For the last four years, my Dad has been running his own garden shop, Just Add Worms (twitter: @justaddworms). Originally starting off as a blog about all things green and organic (which has been one of his big hobbies ever since I can remember), it gradually morphed into a blog with an online shop.
Initially we opted to use WP e-commerce, a plugin to Wordpress, but once you grow past a handful of products, with different variants, the plugin doesn't really cut the mustard.
A month ago I started hunting for an alternative, and ideally I wanted a cloud based solution so there would be no installation/maintenance from my end - Shopify was the front runner but too expensive to run for a small shop (there's a monthly fee plus a per transaction fee). Most of the other cloud based products were about the same, so I settled on installing Magento (open-source) on one of our Linux servers here at 3Bit. While it is a behemoth of a product, it covered off everything we needed and after many hours of customisation it was about ready to go, until I came across a big issue: Dad couldn't manage the store - it was just far too complex and my instructions were not helping. His needs were quite basic, and Magento was really overkill.
After a few Google searches, I came across Small Fish, a Kiwi created and hosted shopping site based out of Wellington. What really impressed me about their offering is how many features the software has, but everything is broken down into wizards which clearly explain what each option does. Add to this the Edit, Preview and Live buttons at the top (you can edit products and categories directly on the site then preview straightaway), it makes it a perfect solution for even the most novice user.
At a monthly fee of $39 with no transaction fees, it really is a great little niche product. It doesn't have all the features of Magento, for your average online shop, it definitely fits the bill.
This blog post was originally all about Small Fish but it's also Dad's birthday today, so how about the unique gift of a blog post?
Happy Birthday Dad, thanks for everything.
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