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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 

osCommerce

Why a New Zealand based retailer based retailer would be interested in an osCommerce based shopping cart solution.

A common question from retailers who are looking for a shopping cart solution, is "should I consider osCommerce"?

There are a few key reasons why osCommerce is a sound option for small and medium sized operators, and this page summarises key facts about osCommerce.

Pros: osCommerce is...

  • an open source solution, which means you have access to copy and modify all the source code including scripting, database and HTML. This is beneficial because there are no ownership questions.
  • based on open standards, namely PHP, Apache and MySql. These three are industry standard web site hosting platforms and almost all major web hosting companies support these. This means you can change your hosting provider relatively easily.
  • Inexpensive to purchase initially; the time required to deploy a very basic stock standard osCommerce system is not huge, and so there is a low cost to set up if you are not looking for anything flash. Note however that all osCommerce deployments should have some cosmetic work done at the very least because the standard deployment although functional, is not pretty.
  • A customisable shopping cart; It is possible to customise every aspect of osCommerce. Some customisations are easier to make than others. Many customisations are quite tricky to make, although possible. The customisation options available depend on how long it takes your developer to make those customisations and therefore your budget.
  • Almost a standard of it's own because it is so widely used. There are plenty of additional modules that can be installed to do all kinds of things. Note however that advanced osCommerce development and troubleshooting often requires an advanced developer.
  • A complete solution. osCommerce has been around for a long time and has had several major releases. It is pluggable (modules can be installed to do different things) and has many followers globally.

Cons: some further useful points...

  • osCommerce has been buggy in earlier versions and because in many cases shop owners have an earlier version they have been required to fix those bugs. Be prepared for some troubleshooting and tweaking. This is not uncommon for any development project however.
  • The initial deployment is clunky, from your customer's perspective, and you are advised to customise it to meet your needs.
  • There are plenty of cowboys in the industry, and because osCommerce is a significant and complex application, advanced work and troubleshooting requires a skilled and experienced developer. Any serious osCommerce deployment is well out of bounds for an average web designer.
  • Cost can vary. Although the system itself is inexpensive, a typical business will demand more than the stock deployment offers. At a minimum around 50 hours of design and development would be required and it is not uncommon for hundreds of hours to be spent getting the deployment ready. Customers know the difference between an average shopping cart and a good one, and osCommerce gives you the choice of either depending on your business need and budget.

Recommendation: You definately should consider osCommerce.

   
 
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