A Tale of 2 WAHMs

Ramblings of 2 WAHMs - Anita DeFrank and Kara Kelso. Partners in business discuss how we manage successful websites and young children at home.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Shopping Carts

After seeing quite a bit of talk about Zen-cart, I decided to look into it a bit more. On Friday my To-Do list read "Check out new shopping cart" somewhere near the end. I had planned to do a few other things after I gave it a look, but I never got that far.

Somewhere around 5pm, I had finally finished uploading files - yes you heard me right, I spent the entire day just UPLOADING files. I'm not expert at php, but I do know enough to install things like message boards and article directories. Never in my online life have I ever seen so many files for one php script. Not that I've done all that much outside of the message boards on several sites and the WAHM Article Directory, but wow. I couldn't believe it took so long just to UPLOAD.

After I finished uploading, the real fun with installing and customizing began. It never fails, I always end up installing it twice because I messed something up the first time. Even still, installing was the easy part of this shopping cart. I had it finished in less than an hour. It wasn't until I started to customize it that my real headache began.

Most that read this blog know I don't usually work on weekends outside of lightly checking email. This weekend was the longest I'd worked in a very, very long time. I just couldn't leave it alone, and I hadn't planned on taking up this much time with it since I have other things that need attended to. But the more I played with it, the more I fell in love with this shopping cart (and the more I saw WHY there was so many files!). Somewhere around 9pm last night I said "Hey, I think I'm done!". To which my other half replies "yeah right". Gee thanks for the support. Anyway...

For the past 3 years I've used nothing but Mals-e for anything related to online shopping. It served it's purpose for me, and I'll still recommend it to those just starting. I can't imagin having zen-cart thrown at me 3 years ago. I would have had a complete breakdown, I can tell you that right now! But for those that can handle the scripts and want more "toys" with there cart, zen-cart is awesome. As much of a pain as it was to set it all up, I really am in love with it. I was able to edit just about everything and create a new online store for Prairie Soy Candles.

Some of the features I like the most are:

- Built in exact shipping costs directly from UPS and USPS (ZERO guess work on shipping costs!)
- Ability to accept PayPal OR other payment proccessing (including credit cards)
- Write reviews option
- More coupon code options
- Ability to update options with one click (I add new scents almost every week, so it's SO easy for me to just add the scent to the scent list, click "update all products" and have it show up in the dropdown list for ALL the products)
- Customer list and order history (in the admin area I can see my customer information along with the last date they ordered and what they ordered)

There's more and I could go on forever but I won't. All I can say is wow, I'm happy, but I don't know as I'd go back and do this again lol.


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