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  #11  
Old 04-28-2009, 04:47 PM
MarkSKell + MarkSKell is offline
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I have a handful of websites that I still need to update and convert over to a newer e-cart. I currently use ISC for only one of my stores, and for a while the plan was to convert them all over to Interspire. I have absolutely decided against that option, this weekend I made a little mock site using Zen-Cart and one of their free templates.

Now there is no denying that a Zen-Cart created e-site requires a lot more startup work and configuration, but after I worked through all of that I really started liking the software. Compared to ISC I found the file structure quite a bit more intuitive, not to mention I was able to custom configure SO much more than Interspire allows (out of the box).

My USPS shipping module didn't hang once all weekend and compared to Interspire the software seemed solid. They've had the same version out for months now (unlike our friends down under).

....And the literature! So much documentation, more than you need. I still don't have an updated manual for my ISC 5.0 (of course I haven't looked for it recently either).

I have to admit, I felt a little stupid (for lack of a better word) over the weekend after working with Zen-Cart. There I was using a free piece of software which I personally found much easier (and more pleasant) to use than my paid Interspire e-cart (which I'm in for $1500).

I have a tiny little e-site that I plan on using Zen-Cart for, I'll see how I feel about the software in a couple weeks.

I have already come to the conclusion that there is NO perfect e-cart software currently available for purchase. I will have to check out Magento's $9000+ puppy though!

Cheers.
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2009, 05:06 PM
Windsun + Windsun is offline
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Of all the carts out there, including ISC, I have yet to find one that I would give any better than a 7/10 rating to.

Every single one has issues of some sort - and that is probably why no one cart has really become the "leader of the pack".

A lot of carts will work for simple products, but few seem to work well once you get beyond that. If you have products that are configurable, or sell kits, or have items with special shipping requirements such as oversized, etc etc - every cart I have tried falls down in some area.

Like you, I had dismissed some of the (more or less) free carts and am now taking a second look - mostly out of desperation. Over the past six months we have spent over $5000 trying out "non-free" carts, including ISC and ASPDNSF. While some have tons of features, that often seems to come with an overly complicated backend.
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  #13  
Old 04-28-2009, 05:26 PM
babyREFLUX + babyREFLUX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsun View Post
Every single one has issues of some sort - and that is probably why no one cart has really become the "leader of the pack".
Unlike many apps., eCommerce solutions need to be very personal to the individual store. This is why no single solution suits every user.

Different countries, different markets, different customer-sets, different parts of the supply chain, different abilities, different mind-sets, needs and wants - multiply these all by each other and you have a zillion permutations.

The success of the software will be the balance between going for the SME store owner, a 'one application fits all' for the development partner and the larger more corporate business that is much more complex.

You can't supply the same app. to all of the above and if you do you will fail on every level.
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  #14  
Old 04-28-2009, 05:28 PM
jonahcoyote + jonahcoyote is offline
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I've used Zen Cart for a few shops and I can easily say it's pretty horrid. The administration to begin with is a nightmare. Everything is illogically scattered around and it's often near impossible to find what you're looking for. It's also not visually appealing and can be difficult to perform common tasks like setting up product variations and assigning products to multiple categories. Then you've got the not so wonderful at all template override system. Sure, it makes some sense and it's kind of nice but there are way too many files in way too many places. Modules, language files, sideboxes, etc., no thanks! If you want help you have to resort to the forum where most of what you're looking for is buried deep in 30 page threads. A lot of the mods are out of date and they haven't had a major update for years! Yeah it's free, but you're going to spend more than an ISC Ultimate edition to really get it looking and working nice and then you're still working with a horrible administration for your shop. In my opinion ISC is one of the best carts out there. It's got some great features and is reasonably priced. It's still lacking features and functionality but at least it's got a very involved community, a company that stands behind it's product and welcomes ideas from its users and is pretty active with their release cycles.

I really think with any of these carts one of the keys is in hiring a solid designer and/or developer to work with you in customizing your site. All too often I see sites that have only slightly tweaked the default template and are not really providing their users with an experience that is more consistent with their brand. Websites today, including ecommerce sites, need to offer people an incentive to explore further, come back for more in the future, and give them a reason to tell their friends. I don't think taking any piece of software whether it be paid or free and slapping your logo in the header is going to do much for you. People need to look at a website as an investment for the future instead of a method to get their business or products online ASAP. You may always get lucky and have something so good or cool that people won't care what you're site looks like or how it functions at first. But eventually you're going to need to upgrade and provide your users more or they're going to dump you and checkout the website of the company that spent 10-20k on developing a really nice looking, really nice functioning website. That's what all the blogs are going to showcase and talk about and who everyone is going to tell their friends about. Not you're run of the mill, default template with a logo slapped into the header. You're just another site that looks and functions the same as all the others.

Think about this one question: "why should someone come back to your website?" If you can answer that and back it with some solid reasons then you're probably in an ok position. If not, you may want to re-evaluate your plan for the website. Take some time to consider the complex array of things involved not only with the design and usability of your website but also the appeal to random users who will look at your site for 1-2 seconds and if nothing captures their attention in that quick flash of scanning, they are gone and likely gone forever.

No, there are no perfect carts out there. They will all have their own bugs, flaws and lack of functionality but to me ISC looks and feels like something that is going somewhere and for me that counts for something and is worth the $$$ I had my client drop on it.
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  #15  
Old 04-28-2009, 05:33 PM
babyREFLUX + babyREFLUX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonahcoyote View Post
...to me ISC looks and feels like something that is going somewhere and for me that counts for something and is worth the $$$ I had my client drop on it.
Until the last line you sounded like a passionate store owner and not a developer

How many carts have you completed now, in ISC and using others?
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  #16  
Old 04-28-2009, 07:24 PM
jonahcoyote + jonahcoyote is offline
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Thanks Jonathan, in the last 6 months I've been looking at things rather differently but I'm still a designer/developer

In total I've completed around 18 carts over the last 5 years. The site I'm working on now will be the first one using ISC and I like it a lot so far.

- Jonah
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  #17  
Old 04-28-2009, 07:40 PM
babyREFLUX + babyREFLUX is offline
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Cool Jonah...do you have a website to display your wares?
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  #18  
Old 04-29-2009, 02:35 PM
jonahcoyote + jonahcoyote is offline
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Hey Jonathan, I do have a website showcasing my wares but unfortunately it's way out of date! http://www.jonahcoyote.com

I'm missing some important sites like:

http://www.littlebeepress.com (Business Catalyst site)
http://www.selcarim.net (Ultra Cart site)
http://www.lightplayphoto.com (Wordpress e-Commerce site)

- Jonah
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  #19  
Old 04-30-2009, 09:31 PM
WebTraders.no + WebTraders.no is offline
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Hi Jon.

I agree with you. I think the shopping cart is pretty good and works well. Obviously there is always room for improvement, but I guess its hard to satisfy everyone and all special features. It is important to put the features that are supported to the best use and to see what possibilities there are in the system.

I have during the past 10 years been project manager for the development of 3 different e-commerce software, but have now decided to join as an Interspire partner instead and start moving some clients over to the Shopping Cart platform. The software I have developed is the shopping cart used by www.armygear.com among others.

Hopefully there will be some more and better support for us Europeans business owners.

- Joe
WebTraders.no
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  #20  
Old 05-14-2009, 05:51 PM
websnail + websnail is offline
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Just thought I'd update this as I've always felt that the Magento pricing was just insane and wanted to find a more comparable system that showed another side to the coin.

Today I was pointed to Jshop... Cost £200 for a single site license... support is specifically for support (not maintenance updates - see below). This is roughly comparable or slightly more expensive that ISC's offering but you don't get a limitation on the your updates although it is within 1 business day by email.

Quote:
Updates Are Free!
Yes, that's right! Once you've purchased JShop Server you'll automtically get access to the latest updates for the system free of charge!
.. and yes, to clarify updates are considered the same as upgrades.. ie: there's no difference.

Graphically it looks dated in the back-end but then I suppose your admin just needs reports and information, not eye candy..

Anyhoo... just wanted something a bit more balanced against the current, pay, pay more and pay again model that we have here..
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