NYC, DC, and LA Programmers Explain Shopping Cart Comparisons: Magento VS Interspire VS Zen-Cart VS osCommerce

by admin on September 23, 2010

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You ask the best questions. Each one of you has a host of identical concerns. And you have concerns uniquely related to your business. To address both the most common and a range of unique demands, we created a complete feature comparison matrix between the most popular and well supported shopping carts including magento vs interspire.

Unfortunately, true to our nature, we went one step further. Not only did we elaborate on issues that you wouldn’t have thought of until later down the road, we’ve also explained the worst-case-scenario nightmares you may run into. These problems will blindside you. So we want you to know about them before moving forward with your ecommerce site. We also want you to know that we know about them – very well.

Dangers of Picking a Shopping Cart Without Throughly Analyzing Your Needs
Most executives don’t realize that picking a shopping cart is a complex and serious event. This is because once you’ve installed a cart for your e-commerce business, you are bound and stuck with the features and limitations of that software. Sure, you can make modifications and customizations but one tiny change can ripple through all 9,000 associated files. And yes, there are 9,000 associated files just to make it possible for your buyer to click “Add to Cart.”

This means that depending on whether your cart is based on PHP and CSS like Magento or if it’s a patchwork of PHP, CSS, and HTML TABLE throwbacks from earlier versions like OS Commerse, the cost to make a simple structural change can jump from $500 to $3,000 (respectively).

It’s literally like buying a car. If you have a large budget, you can walk up to the design department of Ferrari with your hand drawn design. If you don’t, you’ll have to pick a make, a model and finally, accessories. Then, if you want to make a structural change to your Corvette, it’ll require custom modifications.

Here’s the major caveat about customizing your shopping cart. If your programmer isn’t an experienced, anal, code Nazi (Yes. He must be a code Nazi), he will almost certainly leave loose ends that crash your installation. And you’ll hear about it on some random rainy Tuesday morning at 3:17 am while you’re on vacation.

As a general rule of thumb, cosmetic changes are simple and low risk. These include font, type size, letter and line spacing, and colors. Structural changes are moderately time consuming and can indeed have ripple effects that break other unimaginable parts of your site. These include moving blocks of content from one page to another, adding previews and snippets to the home page, etc. Functional changes are the most dangerous. Functional changes like returning customer memory based on cookies, modifying the “people who ordered this also ordered…” algorithm, and “Your Facebook friend Greg also ordered these…” features are the most demanding.

Most functional changes and modifications you want to see may already be available as “package function pluggins.” In other words, don’t pay for a functional modification if someone else already developed it as an open source module. There are two caveats here as well. If you figure out that you want a function after you’ve installed your selected shopping cart system but the “function pluggin” is available for every other cart but yours, you’ll have to custom build for that one function. And custom building one function can cost as much as just scrapping your entire cart and migrating over to another one. The second caveat: due to the complexity of these pluggins, if you went through the ordeal of migrating to another package just for that one little pluggin, you could find that the pluggin creates conflicts with other pluggins and crashes your entire cart. Again,

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