Customized e-Commerce Services


Static Websites

Static websites are ideal for presenting information that does not change frequently, and can range from just a single page to multiple pages. Static websites are usually used to provide some company information, a description of the products or services that you offer and some contact information. To maintain a site-wide 'look and feel', I recommend using a template for production of individual pages.

Dynamic Websites

Dynamic websites are best suited for circumstances where content is updated or added to on a reasonably frequent basis. The information is generally stored and retrieved from a database, and have both a 'front end' that is seen by visitors to the site, and a 'back end' or administration capability which allows the site owner to add or update information on the site.

e-Commerce Enabled Websites

E-commerce enabled websites allow you to do business over the web; that is, to allow visitors to your website to buy the products or services that your company offers and pay for them online. While companies that have a very limited range of products may be able to utilize a static site for conducting their online business, the vast majority of e-commerce sites rely on a database-driven dynamic architecture that allows for easy maintenance, administration and expansion of the products offered to customers.

Zen Cart™

Zen Cart™ is an open-source e-commerce package that can be tailored to suit most small to mid-size online businesses. It offers a wide range of features and functionality, uses a template system that can be easily modified to give a distinctive look for your business, and can be extensively customized to provide almost any functionality that your business needs. It interfaces with the most popular payment gateways for accepting online payments by credit card, and can provide real-time quotes for shipping purchases via FedEx, UPS and the United States Postal Service.

Zen Cart Templates

Templates are used by Zen Cart to provide the overall 'look and feel' of the online store. First impressions are not only important for generating new customers, but for bringing those customers back in the future for repeat business. The standard 'out of the box' template for Zen Cart, although functional, won't make your site stand out amongst the myriad of other websites on the internet. Most business owners want their online presence to have a 'look and feel' that complements their products, is unique to their business and is both visually appealing and easy to navigate.

It doesn't take a lot of searching to find a lot of internet sites that offer 'free' or fairly cheap templates that are purportedly designed for various versions of Zen Cart. While there are undoubtedly some sites whose templates work very well with Zen Cart, a lot of them do not. There are numerous cases of unhappy and disgruntled store owners seeking help in the Zen Cart support forums to get their cheap, mass-marketed templates working correctly because they can't get support from the company they purchased the template from.

Should you engage me to product a custom template for your Zen Cart store, you can rest assured that it will be developed to be fully compatible with Zen Cart, will be designed with your business needs in mind, and will be fully supported. If you have a particular design in mind or have had a professional graphics designer develop a layout for your site, then I can almost certainly turn that into a custom template for your site. I do not by any stretch of the imagination consider myself to be a graphic designer: if you need a custom logo or design made for your site then I could recommend a professional designer for you. My expertise is in taking a unique design layout and implementing it with the Zen Cart architecture.

Custom Zen Cart modules

Zen Cart has a modular architecture that allows some of its functionality to be modified by customized code modules without having to change the 'core' functions of the cart. When properly written and implemented, such modules can tailor the cart to perfectly suit the business needs of the site owner. Conversely, when poorly written and implemented they can become a site owner's worst nightmare, completely disabling the shopping cart and causing your online business to come to a grinding halt.

I've been developing customized Zen Cart modules and functionality for more than four years, and have an intimate knowledge on how the cart works. With that knowledge, I can suggest the most efficient ways to modify the cart to achieve exactly the functionality your business requires. In a lot of cases, I've probably already implemented a solution for a previous client that might also work for you, thus saving you a considerable amount of money when compared to having someone develop a solution for you from scratch.

A lot of business owners have specific needs for custom functionality within Zen Cart. In most cases, that functionality can be developed and implemented within the 'override' architecture of the cart, thereby allowing the cart to be upgraded by new version releases without affecting the custom functionality. However, the override architecture does have some limitations which might result in having to modify 'core' files to achieve the desired results. My extensive knowledge of the cart architecture allows me to work around most of those limitations, keeping modification of 'core' files to an absolute minimum.