Shopping Cart advice

I have a client who is going to be putting his product into 20 stores to start. He wants:

1.  to be able to manage inventory in all 20 stores individually.
2.  Coupon codes.
3. manage content for the site once it's up.

Can you recommend a shopping cart? Could I do this on Wordpress? Thanks.
Melody ScottAsked:
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
20 physical stores or 20 websites with a common distribution point?
Melody ScottAuthor Commented:
20 physical stores, each with their own inventory, and each with a website. I think Opencart can do it.
Lucas BishopClick TrackerCommented:
To manage (or even report on) the real time inventory in each store, you'll need to have access to the inventory system(s) used in each store.  This is the only way you'd know their real time sales numbers for your skus.

If the 20 stores are a chain, they may all be sharing the same inventory management system. If these are individual retailers with no relation to each other, they are likely using a variety of different systems.

If a store is doing both offline and online sales, they would likely have a central inventory database. You'd need to have an API hooked into their inventory system.

If a store is only doing online sales, it may be that they have an ecommerce platform acting as their inventory system that you'd need to be hooked into. Each ecommerce platform likely has it's own method for providing this information to external systems, so you'd potentially be integrating with one (or many) API for each platform.

If a store is only doing offline sales, you will likely need to hook into their POS system or Quickbooks for example. In this scenario, you may need to build a custom hook into their system, or alternatively get a daily email digest of inventory for specific SKUs.

Without a direct tie in to the stores inventory systems, your counts will be off as soon as a sale is made. There is not necessarily an out of the box shopping cart that will do this for you. I would expect a good amount of engineering work needing to be done if each store is using a different platform.

The only out-of-the-box system along this line that I'm familiar with is the Channel Intelligence "Where to Buy" platform. However, this is an enterprise system with a high cost of entry.

The next closest thing would be Shopatron, but Shopatron doesn't show you the retailer inventory levels, instead it lets the retailers submit requests to fill orders that they have inventory in stock for.

So the question becomes, what system(s) are these 20 stores using to manage their physical inventory? Integrating with 1 (or 20 different) inventory management systems will be the key to your solution.
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Melody ScottAuthor Commented:
Sorry, I didn't explain this well at all!

What is happening is this: My customer(meat guy) sells quality meats. His client has 20 stores, and they want to sell his meat products.

Meat guy wants each of those 20 stores to have a laptop that is locked on the home page of the website I'll create.  He will control inventory for each store through the cart.  Customers come in, purchase live on the website, and leave with the product.

So I think Opencart will work, because I can have www.domain.com/store1, www.domain.com/store2, etc.

Each store has its own inventory and coupon systems, but they all go to the same cart.

Sorry I didn't explain it correctly. I think this should make more sense.
Lucas BishopClick TrackerCommented:
You want to setup an in-store kiosk. You want the inventory counts to be managed off-site.

Are customers going to be typing in their name/address/billing/etc information, as if they were going to be receiving a shipped order? This is how most shopping cart systems work and it is not the most efficient for an in-store purchase. Especially once the customer gets to the "shipping address" section and has to start asking questions (Ie. I'm picking this up right now, why does it want a shipping address? Ok well then what do I type in? etc.)

Are you looking at setting up a credit card swipe terminal so that they don't have to enter any personal information? (ie. select product from screen (or scan upc code) then swipe payment card like a self-service checkout at the grocery store)

Also, the cost to process credit card transactions through an online shopping cart is generally much higher than an in-person transaction (due to the higher risk of fraud). Hence, I'd recommend that you be leaning towards having a payment swipe take place at the kiosk.

Is there a clerk helping the user through this process? Your inventory counts could get messed up pretty fast with people self-servicing and selecting the wrong items or incorrect quantities during purchase.
Melody ScottAuthor Commented:
These are all really good points, thanks!  Meat guy said, "The customer will place their order, slide their card and take their product. This will perform similar to a self check out at a grocery store."
Melody ScottAuthor Commented:
Does that mean that we can't use a standard cart? Thanks again.
Lucas BishopClick TrackerCommented:
There are definitely options out there, that are "cart" style. Shopify for example has a POS system that they tie into their plaform.

They claim to support multiple locations, but I'm not sure if that accounts for 20 separate inventory counts, or if 20 separate stores would pull from one inventory allocation per sku.

Shopify may be more affordable though, than something like Lightspeed POS with 20 locations configured, if you can get it to meet your needs.

Ultimately this endeavor will only be as successful as the user experience. You'll want the experience to be very simple and efficient. I'd think a tablet system would be the ticket. However, I'm not terribly familiar with POS tablet/kiosk systems with online inventory management.

I'd do a dry run of how you would expect the system to work for the user,  the meat man and the manufacturer. Then start researching different POS kiosk systems and online shopping carts with POS functionality and online inventory management for multiple locations, then see if there is a solution that is closest to meeting your requirements.

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Melody ScottAuthor Commented:
Thanks, Lucas, I appreciate your help!
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