Which Ecommerce Script Should I Use?
Maybe you can help me identify a scalable (and appropriate) eCommerce platform for a client of ours, looking to enhance their online sales. I've read the ecommerce guidelines here and am looking to further explore this, relative to my specific situation.
A little background information:
The company's main focus has been selling to retailers, boutiques, etc., but is now looking to sell directly to the consumer--which is where I come in... to re-design their site (currently a quasi-eCommerce, quasi-informational page) into a full blown eCommerce site--quality wise (not necessarily feature wise) on par with Amazon. I'm doing my homework to isolate the best options for the entire team to evaluate.
I'm a CSS ninja and blossoming web developer, but still fairly new to eCommerce, so I'd love to get the StackExchange community's feedback.
I'm curious to find out the pros and cons (with a particular interest in security, and scalability) of a hosted platform (eg. 3dcart), versus an open-source platform (eg. Prestashop). For example, is it worth paying $250/mo. for Magento's 'professional' edition? How do Opencart and Prestashop compare with 3dcart for a medium-sized company?
What are the headaches associate with the best options; maintenance, versatility, community/customer support, etc.
- Uptime and server responsiveness. Do paid hosted solutions offer high grade servers, or is a dedicated server and do-it-yourself approach better?
This are just some of the questions that are coming to mind, but hopefully you can see the overarching theme of where I'm coming from, offer some advice, and suggest some platforms to explore.
Here are some features/notes:
Inventory is currently done manually (due to sales currently being so modest,) but I imagine data feed / accounting integration will be need to be available.
The site will need to be available in multiple languages
Payment processing is currently handled internally, because inventory is not automated, which suggests inventory management is another key factor to take into consideration (my client was quoted $20,000 to integrate inventory management... I think we can do much better than that;) as I currently understand, the issue is that not all sales are done online.
Promotion support, user-reviews, product ratings, and a fully customizable front-end are just about mandatory.
Keep in mind our target launch is Jan. 1st, and I've never worked with any of these platforms (other than 3dcart briefly)--but if some help from a specialist needs to be factored into the budget, that isn't completely out of the question. This also suggests to me that having a paid solution could be helpful, having a 'customer/technical support' team available.
We don't know how successful this endeavor will be, and currently my client receives 200 hits with a handful of sales daily; should our vision succeed, their daily traffic and sales should jump substantially... and we want to be prepared for this and not have pursued an eCommerce solution that cannot easily scale.
I earnestly appreciate your time, and look forward to anyone's input!