Most of you embarking on an e-commerce project are immediately confronted with two facts. There are more software systems for e-commerce than you imagined. And, they are all a moving target. So how do you make a decision on e-commerce software?
There are two ways to go depending on your situation. First choose your software package, then choose the person you want to install and support that package. Or, you may want to decide first on the person, then the software. I advocate the second method - choose your person, then your software. Why? Because that person often will be responsible for installing, configuring, maintaining and updating your e-commerce software. In most cases, a lot of e-commerce software systems could work for you. While selecting the person will limit your software choices, it may also mean you get a much better 'fit' between your online commerce requirements and the software you eventually use. Either way there may be compromises, but I will always believe we can make a better choice on personality and experience, than with complex, ever changing software features.
Over the years I've personally worked with four software packages - VirtueMart, OSCommerce, ZenCart and Magento. VirtueMart is a Joomla component, not a standalone e-commerce software. OSCommerce was a great shopping cart package, but development and support languished and may have all but dissappeared. ZenCart is well-known and supported. It is a standalone software with limited integration with Joomla. Magento is a standalone, open-source software that is currently regarded as one of the most popular packages available. Magento was purchased by ebay in 2011, but it remains open source in both a free community edition and a support contract rated enterprise edition. Supporting e-commerce software is a real job. So I've decided that going forward I'm using Magento. It is sophisticated and flexible enough to handle simple to complex store and product needs. This way I can focus on staying up-to-speed on Magento so that I can create fantastic e-commerce sites for my clients.
I still support other e-commerce software when necessary, but expect me to try to talk you into Magento if you're using something else.