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Spree Commerce vs. OpenCart

Posted on May 11, 2015 by Alexander Diegel

OpenCart or Spree Commerce? Spree Commerce or OpenCart? Both are open source, ecommerce platforms, so there can’t be too much of a difference, right? Well, when you take a closer look, you can see that—yes, there are many differences between the two. With that being said, let’s look at a side-by-side comparison between Spree Commerce and OpenCart.

Popularity

OpenCart has far more websites built on it than Spree. So, that’s it, right? Advantage: OpenCart? Not necessarily. Due to its customizable nature, a company would need some programming chops to start out on Spree.

That’s why, though OpenCart has a firmer hold on the market share, Spree has it beat in the top 10K sites, top 100K sites, and top million sites, in terms of web traffic. In fact, not a single site in the top 10K is built on OpenCart. So, when making your decision, it has to come down to this: Do I want the easier platform to start out on? Or the one that will be there for your when you need it most—when your traffic and sales are through the roof.

Pricing

Once your company grows past the point where the basics can do the trick, your going to need some extensions and features. OpenCart is noted for having generally affordable pricing on these features. But, you know what’s better than being “generally affordable?” Being… FREE!

Yep, that’s right. All of Spree’s extensions are free, and you can’t beat free. Big advantage to Spree Commerce here.

Community and Support

Spree Commerce is noted for having an incredibly passionate and supportive community. Questions on QA sites like Stack Overflow are usually answered quickly, and will often be handled by Spree Commerce developers themselves. In fact, Spree Commerce’s community stats stand at 611 contributors and over 15K commits. OpenCart’s stand at 143, and 4K, comparatively.

Plus, you’ll never see a comment on Spree like this review on OpenCart: “Unfortunately, bad attitude of the main developer and his forum moderators keeps serious developers away from using OC. On a daily basis, negative posts about OC or their business partners are being removed.“

Scaling

The goal for every ecommere startup is growth. So, why use a platform that can’t scale with you? Remember those “generally affordable” OpenCart extensions we talked about earlier? Well, they’ve also been noted as having poor transitions from updates and minimal support for troubleshooting.

Like we mentioned already, all of Spree Commerce’s extensions are free. And when you’re really ready to explode on the market, you can take a page out of the book of major ecommerce powers Bonobos and Fortnum & Mason and give Wombat—the automated integration platform built by Spree’s engineers— a try.

In Conclusion

Ok, so this is probably the point where you’re saying we’re a little biased. And, well, you’re right! We firmly believe that Spree Commerce is the best ecommerce platform in the world. (Remember that thing about a passionate community—the same thing can be said about our employees).

With that being said, the only way you’re going to find out for real how Spree can be the best fit for you, is to do what over 45,000 retailers have done already–give Spree Commerce a try. It’s free and there aren’t any scary contracts, so what do you have to lose?

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Choosing Spree Commerce to Power Storefronts

Posted on May 05, 2015 by Seb Ashton

About the Author

Seb Ashton is a developer at Made. Made is a Spree Commerce Certified Partner comprised of software experts who are passionate about delivering well-crafted, mission-critical software. The team works with organizations across many sectors who share their drive to produce standout, commercially succssful work.

Why companies are choosing Spree Commerce to power their online storefronts

As Spree Commerce gains popularity, more and more companies are enlisting it to power their ecommerce offering. At Made, we recommend Spree because of how well it scales, its flexibility, and the benefits it offers over paid solutions and other open-source platforms.

Spree can be tailored to any scenario

When choosing Spree, you have access to a wealth of official and community-written Spree extensions. Furthermore, while it may require some integration work during development, your application will be able to take advantage of any gem available in the wider Ruby ecosystem.

All of this ensures your storefront can be as unique in its feature set as it is visually.

Who is using Spree Commerce?

Spree is powering the online storefronts for companies from a diverse range of retail sectors. In luxury food, it backs the storefront for Fortnum and Mason. In DIY, it ensures potential Dulux customers cannot only get inspiration for their new projects, but can also purchase the paint necessary to do so.

In fashion, it’s helping to sell clothing for Finery London and SHOWStudio. In home decor, Spree enables SurfaceView to sell bespoke wall covering from an extensive catalogue of prints, maps, and murals. And in sportswear, it’s helping to sell the unique On Running Cloud running shoes.

And that’s just a small snapshot; there are countless more.

Do all the stores look the same?

As you can see from the sites above, there are a myriad of possibilities in terms of the features your software engineers can add to your application. The look and feel of any Spree Commerce storefront can be as flexible and unique as your business.

Since Spree Commerce version 3—both the user-facing site and the admin area—have utilized the Bootstrap framework, using Bootstrap alone opens the door to a lot of customization options. Users don’t even have to edit any HTML; just pick your colors and you’ll have a unique-looking shop in next to no time.

However, if you do want a completely bespoke look, there’s a little more work involved. Fear not though, because Spree has thought of this too. Spree maintains a Ruby gem called Deface. Deface will easily override and customize any template in the Spree codebase—it will even work on a given extension. This allows you to really tailor every page to your needs, or the needs of your client. And when coupled with custom styling, you’ll get a one-of-a-kind storefront.

Spree is a great platform, and by using official and community extensions, you can create highly customized storefronts that are as unique as your business requirements. The flexibility of Spree doesn’t end with the possible application features either. By making use of Deface, the front end of your storefront is completely configurable too.

So, a Spree storefront can be built to suit any client, whatever their needs may be.

To read this post in its original format, visit the blog of Made.

Spree 3.0.1 Released

Posted on May 05, 2015 by Jeff Dutil

Summary

Spree has issued new 2.3.10, 2.4.7, and 3.0.1 releases which are available now! These releases are primarily focused on bug fixes particularly with promotions.

You can review the Github Compare for a complete list of 2.3.x changes.
You can review the Github Compare for a complete list of 2.4.x changes.
You can review the Github Compare for a complete list of 3.0.x changes.

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Fortnum & Mason Gets 20% More Customers with Spree Commerce Site

Posted on April 30, 2015 by Margi Murphy

How Fortnum and Mason got 20% more customers to check out with open-source site

British luxury retailer Fortnum and Mason has seen 20 percent more customers check out online thanks to its brand new open source website.

The renowned store in London’s Piccadilly has completely replaced its existing ecommerce platform, opting for the open-source, and lesser known Spree Commerce to avoid vendor lock-in.

The new site has already improved usability, contributing to a 15 percent customer conversion rate, a ten percent on-site search conversion rate and its former 20 percent basket abandon rate reduced to zero, the retailer revealed.

“It will pay back in less than two years’ time – and you do not hear of many e-commerce projects doing that” Zia Zareem-Slade, head of customer experience at Fortnum and Mason told Techworld.com.

Spree Commerce is similar to more commonly used Magento, Hybris or Demandware, written in Ruby – a modern, flexible language. With over 500 contributors it is one of the largest open-source projects.

Deploying such a platform is quite daring for one of the oldest luxury shops in the world. Other British retailers like Selfridges, John Lewis or Marks and Spencer favour vendor platforms like Oracle ADG and IBM Websphere.

But Zareem-Slade said: “The fact that you have a community of people constantly improving and writing features is fantastic. It has been hard enough to be locked into one platform, let alone a partner that is the only one who knows how to make your platform work. I have seen businesses tied up in knots over [lock-in] before and I’d rather not go that route if I don’t have to.”

Existing website

When Zareem-Slade joined the firm two years’ ago she was faced with an e-commerce platform was reaching the end of its life. It was “very challenging to do anything with it.”

Fortnum and Mason has a complicated set of delivery services to provide the best in customer service across the world – delivering complex orders to more than 130 countries.

“Being able to compute that set of offers for customers will always be challenging, but the way you present that back to them shouldn’t be”, she said.

The legacy platform was “a big old matrix that looked like a spreadsheet”, where click and collect feature could not be separated from others.

It needed to move away from what was becoming end-of-life technology, drastically improve user experience and speed of use and team with a partner and platform that could be continuously improved as digital channels evolve.

Agile

Partnering with Red Badger, Fortnum and Mason worked closely with its developers using Agile methods to get the site to go live within eight months.

The new, responsive website has been built with tools for continuous deployment like Circle CI and Ansible integrated into Slack. This means any member of the project team, technical or non-technical, can turn on regular new features and updates. Flipper allowed Red Badger to switch features on and off at the flick of a button, meaning that tests could be run in a production environment without any increased risk to customers.

Integrated with Fortnum and Mason’s Dynamics AX ERP, the platform has solved one major retail headache of putting orders in a single view for the customer online.

“If you have an order number that was made from in store at a service point or over the phone you can check it on the website too.”

ROI

Aside from positive customer conversion rates, Zareem-Slade said Fortnum and Mason had seen a 20 percent drop in calls to its customer service line and more mobile users making purchases.

The innovative choice of platform and technology partner is a reversal from the retail norm, but Zareem-Slade is convinced this was the best long-term option for the firm.

“I’ve seen some pretty horrifying numbers in retail and we made a conscious decision to do things a bit differently and our spend is reflective of that.”

To view this article in its orgiginal format, visit Techworld.com.