This week’s question comes from Tom who owns an antique store in Maryland. He asks:
“Is setting up my own oscommerce store hard? Do I need a lot of technical knowledge to do it right?”
For some people, the answer to this question is no. Of course, they have experience in using the service and have done it before. For most people who are looking for a way to sell services online, there is no doubt that using any type of ecommerce setup is going to be challenging (not impossible of course, but challenging.)
What Is It?
The first thing to consider is whether this is the right option for your needs. OsCommerce is growing in popularity. In fact, there are now more than 6500 add-ons available that you can customize to help you boost your sales needs. This is nothing to shy away from, though. Over 248,000 storeowners, product developers and service providers are using this service and helping each other to do it.
In short, this is a type of open source ecommerce solution, meaning that it can have alterations to fit your needs. Unlike using other products and services that are out of the box (meaning that you have to go with the layout and options that company offers) here you can customize it to fit your needs. Keep in mind there is no drop in the number of features and specifications you can choose from when using oscommerce for your site. You can take advantage of truly out of the box features including online shopping cart functionality. You control how it runs, what it features, and how you use it. There are no costs, fees or any other limitations involved in this process.
To be clear, this service works well, if you use it properly. The problem is, though, unless you know how to take advantage of the customization options and the overall features, these are going to be hard to customize on your own. For example, unless you know enough code to be able to customize the features for your needs you may find yourself without the ability to use what you want and thought you could.
On the other hand, many ecommerce solutions out there are much easier to install. You simply need to download them and add them to your site as you would many other features. This solution may offer limited options for you to benefit from if you do want customized features. There is, then, this trade off to consider.
A Better Solution
If there are specific setup needs or special features you want, it is best to hire a professional to install oscommerce for you. That way, you get the flexibility that you need but at the same time you get the ease of installation that is not so easy to obtain on your own.
If you do have tech skills, and you do have a good working knowledge of how to use this particular open source product, then go that route. You can always turn to the oscommerce community support forums to get more information and find solutions to obstacles others have already encountered. If you have basic knowledge and want to attempt to do this installation yourself, go for it. If you want something that is easy to download and go, look somewhere else or turn to a professional with the knowledge to put it into place for you.
While this software solution is an option and is a good, workable solution for the many needs of small to medium business owners (even larger companies are using it) realize that it is hard to put into place unless you have the knowledge to do so. Those with the knowledge can often benefit from this product easily, especially with all of the customization options it offers to you.
Dotcomweavers are a team of professional web designers located in Paramus, New Jersey. We are committed to helping small and medium businesses find growth online. ASK DCW is your chance to ask questions, seek advice and get the knowledge you need to make your business successful in the online marketplace.