View Full Version : Advice on building first e-commerce site / your reviews of CubeCart, OSCommerce, etc.

05-19-2009, 01:35 AM
Hi everyone,

I built a simple informational / gallery site for an artist friend of mine awhile back. She wants to sell her paintings and hand made jewelery online now, but has very little start up money so I'm looking for a cheap or free solution. For now she is keeping track of her inventory in Excel spreadsheets.

I've gotten her set up with a PayPal account (Website Payments Standard) and started creating the "add to cart" buttons for each individual item. I haven't figured out any of the finer points yet - like how to calculate shipping cost, etc, and I am beginning to realize that this may not be the most practical solution.

There is pretty high turnaround in terms of the jewelery inventory, and I need a user-friendly way for her to keep track. (She is not technical at all.) Each piece for sale is unique so a unique image and corresponding description needs to be added for each new item / removed each time one is sold. I am building this for free, but there's no way I could afford to do ongoing maintenance on daily basis once everything is in place...the hardest part of this may be getting things set up in a way my friend can manage on her own.

I am thinking that I probably need to get a database involved, which will be another first for me. I know a little PHP, but I haven't used MySQL yet. I am happy to dive in and give it a try, I just have no idea where to start.

To wrap up - I'm hoping that someone here has experience with this kind of situation and can point me in the right direction.
Has anyone used PayPal's Website Payments Standard? Were you happy with it?
Can you offer advice on the best way to tackle this?
Know of any good books on the subject?
Am I in way over my head or what?

Thanks for reading!

05-19-2009, 01:47 AM
I recommend installing something like CubeCart, OSCommerce or some other
totally free shopping cart system. You'll need a bit of PHP/MySQL experience
and the ability to customize the scripts (HTML/CSS) for your own "look".

They handle all of the PayPal gateway transactions too.

If you can't install them (not enough experience), you'll have to hire a freelancer
to help you out. In the case of using your existing website with PayPal, you'll need
to have some scripting done anyhow ... this is going to be sort of a lot of work.

05-19-2009, 02:03 AM
Thanks mlseim.

I figured it was going to be lot of work and I don't mind that as long as there is light at the end of the tunnel. In this case that means that there would come a day when my part is done and my friend can manage her own little store with only occasional help from me.

My PHP experience consists mostly of one WordPress integration /customization, form validation, page redirection, and some other little things like that. Hiring a freelancer is out of the question for budget reasons, but I'd rather learn to do it myself anyway.

Have you personally used CubeCart or OSCommerce? Do you have a preference?

05-19-2009, 04:33 PM
I've used both.
But, it's been a while ... so I'm guessing they both have improved the
"skin" experience? Perhaps they've made customizing easier than it used to be.
Maybe others might pipe-in here with details on which one is easier to use.

Both have built-in PayPal gateways, and there are many support forums and
information for both of them ... so getting help will be easy.

If you have multiple MySQL accounts, I would say to install both of them in
separate directories and experiment ... see which one you like better and later on,
remove the unused one.

Having something like CubeCart allows your client to upload their own photos,
description, prices, shipping, etc. and it controls all of the inventory amounts and
makes shipping/administration easy. It takes you out of the loop.

05-26-2009, 07:51 AM
Zen cart is a spin off of oscommerce and is so much better than both of the above, oscommerce stopped development for about 2 years and just recently come out with a bug fix, Zencart during that time pulled way ahead!
try it, you will NOT regret it (it is free)

05-26-2009, 01:06 PM
Zen cart was last updated in 2007. I wouldnt suggest you use it. Try magento, www.magentocommerce.com

05-28-2009, 07:53 AM
the community support is amazing, there are 1000s of addons, and NO bugs or security issues.
worry free, best of all...free!
I have a web hosting company, I also Have 70 web sites, I test the hell out of everything!!!

05-28-2009, 11:29 AM
Just magento and nothing more... while others offer like addons magento have it its core.
But if something there is not there, you can get by addons...
Fast and flexible :)

06-25-2009, 07:49 PM
Has anyone out there used Drupal for an ecommerce site? I'm considering giving it a shot...I've been wanting to learn it anyway and I'm thinking this could be a good way to do it.

06-26-2009, 03:20 AM
I think Drupal would work, but make sure you can find the gateway for your
particular credit card merchant. There are probably Drupal modules or add-ons
for just about every CC merchant. I will require some Google searching for help
on various parts of Drupal. Many tutorials and help forums you can access.

06-29-2009, 10:12 AM
Just magento and nothing more... while others offer like addons magento have it its core.
But if something there is not there, you can get by addons...
Fast and flexible :)

yep.. I would also prefer Magento as it's a groundbreaking open source technology and the fastest growing eCommerce platform in the market with feature-rich, enterprise-grade eCommerce solution.

Magento Development (http://www.semaphore-software.com/software-solution/magento-ecommerce-customization-design-development.htm)

06-29-2009, 12:29 PM
Actually Virtuemart with Joomla! is quite good, it is very fliexbile, but as with other html/css with a tiny bit of PHP knowledge as it uses tpl files iirc.

Only problem with it though is that in order to get protx payment you need to buy an addon which is about $30. However paypal and loads of other gateways come pre-packaged.

hope that helps :thumbsup:

11-10-2009, 03:04 PM
Very interesting post on ecommerce software.. It's very help full for my new website development.