e-cart ala carte?
November 20, 2009 7:07 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a scalable shopping cart solution?

I'm setting up a website for a friend using the latest Drupal install. It took me about two weeks of on and off reading to wrap my head around it as a CMS and get it going, but it works.

I'm in the plan and recommend stages of the shopping cart part. While I prefer to code once and implement once, I also realize this is the real world.

So what I need to figure out is what to use for a shopping cart - either a self-installed solution, such as Drupal's ecommerce or Ubercart (e-commerce is not quite released, Uber might be more than I need?) or a "someone else does the lifting" for-fee site, such as yahoo or amazon.

We're still working out the details, but for now, we'd need, likely:

1. The ability to support multiple vendors. That is, they can see the items that they are selling through the site, be notified when a cart completes that requires them to ship one or more items (without seeing credit card info) and potentially be able to mark something as "accepted to ship" and "shipped".

2. The ability to support a customer service end and inquiry workflow (Marcia calls and says she never got a widget, CS rep can look at the order and then contact the vendor for that item, and generate a re-ship if needed).

3. Return Authorization System - either per vendor or for the overall shopping site.

4. Ability to purchase w/o making an account, maybe.

5. Ability to sell mixed carts of "in house" and drop shipped items.

6. (WISHFUL) Ability to plug into sites like Lulu to have one cart for all purchases; customer buys through us, we pass through order to Lulu for that portion of the order.

I'm wavering between Uber-cartting or other solution, as "cheaper" in the short run, but wondering if Yahoo or Amazon or others have a hosted-like solution for this sort of thing. Everything I've read so far seems to indicate that hosted solutions would have to bottleneck through "us", with a lot of manual work on our end, sending out emails to the vendors who are 'dropshipping' with us.

We'll be starting out with one or two vendors, but eventually expanding (hopefully!) into a couple hundred - at which point we might want to integrate into a grown-up ERP (I can dream) like Jesta or other accounting/inventory/etc solution ... though at that volume we could hire in a consultant to move all the info over ...
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