is cs cart right for me?

HI All



My wife runs a equestrian business and we currently have a hosted solution with epages and BT at www.courts70.co.uk



I have been finding the hosted solution increasingly restrictive and the support from BT is non existant. epages run a forum but its not well populated/supported and this costs us around £30 per month for the package with a fixed one year contract.



We plan to list between 1-5k items eventually inclusing variations of products however our one year contract finishes in may and I am planning on creating my own hosted site with a suitable shopping cart.



my main criteria are as follows

[list]

[]reliability

[
]slight customisation of theme

[]unlimited products, categories

[
]customisabe product options e,g size, colour

[]social media intregation

[
]customer reviews,feedback

[]good menu customisation

[
]reliable intregation with worldpay and paypal (we have a good contract with rbs streamile and worldpay)

[/list]



I have researched quite a few and these are my honest laymans conclusions



Opencart - looks good but very basic to start and you have to add too many options etc which may conflict with each other and the quality of some is dubious, the forum gooks good, helpful and active. - fine for developers etc but not for me plus i dont like the way the owner conducts himself unprofessionally on open forums swearing etc, i do not want to be associated with that kind of company, free software or not.



Magento - i tried this and it installed smoothley, plus i liked the arrangment for categories and products, i took the time to read the 288 page manual and was impressed overall but, and this is the big but what about support?? I am not in the big company league and from what i understand if it does go wrong it is a complex, multi layered solution making debugging difficult. the forum looks ok but quite a few unanswered posts.



Prestashop - I really liked prestashop, especially the backend, it installed smoothly and i got carried away modifying the header images etc but my suspisions were aroused when i saw they charged £14 odd for a pdf version of the user guide?? also the worldpay module was an extra £240 odd pounds; ok i thought, fair enough but then i saw posts on the forum where people had bought this module, could not get it to work and prestashop would not offer support. there is that key point again - lack of support. I know you can buy it from them but its really expensive.



xcart,cubecart,lemonstand ,zencart- dont have the features i would like or require too much coding



CS Cart - This is my opinion of cscart pro version at the present time, it appears to fit my requirements, worpay, etc etc. The forum is active and helpful, most posts are answered. the support appears to be very good as CS cart support staff activly take part in the forum offering advice, code snippits etc and offering to access peoples sites to look at the problem,along with some very knowlegable forum members; I also think the regular support plans are reasonable and the cost of the professional version looks good.



I have tried to install the software 3 times now to trial it but am having issues with formatting and cscart have offered to look in to it for me. This is my deciding factor really the support looks really good from both cs cart and the forum.



My last question is really this, I am not an expert in php,css etc - i know the basics of c++ oop, classes inheritance, objects etc as i used to teach introductory classes in c++ but i have never had time to delve in to html, php etc, I can look at a snippet of php code and pretty well understand the syntax.



Do you guys/girls think cs cart is primarily for developers or could an end user like myself install it and get a solution up and running. I am fine at adding code to various files if i am told the file names etc?



its a bit embarrasing i can't get the installation to work but it will be interesting to see what support discover



thanks



will

Based on your criteria, cs-cart is your best choice. It’s easy and flexible to use.

Also, have I said that cs-cart forum and its members are the best of all? :grin:

If you have limited experience in PHP/HTML/CSS, then there's no need to worry when it comes to CS-Cart. The KB has plenty articles, as the forum has guides, to show you what to find/replace in files to achieve your extended goals. CS-Cart does everything you require without any addons/modifications required. Magento is a developer cart and I would never recommend it to a company that do not have an inhouse development team. CS-Cart, however, once set up, doesn't really need much maintenance at all in comparison to the many other carts I've worked with. If you build the store starting with CS-Cart, the majority have ery few problems.



You also have a 30 day trial to install and set up your store. Once your trial period is up, all you need to do is purchase a license and add your license key in the admin. Simple. Use the 30 days wisely, get your store as ready to go live as possible, purchase your license, and take advantage of free upgrades to new versions for 1 year. You also get a choice of selecting 30 days of support, or 80 (I think?) credits. Unless you have a heap of problems after purchasing your license (doubtful, unless you intentionally break things), I'd advise choosing the support credits.



What problems are you having with the install? Any errors, symptoms, etc, which the community might be able to offer advice?

Thanks for the advice - I have now just installed it correctly 4th time lucky. I think the problem may have been having my cpanel file explorer open at the same time as my filezilla ftp client.



The only dfferance i made this time was to make sure i only had one program that accessed the files at any one time, plus i made sure the file permissions were set correctly by doing it three times to each folder.



I can only guess that when renaming the files the ftp program was perhaps dropping some?



another interesting thing is that i have norton internet security with identity safe, when accessing the admin panel this identity safe really intefers with it so i disabled it and the admin panel is fine. your advice re support is a good idea.



Time to print the manual now for a good read



cheers



will

You wrote a very good overview. I see it exactly like you… welcome to cs-cart.

thanks for the advice - i have un instsalled and re-installed it a couple of times successfully now and i am pretty sure the issues were due to me having the ftp client and cpanel open at the same time causing issues/conflicts when renaming files. Ita ll working lovely now. i have printed the manual and its time for a read



cheers

will

You think all hosted solutions are bad because yours is bad? Or have you tried others? The top 3 hosted solutions are BigCommerce, Volusion and Shopify. Magento also has a hosted solution which presumably would have 24/7 support as part of the monthly fee, no?

Don't overlook the fact that “Hosted” solutions are really catered towards beginners, and with that level of simplicity, you will also loose the additional “control” which at some time, maybe sooner than later, you will wish you had…

[quote name='Struck' timestamp='1359683822' post='154181']

Don't overlook the fact that “Hosted” solutions are really catered towards beginners, and with that level of simplicity, you will also loose the additional “control” which at some time, maybe sooner than later, you will wish you had…

[/quote]



this is exactly the problem i was starting to get with hosted solutions, very little in terms of real modifications and flexibility, limited categories, poor support and yes i did trial other hosted solutions, eventually once you want to expand the limits start to really show.



I have been trying/using cs-cart for the last 10 days and have found it to be very good so far, some things require more coding/investigation but the software is much more flexible and the forum is very helpful.