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I am looking for commerical enterprise-level shopping cart solutions that can be intergrated with SharePoint 2010. The shopping cart would handle services for new and existing customers (think telecom, not products - i.e. phone packages, internet packages, etc.). I have seen a number of shopping cart solutions that work great for products, but not so much for services, packages of services, customizations on services, etc.

We would need a solution that allows us to manage the available services, the available packages of services, and the available customizations to those services and packages. In addition, we would need to be able to provide existing customers a way to start the shopping cart process with their existing products and customizing from there.

SharePoint is our platform for our public website. I'd like to find all of the options out there so that I can review the different commercially available shopping cart solutions that may work for us. These can include solutions that have direct integrations with SharePoint as well as ones we would need to do some custom development to make the integration with SharePoint. "Integration" is from the customer interaction point-of-view, not necessarily the backend management of the shopping cart.

The only caveat I throw out there is that the solution itself needs to be .NET-based. No Java or other platforms.

I look forward to hearing what is out there and your personal experiences with the solutions. Thanks.

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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have worked with SharePoint 2007 and Microsoft Commerce Server 2009 and, while not the easiest thing to implement, it did do the job required. It allowed for the usual assortment of commerce-related features like promotions, management of catalogs, etc..

Commerce Server operates as a collection of web parts on pages in the site rather than as an extension of SharePoint itself so the effective integration is minimal. You do have to plan your content and layouts around it though.

One catch that we hit was that in order to do Forms-Based Authentication, we had to use the provider from commerce server. This isn't really a major issue but was a bit of a surprise. You will also spend a fair amount of time customizing the web parts and the underlying Xml/Xsl before getting it the way you want.

Microsoft is very tight-lipped about the future of Commerce Server, with vague comments like this being the norm :

Microsoft remains fully committed to the e-commerce space and will be providing successors for the current Commerce Server SKUs in the future

Commerce Server also has a rather checkered past and has never truly been welcomed under the Microsoft umbrella since it was acquired years ago. The normal Microsoft Enterprise product has dozens of books about it but not so for Commerce Server. Even Amazon has nothing available for it past 2002.

So, to sum it up, I'd say that Commerce Server does work reasonably well with SharePoint but requires a fair amount of planning and customization in order to get it to the point needed for consumer use. You will also need a top-notch developer doing the work because they will be in virtually undocumented territory a good percentage of the time.

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Since their aren't any books on it, what resources are available to me as a developer to get a grasp on Commerce Server 2009 R2 and effectively evaluate it's usefulness in our scenario? –  John Chapman Oct 28 '11 at 22:30
    
Have you used Commerce Server for services or just products? –  John Chapman Oct 28 '11 at 22:38
    
This was a mix of both services and products, though, as I recall, we had to structure the services as products in the catalog. –  Dave Wise Oct 28 '11 at 23:06
    
The Microsoft marketing materials should help you see if it is a good fit. If you are a Microsoft Partner or have access to one, they may have some additional resources available as well –  Dave Wise Oct 28 '11 at 23:07
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I've worked on a project that used Magento in the past and can definitely recommend it as a commerce platform. It has many community extensions and lots of resources/ knowledge available for new starters. I was very impressed by how easy it was to manage customers and the product catalogue etc.

Now for the downside... We didn't necessarily integrate it with our SharePoint WCM site in terms of true integration. We branded a Magento site and then did some simple custom dev to get necessary content out of the SP site and into the 'store' area of the site. However, as far as the user is concerned it's all one website.

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