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More eCommerce Fun

June 26, 2008

After much searching, tinkering, installing, re-installing, re-re-installing, etc., I’ve sort of narrowed down some options that look like really good possibilities for open-source, fully featured eCommerce solutions.

Magento: Very obviously an extremely professional product.  Though relatively new, it’s got TONS of support and buzz.  Right now I see two drawbacks: it looks like it’ll take a good bit of tweaking and designing to make it look REALLY good (it looks “just good,” though professional, out of the box), and it does not yet support “virtual products” (aka digital downloads).  For the first, we’ve got a crack team of website gurus here at GCC, and if they ever feel over their heads, we can hire some outside help to get it up and running.  For the second, the Magento team promises that virtual products will be an option in the next release, slated for sometime this July (and the alpha I tried out does indeed have it as an option, just not a working option yet)

PrestaShop: Looks very, VERY nice out of the box, was EXTREMELY easy to use/customize.  Probably wouldn’t need any outside help to make it look how we want, with plenty of flash (the aesthetic, not necessarily the technology).  Downsides: it’s currently in Release Candidate 4 for the stable 1.0 version.  Hopefully that means full stable coming very soon.  Downloadable product size limited to 7MB, so we’d be restricted to users downloading PDFs with links/passwords to actual product.  Also, on my first run (today), the whole backend/admin panel suddenly stopped working.  Not sure what’s going on.  Time for one of those re-installs.
*update* before even posting this, I checked again, and was able to get to it.  I blame our lack of good connection here at work, as it had been timing out

Drupal with Ubercart: Actually has pretty much everything we need.  TONS of free modules, ability to have calendar with workshops scheduled, final releases of the software, all the options we are looking for.  Drawback: it just doesn’t seem as professional as the other two.  Oddly enough, it seems like a CMS that has an eCommerce layer on top of it (hmm, wonder why that is).  Things are relatively clearly laid out…. it just doesn’t FEEL as nice as the others (we’re talking admin panel here).  The store itself should be pretty easy to make it look nice.

SO HERE’S MY QUESTION: Has anyone used any of these, and can provide feedback/advice on the good, bad, and ugly of using them in production?  These seem to be three of the top dogs in the open-source eCommerce community, but are there others that are so amazing that I simply must check them out?  Let me know!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2008 10:30 am

    We use Ubercart for RiffTrax sales (they are “virtual” digital products. The admin panel might need some work, but I don’t think it’d be very difficult to enhance. The only issues we have seen are usually a result of PayPal, who is notorious for having Payment Notification issues.

    Anyways – Ubercart is great. The thing I love about Drupal and Ubercart are the fact that, yes it is a CMS with a commerce layer, but Drupal’s designed to integrate with everything you install, and likewise, Ubercart is designed to integrate fully into Drupal. Which means for cases where you need a feature not included Out of the Box, it’s easy enough to write if you’re a developer, or have access to one. I’ve done this for our site for several new features that are pretty specific to our needs; and the beauty is they can always be released to the community for anyone who ever finds themselves with the same requirements.

    So, for being free, and infinitely extensible, Drupal + Ubercart gets my recommendation!

  2. March 4, 2010 12:40 pm

    We also use Drupal + Ubercart for our site. Like any free software, it has its issues but we have found it to be very convenient and relatively simple to use.

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