eCommerce solutions from TOSD provide very comprehensive and flexible platforms for retailers and wholesalers alike. A summary of the main features can be seen below, however the range of detailed options is truly impressive. Whatever your requirements are for secure online trading TOSD will be able to configure a solution that aligns very well with your specific needs. In most cases the ideal solution from TOSD will be provided by either CS-Cart, Viart, Ecwid or Prestashop. These are all very capable shopping carts that offer a wide range of features.
Key considerations and requirements for eCommerce enabled online shops are the selection and configuration of suitable shipping and payment facilities and the installation of SSL Certificates. TOSD can assist with all of these.
One of the critical issues for any product related online shop is the quality of the product images. In many situations there is little else to help the customer gauge the quality or suitability of the product, and even where there is good supporting information, first impressions count.
If you do not have quality images please contact us and we will be happy to put you in touch with an experienced product photographer.
Typical eCommerce features include:
- Fully featured shopping cart
- Advanced purchase calculations: bulk, trade and valued customer discounts
- Completely web-based content administration system (CMS)
- Real-time stock level management system
- Web-based product detail management
- User and Administrator account manager
- Multiple payment systems (inc Paypal)
- Flexible shipping setup (inc Aust Post)
- Secure off line credit card payment handling system for clients with EFTPos terminals
- Downloadable products: Especially useful for MP3 and eBook stores
- Encrypted database passwords for added protection against hackers
- Additional general and product information pages
- Customer reviews and ratings options
- News facility for latest site and product news
- Fully featured, ‘ticketed’ Helpdesk / Customer Support System
- Customer discussion forum
CS-Cart is a modern, highly capable eCommerce shopping cart. It interfaces with over fifty payment gateways including PayPal and eWay; both popular Australian options. It also offers offline payment options. Real time shipping calculations are available by direct connection during checkout to Australia Post. Sales are supported by many promotion options including discount vouchers, gift certificates and gift registry. In fact there is even an embedded system for affiliate marketing. Extensive use of Ajax makes for an enhanced user experience, as does the slick single page checkout system for those who do not wish to register. CS-Cart is suitable for mixed customer group operation e.g. retail and wholesale.
Viart Shop is a comprehensive eCommerce shopping cart that is well suited to retail or wholesale applications. In many ways its strength lies in its flexibility. This is expressed in the ease of configuring the layout, presenting the all important product detail information and incorporating supporting facilities such as a blog, helpdesk or news and events module. Many payment gateways are available including PayPal and eWay and offline processing of credit cards is also possible. Viart can interface with Australia Post or manual shipping tables can be created. One particular strength Viart Shop has that is sometimes overlooked is in the area of product option configuration. Quite complex scenarios where the selection of one option governs the availability of subsequent options can be readily created.
Prestashop is another modern online shopping platform that is currently quite popular. It is functionally very good and has many features such as a statistics module that assist with administration. It also has a strong development community. Nonetheless there are things to be aware of. The first is that support for Australian shipping and payment gateways is patchy, the second is that as Prestashop is a French development, support for English is patchy (the forum is mixed French / English and not all documentation is available in English) and the third is that where additional modules are required for particular functionality they can sometimes be a little expensive. But having said that, Prestashop is still a strong contender in the eCommerce world.
Ecwid is a relatively new entry into the eCommerce field and has been developed from the ground up as a cloud based solution. This means that Ecwid is not resident on your hosting account, but is hosted on the developer’s servers. The only code that actually exists in the client website is a simple embedding script. This method of operation is not apparent to the website visitor. From their perspective all they see is a perfectly integrated shopping cart that is very clean and functional. There are two key advantages to this cloud based approach. The first is that the owner/administrator never has to upgrade the application – it is updated remotely on a regular basis by the developer – and the second is that because it can be embedded in virtually any website, there is greater design flexibility. Cloud based applications such as Ecwid are well worth considering and are likely to become increasingly popular.
Which is best?
As you have probably guessed, it depends on the application, which is why it is so important to work through your particular requirements with an experienced web designer. Their advice can shed a lot of light on what for many small business owners can be a very confusing area.
Contact TOSD to discuss your needs and draw on a wealth of experience. Your time will be well spent in helping you move toward a reliable, effective, eCommerce enabled online shop solution.