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I'm in the process of acquiring a new design client. They are getting into the business of "auto parts wholesaling" and they want a storefront. My preference is/was to create something from scratch. However, here is an established trend in their particular market (similar parts, layout, etc). They insist on following the existing visual trend, as per the following:

http://www.xtremediesel.com/

http://www.thoroughbreddiesel.com/

http://www.alligatorperformance.com/

My plan of attack at this point is to find a comparable WP theme and a flexible (but useful) backend/product management. Their current demo site (which their previous developer made a stab at) is using Pinnacle Cart. It is no where near what they need, nor is it intuitive to work with. I was actually considering Magento for its greater abilities but I'm still considering options.

That said, my two primary dilemmas are as follows:

1) I need a theme that mimics the general style of those listed. They explicitly said they didn't want anything too clean (e.g. ThemeForest, Woothemes) as it "wasn't rugged or busy looking enough" for their field.

2) I need a WP/Magento/WP e-Commerce (or any one of a host of other) plugin that will allow for bulk import/update of nearly 200,000 products, descriptions and images. I'm not opposed to manually interfacing with the DB for import, but in the end, I need a store/system that doesn't needlessly add 50 tables to accommodate some "wet behind the ears" concept of table normalization and is easy to add to.

Anyway, if anyone has any quality suggestions regarding either of these issues, it would be most appreciated.

Best.

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I would vote to close this question as not a real question (see the FAQ for what constitutes a good question), but I think you can modify it to fit this site if you change it to simply asking for an e-commerce solution that fits those requirements. This is a Q&A forum designed to gather generally-useful knowledge, and helping you find a theme for your current project is far too specific to be useful even to yourself beyond this particular project. –  Lèse majesté Dec 13 '11 at 2:39
    
And for your design dilemma, I would suggest partnering up with or hiring a designer to at least serve as a consultant to provide creative direction on design issues. The situation you described suggests that this project lacks the input of a professional designer. Sometimes, clients need to be told what they need rather than just giving them what they ask for. The tacky reference sites and ruling out woothemes/themeforest as too clean is a major indication of that. A professional designer would be able to guide the client in a more sensible direction. –  Lèse majesté Dec 13 '11 at 2:45
    
Fair enough. I have no problem with closing it. However, I would still appreciate some input on the second question. As for the designer, they've been through 2 and they still aren't getting what they want. So, in this particular case, it would be more a situation of chronic bad taste than needing input. –  humble_coder Dec 13 '11 at 2:54
    
Well, being a professional designer requires more than just good design sense; it also requires the ability to handle obstinate clients and convince them of good design choices by being able to explain the logic behind it in a clear and understandable/relatable way. The ability to sell good design directions to clients can be a difficult one to master--perhaps the previous 2 designers weren't up to it. –  Lèse majesté Dec 13 '11 at 3:20

2 Answers 2

You can definitely bulk import a csv file using a pre-defined format from a product export file. There's a bit of playing around to get the format and required column headers correct but eventually you'll get it.

Be warned that the import process is very slow and error reporting for products that refuse to import is also an issue

I would stay away from the SOAP API as it's too slow, preferably write code that directly calls Mage functions

In regards to theme, I would start with a basic quality Magento theme with a layout that the client loosely agrees on, then modify from that to suit requirements.

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As far as the store, I personally use Magento, and I'm 99% sure they have a bulk-import/export feature. If not, the API should allow you to cludge a solution together without too much work.

Magento does use a controversial EAV database design, which is less than intuitive to those unfamiliar with EAV, but it's what allows Magento to easily support and manage custom product attributes. If you stick to the GUI and the SOAP API, you shouldn't have to deal with any of this anyway.

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