Post by Sheldmandu » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:09 am

I've spent quite a significant amount of time evaluating a few carts available out there and down to a couple atm, of which one is OpenCart and the other is nopCommerce, so I thought I'd share my thoughts and see if I can perhaps point out the issues with OpenCart that have not made a clear winner for me. It's worth noting that I'm involved in a business running a number of online stores in various industries so I have a very good idea of what's needed and also have the technical skills to be able to evaluate behind the scenes.

I compared the following carts: osCommerce (we currently use a heavily customised derivative), ZenCart, OpenCart, Magento, PrestaShop, nopCommerce, UberCart, Freeway, other osC derivatives and all other Open Source shopping carts and commercial carts.

Commercial, closed source carts were pretty much all straight out of the question for me as we know we'll need to do lots and lots of customization, so that left me with OpenSource ones.

osCommerce has some real old code, but what's worse it's POOR QUALITY old code from people that clearly aren't very good programmers and I know this cart very well. ZenCart has the same poor quality code, but on top of it it builds layers and layers of it to enable easy upgrades. The side effect of that is that to make 1 little change you need to change like 5 - 10 files... It's also bloated with features.

Magento is too heavy and overcompliated and the EAV architecture pretty much means that it's just not going to perform very well with a large number of products, which is what we have. It's definately the best featured and what every cart should aspire to in terms of features and usability, but when you need a dedicated server with lots of performance optimisation and still the results aren't fantastic it's just too much. The fact that their focus is really on the Enterprise version is also a factor that wasn't favourable. Once again, lots of work for a little change.

UberCart is pretty nice and the fact that it integrates with Drupal is a big plus, but once again, it isn't easy to make changes to it and the functionality available is comparable to others like PrestaShop and OpenCart.

PrestaShop is nice and is probably the closes php based competitor to OpenCart, but their handling of taxation is pretty bad and doesn't work for most countries, who have more complex taxes than what their system supports. Their SEO is pretty good though.

nopCommerce is written in ASP.NET and is extremely well architected, but it lacks many of the features that I would like (just like OpenCart) and you gotta pay if you want to remove the powered by text from the footer.

And now we come to OpenCart.

OpenCart has a nice UI and is well architected, but has quite a few shortcomings... In particular, it's very simplistic and in its current form would work only for the most basic shop. It has some pretty key features missing such as: Proper SEO URLs (this is a biggie), no Advanced Search, no One-page Checkout, no RMA support.

I hope people find this useful and also look at overcoming the shortcomings of open-cart in the near future.

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Post by rph » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:22 am

What do you mean by "proper" SEO URLs?

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Post by Qphoria » Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:38 pm

Advanced search is a pretty simple mod
SEO works fine where it is needed. Adding it for generic links like home and account pages could be easily added
RMA.. seems that people get over excited about this. Its a glorified comment field

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Post by Sheldmandu » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:10 pm

Yes, sure one could certainly do all the mods without great trouble (except for doing SEO mods properly as it requires a pretty major pull-apart of a category, manufacturer and product pages. Despite people saying oh SEO works just fine where it's needed, NO it doesn't. It's a very competitive market out there and you should do every little bit of on-site SEO possible to give the sight the best chance.

Just out of interest, have a look in google and tell me how many of the first 3 results for any fairly broad search (like a well known product such as some computer part) aren't perfectly optimised... Answer is NONE. And your OpenCart based website is competing with these websites for the traffic.

So rather than arguing about what works best, it would be much better for everyone to come together and actually do it.

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Post by Qphoria » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:03 pm

First off... SEO means nothing to search engines anymore. SEO only makes the url more human readable.
Second, you are selling products and categories.. Search engines and people don't need to be able to read the account login page with a fancy url. It's the products and categories that matter, and they are supported.

I don't disagree that some things could still be improved.. as it is only a yr old cart... but too many people waste a lot of time on the small things that don't matter as much as they think.

It wasn't until recently that if you went to:
"http://sony.com" you would get a 404 error
you had to type:
"http://www.sony.com"

That seems like a much bigger error, but for years it was like that. I even came across another site like that recently.

But take a look at sites like amazon.. show me the SEO there.. yet somehow they are right on top every time.

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Post by Sheldmandu » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:15 pm

That last point is precisely the reason why you should do every little ounce of SEO possible... You are competing with the likes of Amazon and other biggies, who are so big that they don't need any SEO because their offsite SEO value is so high that their on-site SEO matters very little.

That's quite the opposite for small sites and new sites that have no off-site SEO (read as lots of inbound links) so pefect on-site SEO is paramount.

And despite what you may think SEO does mean alot to search engines. I do this stuff professionally and have experimented with it alot and pay an SEOMoz subscription for a reason as well.

I'm not trying to say SEO is crap in OpenCart to turn people off OpenCart, but because I would like to improve it to a point where it's the best it can be, as I dare say it's the single most important thing these days, but it also requires quite a few changes within OpenCart.

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Post by pvtsales » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:12 am

Magento
Pro: Support is great. If you want some mod you'll certainly find the solution on the forum. Lots of modules. You'lll get all you need.
Cons: Very Slow. 15,000 products: Importing takes about 48 hours on a VPS with 2GB ram. Same time if you want to update only prices. 200MB database.

Opencart
Pro: Very fast. 15,000 products: Just 10 min and database is 30MB. Reinstallation in few steps. Very simple.
Cons: Very difficult to get support. I've asked for few modifications and got no solution at all.

They are the best shopping cart. Depends on your need.

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Post by i2Paq » Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:22 pm

pvtsales wrote:Magento
Pro: Support is great. If you want some mod you'll certainly find the solution on the forum. Lots of modules. You'lll get all you need.
Cons: Very Slow. 15,000 products: Importing takes about 48 hours on a VPS with 2GB ram. Same time if you want to update only prices. 200MB database.

Opencart
Pro: Very fast. 15,000 products: Just 10 min and database is 30MB. Reinstallation in few steps. Very simple.
Cons: Very difficult to get support. I've asked for few modifications and got no solution at all.

They are the best shopping cart. Depends on your need.
That the support is small here on these forums is because we are a young cart.
If you need something special atm. the fastest solution is hire someone.

In time when OC grows the MOD and modules section wil also grow and it will be easyer to find what you need.

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Post by kdmp » Wed Jul 14, 2010 8:18 am

Hey Q,

No need to respond, just want to add something to this.

While RMA's are glorified comment fields, they serve a purpose for several businesses. A few of my clients would love to have RMA in OpenCart. They love OpenCart, but they lose out on business because they do not have an online RMA system. Glorified or not, they are realistic in larger businesses. Larger businesses working with other larger businesses...that's not a problem because they can afford to pay for a RMA system. A smaller business trying to work their way up could use a basic RMA system to be competitive. ;)

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