Newbie to ecommerce


Taking my first steps with ecommerce and am looking at both short term and long term options.

I may be starting a project for a friend who is an artist/designer. He will have around 30 - 40 items max on sale at any one time, with not much turnaround as they are one off pieces. Not too sure on what options are available, but I’d like to keep it kind of simple, so just the ability to take a range of payments and to customise it to fit in with the rest of the site.

After going through the stickies, I’m leaning towards Zencart to use for this as it looks kinda simple to work with. Is this a decent choice? Can Zencart be made to look as professional as anything else out there or is it expecting too much? Some of the examples I have seen of Zencart sites haven’t been quite on the level with say a Magento site. Is this just down to the designer, or down in part to any limitations of Zencart?

Which brings me onto Magento. Would it be a good idea to see this as a long term goal to use for bigger projects down the line? It sounds a lot more involved to get the hang of, but with a bigger upside in the long run.

Cheers for your thoughts.

I am new to the ecommerce world. Currently I am going back to school to get an Associates degree with an emphasis on web design. My web site is more of a hobby right. My first question of many is: I have my main page linked to an older version of cube cart. I would like to upgrade or change to another shopping. Any suggestions? I only have around 200 items listed and would like to change to something that I could import my products to. Is this possible?


Both, Magento and Zencart can be customized in your way. You might have reviewed improperly built/integrated themes. You may choose zencart for simplicity of everything.
Magento for serious business.

In both of them, you can put downloadable products (like your friend’s graphic art).

You can find zencart developer at better prices than to quit a magento project in between. But its backend is quite good. It needs a programmer with design skills to implement zencart, while you can find a dedicated magento designing support and implementation.

Maintaining magento is failry complex to the programmer.

Zencart comes with frequent news on security holes, being patched. Lots of guys can confidently help you with zencart. Yet, magento gives the real experiences of owning a business website.

A few more options, if you’re interested in exploring this direction:

I think PrestaSoft also can be the easy and fast solution.

The question is really … does your artist friend want to
“get technical” and worry about the server / software
items or does he want to focus on his art and selling it?

A hosted system takes all the burden off your shoulders
and runs you less than the cost of 1 cup of coffee a day.

sorry that was PrestaShop

See few zen-cart stores

All are having simple yet good design
you can also go for zencart premium design from

As far I know upgrade of Zen Cart is not automatic, so you will need to upgrade it manually.

Or maybe PrestaShop?