An attempt to sort out the shopping cart mess
I had a recent awful experience trying to get ZenCart working properly on all levels for a UK shop. I would suggest that you avoid it for those uses. Got so I was wondering what the problem du jour was gonna be.
Switched to CubeCart instead, and it was customized and running for UK within around 15 minutes. I could also skin CubeCart with a nice clean CSS/XHTML design which I had pretty much total control over. The client found the CubeCart interface much easier to work with as well.
I understand CubeCart as being free with linkback and only forum support, and pay to remove it and get active developer support. Forum support is okay, though sometimes a bit slow.
Aceflex Cart: www.aceflex.com/usa/products/shoppingcart.asp
Aceflex Cart is pure ASP shopping cart software. Recently, the new Quick start guide has been released which gives easy and straight steps to configure back office. If you need a powerful and robust application for e-commerce, you might check Aceflex B2C software from this company too. For more information visit: www.aceflex.net.
Dec 30, 2005
Here are two additional programs that offer a search engine friendly way to exhibit products on the Internet.
The first (www.catalogintegrator.com) does not have a full-featured administration mechanism, but it can be purchased so you do not have to continually pay monthly fees to use it.
The second (www.searchfit.us.com) is more robust, but requires you to continually pay a substantial monthly fee for its use (like the www.applepiecart.com mentioned earlier).
After researching shopping carts for approximately two years now, I have not found a single one that is truly search engine friendly (SEF) right out of the box, and does not require you to continually pay substantial monthly fees for its use.
The ApplePie and Searchfit carts are truly SEF, but they require substantial, never-ending monthly fees. I would really like to see both of these companies offer a complete, buy-it-once version of their shopping carts.
Dec 30, 2005
Anyone know of a full-featured shopping cart program that produces static (X)HTML web pages and does not require never-ending monthly fees?
Hey Google and Microsoft - here is an idea. Make a full-featured shopping cart program that sells for a one time fee of $300 or less, and that can be hosted most anywhere (Linux or Windows servers), and that also produces static (X)HTML pages (or some other GUARANTEED search engine friendly pages) that are not restricted with regard to their capacity to exhibit any layout or function. Doing so would probably get you 500,000+ units sold in the first two years, not to mention other profitable value-added services that could be offered (e.g. skins, mods, hosting for those who choose you to host it, etc.), and yet another venue in the quest for the Internet via 'hooks' into browsers, web analytics, and more.
I will be glad to provide detailed specifications, alpha and beta testing services, compatibility reports, usability factors, etc.
Interesting thought, but the static XHTML pages that are produced don't necessarily come from the cart itself.
Allow me to demonstrate:
If you go through the site, there are various product pages that have non-dynamic extensions.
But...none of those pages exist.
Is not a page anywhere on the site.
Confused? Hopefully I can explain this in a way that makes some sense.
As I stated before, the page above does not exist. However, it has a category name of "silk flower wedding packages". I've created a custom 404 (default page used to handle "page not found" errors) that checks the URL, sees if there's something that's supposed to match it (in this case, silk flower wedding packages) and display that in its place.
Neither the user nor an SE would know unless I told them, and both the user and the SE get the same experience.
In other words, the cart itself doesn't handle the SEO...the developer, via customization and/or application, does.
Note: the cart above has recently been tweaked so that duplicate category and product URLs are going to be merged, so right now the full SEO effect cannot be determined (Google thinks www.domain.com/ABC.html is different than www.domain.com/abc.html .)
So...Google, Yahoo!, MSN et all aren't going to sell you what you want, simply because it's already incorporated functionality within most servers...it just has to be accessed.
The other problem with your logic is that it applies out-of-the-box thinking to areas where customization is of the utmost importance, and the out-of-the-box solutions are more difficult to customize due to the the fact that the developers of the cart aren't the developers of the sites using the cart. In your case, you want to have your cake and eat it too. Sorry dude...that just ain't gonna happen.
Dec 31, 2005
The matter of Google or Microsoft supplying what you have called an out-of-the-box solution is quite feasible. Many modifiable out-of-the-box SEF shopping carts already exist (for example; The SearchFit Cart, The ApplePie Cart, etc.). The issue being addressed is, as stated in the earlier Dec 30, 2005 post, the fact that these carts require you to continually pay their rather expensive hosting fees too - you cannot buy just the shopping cart software. Thus, their 'shopping cart' becomes very very expensive.
Of course, whether or not Google or Microsoft does indeed produce the described SEF shopping cart that Google and Microsoft can indeed produce, is a matter we cannot control. Anyone can; however, suggest the idea and point to the likelihood of its very profitable rewards - as has been done here.
Provides an easier solution to adding a shopping cart system to a website.
Requires no programming, database setup/installation. Just signup and start using. Comes with free integration with your website.