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Hosted solutions vs. your own website/cart

Discussion in 'E-Commerce and Online Selling' started by Pete, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. eAuction

    eAuction

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    Exactly - the thread was stupid, it's been cleaned up somewhat now.
  2. shopafrolix

    shopafrolix Banned Member

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    well, my tenpeneth worth.

    I think OC is great for beginners especially those with low start up funds and those who want to have a go at building their own website from scratch. Its good for those who want to learn what its all about, not just be a salesman. Its good for 'testing' the water - trying out an idea etc, as its cheap. Once you get stuck in, you'll then find it very easy to improve the cart with add ons etc. No point in subscribing to an expensive option at the start if you're not sure of the 'idea'. I think OC is also a good, cheap way of getting online presence - It don't have to be used as a major ecommerce site, just public awareness. I have one website which I offer a single product. It puts me in good standing against competitors when ebay buyers see that I also have a website. BUT, I'm not saying that OC is great for building a major ecommerce website, as I don't know the answer. Most of my websites are used mainly for promotional purposes. I have 2 decent websites that I've spent a bit of time and money on which do look the part. But, its a bog standard, no template, no add on, no money spent website thats outselling all the others !

    For hosted solutions, I don't have any, or at least no ecommerce websites. I've tried 1&1 Internets ecommerce and its pathetic. I really don't like the idea that some also charge a % of each sale, is that Shopify ? I also don't like the idea that others have access to some/all of my information. I also don't like their fees/charges.

    However. I'm not an online seller for my main core business, apart from ebay/Amazon, but I could see how hosted websites can be beneficial for those with a high sales turnover or need to look 100% professional just to be taken seriously. Clothing, especially brands, would need these hosted websites as a matter of course due to competition. Also, the costs would then become tiny in relation to profits earned. And one step further is custom built websites for the big boys.

    So, when it comes down to choice, it all comes down to money - simple. I don't think its a 'preference' choice, as we all know which ones are better than others. It's like a 17 years old passing his driving test - he wants the Ferrari, but knows he'll have to start off on a Mini. My Mini is now a Range Rover, but my website is Open Cart - for now

    beginner/newbie = open source cart like Open cart
    established online business = hosted websites, like Big Commerce/Shopify
    the big boys = pay a small fortune for custom website and own hosting.
    readysalted likes this.
  3. eAuction

    eAuction

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    Not sure I agree with that - I'd swap 1 and 2 around.
    thec00kchris likes this.
  4. shopafrolix

    shopafrolix Banned Member

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    but then that suggests that a beginner/newbie could afford it - they not always can. Yes, if they have absolutely no clue about simple HTML or FTP, then they'll have to save up until they could afford hosted websites. Like I say, it all boils down to money

    Ps. I can afford any of the hosted packages, but just don't need to, for some of the above mentioned reasons. But once my business could justify, not just afford it, then I may change my mind. OC is great for testing the water.

    this site is a typical example of a cheap OC website (£150 then £50 a year) but until it can warrant a hosted websites services, it'll stay as it is. If it was my main form of income, I'd change to Big Commerce or change industry, as clothing demands a bigger/better website
  5. eAuction

    eAuction

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    Fair enough point, but really if you can't afford $15 - $20 a month then you reallllly have to look at your business/build up some capital. I'm all for a lean startup but you can't run a business without some money - even dropshipping, you need to have enough money to refund/replace/repair items.
  6. Nick-D

    Nick-D

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    Agreed!

    And having tried to do Clothing on a hosted cart I think I would have found it far easier using something could fully customise
  7. eAuction

    eAuction

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    The other thing you mentioned, discounts is a big one too - most carts have a poor amount of discount options.
  8. Pete

    Pete

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    Finally! Down to the meat and potatoes I was hoping for.

    I am curious as to what discounts are missing. There are 3 that I have had a hard time finding from time to time.

    First is mix or match, even in the same product. Go to Presta and many others and with a quantity discount of 1 = 10, 3 = 9, 6 = 8, you can pick a demo item with color options and order 1 red, 1 blue and 1 green of the exact same mp4, tee shirt, etc and NOT get the 3 piece discount. You must buy 3 red, 3 blue, etc. to get the 3 discount.

    Second is the same, mix or match, across a category. 1 lge long sleeve in green, 1 med short sleeve in blue, etc. All under Men's Tees, but no discount.

    Lastly, buy one, get one or buy 3 get 4. You can do it with discounts - 50% = BO, GO, 25% = buy 3 get 4. But most buyers have no idea of percentages. I just consulted with a hosting client and told him to ask his wife - 25% off OR Buy 1 get one half price / Buy 3 get one Free. The 25% was meaningless, but the BOGO or B3G4 was instantly recognizable.

    I'm sure there are others. eauction, I'd like to know what additional discounts you'd like to see.
  9. eAuction

    eAuction

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    It's really all about being flexible - the best I've seen in an off the shelf product is in CS-Cart which is pretty flexible.

    A tricky one say buy any 5 products, from a group of 10 products and save 10%.
  10. psxgamer

    psxgamer

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    I've been using OC from the very start for some very simple reasons:
    • I was a complete noob. Didn't know anything about how setting up a website
    • I saw a post from Pete about the free shopping carts where a lot of people were saying they were using OC
    • Downloaded OC , installed it locally on my pc (running on Xampp). It was the first cart I saw. I was completely blown away by the possibilities. Didn't even look at other carts
    • Had never heard about the hosted solutions and definitely didn't want to invest a lot of money. It was my first website. I had no clue if I would even make a sale
    • On top of that Pete offered an "I hold your hand service". I still had lots of questions. So for me an extra reason to go for OC and use Pete. He was/is a very reputable TWF member so knew if I had a question he would try to help me
    Launched my OC website beginning 2012. I had my first order just a few days later. The first month it generated me € 500 in profit. So definitely knew I had made the right decision.

    During the last year my Ebaybusiness has taken a turn for the wrong so my website has become a major part of my business. In the meantime I had found a few flaws in OC, I had lots of errors in my OC log, and was unable to add a new extention to improve the functionality of my site. So for me the time had come to start looking at something else as OC.

    It's only the last months that the hosted solutions are being mentioned on TWF. I had never heard from it before. I looked at several. For me most of them would become bloody expensive. Due to the number of products I would end up $ 100 a month for hosting. The only hosted solution I took into considerations is Pinnacle Cart. It's the only of the hosted solutions I could find where you can also buy a 1 time licence so it can be hosted elsewhere. At that point I decided to move away from OC to Pinnacle Cart. And finally I had to put away these plans due to a lack of support of the Dutch language (my mothertongue). So back to to drawing board.

    For me the hosted solutions are no options. Too expensive and all American. No problem if you're from the UK but if you speak Dutch it's a major problem. I took a look at several other free shopping carts. And finally I came back to OC.

    OC has a whole bunch of features but when comparing with other carts it also lacks a lot of features that are already included in other carts. However, there are more than 8000 (!) extentions available for every possible feature you can think of. I've installed some extentions that offer me special features I need I couldn't find in any other cart.

    The last weeks/montsh I've worked very intensively with OC. For what I'm concerned it's one of the most powerful carts out there, that can easily compete with the hosted solutions. But, and a big but, not with the standard installation. E.g. one of the flaws I've found in OC is the lack of a page title. This plays an important role SEO-wise and should be included without having to buy an extra extention for it.

    <mod edit: changed to standard font>
  11. eAuction

    eAuction

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    Two things there as to why you would have lost traffic.

    1) You purchased rubbish backlinks and got a slap from Google
    2) You changed website and probably didn't 301 redirect anything.

    I wouldn't think OpenCart is to blame in this instance.
  12. psxgamer

    psxgamer

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    Opencart is great for SEO if done correctly.

    I think the shopping cart doesn't make a big difference if you do the SEO correctly. Some time ago I couldn't find one of my items in Google. I changed a few things and now I'm the 3th result. I've added a SEO feature to my shop, so hope to even rise further in the results.

    This is just basic SEO I've been doing, so no hocus pocus.
  13. Nick-D

    Nick-D

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    At the end of the day it's all just code but some are coded better than others in regards to SEO. Some things like category and product URL structures are hard to change without a lot of work..
  14. Pete

    Pete

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    I have only found one cart that offers the capability to add Alt Tags to images as you attach them to products. Not the most earth-shattering feature, but it all helps.
  15. eAuction

    eAuction

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    Really? Most of the carts I work on offer this basic feature.
  16. Pete

    Pete

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    And those might be?
  17. eAuction

    eAuction

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    Recently cs cart and shopify I believe.
  18. Pete

    Pete

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    Never looked at shopify, and it wasn't in CS-cart the last I looked. I'll have to check that out. I found it in Advantis several years ago and have never seen elsewhere. There may be mods for it, but out of the box Advantis has it right on the product entry page.
  19. eAuction

    eAuction

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    100% definitely in cs cart for the last year and a half.
  20. MSFB

    MSFB

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    1000x easier faster to set something half decent up.

    I'm a fairly technical person but I couldn't even install opencart let alone start selling things on it XD

    Whereas bigcommerce I managed to open the shop and add products on the free trial. I gave that up because I couldn't get the header to look how I wanted and realised I was fighting a losing battle.

    I am really a total retard with website stuff.
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