Shopping · Mobile

Recommendation for shopping platform integration (web and mobile)

Eric Dillon

November 19th, 2013

Hi All,

I'm building a shopping site, but don't want to build the underlying shopping platform.
Any recommendation for a solid, scalable, reasonably priced shopping platform?

I will need to have a web front and a mobile front, for which I'll want tight control through an API.

Any recommendation?

Devon Read Founder & CEO of Blockchain Technology Group

November 19th, 2013

Shoplify is a great Ecommerce platform and they recently released a mobile pos platform as well. Check em out. -

Jake Carlson Software Development Manager at Oracle

November 20th, 2013

Anthony,

I agree with some of what you said, but having produced websites using Shopify, various standalone PHP shopping carts, and Wordpress plugin shopping carts myself, I think there are a few things I want to clarify:

First, of course Shopify websites can be on their own custom domain. One need only look at the example websites or read the docs to know this. How good a job Shopify does with regards to SEO analytics vs. Wordpress with your preferred SEO plugin may be open for debate, but Shopify does have all the basic SEO bases covered.

I do agree that 3rd party hosted services make business owners reliant on the service provider for core updates / bug fixes. However, this is also true with 3rd party off-the-shelf plugins. The difference is that the business owner can choose to have a developer fix issues with the software themselves or opt to upgrade / downgrade at a time of their choosing. This difference is true only for core shopping cart functions as the UI can be updated at will with Shopify and other similar hosted services. And you better believe that these services will fix a core shopping cart bug ASAP as it is their bread and butter. Hosted monthly services must keep providing consistent and timely support or customers will leave. If you make a one-time purchase of an off-the-shelf plugin, the developers don't necessarily have a strong incentive to support the software.

The developer pool for any given platform is indeed important to consider, and I agree that you can't go wrong there with Wordpress. Most of my work involves WP and I highly recommend it to most clients. However, I also believe in using the right tool for the job and that each case is different. If a client came to me and said that they want a content-driven website and a shopping cart as a side feature for a few products, I would probably recommend WP. If, however, the site's core function is ecommerce, and especially if the features they would like are more advanced, I may not recommend WP in their case. If someone just wants a quick ecommerce website to test out their idea with minimal development effort, services like Shopify are the way to go. The upfront costs are minimal, especially if they use an existing theme. Having a UI developer make a custom theme would be cheaper than setting up a WP site with an ecommerce plugin and custom theme.

So again, it really just depends on what the details of what the OP wants to do, and I agree that future plans should factor into it. But proving the product in the market need not involved a lot of custom development up front, and I am hesitant to offer a catch-all solution when I don't even know the problem.

Jake




Jake Carlson Software Development Manager at Oracle

November 19th, 2013

If I had some more details about what your products and special features, I could give you a more informed recommendation - but Shopify is quite good for simple ecommerce sites.

Alastair Trueger @500 Startups Founder & International Biz Dev

November 19th, 2013

Shopify's not too awful. Sent from my iPhone

Anonymous

November 19th, 2013

My recommendation would depend on a few factors -

1. How fast you want to be up and running.
2. How much development effort you are prepared to put in. Or how much customization you need.
3. Cost / scale.

Here are a few implementation options. Personally, I would not recommend ecommerce plugins for content management systems like Wordpress or Drupal -

Shopify
Pros - can be Live quickly with low to no development effort. Includes mobile
Downside - No dev effort means limitations in customization

Magento
Pros - full featured ecommerce platform. Cloud based option for fast deployment and low maintenance. Scalable
Cons - admin can be complex. Not as turn key as Shopify. Requires some front-end dev. PHP (not my personal choice of technology)

Spree Commerce
Pros - open source platform. Provides flexibility. Gives you a leg up on a custom build. Ruby on Rails (my #1 choice of technology)
Cons - custom build required

Hybris 
Pros - scalable full featured ecommerce platform. Focus on services allows you to focus on frontend
Cons - recently purchased by SAP. Probably more of a mid-large implementation option

 

Alastair Trueger @500 Startups Founder & International Biz Dev

November 19th, 2013

Avoid anything touched by SAP... Sent from my iPhone

Michael Salera Software Craftsman

November 19th, 2013

Anything but Magento, unless you have an army of PHP developers available to customize it.

Yousef Janajri

November 19th, 2013

Have you checked out Shopify? - Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

Anonymous

November 20th, 2013

Shopify?

Anthony Zeoli Digital Strategy and WordPress Consultant and Trainer

November 20th, 2013

Stephen,

I don't understand why you would not recommend WP Ecommerce, Shoppe, Cart66 or WooCommerce for WordPress. All are stable plug-ins. All convert WordPress into a fully functional e-commerce system. All are well supported and have been around for some time.

My company, Digital Strategy Works, develops E-Commerce solutions on top of WordPress and we have been very successful with that strategy. There are far more WordPress developers than there are Magento developers. And, while Magento is a very good solution for building an e-commerce system, it may be overkill to just get something up online quickly.

Lastly, I rarely, if every, recommend that any domain owner use services like Shopify. You are then beholden to the 3rd party software as a service for all updates and maintenance. You do not control your domain. You inherently have less SEO value on the subdomain of Shopify then on your own primary domain. As you grow, you outgrow Shopify anyway, so why start there in the first place? It's good for small businesses that don't want to invest in their own brand, but not for those who have to have more control. 

An example of an e-commerce site we did. Be-Classic.com is a luxury women's tops brand in NYC. This site was done in 2010, but it continues to thrive today on WP Ecommerce.

Eric, if you are looking for design and development to get a shopping cart up quickly on your own domain with our web development and managed hosting services, I'd be happy to talk to you about the advantages of using WordPress and a shopping cart plugin to solve your immediate needs and get you started selling your products online. Our new website is still be updates, but you can contact us through http://www.digitalstrategyworks.com.

Hope to be able to help.

Tony Zeoli