I’ve got a custom designed E-commerce site. There are hundreds of business rules as to how products are presented, and which ones are fed to Amazon and a number of Shopping Comparison sites. This site took over 5 years to develop and has tens of thousands of lines of code.
The shopping cart portion of it is antiquated. It doesn’t have Google Checkout or PayPal payments. It doesn’t have a Gift Registry or a good Coupon/Promotion management function. The PayPal integration could be tighter. Etc. Etc. We don’t want to keep dumping time/resources into writing code from scratch when most of these Cart functions are standard in most e-comm packages. However most of these Ecomm packages also take over the product presentation layer of the site.
We just want to use the Shopping Cart and Customer Account Management related functions and use our own inventory management and product display applications.
Initially we went down the road of simply writing a script that synced the existing site’s inventory information up with the inventory-related tables in X-cart. Got sidetracked and never got around to finishing it. I know know Amazon, PayPal, and Google all offer plug-in play carts. I’m wondering maybe if we should go with something like that instead of trying to isolate the cart/account functions out of another product. The problem too with X-Cart/CS-Cart is the Smarty template system is a bit of a bugger to deal with so plugging in a 3rd party cart into our existing look and feel is time consuming but there may be no easy way around it.
If you would like to add CS-Cart functionality to the existing website, there are two ways to do it:
The first one is to install CS-Cart on your server and then integrate the website design into the CS-Cart software so that it looks the same as your website. In this case you do not need to keep any existent HTML product files as they will be replaced with corresponding CS-Cart’s pages.
To integrate design with CS-Cart means to make it look as close to your existent website or design sketches as possible. To transfer the existent product catalog to CS-Cart database, it is possible to make use of the integrated CSV import feature.
The second option is to keep all existing HTML product pages and just add an “Add to cart” button code which will put a product to the cart. This is not a popular method since it requires some modification of default CS-Cart. Plus you will need to enter all of your products in CS-Cart admin panel and in case you need to make a change in product details, you will need to do that twice - in CS-Cart admin panel and then modify product HTML file.
I noticed your post and thought I’d butt in and give you some sound advice.
Having worked with both custom, proprietary and open source shopping cart software - with all the bells and whistles, your solution really depends on whether you have existing support engineers and how customized you want.
Xcart etc. are not bad either but for my liking a bit backward looking - it seems that as soon as you’ve spent time building your site it seems to be out of date looking a year later.
Many of my customers don’t want to pay hefty fees for programmers/engineers so I’ve resorted to some great proprietary solutions - bigcommerce and volusion to be exact. They are feature packed (Volusion is more comprehensive but bigcommerce is more adjustable to your needs) and you can sell from 1 to 1000000 products. They are SaaS but it’s well worth it from my experience.