So I was approached about opening an ecommerce store that would be a ton of fun. I have signed on and am in the early, early stages of design, and I want to give this first issue a lot of thought.
The store I am going to work for will have 1,000's of products initially, but quickly grow to 10's of 1,000's of products. The other thing that will be unique about this store is that the products are 1-time products only. Once sold, the product won't/can't come back.
The products are memorabilia type products (so no manufacturer SKU) and currently there is no organization (re: inventory system) in place to integrate with. Each product will have 1 picture (possibly 2 or occasion, but that would be manual) associated with it, a product name, and 1 or more categories that the product falls under.
I will probably be writing a custom import module for the store so that I can manage the data exactly how I like, but my real concern is how can I associate the products and the photos, quickly and easily. I will be helping launch the initial products, but eventually the store owners would be taking over, and they are not computer experts. Does anyone have any experience with product sets like this? What is the best way to name the products/photos for each association?
Initially, I thought of having a flat file that contains the name of each product. Upload that file, parse it to populate the field for product name. For each product, you would have to select the category(ies) for the product and upload any pictures. Unfortunately, that leaves a couple hundred file upload forms to run through individually... It sounds slow, but I don't think that the store owners will be willing to use a FTP client and a complex naming structure. What do you guys thinks? Is there a better way?
Rather than reinvent wheel why not just use an off the shelf shopping cart system? For this type of product you don't really need anything special that's not already included in the better cart systems.
Apart from the obious cart features like checkout, html/css templates etc the important features you need are...
Ability to hold 10,000 + products in the database
Ability to categorise items
Ease of use for non-tecchie owner to add items, manage product info and images and general admin
Stock control system for removing sold items from display
If you want all that functionality out of the box I'd look at these carts...
Jshop (no addons required)
Cubecart (needs a couple of addons)
I have already made my choice for shopping cart, and I will be using Cube Cart 4's shell. I expect to write my own add on for this procedure, but I don't know how the process should work. I believe Cube Cart will meet the technical requirements, I'm just looking for a systemized (?) way to launch this many products.
Can anyone think of an easy/user-friendly way to add and associated 1000 product photos at the same time? Maybe have a custom screen that loops through each product one at a time prompting for all of the details before continuing to the next product?