I’m working on a project that includes 6 different e-commerce sites. A few of them are on an outdated OScommerce platform, one is a Yahoo Shopping store, and two are custom built using Ruby on Rails. We would like to convert them all to one platform and make it so they are all populated by one central product database (our custom CRM and product management system built using Ruby/Ruby on Rails). We may continue with the plan of creating a custom solution, but I’m exploring integration with a pre-built script.
The ideal solution would be a script that is well supported, modern coding standards, has a strong API, and is flexible. We would need to set up a nightly syncing mechanism that will update product information across all stores. We also need it to talk to our system when orders come in. We’re essentially looking to manage products/orders/users in one place with different facades, with the ability to customize the content of each facade - as the company owns and operates 6 different brick and mortar locations (each branded differently) that all share inventory.
I have spent some time looking at SpreeCommerce, mainly because it’s built on RoR like our system. But the coding language isn’t necessarily critical. So long as the solution has a strong API we should be able to integrate it with our system. The trick is going to be powering all 6 sites using one product database. I’d like to see what others would recommend, given these requirements.
These sort of systems I’d say usually end up being best created as a custom platform. That way you can build it to your exact requirements without having to bend some CMS to suit.
For handling product inventory/users/orders in one location, and having multiple store fronts, then ExpressionEngine + Cartthrob shopping cart + EE Multiple Site Manager may be an option. It’s based on the Codeigniter PHP platform so that would give you an API for synching to external systems. As far as ExpressionEngine goes it doesn’t dictate that you work a certain way, you literally start from a blank slate, it’s more of a platform than a CMS. In particular the Carrthrob cart addon gives you a lot of flexibility, for instance on one site you may want a single page checkout, but on another say a 3 step checkout, all easily doable. You can even have different payment gateways fore each site if you wished.
Using the EE route this would give you:
– Primary site
---- Sub site 1
---- Sub site 2
---- Sub site 3
all product data managed via the Primary site
each “sub” site can show whatever products you allocate to them from the Primary site
accounts can be valid for all sites or you can create separate member groups, say on for each site for segmenting
all stored and accessed via the Primary site
each site can have it’s own design templates/CSS etc (including the Primary site)
That’s one option anyway, I’m sure others will chime in with some more!
Well, that’s what we’re doing already. We are managing 6 separate e-commerce stores with 6 separate product databases. We want to move them all to a script that will allow us to manage the products that are being displayed on each site from one external database. We already have that external database covered where we manage the products (our custom built Ruby system). We just want to be able to sync the products from our system to each site and have each site talk to our system when new orders come in. And to avoid duplicate content we will need to be able to customize certain parts of the product data within each site.
The key is finding a script is coded in a way where it will allow for efficient external product importing. Most people don’t need this so most scripts aren’t coded that way. It would be nice to run a multi-site installation (like Wordpress and other scripts allow) to make for easy updating. We have been leaning towards creating our own but I figured I’d check to see if there were good alternatives.