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Does anyone recommend one ecommerce program over another? I am trying to figure out which program would be the easiest that would also include inventory and calculating shipping options. Also, I would like it to be relatively inexpensive as I am a start up company and not sure of how many online sales i will have monthly. I know that some sites take a percentage of each sale and other you pay a monthly fee. Which do you recommend and how much does it cost? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
 

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I personally like Zen-Cart. It's open source, and there is a great support community as well as a ton of add on modules.
I didn't know much about it at all a year ago, and since then have built 13 stores.
 

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Does anyone recommend one ecommerce program over another?
Yes, you'll get lots of different opinions on which program or software or package is better :) And they are all probably right :)

Different people need different things in their ecommerce solution.

Some people need a point and click interface and don't mind paying more for it on a monthly basis.

Some people may just need a piece of software they can install and learn and not have to pay over and over monthly for it.

I myself prefer CubeCart, which is a free/low cost piece of software that you can install on your web host and customize to look and function they way you want.

Others may feel that it's too complicated to set this up and they prefer an "all in one" type solution like volusion or monstercommerce where you pay a monthly fee for everything (hosting/ecommerce/payment processing/etc)

You just have to research to figure out what your needs are and what your skill level and budget is. I'm sure there's something that would fit your specific needs.

Here's a good start: http://www.t-shirtforums.com/ecommerce-site-design/t25617.html

And this: http://www.t-shirtforums.com/ecommerce-site-design/t15199.html

And this one: http://www.t-shirtforums.com/ecommerce-site-design/t49286.html

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/ecommerce-site-design/t57132.html
 

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Mumzie,

I too am in the same boat as Sacred Stitch, a new startup company owner not too sure of what sales are going to be on a monthly basis and looking for a decent ecommerce program to learn and use.

Are there a lot of tutorials available in setting up a shop? also does it work in conjunction with paypal or do you need to go out and buy a subscription with a paypment processing company?

Any help is appreciated,

Tim
 

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Are there a lot of tutorials available in setting up a shop?
Most places that sell the different softwares have tutorials. If you check out the links above, you'll see some good info there as well.

also does it work in conjunction with paypal or do you need to go out and buy a subscription with a paypment processing company?
Most work either way. With just PayPal, or with a merchant account (or both).
 

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I like zen cart a lot too. Through that program, I learned css and php just by messing up over and over and over. That may sound overwhelming for some, but about two months later, I can pretty much do whatever I want to a zen cart site, except for figure out why it looks slightly different in IE. That's css for ya! And yea, their forums rock too. There are lots of free mods available which makes it very powerful for the price ($0).
 

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Up until fairly recent times, I was a big fan of Cubecart, but I have now migrated over to Zen-cart, as it has features more suited to my needs. OS Commerce is another free option to consider as well. There are simpler solutions such as Nop cart and Maian cart, both of which are also free.

A lot of the ecommerce programs have a multitude of features, many of which most folks will never use. A well as the free programs there are also many good commercial programs, such as shopfactory and actinic catalog.

As well as the ecommerce program itself, you will also need an account with a payment gateway such as PayPal, or Globalcharge, so that people can purchase online from you.
 

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Thanks. Im looking for the easiest program that will take very little time to maintain. From what this Zen-cart sounds like you are going to have to learn to build it basically(correct me if Im wrong). Also, does Zen-cart and the other options mentioned have automatic inventory control and automatic shipping calculation?
 

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Hi. Zen-cart and most other ecommerce programs offer inventory control. There are several shipping functions built in to calculate the freight costs, usually based on weight and destination.

Even though Zen-cart and Cubecart come with installer packages, you do need to learn how to configure them and set them up. There is an element of learning involved, as there is with all software programs.

The one advantage of commercial packages, over free ecommerce programs, is that if you do encounter problems, they will help resolve the problem for you. With free packages the only backup you have, is via the advice on the forums. If something breaks, nobody is going to fix it for you.
 

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I found zencart difficult to use as well as cubecart. If you don't know anything about php, etc. then you will have trouble modifying it unless you have plenty of time to sit around and try to figure it out. I have zero time for such things as I work full time and make tees on the side. This is an important thing to consider when looking for a ecommerce solution. Also, I had bluehost recommended to me and found it not that user friendly. I ended up switching back to Godaddy and using website tonight which is dummy proof and easy to navigate. You could also pay someone to modify one of the free carts but I also found this to be more time consuming than just going with Godaddy. You have to figure out who to use to design it for you and then email countless info back and forth. It's quicker to use an all in one solution for me. So consider how much time you have, how tech savy you are, and how fast you want your site up and running. Another all in one solution that I was considering was homestead.
 

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Thanks. Im looking for the easiest program that will take very little time to maintain. From what this Zen-cart sounds like you are going to have to learn to build it basically(correct me if Im wrong). Also, does Zen-cart and the other options mentioned have automatic inventory control and automatic shipping calculation?
Most any cart will take little time to maintain...once it's setup. Regardless of a free vs paid cart, or a custom vs bought template, you will still need to configure a bit.

1. Newsletter, welcome email, tracking #'s can all be automatically sent with the contents modified to fit your needs.

2. Have to setup products, prices, images, additional images, attributes (dependent attributes take more work), stock (some allow stocking by attributes), shipping (ship by price, weight, flat rate, per item, etc), payment processor...everything you can think of.

3. Setting up all the bells and whistles - image handlers, configuring pages (contact us, etc), invoice/receipt templates, categories, one page checkout, cool backend addons, funky extras (banner swappers), etc.

4. Most pages inside shopping carts (checkout page, login page, etc) are UGLY and need help!

There's a lot of things to do on a website. Most of the free carts will offer everything you need right away. Yes, you can use Zen Cart out of the box so to speak, but you probably wont like how it looks. You can buy a template, but that's just about as much modifying as starting from scratch. Or you can hire someone, but you will still need to setup a few things from each of the #'s I listed above, just without the css/php/html stuff, unless your picky me (thats why I did it myself).

But once it's up, depending on your business model, you dont need to touch it. Since I have a dtg printer, nothing is ever out of stock :D and I dont have to change much.
 
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