Robust versus lightweight ecommerce
Magento, a robust, industrial strength ecommerce platform, is a very good all round ecommerce solution. However it does carry alot of baggage and if you are prepared to make some compromises then you can arrive at a scaled back, lighter-weight solution. Here’s how we created such a solution for artist Josie Hughes.
Josie wanted to sell some of her artwork online and wanted to sell printed copies of postcards and greetings card. We stepped in to redesign the website and provide a simple ecommerce solution.
The lightweight solution
Many of our websites use Perch as a Content Management System. We really like Perch, it is very unobtrusive and friendly. Perch provides a Paypal plugin so we thought we would try it out on this project. Paypal has some disadvantages compared with other payment gateways, it generally takes a higher commission but it is very easy to work with so setup costs are very much reduced. The overall benefit of using Perch with the Paypal plugin is that it is relatively quick and easy for us to develop and setup so that results in a lighter bill for our clients.
Website design & development
The website was designed and built in the usual way, we looked at colours and came up with a suitable design. After this was approved we started to build the pages. We installed the Paypal plugin, made some layout and style changes to the ecommerce pages and then Josie supplied us with her Paypal merchant details.
How does it work?
We have a list of products on a page, arranged like this:
If you wish to purchase you hit the “Add to Cart” button and you are taken to a Paypal Shopping cart which looks like this:
Here you can make the usual choices (change quantity, empty your cart or proceed to make payment. So it’s very ease to use and equally easy to administer. The website owner can login to a page like this and add or edit their products:
So lightweight can be good if you accept that your options will be fairly limited. If you have a large number of products you would probably need the scaleability of Magento and if you require features such as discounts, special offers, more shipping variations then, again, you would need to look at a more feature rich solution.