Have a client wanting to open up a eCommerce store, but...

by flipfire 22 replies
One of my clients has turned around and asked me if i could recommend him a eCommerce platform,

Any recommendations on which platform to go for?

He's looking for something thats a quick and click build your website platform, something that would take him a few hours to build rather then a complete design of one.

He's looking to open a designer clothes store online, (he already owns one offline)

Regards,

Lee
#ecommerce sites, wholesaling & drop shipping #client #ecommerce #open #store #wanting
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  • Profile picture of the author SimonR
    if he's looking for something simple he can use himself i would recommend him Shopify , very easy and simple to use and practical , not very ¨open environement¨ to , but still a very good platform that I like.
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    • Profile picture of the author Craig Allen
      Hi. I can propose you following solutions:
      Magento (equipped with a theme from themeforest.net will surely meet your client's expectations)

      PinnacleCart (very good option but it's paid one)

      Wordpress/Joomla + a proper ecommerce plugin.

      Shopify (Also paid one but pretty good)

      Volusion (Also paid and also pretty good)

      Apache OfBiz (Free and nice ecommerce platform based on java language)

      Spree Commerce (Also Free and based this time on Ruby language)

      OpenCart (nice and free. Plenty of cheap and good looking templates on themeforest.net)

      Eventually if above won't be enough you can check also some commerce plugins made for Drupal platform. In my opinion Magento, OpenCart and Spree Commerce are your best choice.

      Best wishes
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      • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
        Originally Posted by Craig Allen View Post

        Hi. I can propose you following solutions:
        Magento (equipped with a theme from themeforest.net will surely meet your client's expectations)

        PinnacleCart (very good option but it's paid one)

        Wordpress/Joomla + a proper ecommerce plugin.

        Shopify (Also paid one but pretty good)

        Volusion (Also paid and also pretty good)

        Apache OfBiz (Free and nice ecommerce platform based on java language)

        Spree Commerce (Also Free and based this time on Ruby language)

        OpenCart (nice and free. Plenty of cheap and good looking templates on themeforest.net)

        Eventually if above won't be enough you can check also some commerce plugins made for Drupal platform. In my opinion Magento, OpenCart and Spree Commerce are your best choice.

        Best wishes
        If you read what the OP said then you would not be telling them to use Magento. He wants easy to use, set up and click, click, click. None of the open cart software programs are going to give this ease since they will have to deal with servers, ssl certificates, updates and modules.

        In this case, depending on what he needs it to do, the number of categories and subcategories, I would suggest one of the following carts.

        BigCommerce - For a full retail store with lots of categories and sub-categories, coupon codes, easy to make banners, etc, this is the top choice. Lots of prebuilt themes you can work off of.

        Shopify - Also a great platform but, if you are going to have multiple categories or even worse sub-categoreis, is not the place to be. While it gives you a lot of freedom to modify themes, it can be a bit time consuming.

        Volusion - Heard decent things about them but they also had a ton of downtime during the holidays since their servers were not up to snuff.

        All of these can be created as stand alone sites or as sub domains (ie.shop.mywebsite.com) so if you have built a website for him already, you can maintain consistency.

        Yes, all of them are paid but based on what you wrote, would be the best suggestions for him. I imagine in his eyes, his time is very valuable, wnats to set up his clothes shop online but doesn't want to waste to much time on it. $25 - $50 a month will be nothing to him if it gets him up easy anyway. I assume you are charging him $50 a month just for website hosting as it is.

        If you do go opensource and set it up for him, please do not host the commerce site on the same shared servers his info site is on. You are asking for a privacy breach nightmare in this case.
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  • Profile picture of the author Quad312
    I've used Cubecart extensively, easy to modify and easy to find pre-made skins for it too. Also easy to set up, add products, process orders, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author sandyallain
    Think of the ecommerce world as a race. Each website trying to "win" or at least go as fast as possible. You're the driver and software like Oscommerce & Magento are the "cars". Literally the vehicles that you need to get into the race. Am I right? My best advice to you is to make a list of things that are important to you and simply start a trial with all 2 carts: OScommerce and Magento. Keep documentation on your trial experiences and at the end you should be able to make a solid decision based on what's important to your client and not anyone else. Hope that helps
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    • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
      Originally Posted by sandyallain View Post

      Think of the ecommerce world as a race. Each website trying to "win" or at least go as fast as possible. You're the driver and software like Oscommerce & Magento are the "cars". Literally the vehicles that you need to get into the race. Am I right? My best advice to you is to make a list of things that are important to you and simply start a trial with all 2 carts: OScommerce and Magento. Keep documentation on your trial experiences and at the end you should be able to make a solid decision based on what's important to your client and not anyone else. Hope that helps
      Did you even read what the OP posted? Magento, the most complicated (yes powerful but complicated) shopping cart on the market? OS Commerce, while powerful as well, is not a simple click click click. He is looking for a hosted application. One where he doesnt have to worry about servers, SSL certificates, upgrades, patches. He just wants to put his products up to sell them online.

      This is exactly why the hosted carts were created. For someone that wants a quick build with all the functionality and NONE of the hassle. An extra 50 bucks a month for a paid cart will be nothing compared to how much time and money he will have to spend on maintaning an opensource cart.

      Remember, he is not a programmer, he is not an IM'er, he is a retail store owner. His time is best spent on selling, sourcing and marketing, not on figuring out and maintaining an open source cart system, dealing with plugins, modules, uploading new themes, uploading a mobile plugin, dealing with server issues, integrating SSL certificate.
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      • Profile picture of the author awebforyou
        www.awb4.com is new to market but a very powerful shopping cart.

        You can PM me if you have any questions
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I use Woocommerce. No monthly fees and has a ton of great extensions to do everything I need it to do. Just set one up yesterday and imported 1700 products via csv file and took only minutes to have a fully loaded store.
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  • Profile picture of the author malia
    Do not use Wordpress for this clothing site. The size/color matrices alone would render every single Wordpress (or any other CMS for that matter) based cart limiting.

    Do not use Shopify, as the company will resent the percentage of sale. If the clothing is truly "designer" (which is a category of merchandise that indicates a price point like budget, bridge, designer etc) then they will not like the transaction fee at all, because they can have 2 shirts, one $20 and one $200 and pay much more for the transaction for the $200 shirt. This will tick them off.

    Apache OfBiz is great, but it will be overkill for a merchant w/o a developer on retainer or working for the company. It rocks, but it's not for the feint of heart.

    Having said that. I know OnlineStoreHelp does NOT like Magento for this, but from my experience selling apparel (not using Magento) and setting others up with it, Magento is not easy to use but the way that it handles size/color variances is absolutely beautiful.

    Second to that would be BigCommerce.

    I wouldn't touch OSCommerce with a ten foot pole for this, nor any other open source platform. I think Volusion is good, but either you love or hate the way it handles the size/color matrix (and personally I absolutely hate it).

    Let me stress the importance of this to you, as I have an ecommerce store in the clothing category, and have for over .... 10 years... That stock matrix will make or break you.

    Let me stress to you how critical that is for an apparel retailer.

    It needs to be user friendly to set up the stock matrix, user friendly to update inventory, easy to run reporting of the sales/inventory by SKU, and user friendly to deal with pick/pull for fulfillment. Keep in mind, one particular item of clothing can easily, EASILY, have 30 individual SKUs and I think this is the most critical factor for an apparel (or shoe) merchant using ecommerce software.

    People are coming in here, telling you what to use, but not really paying attention to what is being sold and the particularities of what is being sold.

    OnlineStoreHelp, I think you are usually spot on. However, I don't think an apparel merchant can get "easy to use" like the way they want, that stock matrix simply complicates the hell out of things. Especially when it comes to product listing, inventory management, and pick and pull of orders (or outsourced fulfillment). So in this instance, I do think Magento has an edge. It is very complex to set up for this merchandise category, but the handling of the items has very strong benefits once you're knee deep into running a store.
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  • Profile picture of the author malia
    Curious what your thoughts are on Magento Go for a store like this?
    I happen to really, really, really like Magento/Magento Go for stores like this and here's why:

    It handles each size/color variant like a separate product and then allows them to be "grouped" under a main product. I forget the terminology. Maybe they use parent/child terminology.

    Now, this takes some getting used to if the company's website has never been done this way before, and it makes for a very messy database with an excessive number of products. However, the advantage really lies in how easy it is to switch pricing/photos/descriptions for each option and how that makes the inventory reporting/handling much easier.

    I know most carts can handle that option/switching, but I just think Magento excels with it.

    It also allows products to be put into sets. For example, a website may want to sell a top and bottom separately and also as a set. Magento allows this from one inventory base. Most other carts handle it as a product with options, which means two products cannot share that inventory that way.

    If you've never had to run an apparel store, none of this becomes an issue and really you don't know about it until you're already knee deep into the store administration.

    This is why I like it and why I think it should be heavily considered. It's almost like they built this solution for that type of complexity and really, really thought out all the different ways to handle it.

    There are many other things I do not like about Magento. And believe me, a data upload is a beast (my friends outsource that part), but I just think for certain sites it's just awesome.

    It's not like I'm a champion for Magento because there are some things I hate about it, and find it unnecessarily complex. But I know for others in the apparel industry that ask me about ecommerce, it's always my first recommendation.

    And FWIW, the CMS plugins (including Wordpress, etc) just don't handle that level of complexity and you end up basing your product merchandising around the limitations of your cart. They just aren't meant for that. And even when they offer it, yeah, TRY running inventory and sales reports. LMAO!

    Apparel buyers need that information more so than many other industries because designer apparel, it has to be ordered in advance and often cannot be re-ordered. So you're buying for Fall in February. You need your sales data to guide your purchase decisions. You need to know if certain sizes or colors were not selling or else you're buying blind because you have this window of opportunity to write the order, and if you're wrong, you're sitting on inventory and if you under bought, too bad, by the time you sell out, you can't reorder.

    Again, I'm basing this off the client selling "designer" apparel and the word "designer" being used accurately. If the client was selling Hanes t-shirts it would be less of a critical factor but still important information.
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    • Profile picture of the author OnlineStoreHelp
      Originally Posted by malia View Post

      I happen to really, really, really like Magento/Magento Go for stores like this and here's why:

      It handles each size/color variant like a separate product and then allows them to be "grouped" under a main product. I forget the terminology. Maybe they use parent/child terminology.

      Now, this takes some getting used to if the company's website has never been done this way before, and it makes for a very messy database with an excessive number of products. However, the advantage really lies in how easy it is to switch pricing/photos/descriptions for each option and how that makes the inventory reporting/handling much easier.

      I know most carts can handle that option/switching, but I just think Magento excels with it.

      It also allows products to be put into sets. For example, a website may want to sell a top and bottom separately and also as a set. Magento allows this from one inventory base. Most other carts handle it as a product with options, which means two products cannot share that inventory that way.

      If you've never had to run an apparel store, none of this becomes an issue and really you don't know about it until you're already knee deep into the store administration.

      This is why I like it and why I think it should be heavily considered. It's almost like they built this solution for that type of complexity and really, really thought out all the different ways to handle it.

      There are many other things I do not like about Magento. And believe me, a data upload is a beast (my friends outsource that part), but I just think for certain sites it's just awesome.

      It's not like I'm a champion for Magento because there are some things I hate about it, and find it unnecessarily complex. But I know for others in the apparel industry that ask me about ecommerce, it's always my first recommendation.

      And FWIW, the CMS plugins (including Wordpress, etc) just don't handle that level of complexity and you end up basing your product merchandising around the limitations of your cart. They just aren't meant for that. And even when they offer it, yeah, TRY running inventory and sales reports. LMAO!

      Apparel buyers need that information more so than many other industries because designer apparel, it has to be ordered in advance and often cannot be re-ordered. So you're buying for Fall in February. You need your sales data to guide your purchase decisions. You need to know if certain sizes or colors were not selling or else you're buying blind because you have this window of opportunity to write the order, and if you're wrong, you're sitting on inventory and if you under bought, too bad, by the time you sell out, you can't reorder.

      Again, I'm basing this off the client selling "designer" apparel and the word "designer" being used accurately. If the client was selling Hanes t-shirts it would be less of a critical factor but still important information.
      Malia, then maybe Magento Go (their hosted platform) would be a good choice for the OP. I haven't used Magento Go yet but I literally just picked up a boutique clothing client yesterday and I need to see if it will work for them. They have a lot of unique prints with hand made fabricks from overseas so product options change all the time. My only fear is I have heard nightmares about customer service for magento go.
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  • Profile picture of the author rlcf
    I have been using Shopify extensively, I recommend them 100%. Makes extremely professional and unique websites. Check them out.
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  • Profile picture of the author PaymentMaven
    And don't forget, you need to accept payments via credit card.
    You can use Paypal or other 3rd party.
    And of course, you can get a traditional merchant account and gateway.
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      I have used both Network Solutions and 3dcart. Both are user friendly and you can have a site up and running in as quick as it takes you to add your products and content. There are monthly fees, but they are worth it if you need an all-in-one solution.

      al
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      Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art. ~Andy Warhol~

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  • Profile picture of the author dmanscoop
    Opencast is the best solution i'd say, easy and understandable.
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  • Profile picture of the author teeds01
    Very interesting topic - we've done mostly woocommerce and Magento. Had AWESOME luck with Woocommerce for boutique women's stores. I've seen some horrible Shopify carts recently Orderstorm.com is one I've recently came across - not pretty but very granular and seemless order page transition. I think the best part about Woocommerce is there are no residual fees - you can charge your client for hosting etc but it does take a little patience and time understanding the back end - you don't need programming skills or minimal skills.
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