OK, over the past couple of weeks, I had a couple of articles here on Virtual Earner in which I discussed the fact that I have been looking at different shopping cart software for my various e-commerce sites. A few days ago, I made a decision on what direction to take.
For my last round of consideration, I was looking at Magento, OpenCart, and WordPress. Yes, I know, WordPress is not a shopping cart, but there are a number of ways to turn a WordPress site into an e-commerce site.
I scrutinized each of these possibilities carefully, because I was making a decision that would affect my businesses, which means it would affect my ability to earn a living. I didn’t want to make the wrong choice, because setting up a shopping cart online is big work, and changing from one shopping cart to a different one is even a bigger job. So, if I was committing to do the work, I wanted to decide on a solution that would serve me for years, not months.
I had checked out Magento earlier in my shopping process and had written it off. Way too complicated. After setting it up on my server, I played around and just found it so very complicated that I abandoned it after only a few hours. However, in my last article a reader recommended it, so I decided to give it another try. I played with it for a full day, and I started getting the hang of how to get it working. After I got it working how I wanted, got the flow of the cart adjusted to how I liked it and such, I found that it didn’t work. I found that if I had certain items in the shopping cart, as I went through the checkout, when I got to the end of the process the button that I was supposed to click to make my purchase was not there! There was no way to make the purchase. Now, let me be clear, most of the time that button was there, but if I bought certain things, or made certain choices in the cart, the button would not show up. I searched on the Magento forums and found that this is an issue reported by other users, but has yet to be fixed. When I found this, I ditched Magento, because there is no way I want to have a cart where some customers are unable to buy from me. Scratch Magento!
Deep in my heart, I have a strong desire to use WordPress as a shopping cart. Why? Because I know WordPress inside and out. The software is as familiar to me as the back of my hand. Because of that, I would have no learning to do, for the most part, if I decided to go with WordPress in some fashion. I tried about a half dozen different shopping cart solutions for WordPress. I tried Shopping Cart plugins, and I tried Shopping Cart themes. Unfortunately, none of them were ready for prime time. Oh, some would do OK for a small shop selling a few products. But, I have established, busy e-commerce sites that have been online for a decade and are very busy. None of the WordPress solutions would do the things that I need. One big minus is that I could find no WordPress solution that would store a customer address book for my customers. As a business where people order gifts for delivery to a third party this is a very important feature for me. My customers want to be able to store recipient addresses for easy retrieval, and I could find no WordPress e-commerce solution that offered this option. So, as much as I want to go with WordPress, it’s just not ready for my needs yet.
What about OpenCart? Well, I tried out OpenCart, and even set up my entire site on OpenCart with all of my products. It was a big job, but I really like OpenCart a lot! After several weeks of working, when I went to do a test of the cart, the system did not work with 2Checkout, the payment provider that I use. OpenCart advertises that it works with 2Checkout, but upon my investigation, I find that a lot of users complain that they cannot get the two systems to work properly together. I went and contacted a number of OpenCart developers and offered to pay them if they would get my system working. I contacted a dozen different people who are recommended by OpenCart. Nine of the people did not respond to me. One responded by saying that they are too busy to take the job. Two acted like they wanted to take the job, but then after a few e-mail exchanges, they stopped responding to me. With this level of support (which I was willing to pay for), I decided that OpenCart was not for me.
So, what did I decide? I decided to make some upgrades to my OSCommerce system, and stick with it. OSC has served me well for nearly a decade now. I upgraded the software, and also installed some user contributions to the cart to enhance it’s performance and features. Over the past couple of years, the security of OSC has been a big concern for me, as it has become widely known that OSC can be hacked rather easily, by those who know how to do it. So, I did some research and founds changes I could make to OSC that would really lock it down and make it much more secure. I made the changes, and any known exploits of OSC will not work on any of my sites now. I also made some changes to the OSC code, through user contributions available on the OSC website, to make the cart even more functional than it was before. So, I have to say that through my work for several days on my OSC installations on several domains, I am feeling like I have a brand new shopping cart now, and I also feel that my installations are very secure as well.
So, yes, I decided to stay with what I’m used to, improve it a bit, and just keep plugging away. I’m glad that I did too.