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Fresh Laundry

Lemonstand CMS – Online Store System

Shopping cart systems are a dime a dozen on the internet. There’s plenty of choice from the mammoth Magento down to hacked together little purchase pages and everything in between.

Choosing one is always difficult. You have to think of it from both your point of view as a developer and your clients point of view as a user. You have to make sure it covers everything your client needs, while not flooding them in features they will never use. You also have to ensure the platform is flexible enough and documented well enough for you to be able to put together a functional store.

This is where LemonStand sticks out from the crowd. It combines ease of use with a very well founded platform that allows for a lot of customisation. This is an online store built by developers, for developers. Their documentation is excellent and they have a very active support forum in which the developers are very happy to jump in and help out.

From the point of view of your client

Lemonstand is an amazingly simple to use online store system that still provides a mammoth amount of features.

The first things you see when you sign into the administration panel are graphs and stats integrating with Google Analytics. You see the activity on your site and a list of your most recent orders. From there you can get to any part of the site with the easy to use menu driven interface.

You can get away with using it to the most basic level, just using categories, products and managing orders. Or you can get into full blown inventory management, discount schemes, related & special products, tax handling, custom shipping rules, multiple payment gateways. The feature list is massive, but it’s never overwhelming in the back end of the system. As mentioned most of these features just sit out of the way and are only used if you want them to be.

From the point of view of a developer

Lemonstand is a very well built application built using an MVC approach (as you’d expect). This means you have full (and easy) control of what the markup is going to be for each part of thesite. It’s broken up into templates, pages and partials. It’s very flexible.

You can start with the basic store them or build your own custom store as you go along. You can pick and choose different implementations of checkouts, product details pages etc by simply reading their documentation and using the example code snippets to copy and paste your way to a fully functional store. If you want to know how to do something, it’s  most likely been done before and they provide all of the code and explanations on how to do all of this. As I said, it’s a platform built by developers, for developers.

You can build entirely unique, complicated stores without being constrained to “the way it should be done” as decided by some of the other larger platforms.

Conclusion

We have built a couple of online stores using LemonStand and I would have to say it is by far and away a better platform than all of the others I have dealt with in the past.

Some of our recent LemonStand based websites have been for Pharmac, the New Zealand Government owned pharmaceutical agency and Orchid Boutique. We also custom built a DPS payment gateway module for LemonStand for these two jobs.

To find out more I would highly recommend going through the Lemonstand tour on their website. It takes you through all of the major functional parts of a store and gives a real idea of what this software is capable of.

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