[Way OT] Web Store Software

One of my pals put together a web store using Google's
'checkout store gadget':
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The store is fairly user-unfriendly because:
* Product images take much too long to update
*
The code does not support 'global search' across multiple
categories.
* The code does not use screen space well.
How does she create a store that has the functionality and
user-friendliness of the 'gold standard' mcmaster.com
quickly, economically and with high quality without
a steep 'learning curve'.
Thanks!
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
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you're not going to like this answer, but all she needs to do is hire some really skilled developers.
good luck finding them and then paying for them though.
You get what you pay for.
Reply to
Cydrome Leader
That is not a surprising answer. :)
I'm anxious to learn about the surprising, delightful answers as well.
Thanks!
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
I would imagine that sites such as McM, MSC, Graingers, etc, are VERY expensive propositions, no? Unless the database itself is basically simple, and it's the SIZE that is misleadingly impressive.....
I'm curious about your general Q as well, as I'm sort of in your friend's position, and am hoping GoDaddy will have cheap-but-respectable turnkey solutions, as well as places like SiteBuilder, and a cupla others.
I'm hoping this dazzling technology becomes commodity-ish, like, well, chips themselves.
Reply to
Existential Angst
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'Wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that McM has contracted with a good-sized company to design and maintain it's web presence. It sure looks like the 'high priced spread'.
The closest thing to 'commodity' status appears to be the purchase of an eCommerce package like BigCommerce and just design-by-clicking-boxes. 'Course it is rentware, so you get to pay ~$80 a month to them *after* you purchase the package.
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
I like Zen Cart and Click Cart. Zen cart is free. Both take more effort on the part of the vendor/webmaster, but are clean professional experiences for the shopper.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
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Thanks Bob, I will check them out.
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
Did she use Photoshop to deflate her unwieldy 2MB pics down to 80KB (or much smaller, depending upon pixel size needed) pics, with very little loss of clarity? I've been doing that for years. It's called optimization. This can make a slovenly store into a nice experience all by itself.
Use a different search module or store software.
See above.
Simple. She buys a custom, ready-to-use store from an integrator, at great cost. McMaster probably has $100k invested in their store, with several years of testing and massaging to get it to where it is today.
-- The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer
Reply to
Larry Jaques
I've installed ZenCart several times, and it's a nice system, but it's nowhere near as fast or clean as McM.
-- The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer
Reply to
Larry Jaques
If she gets ZenCart, have her buy the monstrously expensive 3rd party manual by Hoek. It will save her days of heartache.
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(Lulu, not A/TSR, though there's one on A for $33)
-- The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer
Reply to
Larry Jaques
(...)
Thanks, Larry!
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
(...)
Sometimes 'perfect' is the enemy of 'good enough'.
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
Dunno. The thumbnails are *tiny* yet take forever to load. 'View Large Image' is instantaneous, so I guess that she does not have separate files for thumbnails and large images.
That's the idear.
After looking at Zen Cart, I can see that she doesn't really need to spend on a 'McMaster' scale to radically improve her site.
Thanks!
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
I built a web store using oscmax, an open-source e-commerce system that is fairly easy to use. They want to sell you their service to configure the main page and get their ads off it, but it is pretty easy to edit the script to do that.
You can see my store at :
formatting link
It took a lot of time to get all the necessary utilities and servers on my system, and to make it all secure. The oscmax people have a new version that I need to upgrade to.
I'm not sure how much global search capability it has.
I hope you are joking about the McMaster-Carr site, they probably spend several million $ per year to maintain and develop it.
Jon
Reply to
Jon Elson
Bingo. How many KBs are the large pics? Got a URL? That's easier.
Modules are built for the particular store. Open Source stores have more modules available because the code is accessible.
It's a very mature product. As such, it has a learning curve that the books help tame. You pay for the book instead of the storefront. Use of Paypal avoids the $15-80 per month gateway/bank/merchant services fees. I highly recommend a separate bank account for it. There is a module for it in ZenCart.
-- The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Nice!
ZenCart has roots in OS Commerce, too.
Too much. It searches descriptions as well as headers.
That much, do you think? Perhaps if they outsource all services, inventory, and _everything_.
-- The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Especially after you hear HOW MUCH 'PERFECT' COSTS!
-- The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Yup. The 'thumbnail' and 'large' versions of the pictures both are the same size 60KB - 100KB:
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Yesterday, I looked at some of the templates available. Any one of them would work better than what she has now but there are a couple that would work great, with a couple tweaks.
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Excellent. Thanks!
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
(...)
That is 'way better than what she has now. Nicely done!
I can type say, 'Copley' into the search box while I'm in the 'Spindle DAC' section and a picture of the Copley interface pops up. I can click on the picture for details.
That's 'global' enough for me, and a huge improvement over "No products match your search criteria."!
I never know until I ask.
I am totally prepared to hear that the source for the mcmaster.com site is actually public domain boilerplate available for free download from the rights holder.
A guy can dream, yes? :)
I agree, their site is stellar.
The site author will be very pleased about that '$ several million' figure! Then he's gonna wonder why his cut of the action was so small.
:)
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
Well, neither of those example stores impress. Both are using needlessly huge pics.
The first one here I compressed to 39K
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is the original 100K
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Tell me you can see an appreciable visual difference, yet one will load almost 4 times faster. I could easily get it down to 28K with a tiny but acceptable amount of fuzzies on the fine text.
I have been programming websites for probably 15 years, can't recall when I started, but it is not an afternoon's book reading to do it.
Dave
Reply to
Dave, I can't do that

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