Off topic watercolling: Any webdesign gurus here?
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September 27, 2009, 06:34 PM
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Hey Daz - Having used a few shopping cart backends, I would suggest sticking with what you have with "Zencart" which I have had the most success. It is free and open source, and has a good number of plugins for Canadians. Some of the themes for it can be rather simple, but there are some great (I can't believe I'm saying this) but "Monster" template files that actually look decent and professional. One thing though, be sure when you go about doing it, especially with Zencart that you take all security precautions.
If you want to drop a bit of coin however there are some good paid alternatives.
Magento would be my #1 pick. It has a great community, a ton of plugins + good Canadian support for things like taxes. It is somewhat simple to use, though I would rate it as the more difficult of the paid commercial solutions.
Xcart and Sunshop aren't half bad, good support but not a great number of plugins.
Interspire's shopping cart is something to avoid. I find it looks great, but for the price, and especially for Canadians, you are very limited.
From a pure business standpoint - those who don't understand the world of online shopping may be a little scared off by the stock look of the your existing webstore if they come in straight off Google and have no prior knowledge of you. Personally, having used many of them - You can never judge a book by the cover and have ordered from plenty.
One thing you may want to consider, is looking into getting an SSL cert. Depending on where you host your website, you can set it up for relatively cheap. The cost is having a dedicated IP + $40/y for basic cert.
If you have your domain name with namecheap, you can get their basic PositiveSSL for free, and most hosts provide discounted rates on basic Comodo certs or Geotrust. It gives you that added layer of protection and makes the consumer feel protected.
Unfortunately I don't have the time right now to do a whole redesign, but have no problems giving some pointers if your looking to switch backends - or if you want to stick with your existing Zencart backend, I have a whole list of typical plugins that make life a lot easier. Feel free to PM me, though I'm swamped atm so it may be a day or so before I can reply.
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