eCommerce – Shopping Carts & Online Stores

We been maintaining and building shopping carts for over a decade, and we specialise in open-source software titles. Our experience with many of the leading online stores is unparalleled, including WooCommerce, OpenCart, ZenCart, osCommerce and many more.

Which shopping cart is best?
It’s probably best to think about how your business works first, then the choice is easy.

If you’re going to choose a platform to sell your products (or services) online, you want it to do that one thing very well. So if you already run a traditional business, you’ll also want to choose a technology that helps you do the things you already do.

Technology shouldn’t mean compromises. In fact what many people don’t realise, is that an online store isn’t a lot different to a physical store. You still need to allocate time and resources to fulfilling orders, providing customer service and answering general enquiries. You need to maintain good stock levels, ensure your products are displayed well and you also need to think about how to close your customers, turning window shoppers into a sale or a lead.

If you think of your online store more like a traditional retail outlet, you’ll realise that many of the fundamental principles are the same.

Online stores are hard work
Anyone who tells you different never had a successful store, so work hard and learn…

Picking the right technology can go a long way to helping you achieve all of this. Of course some things may be unique to your online store, such as shipping methods and the payment methods you accept.

Another critical component is whether you can actually understand your software, and how to manage all of this. After all, you started up an online store to reduce your overheads, so you want to be able to perform the day to day tasks with a minimum of fuss.

So do your research and get it right the first time by choosing a solution that’s flexible enough to move with your business, and powerful enough to handle the day to day tasks you need to accomplish. 21 Designs Australia are expert shopping cart web designers, which means by the time we’re finished, your site will be a fully fledged online store meeting the demands of a global audience, letting you get on with the job of running your business.

 

So what shopping cart software do we specialise in?

We specialise in WordPress + Woocommerce, and OpenCart. Two well established products that have very different user bases but are equally powerful in their own right.

Woocommerce makes a great choice for a shopping cart, with loads of features and even more extensions to drive your website salesWordPress + Woocommerce
The most powerful, flexible and easy to use CMS/Shopping cart combination

WordPress has long been the most popular CMS in the world, but until recently integrating an online shopping cart solution was difficult.

Enter Woocommerce. It’s meteoric rise to fame was built upon a standards-based approach that allowed developers better control over the way the software worked, and as it gained popularity, so did the wide array of options for extending it increase.

Although originally only a plugin, Woocommerce integrates that well into WordPress that it’s hard not to see the two becoming one at some stage in the near future.

It’s also easy to see why this partnership became official as they’re now both owned by the same company – Automattic. The quality development emerging from this company and the synergy between two previously separate software titles is just one of the reasons we can’t recommend the use of Woocommerce with WordPress for any shopping cart build highly enough.

If you’re not sure which platform to start your next multi-million dollar business with, then look no further. WordPress + Woocommerce is on of the best options around and we highly recommend it!

OpenCart is one of the easiest, most functional shopping cart's to use out-of-the-boxOpenCart
A great choice for first-time store owners. Easy to use, and quick to setup.

A relatively new player in this space, OpenCart has gained popularity over recent years with it’s focus on shopping and nothing else.

It’s now responsive “out of the box”, and the modular approach to extending the software has made it incredibly easy for non-technical types to get started. While it lacks flexibility in some respects, this is offset by it’s logical structure, making it relatively easy for developers to customise.

The focus on e-commerce, and lack of flexibility also means it’s somewhat easier for a novice website owner to setup and manage, as there’s fewer distractions.

It also handles large numbers of products quite well making it a great choice for first-time shop owners, however content management is not one of it’s strong points, making larger, more content-rich websites a little more difficult to plan and execute.

We still love the software though, and we’ve been developing on the platform for years. If you’re wanting to wet your feet in e-commerce, then it’s hard to go past OpenCart. Another capable, flexible shopping cart platform.

 

Shopping cart platforms we’ve worked with in the past

  • Zen Cart
  • Shopify
  • Drupal Commerce
  • Presta Shop
  • osCommerce
  • KonaKart
  • Avactis
  • CS Cart
  • Magento
  • King Cart
  • Tomato Cart
  • Lite Commerce
  • Jigoshop
  • FoxyCart
  • 3D Cart
  • WP eCommerce

 

How else should I rate my chosen e-commerce platform?

Is easy to learn and use

This might seem obvious, but too many times, “easy-to-use” is defined by the geek in the back office who hasn’t looked at anything else but a computer monitor for 10 years.

Think about the staff who will use this software, because they’re likely to be the ones reconciling stock, adding options, creating specials and processing orders.

If you finish up sending 3 of everything, or worse, sending nothing at all to paying customers because your shopping cart back-office” was too confusing, then perhaps you should have thought twice about getting all the bells and whistles

Handles what you throw at it

Ok, so maybe this isn’t a deal breaker, but a shopping cart that doesn’t handle inventory, discount structures, customer groups, multiple currencies, multiple images, linked products and product options / variations is probably not going to serve you well when your business starts expanding.

So think about where you want to be 2yrs from now, and then think about whether you want to shell out thousands more for another product just because the one you chose was right for “now”.

IF the answer is “No”, then this may be something you need to consider before jumping in head-first and making a potentially poor decision that costs your business

Has a large user base

There are upsides and downsides to using popular software. Most industry experts will tell you that popular software is targeted more often by hackers, and while this is true, a well maintained website will repel these attacks irrespective.

The reason you want software with a large user base is because the support, online resources and add-on features are going to be more readily available.

This means your shopping cart is future proofed – able to grow with your business, or be changed at a moments notice by any one of the many experts out there.

Is safe and secure

Once again, this might seem obvious, but a secure shopping cart will provide (amongst others) some form of PCI compliance, numerous options for SSL (specifically how it handles URL’s), will release new versions on a regular basis, and is transparent about any bugs contained within, either through forums or bug tracking websites.

Check to see what information is available online about potential exploits for the shopping cart you’ve chosen, how easy is it to upgrade, and whether or not people are talking about it from a security standpoint.

Then see how this stacks up against the competition before making a decision – you’ll be glad you did!

 

Thinking about eCommerce¬†for your next website? Give us a call on…

1300 662 492

21 Designs