In this article, I’m sharing Tod Abbott’s, our FOW Senior Programer, assessments of 3 online store options. Any of these three stores can be set up for less than $10,000 and in some cases considerably less. This estimate includes the online store, not the website.
Typically, we at FOW match the store (custom, Open Source Software or E-commerce service) to the customer specifications. That means interviewing the client about the plan for the store and their needs and expectations.
This healthcare company wants a store because they are currently selling a large volume of supplements through their front office by phone and to patients with appointments. The goal is to set up the store to free up the office staff’s time.
The store requirements include:
-large variety of product
-keep set up cost down by using an Open Source solution
-make it easy to calculate shipping and cover the shipping & handling cost
-design the store to closely match the existing website.
As there are often newer and better shopping cart solutions available, Tod reviewed the most current shopping cart options in order to make his recommendations.
1. My top recommendation for the supplement store is to use an open source shopping cart called “PrestaShop.”
-modern, well-supported shopping cart with a lot of the features
-lively developer community that offers many add-on modules (some free, but mostly for purchase).
-pretty much complete control over how things look, and slightly less control over how things behave.
-particularly like the single-page checkout. Many shopping carts require the customer to click through several pages while making a purchase. Each page is a barrier that can block the transaction. Prestashop can be set up to handle everything on a single page.
-also impressed with the ease-of-use and features of the Admin tool for the store. I’ve worked with other solutions that are very poorly structured on the admin side, and difficult to work with. Prestashop’s admin tools are generally efficient and well-designed.
You can view live stores built with Prestashop on this page: http://www.prestashop.com/en/showcase (choose an industry…then scroll down for samples.)
2. A second recommendation would be to go with a WordPress-based store. As you may know, WordPress is a very popular tool for building websites. It started as a blogging platform, but has grown to be a feature-rich and very flexible tool for building websites of just about any size.
-exceptional and very active developer community and has many options for hosting a store.
-flexible as to how it looks; will be easy to match to the website
-somewhat less control over the operation of the store
-the admin tools, while adequate, would not be as feature-rich as the Prestashop tools
Here are some sample stores:
3. Finally, the third recommendation is to use the monthly service Shopify.
-hosted store solution. Store resides on vendors website. Disadvantageous to Search Engine Optimization as the new pages and keywords are on the vendor website.
-probably be the fastest and easiest solution to get up and running
-might be difficult to get an exact match for the site design and the store; the specific features and how things work are pretty much going to be the way Shopify presents it (fortunately, that is generally very nice and feature-rich)
-probably the easiest to use of the tools
You can view sample sites here: http://www.shopify.com/examples
There recommendations were specific to one client and one project and might vary for other clients. They happen to be in order from most to least expensive. In this case, our belief is that PrestaShop will be a little more to implement than the WordPress Store and Shopify will be the least expensive. More information after we set up PrestaShop.
Tod Abbott is a Senior Programmer and Owner at Full Orbit Web and Marketing. The firm specializes in Web Programming, Web Design, SEO and Social Media. FOW works with companies through out the SF Bay Area including Marin, Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco to help them thrive online.