Take a look at Shopify. Beautiful, easy for the customer and for you, search engine optimized so customers can find you on Google, and overall it's actually a cool community too.
You can start by reading this article and see how many big brands actually use it: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shopify
I looked through several posts talking about shopping carts, but I`m not sure what would be best for my situation.
My granddad has a large (thousands) collection of antique postcards. Since he`s getting old, he wants to start selling them more quickly, but Ebay has been a little disappointing, with all its fees and customer complaints, and how you have to work at it very regularly. So I`d like to make an e-commerce website to sell the cards for him.
I have a reseller hosting account with Hostgator, so I can host the site. Hostgator offers the following shopping carts as part of their service:
My key concern for the antique postcard store is that there will only be one of many of the postcards. So when someone buys it, I would want it to be removed from the website, or at the least, be marked with "Sold Out."
Other considerations for the shopping cart/website:
--We will probably eventually have over 1,000 items on the website at any time, divided by categories.
--There will need to be a good search function.
--It would be great if new product information could be entered into a spreadsheet or simple form and then added to the database. Then I could show my granddad, sister, or other people how to add postcards to the store.
--I`m a website designer by profession, and I don`t mind having to work with code a little bit. I`ve learned a little about PHP, ASP, and MySQL, and I`d like to have a reason to learn more.
--There is no need for complex shipping calculations, since the postcards are all the same size and weight.
--There is no need to give the customer options. They will just be clicking "add to cart" or similar by the card(s) they want.
--I would want to give the store a "look" that fits the product offering.
--I don`t want this to cost much money.
(If someone wants to recommend Apple Cart, go ahead and say your piece, but I`d rather people not get into an argument on this thread like they did on another one. Apple Cart`s too expensive for me, anyway.)
when results matter
I hadn`t thought about a customer database, but that would probably be helpful.
My granddad, although elderly, isn`t ready to give up the ghost yet, and also is not ready to give up his postcard collection all at once like that. (I think it`s on my grandmother`s insistence that he`s trying to reduce the collection at all!) Also, I want the experience of setting up and managing an online store, so I can help website clients with that.
when results matter
OF the four carts your list, I prefer Zen Cart.
You can have a limited quantity of each product to sell and Zen Cart will track how many are left and or sold-out.
There is a bulk upload modual (add on) although I have not used it.
Gettting back to basics:
The good thing about shopping carts is they manage the "Backroom" stuff well and maintain a customer database. For your situation, do you need a customer database (usually used to promote new items or prices to existing customers)?
The bad thing about going about this is you`ll need to get the word out through promotion, SEO, etc in order to get traffic. While eBay does have some issues, it already gets traffic.
The other consideration is why sell the cards one-by-one online? Do you expect higher price per item? And why do this over time (time to add more cards)? Why not just find a dealer in such items or an auction house and sell everything?
Any good ecommerce solution provide for password protection of the admin parts of the online store...as well as customer password/login protection.
SSL is separate from the ecommerce program as it is related to the hosting/server and is not contingent upon what ecommerce program you use.
Some people have online stores without SSL but if they process payments through PayPal...PayPal protects through SSL that transaction.
Yes, SSL encripts that transmission of information.