sorry if these questions have been answered before, I searched and couldn't find one.
My company wold like to establish a B2C shop with several hundred products. We would like to use an open source e-commerce solution. After reading the forums here and doing some Google research, osCommerce and Zen Cart seem to be the most frequently recommended solutions. I've also come across phpShop, X-Cart, Mamcom, CubeCart and a few others. I understand that Zen Cart and Mamcom are forks from the osCommerce project. When I visit their websites though, I cannot tell a clear difference in terms of features, requirements, setup, integration with other modules etc.
Could someone please enlighten me? I'm especially interested in osCommerce vs. Zen Cart as those seem to be the most popular and I believe they can meet our requirements. If you can compare to some of the others, that's welcome too though.
For some more background, we need:
- shopping as "guest" as well as with your own account
- if in account, show order history, shipping status
- customer-specific discounts
- product and category-specific discounts
- customer reviews and ratings
- individual recommendations (customers who bought this also bought...)
- highlights advertised on front page (and other pages)
- own templates to match corp design
- customers will never leave our site to complete transaction
- be able to update prices and product descriptions from a data file
When choosing a shopping cart (or any application for that matter), it is always best to choose one that inherently possesses the most amount of functionality that you require.
Managing, maintaining, upgrading, etc an application becomes alot easier and alot more cost effective the closer you are compliant to the base code.
Having said this, and looking at your requirements, I would more then likely recommend Zen Cart as it inherently covers off alot more of your required features.. Additionally, it is alot easier to customize the look and feel (to match your existing corporate brand) in comparison to osCommerce.
I've just been making this exact comparison, having also looked at phpShop (Mambo-integrated) which seemed a bit buggy.
I'm going with Zen Cart because the templating / module installation system is much more robust - using overrides to load your own template files in place of standard templates, extra modules installed by just placing extra files into the relevant directories. It seems obvious, but take a look at the instructions for installing osCommerce extra modules ("go to file xxx.php and edit line 23 so it looks like this...") - scary! It looks like every module modifies the standard system files...
In the standard install I think Zen Cart will do most of what you want. You'll need to install the ep (Easy Populate) module for data file import.
I came into the same situation some time ago. To tell you the truth, i was a bit dissapointed with all of them. Though ZenCart is the one i liked to most (OSCommerce official build doesn't get updates for long time), i doesn't work with clean url's out of the box. You have to manually configure and install a module, which doesn't really use really clean url's. I ended up using Drupal with their e-commerce module. Doesn't have as much options as true ecommerce programs, but does what i need, and can really use friendly url's.
I didn't expect soemthing to work completely out of the box, so I'm fully prepared to do some major tweaking. But as Cartika said, I wanna get as close as possible from the start. Opinions seem to converge on Zen Cart, so that's what I downloaded today.
An interesting side story: I asked a very similar question on both the Zen and osC forums. The people on the Zen side were quite helpful, but on the osCommerce forum my post (the first post ever there) got deleted within half an hour and a mod messaged me that comparisons are not allowed. I wonder why? Inferiority complex? Anyway, I obviously didn't feel welcome there and it only reinforced my feeling I'll be better off with ZenCart.
One more question though: Juanzo, what do you mean with "clean URL's"?
By "clean URL's" i mean something like "www.yourshop.com/nike.htm" por example. Not something like "nike.php?34834534sada2324". Cleaner urls are not only better for search engine robots, but easier to remind for your customers.
OK, I see. but would that long numeric code still be unique for this particular product until I change the catalog? In other words, if someone emails the link "w w w .yourshop.com/nike.php?34834534sada2324", would the recipient still end up directly at the product page? Or is this just a temporary number that expires after a while?
And with search engines I assume you mean first of all Google. What about shopping specialists like BizRate? Same thing?
In regards your question, yes. I'm almost sure the code remains unique until you change your catalog or the item itself.
When i said search engines i meant all of them, not only Google. Usually this kind of URL's are really hard for robots to spider the website, so disregard your site's importance, your site may stay unindexed.
I don't really know BizRate, or any others. Since the ones that Cartika mentioned are not free, my solution was to use a module for a CMS. I know Mambo has it's own module too.