics plugin for free which you just install and activate.

      Here is a tiny list of open source carts worth checking out:
      OpenCart
      Magento
      SilverStripe

      Here is a tiny list of paid carts that are worth checking out:
      PinnacleCart
      Shopify
      FoxyCart

      Template marketplace: themeforest.net

      EDIT: For learning HTML & CSS you should not buy any books. From my experience when I wanted to learn PHP and bought book, I've noticed that some things I may need to know are discussed way too general and some of them which surely I won't use for now are discussed in a very detailed way.

      If you plan to learn HTML & CSS (Which you need to learn for at least the purpose of modifying your webshop) then visit W3C's online school. It explains things very well and teaches you the RIGHT usage of the code. Like that you can be sure that any changes you'll ever do will be valid with the W3C. Watch some highly rated youtube tutorials covering html + css usage, as well dig into blogs. For example CSS Tricks is a nice one.
      The right product at the right time for the right customer. Hosted carts work fantastic for a majority of people, especially the less technically oriented because they do what 95% of the open source carts will do without having to deal with servers, script uploads, ssl certificates, PCI compliance,etc.

      Open Source carts have their place but they do take more technical skills. Since the OP has already indicated she is scared of doing updates, pointing her towards opensource solutions is to point her towards the abys.

      Jezebelle,

      Decide what you are good at and let that determine your course. If you need a fully functional store and don't want to deal with server issues updates and other technical issues, look at the hosted solutions. I like BigCommerce and Shopify and each one has pros and cons. They both offer free trials to play with.

      If you are technically oriented and are comfortable doing your own updates, look at the open source carts. Not Magento but take a look at PrestaShop or Opencart. You will need to install some modules and plugins to make it work like BigCommerce out of the box but you should be able to find them for free. Both have very nice themes that can be purchased at theme forest.

      Both the carts I suggested above (BigCommerce and Shopify) give you ready made templates. Shopify gives you more control but BigCommerce, once you add a logo, front page banner and your products, you can hardly tell it is a standard theme. In fact they just added three new themes today.
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      • Profile picture of the author Craig Allen
        Originally Posted by OnlineStoreHelp View Post

        The right product at the right time for the right customer. Hosted carts work fantastic for a majority of people, especially the less technically oriented because they do what 95% of the open source carts will do without having to deal with servers, script uploads, ssl certificates, PCI compliance,etc.

        Open Source carts have their place but they do take more technical skills. Since the OP has already indicated she is scared of doing updates, pointing her towards opensource solutions is to point her towards the abys.

        Jezebelle,

        Decide what you are good at and let that determine your course. If you need a fully functional store and don't want to deal with server issues updates and other technical issues, look at the hosted solutions. I like BigCommerce and Shopify and each one has pros and cons. They both offer free trials to play with.

        If you are technically oriented and are comfortable doing your own updates, look at the open source carts. Not Magento but take a look at PrestaShop or Opencart. You will need to install some modules and plugins to make it work like BigCommerce out of the box but you should be able to find them for free. Both have very nice themes that can be purchased at theme forest.

        Both the carts I suggested above (BigCommerce and Shopify) give you ready made templates. Shopify gives you more control but BigCommerce, once you add a logo, front page banner and your products, you can hardly tell it is a standard theme. In fact they just added three new themes today.
        Yes, indeed but she also indicated that she's interested in learning a programming language. Besides, in my humble opinion everyone who is running a business on the internet should know a little bit about these things. The absolute minimum is medium-knowledge of html and css (not even such nuances as html5 or css3 but just plain and the most simple html+CSS). Then a little bit from security and how to not let first better clown hack your website. A little bit about backups. Additionally if someone wants to know more but still be in basics then he can check how to implement and ignit a javascript. That's the 'must-know' in my opinion.

        You don't need to code things yourself but at least have a tiny bit of knowledge to not let any company fool you with some unrealistic things. I assume also that if something is 10000 in one then it's 10000 to nothing. There is always something to improve, always something missing and not working exactly how we would want. I know from my own experience that majority of these 'pre-made', 'all-in-one' solutions are often disappointing.

        I hope that I don't need to explain the silliness of the following example situation:

        'Oh dear, I need to change the font size of this element! *taking the phone and calling x company*

        '-that will be 10$ ma'am'
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  • Profile picture of the author RaySaj
    i agree for total beginners i would suggest using an automatic tool like WordPress.......and then for the eCommerce facility look at utilising a plugin called WooCommerce..really is easy to implement and install....
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    • Profile picture of the author jezebelle
      Wow thank you very much this has been interesting!

      So I have searched the forum again and I began to brainstorm. To be honest I don't think I can handle magento. It has been pointed out too many times that it isn't for newbies. I dont consider myself a complete noob so I think I will have a look at opencart. They really have alot of features. Well actually I am considering Three options:

      1) opencart
      2) wordpress
      3) zencart (because my course on 'how to build a webshop' has a 4 chapters on zencart and how to work with it.)

      But the real ones i am considering are opencart and wordpress. Could anyone tell me the main difference between these two?
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  • Profile picture of the author lostcyclist
    New to ecommerce, but I just had really good success launching a site on shopify. Was super-easy. However, the monthly fees and trans fees are eating me alive since A) sales are slow and B) I sell big products and that extra % is really huge against the competition when you have $100 shipping costs

    Just launched a brand-new site for the wife. Used Catalyst to design the theme and then plugged it into woo-commerce with the woo-commerce plugin for paypal advanced. I'm pretty pleaed with it, and it only cost $127 for Catalyst and $100 for the Developer's license on the Paypal plugin.... so about 6 months rent over at shopify, and I have all the tools needed to build more stores.
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  • Profile picture of the author sukataetumba
    if you are serious about your store, use opencart
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  • Profile picture of the author jezebelle
    Indeed Craig Allen, thats exactly what i want to avoid. And therefor I am learning to work with opencart now. At first it wasnt easy but its going better now. Rome wasnt build in a day either. And I do want to know a about htm and css. And security aswell as seo and sea. And internetmarketing and copywriting. I dont have thousands of dollars (or euro's in my case) to spend on building a webshop. So I have to learn. But I do love learning and it makes me smarter. Aswell having a bf thats an ict guy makes it bearable :p
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Woocommerce is for Wordpress and changing your theme is a matter of seconds. There's no monthly fee for your shop, other than your merchant account if you have one. Accepts all kinds of payments and has great extensions to do what you need to do in a shop. Adding products is as easy as posting a post in Wordpress or importing bulk products via csv file.
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  • Profile picture of the author nonin
    the new version of prestashop is very easy to use...
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  • Profile picture of the author jezebelle
    Already decided to go with opencart
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