Notes on Ecommerce Software

Back in 1999, there were basically two or three options, none of them good, if you wanted to run a store and didn’t want to build the software yourself. You have Miva Merchant, and Yahoo Stores. Both sucked.Miva had this incredibly awful programming language that you had to use if you wanted to customize anything, and some things were just flat out unchangeable. You couldn’t do complex pricing, you couldn’t do promotions that were randomly selected, you couldn’t do much of anything (even things like the catalog had to conform to basically one or two templates that stunk).Yahoo stores was even less customizable, and it was EXPENSIVE. Roughly 300-500 bucks a month, and the prices would go up the more items you listed AND they took a percentage of sales if memory serves.That was why I spent a considerable amount of time building my own software, which ended up preventing me from spending most of my time on the business, something that prevented the store from ever growing out of the hobby stage.Now that Sara wanted to restart things, I knew it would basically hinge on whether there was any good software out there that was open source, modifiable, and looked like it was well built. X-Cart, OS Commerce, and many other like them all sucked in my opinion for a variety of reasons, but MagentoCommerce seemed to be the ticket, and after going through the demo store, the code, and running an example engine, I was sold.They’ve done an INCREDIBLE job on putting out a solution that just works, is easy to customize, well built, and can just flat out be used as a platform. Even upgrading is mind-numbingly simple. You login, it alerts you to new software versions, and you click “upgrade”, and it takes care of everything for you.As the technical backbone to Orient Products – the Traditional Chinese and Asian Handicrafts and Gifts Emporium (that’s my tagline, not the official Sara-approved tagline, because this is MY journal) emerges, I’ll keep a steady stream of posts coming that talk about the challenges, things I liked, didn’t like, etc. about setting up the store.

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