Magento or Zen Cart or ????

ecommerce-packageIf you want to sell products, you need an ecommerce (or “shopping cart”) website, such as Magento (more on that later!). Your products could be physical or digital, but the software that powers them will be the same. You want a website that will enable visitors to look at your products, decide which ones they want to buy, to have the shipping cost calculated, make their payment and then to be emailed with their completed order. Most shopping carts will do loads more than this (specials, gift certificates, attributes like size and colour, inventory tracking, customer accounts etc), but they have to get the basics right or people won’t buy.

You could have an expensive custom site built, but you really don’t need to. There are some brilliant “off the shelf” software packages that will do everything you want them to do and then some! This makes the website development process much quicker and therefore cheaper, and its possible that you will also end up with a much better website. We prefer to build ecommerce sites with open source software such as Magento. Open source means that it is built by a community of people for passion rather than a company for profit. The software is available at no cost and there is usually a huge amount of community support for it which includes things like:

  • plug-ins (which extend the functionality of the software in many and various ways – some awful and some simply brilliant!)
  • themes (which can offer stunning designs and functionality for peanuts – this is our preferred method of delivering a high quality, value for money commerce site)
  • training (such as videos, full courses, text instructions, podcasts and more)
  • technical support (there are lots of web developers and expert users that support open source software and can help if you ever need it (of course, we also provide our clients with support and assistance))

We understand ecommerce and online shopping in Australia. Why? Because we have owned and operated our own ecommerce businesses since 2003. We started the first discount Apple online store in Australia. We know what visitors to your website need in order to feel confident buying your products, and to do it simply and easily. We also understand internet marketing – we practice it every day in our business as well as our clients businesses. So there’s a whole lot more to the business of running an ecommerce store than just the design and code of the website. But a great looking, highly functional website can make a huge difference!

Some of the decisions you will need to make early on in the process of setting up your ecommerce site are:

  • Which software package is the right one for me? Is Magento the best solution? Or maybe Zen Cart? Or maybe even WordPress with an ecommerce plugin?
  • Do I want a custom designed site or will a theme offer better value?
  • What categories and sub-categories do my products fall into?
  • Do I need attributes (variables such as colour, size etc)?
  • Do I need a stock manager to track my inventory?
  • What price can I sell my products at and still make a profit?
  • Should I integrate social media?
  • Will I have a newsletter to promote my business?
  • Do I need to charge GST?
  • How much will shipping be?
  • Where will I ship to (or rather not ship to)?
  • What ways can people pay me (e.g. Paypal, credit card, bank transfer, cheque/money order)?
  • Are there any other functions that my ecommerce site needs to have to support and encourage potential buyers to buy?

Get in touch with us today. We can set up a free consultation (that’s code for you get to pick our brains!) to talk through some of these issues and start you on the pathway to launching your ecommerce website. At the end of the consult, we will send you a detailed, written quote. So, what are you waiting for? Call or send us your details and we’ll get the ball rolling.