We recently had the opportunity to work on a small ecommerce project for a company in eastern Idaho. We don’t do a lot of these and whenever we’re approached about them we go into research mode trying to find a good cart solution.
Our biggest issue though is that we use Expression Engine as our CMS and want something that integrates nicely. The idea of sending the client to two different CPs to update the site and the store isn’t ideal. This obviously limits the number choices out there to three that we’re aware of. They consist of Foxy Cart with Foxee, brilliantretail and CartThrob. At the time the project was starting we weren’t aware of brilliantretail, so the choice was between Foxee and CartThrob. After doing some research we decided to go with CartThrob because they appeared to be closer to their EE 2.0 compatible cart. Not that this was a deal breaker, but it showed us that the CartThrob team was still actively engaged.
What we found was that CartThrob is extremely flexible. Just as Expression Engine doesn’t tell you how to design, CartThrob doesn’t tell you how to structure your cart. They give some examples and advice, but it really falls on the developer to use the CartThrob tags and mold the store to the client’s liking. CartThrob supports all major payment gateways, looks seamless with the rest of the site and building custom plugins isn’t too difficult (as we found). Plus there is one control panel to rule them all which meets one of our most important criteria.
CartThrob isn’t for everyone as some knowledge of Expression Engine is recommended, but the forums and the tech support team are second to none if you get stuck. Should another ecommerce project come up, we’ll definitely look at CartThrob again.