Satchmo is an open source shopping cart solution built using the Django framework. Started by a Chris Moffit and Bruce Kroeze, Satchmo was designed with a modular framework approach for developers that have a unique store need. This meant that eCommerce packages were developed that could be combined to form a full, custom store. The software is open-source and free to download.
Shift4Shop is a feature-rich eCommerce platform serving businesses of all sizes in a wide range of industries across the globe. Offering an unmatched free eCommerce solution, the company provides everything you need to start — and grow — your business. This turnkey eCommerce experience includes powerful tools to help businesses succeed — a robust website builder, product and order management, customer marketing tools, and more. Customers can choose from dozens of professionally designed, industry-specific templates, all of which are mobile-friendly, SEO optimized, and highly customizable.
In the context of modern eCommerce, merchants are looking for the fastest and easiest way to build a competent online store with minimal setup and freedom to customize. This is especially true for small businesses, who may not have the time or funds to hire expert web developers or learn how to use an eCommerce solution that’s over-complicated. Unfortunately, Satchmo is just that: complex and entirely reliant on expert coding knowledge. In Satchmo’s own words, the software was designed by developers and for developers, meaning that you might as well not even consider it if you have no coding knowledge and don’t want to hire a full-time developer familiar with Django. However, even programmers themselves complain that Satchmo has too many dependencies, and that the framework can be messy and difficult to work with.
All in all, Satchmo in its current state seems to be defunct, obsolete software that even the programming community has moved on from due to its lack of support and updates. Other versions of Satchmo have even been developed that are smaller and faster than the original code, which is one of the most common complaints about it. Luckily, you don’t need to be a coding genius to build an online store. With Shift4Shop, you can quickly and easy start your own custom eCommerce website on fully hosted, regularly updated, secure and supported cloud-based software.
If you want to get your business started quickly, without wasting time on learning an entirely new program or coding language, then Satchmo is not the right eCommerce solution for you. Satchmo has an extremely steep learning curve, with every single feature requiring coding to function and implement. But, even if you are a web developer, Satchmo is still difficult to use, with many programmers finding it clunky and difficult to work with. Alternatively, Shift4Shop’s dashboard and website builder is beginner-friendly and free of coding unless you want to get deep into design or development.
Your eCommerce solution not only needs to be easy to use, but it also needs to come with every feature you need to properly build and run your website. Unfortunately, Satchmo isn’t designed that way; the modular package structure of its framework means you’ll have to separately download and integrate every feature that you need your online store to have on your own. After installing all of these separate packages and add-ons, should you run into any issues, you’re dead in the water; there’s no support available. Luckily, you’re fully supported with everything you need on Shift4Shop. All of the best eCommerce tools for success are fully supported and built into Shift4Shop’s solution; no download necessary.
“When I decided on how to build my eCommerce website, Satchmo looked like a good fit for my business. I felt that I had enough coding knowledge to work with the program, and it fit my needs for an affordable custom solution. Eventually, I realized that it was much more complex than I had ever prepared for. To make matters worse, there was no support available to help me.”
- Ex-Satchmo Merchant
Your online store needs to be hosted on the best type of server and backed by the strongest security measures available. This is not only to protect your store, but also your customers and their private information. Satchmo, like most open-source eCommerce platforms, does not provide any hosting or security for your website. Instead, you’ll have to find (and pay for) hosting and security on your own, along with a domain name, SSL certificate, and most likely a web developer to keep your site up to date. With Shift4Shop, you don’t need to worry about hosting or securing your site on your own because it’s all done for you. All Shift4Shop stores are secured with SSL, are Level 1 PCI Compliant, and hosted on powerful, fast servers with guaranteed 99.9% uptime.
Satchmo is extremely barebones when it comes to designing your website. There are no free templates available to you, meaning you’ll have to locate Django-compatible templates yourself online. Once you’ve found one that fits, you need to then figure out the difficult process of implementing that template through various template loaders in the software. You can further customize your site’s look by editing the CSS files of your site and template, as well as delve into custom template tags and filters.
Shift4Shop offers a huge (and still growing) selection of free themes to be used for online stores, all of which are responsive and built for SEO. Available themes include a variety of designs created with specific industries in mind, ranging from kids' toys to wine; however, you can choose any theme that you feel best fits your store’s brand and then customize it as desired. Customization is easy with Shift4Shop's built-in Theme Editor and HTML builder, so you can get the look you want on your online store without code. If you would like to create more advanced customizations, you’re also free to edit the site’s HTML and CSS files.
Shift4Shop’s all-in-one eCommerce solution includes hosting, security, support, constant updates, daily site backups, new features and more to keep the software up-to-date and functioning for all merchants, no matter how much the Internet evolves. Have any issues with your online store? It’s as easy as a phone call to get it resolved with Shift4Shop.
With Satchmo, you get none of the support that Shift4Shop gives you. This means that you’ll have to pay extra for hosting, security an SSL certificate, a web developer, and more to get your site up and running. There’s also no updated support available, as most developers have seemingly abandoned the project entirely. If there were updates needed or bugs to be fixed, you’d have to troubleshoot and patch everything yourself.
With Shift4Shop, all stores have access to support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Shift4Shop technical support can be accessed via multiple channels, including phone, live chat, support tickets, and email. For additional assistance, you can peruse Shift4Shop’s multitude of supplementary material, including Knowledgebase articles, our blog, and numerous eCommerce University courses.
At this time, Satchmo’s project website is not available, making it impossible to contact anyone responsible for its development in regards to support. Even community support is nonexistent because ever forum that existed is seemingly down. This means that any problem you have with the software is entirely your responsibility to solve, which will most likely require advanced coding skills in multiple languages.