With today’s gaggle of online shopping carts, it’s takes a guru to find the best one for your business. If you’re looking for a professional quality cart for an economical price – Sunshop may be just for you. It definitely has it’s differences, for one, you’ll need your own hosting plan. Many of the industries carts have moved to hosting your site, while this means they’ll be charging you a monthly cost, it also means they’ll have easy access to supporting or eliminating your store! Not Sunshop – you’ve all the access to your shop; host it on your personal, shared, or remote linux box and make changes anytime.
Sunshop makes its installation easy – but be sure your host supports its requirements: PHP & MySQL, and one of the following Zen, SGuardian, or IonCube. If your server’s capable of using these plugins you’re good to go. At this point, you’re able to choose from Sunshop’s two routes: a one-time fixed fee of $250 for the license and 30-days support, or $450 for a license with unlimited updates and some blocks of support – either route, it’s not breaking the bank. Don’t forget to factor in your cost of hosting, an SSL certificate, and a domain name.
You’ll find the installation documentation to be pretty self-explanatory, but in terms of additional documentation – Sunshop’s lacking. Be prepared to create a forum account and wait a day for most inquiries! But with all the perks of Sunshop, I didn’t mind one bit. Shortly after installation, you’ll be navigating the backend and selecting from Sunshop’s top-of-the-line built in templates. With full access to all the content, you’re free to chop them up and have a design of your own in no time. Other portions of the shop aren’t so flexible, such as the built in plugins. While inputting your products is as simple as pie. Be prepared to spend lots of time familiarizing yourself with shipping plugins.
The admin panel’s pretty friendly, and offers multiple layers of security. With a few easy keystrokes, you can secure your admin panel behind .htaccess and start divulging admin capabilities to a myriad of users. The panel’s fully featured and broken up into easy to navigate categories.
You’ll find it easy to create coupons and discounts, diverge admins with different tasks, and add users to any number of groups. The charts make it easy to record your sales and customers will love the reviews feature! If you’re a savvy seller, you’ll enjoy the fully-fledged product feed section allowing you to upload a product feed to some of the biggest online markets, such as Google Marketplace. Payment’s easily configured between Paypal and a number of other sources.
All in all, SunShop’s a great tool for a small to medium-sized online business. It’s economical, well structured and self-hosted. If you’re not technically inclined, be prepared to hire a designer or pay for support if you want to make any changes. In my case, it’s been a very useful product, and as for you – I wish you happy shopping!