Analysis: products

Introduction

This comparison is admittedly short and adhoc, it would of course have been nices to have side-by side table comparison with the metrics used to compare produces..

There is a Wikipedia article Webshop that introduces the concepts expectations of online stores.

See also the Analysis & Requirements chapter, which is one level higher in this book.
Last Update: 2008

Virtuemart

Plus: Tested. Stable. Good documentation, GUI & community. The key contender in a Joomla world. Flexible, multi currency.

Problems:

  • Not yet tested: multi-language
  • Multi site. Stock management limited
  • Less advanced that other tools.
  • Very tied to Joomla: difficult to separate from the Website management.
  • Minor: No Drupal or OpenERP interfaces.
  • "I have customers who type in their bill/ship info and when they click ?Continue? to go to the next step in the checkout process, some other customer?s info appears on the order instead of what they had entered"
    http://blog.webdistortion.com/2008/05/03/9-kick-ass-open-source-e-comme…

os-commerce

Plus: Tested: Was easy to get running, multi language/currency.

Problems: no joomla integration. No multi-shop or stock management. Stepped pricing model? Theming/CSS.

Not tested: drupal integration (there is a module for Drupal6)
http://drupal.org/project/oscommerce

Magento

I'd really like to work with this product as the basic design is very good, but its slow/complicated to get going (it was the most difficult product to test).

Plus:

  • tested, feature rich, looks professional, lots of potential. Doc quite good (user Guide)
  • Allows multiple sites.
  • Orders can be submitted directly on the backend, e.g. for a helpdesk
  • 194 Community modules: tried French translation, Swiss Post Shipping

Problems:

  • stability
    10th Dec'08: after a few days playing with v1.16 an upgrade to v1.1.8 was done and after logging into the admin space I kept being diverted to the main site. A downgrade to v1.1.6 got me out of that. I could not get image upload working. 
  • 2.Jan'08: updated to SVN, read the User guide completely, did several installations.
    • Allowed currencies: only euro visible.
    • Can upload and view product images but then never get saveed and disappear when I edit the product again.
    • The main menu has disappeared in the front end.
    • Its unclear how translations of products work.
    • Wiki search?
  • Must create a customer for each order, cannot be anonymous
  • Cannnot save a new order as a draft in the back end.
  • support?
  • no joomla/drupal integration.

Config issues to follow up

  • Home page: Setting up the "home page" is not just point and click, programming needed. How to just have a standard page with categories?
  • Swisspost module installed, but being ignored?
  • Shipping methods to find: French post by weight
  • Interesting modules not yet tested: Datatrans, Spanish/German/Swiss german/ Canadanian frenhc localisation, Bankeinzug/Lastschrift, cash on delivery, Home Link, Bank Prepayment, iphone Theme.
  • Commercial modules to try: Store Pickup Shipping Module http://collinsharper.com/web_design/code_modules_software
  • Payment modules not yet tested.

Notes & tips

Read the user guide before you start.

Use Firefox not opera browser (Cannot create new customer with opera, fields too small.)

http://www.magentocommerce.com/extension/446/smile-openerp-synchro

http://groups.drupal.org/node/9939

http://www.magentocommerce.com/boards/viewthread/9915/P45/

http://www.magentocommerce.com/wiki/welcome_to_the_magento_user_s_guide…

http://www.magentocommerce.com/download/get-started

Forum http://www.magentocommerce.com/boards/viewcategory/17/

http://www.magentocommerce.com/wiki/

 

Ubercart

A nice tutorial to try it out is in the book "Using Drupal". A key contender in the Drupal world. However translations and multiple stores are key problems.

Prestashop

  • Plus: French and thus oriented to French consumers. Was easy to get up and running. Seems stable. The best GUI by far. Digressive stock prices. French/English languages. Lots of features, easy to build pages.

Problems:

  • Multiple shops/sites.
  • joomla/drupal integration, community size?
  • No anonymous accounts, each customer must create an account?

Notes

Other opensource tools

The following were also found, but not yet examined in detail. We have too much choice!

http://drupal.org/project/ecommerce  - old?

http://www.openfreeway.org/

FWP shop. German system. Looks interesting.

http://www.openedit.org/ Enterprise CMS

ZenCart is a fork of OsCommerce

http://drupal.org/project/zencart

Not changed since Nov.2007 ?

OpenCart

http://www.jadasite.com/

http://www.openacs.org/doc/openacs-overview.html

 http://www.oxid-esales.com/en/products/community-edition

Interchange : perl based solution

Commercial tools

The focus here is open source, but some interesting offers popped up.

  • Shopify: Commercial hosted tool based on ruby. Not open source, but reasonable cheap ($24 to $299 per month plus 2% to 0.5% transaction fee). An easy way to get up and running quickly?

To elements of shopify are opensource http://www.liquidmarkup.org  http://www.activemerchant.org

Further reading

A very long list of all kinds of Shop software is in this post