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E-Commerce with RapidWeaver
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E-Commerce with RapidWeaver

On the various RapidWeaver forums, the same question is repeated time and again:
Which is the best eCommerce solution for RapidWeaver?

The answer is not that simple without asking further questions.
Do you aim to sell dozens of products or hundreds?
How complicated are the options required to sell your product?

If you aim to sell hundreds of products, you need read no further. You will need a professional e-commerce solution such as Shopify or Ecwid etc. This comparison is aimed at those designers who are looking to incorporate a smaller web-store in their online presence. The comparison is also restricted to two stacks and one plugin. Cart from Yuzool, PaySnap from Yabdab and the plugin RapidCart from Omnidea.

Let's go through them in order of price again:

Cart is a suite of six stacks from from Yuzool and is the new kid on the block. 
Michael has achieved his aim of creating a shopping cart that is quick and easy to setup. Cart is designed specifically for payments via PayPal.
It is recommended that Cart Enabler and Cart Return are added to the bottom of the page. Cart Enabler sets the cart popup. Without it, clicking a Buy Now button sends the user directly to the PayPal page.
The Cart Return stack empties the cart when the customer is redirected to your page from PayPal.

Cart offers three variations. The first option is to add a Cart Simple button to your page. In the HUD, you can set your PayPal ID, the Currency and the Item Name. A checkbox will enable an SKU (Stock Keeping Unit - a unique identifier for each distinct product that can be purchased). The product then requires a price (Amount) and a price for Shipping. It is also possible to add a Discount. The numeral entered here will be deducted from the final price.

The HUD has further settings for the Return URL and a Cancel URL – the paths that PayPal will use to return a customer to your site. The Cancel URL is optional. The final setting is for the Button size and colour.

The second option is a Cart Variable stack. The basic settings for PayPal ID, Currency, Item Name, etc. are the same as the Simple stack, but Cart Variable allows you to set up to seven variables which could be used for adding sizes or colours for your product.

The third option is Cart Variable Price. Once more, the basic setup is identical the the previous two stacks. Once more there are seven variables available, but this time you may add an Option and a price variation.
If we use T-Shirts as an example, this gives us two scenarios — you could either set Blue T-Shirts and a price of $10, Red/$9, Green/$11, for instance, or you could set a graduated rebate, i.e. 1 Shirt at $10, 2 Shirts/$18, 3 Shirts/$24 etc.

You can drop as many Cart Simple and/or Variable stacks as you need onto a Stacks page – one for each item you wish to sell.

Cart's final stack is a Cart View button. The button will open up the cart popup and allow you to check out.

eCommerce

PaySnap from Yabdab is a suite of seven stacks and is specifically for payments with PayPal.
You will need to add a single Base stack to your stacks page to enable PaySnap. The Base stack's HUD is where you will set up your PayPal details.

Drop a PaySnap Item stack onto your page and in the HUD you can give that item a name, an Item Number and a Price. You may add Weights, Handling Fees and Tax. Into the Item stack you may now add further stacks such as image or text stacks to describe your products, for instance. 

You will need to add a Price stack into the Item stack. The item's price is added to the HUD. The size and colour can also be set here.

With an Item Options stack you can add a Dropdown, Radio Buttons, Checkbox or Option Text to the Item stack. You may define the number of options available (Blue T-Shirt, Red T-Shirt etc.) and you may also set separate prices for each option. Multiple Option stacks may be added to the item stack, so that  in addition to colours, you could add an Option stack to set bulk rebates, for instance. No maths as such necessary. For our T-Shirts – If one shirt costs $10 that is the price you enter. If two Shirts cost $9 each, you enter $18 etc.
The Quantity stack lets your visitor choose how many T-Shirts he wants to buy.

There is an option for an Editable Price which would allow the customer to set the amount of a donation or how much he wants to pay for an item. For obvious resons, Editable Price items can not be used in conjunction with products that have options with prices assigned to them.

PaySnap's Buttons can be set to 'Add To Cart' or 'View Cart'. A choice of three sizes is available as are options for a custom button or custom code.

The final PaySnap stack is for More Details. This will add a text link to your product, which will open a popup window. You can enter text and add an image to the popup window and images may be linked. The size and colour of the popup are defined in the HUD.

RapidCart from Omnidea is a RapidWeaver plugin. Plugins allow you to build independent RapidWeaver pages. For the past twelve months at least, Omnidea have been overhauling the plugin, but there is no news as to when it will be released.
Once you've added a RapidCart page to your project, you can immediately begin to add items to your product selection. First drop in an image of the item you wish to sell; add a name for the item and, if you wish, an SKU.

You should then add the alternate text for the image. This is correctly labled 'Image SEO'. Define the size of the automatically generated thumbnail and, if required, add a shadow.

Optionally, you can add the weight of the goods, a purchase limit and a status – 'Available', 'Out of Stock' or 'Disabled' (the article will not be displayed until enabled again).

In the description tab at the bottom of the page, a formatted-text box will be displayed. You may either enter your product description here and format it using RapidWeavers tools, or you may switch to HTML and format your text using HTML and CSS.

The Pricing tab at the bottom of the page is also straightforward. Enter the price for the product. Below this, you may enter a special price (the original price will then be displayed with a strikethrough). Taxes, Shipping Costs and Shipping Costs for each additional item can also be added here.

An option for a coupon code is included, but coupon codes must first be activated in the page setup, where you will also set up currency and payment options etc.

If you plan to offer rebates for bulk purchases, things begin to get a little more complicated.
You will need to go to the options tab and define purchase options separately. Let's stick with our T-Shirts. You're selling T-Shirts at $10 each. If a customer orders two shirts, you want to sell the shirts for $9, 3 Shirts $8, etc.

You'll first need to add an Option e.g. Price. Then you should define an Option Value 1 T-Shirt and $0 – you already set up the price, so nothing needs to be added – weights may be defined if you're selling dry goods. Next you'll need to create a new Option Value 2 T-Shirts and add the price of $8, 3 T-Shirts $14, etc.

Now when your customer adds two T-Shirts to his basket, the price $18 will be displayed, plus additional costs for Tax and Shipping. If you want to add more complicated price reductions, such as 10% for two purchases, 12% for three etc. you have some serious maths to do.

In the page setup, you may choose how many columns you wish for your new store and you may apply your own custom formatting. 'Add to Basket' Buttons are added automatically (but custom buttons will look better in Firefox) and the cart, displayed at the top of your page looks brilliant – especially as you can watch your purchases 'fly' into the basket.

If you have multiple RapidCart pages, they may either share a shopping cart or each have a separate cart, defined with a cart ID in the page setup.

I have had good results importing RapidCart pages into Stacks pages via PlusKit; a single-column layout adapts well on a responsive page. If the product thumbnails are kept relatively small the page will still display on an iPhone in portrait mode. From landscape mode upwards, the display is excellent, even with larger Thumbnails.

RapidCart has a separate set-up page for additional costs based on total price, total number of products or total weight and has payment options for PayPal, Google Wallet, E-junkie, Sisow/iDeal or direct order via mail.

Conclusion
Cart is a very fast and simple solution. You can set up a page and sell products within minutes. You can offer product variations or price variations, but can not combine the two. However, if you are selling products that only require a few variations, Cart could be the ideal solution.

PaySnap is more complicated to set up but offers product variations that may be combined with each other (size, colour, rebate, for instance). PaySnap includes a versatile, built in popup for product information. Set up requires a little thought but if you want to offer options combined with price reductions based on bulk purchases, it is worth the extra effort.

RapidCart provides a solution for setting up products with more intricate options. It has a page devoted to defining additional costs and allows payment via solutions other than PayPal. The setup can become complicated, i.e. when setting rebates or changing the stylesheets to include custom buttons. It remains, however, exceedingly versatile – which justifies the high cost of the plugin.

Because Cart and PaySnap are stacks, you can design your store exactly as you would like it, using as many columns as you wish and arranging the layout to suit your taste exactly. RapidCart on the other hand is more restrictive, the layout is as RapidCart lays it out; you may choose to display your content in up to four columns, but these are not responsive. It remains to be seen what the update will bring – when it finally arrives.

It should be noted that RapidCart allows items to be duplicated once they have been set up, and stacks can easily be duplicated. This simplifies the setting up of products that have similar properties. 

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