As far as these go it really depends on my clients preferences. I had a client that had already set up a payment gateway for services that would have been useful for a fully functional eCommerce site, but really just needed a simple buy now button or two. They were sold on the payment gateway services and had already signed a contract. I ended programming alot more then what they needed and it cost a ton of money, overkill for their needs.
I do not use these specifically for myself or clients, but I would need to get detailed information from a client before I made a decision.
Personally, I do not use Zen Cart Or Magento, I am a developer so I have extensive knowledge in Zen Cart and Magento. The differences between Magento and Zen Cart are:
1. Magento - Very easy to dress up if you understand the CSS rules and which div tag applies to what.. example header, nav bar, leftcolumn, and so forth. The learning curve since it has too many blows and whistles, can be tedious trying to teach a customer. But it is one of the most efficient shopping carts to date. I like the Oscommerce tool for Magento that allows you to migrate an Oscommerce Database into a Magento Structure..
Magento Works only in PHP5, but then again it is the latest.
2. Zen Cart - Very easy to design theme templates using CSS - The learning curve is about 1 hour and Since it's a derative of Os Commerce, many of my customers can pick up on it easy. It is easy to train a customer and go about your business for the rest of the day.
Intechspecial, You could have used Zen Cart even if your customer only has two products. Think expandability, what your customer wanted to add another product to their bottom line? Here is an example of a two product Zen Cart http://www.powerplusproducts.com
This I lightly customized for them because they didn't have a large budget and they only have two products, but what if, she decides she wants to add power drinks or any other product by that matter? Since she's on Zen Cart I don't have to worry about extensive programming down the line..
Plus it works with all payment gateways, all you had to do is type in the store ID and the Transaction key... that was all the typing you needed.
Now, if you guys ever have customers that sell on Ebay, and want a standalone shopping cart, there is a module for Zen Cart/ OS commerce that allows you to syndicate your products on Ebay through your stand-alone cart. You choose your products you want to syndicate on E-bay and you click them and presto... you are there... No need to update both stores...
I may qualify for that answer as I have use Zen Cart http://nilandsplace.com/camping/ and have recently set up a Magento shopping cart solution, http://nilandsplace.com/radio/
This is what I know so far, Magento comes with features that would be an add-on for Zen Cart. Both claim to be ready out the box, but It will help to learn some PHP and MySQL or you will be limited on what you can do. Configuring Magento is more of a pain in the ass than Zen cart. Zen Cart runs faster on the admin side than Magento and it has less data to input. I have run across blogs the say Magento runs slower on the public side, but I can't really tell if this is true. Zen cart has more templates for free than Magento. Many of the templates for Magento range in the $125 level that begs to question 'just how much of an open source is Magento'? I got lucky and found a free one from template master I liked a lot. I like the way that Magento dose attributes and Zen carts is a real pain to enter and sort. I am looking for an import extension but it looks like I will have to pay for this to be done. I did do Magento on a smaller store just in case I wanted to change back to Zen Cart.
There are many vendors who are using Zencart for their ecommerce website and also there are many vendors who prefer Magento for their Shopping website. Both are good with few pros cons.
Check this http://www.sigmainfo.net/magento-development/whychoosemagento.html for Why to Choose Magento for Shopping Website
Check http://zencartdelia.com/why_use_zen_cart_for_ecommerce.htm to see Why should you Choose ZenCart for your Shopping website.
I'd like to caution everyone of the dangers of putting the cart before the horse. The best shopping cart solution for you depends on the secure gateway you will be using (among many other factors); otherwise, you may well be facing the distinctly unpleasant task of working with a square peg and a round hole (i.e. compatibility issues). Most people fail to make the following distinction, which get this in lots of trouble: In constructing an ecommerce website, you are dealing at the bare minimum with three totally different and independent services from three totally different providers: (a) a merchant account, (b) a gateway, and (c) a shopping cart. You probably should select the merchant account then the gateway first, then the cart. Another word of caution: Many venders out there sell 'integrated' solutions combining all the elements into one, under the guise that they are cheaper, easier, more convenient, or whatever. Do NOT make the mistake of going this route, or you'll be sorry.
We use a smaller company called PremiumWebCart for our site and are SUPER impressed by it.
It has a ton of features that other carts didn't have or that other providers charged more for...
Built in CRM, Upsales (Pre & Post), Inventory Management, Fulfillment Module, Your own Affiliate Program(s), and Automatic Re-billing capability. All of those were MUST HAVES for what we wanted to do and none of the other carts had ALL of those abilities.
You can try it out for yourself at:
It's REALLY Tough to switch carts mid-stream, so make sure you get what your company will need in 2yrs, not just right now...
Best of luck!
Getting around the fact that the Zen Cart design is rather tired looking and used “out of the box” any new website it brings instantly appear ten years older.
The Magento's default design is decent but with its distinctive colour scheme not that well suited as sweeping design option for most shops.
especially on Magento, since that's where we're doing some heavy customization.
Essentially, we want community features as you'd find on Amazon-- ratings, videos, forums. friending, etc...
If this is something you'd like to collaborate on-- ping me.