Actinic vs OsCommerce vs Stockashop

How does Stockashop compare to Actinic?

Actinic is a Windows program allowing retailers to manage their websites through software on the home or office computer.

Many people experience problems with Actinic - mostly due to the software itself crashing or slowing down, or to the lack of instantenous control over their website. With Actinic, your product database is stored on your home or office computer, which means that many common website management functions - like quick changes to prices or stock - have to be done at home or work and then published to the website. Also, at the entry level, Actinic websites are not focused on search engine optimisation or user friendliness.

On the plus side, once all your products are in Actinic, it does provide an easy way to manage your site, especially if it doesn't change much.

Stockashop on the other hand is a hosted solution - meaning that we handle all the hosting and setup and maintain and manage the software for you. We are continually improving the search engine friendliness of our clients' web pages and products, and the user friendliness and efficiency of the shopping basket. You can also make instant website changes from anywhere, and take advantage of a heap of features which aren't available in an offline solution like Actinic - such as customer login and order history, sophisticated search and real-time stock management.

The two solutions are comparable in price. The Actinic software costs from ?400 to ?1250 for Actinic Business Plus or more for the software, plus from ?300 to ?700 per year for support. Stockashop's content management only brochure website costs ?650, with ecommerce from ?2495 plus ?35/month hosting.

How does Stockashop compare to OsCommerce?

OsCommerce is open source software, meaning that it is free, but if you are non-technical and unfamiliar with terms like FTP and MySQL, you will probably need the assistance of a web developer to install and initialise it for you (which will cost from ?20/hour to ?100/hour depending on who you ask). It is a "do it yourself" option, with support provided through forums. The software itself also has some disadvantages, such as making the customer register and login before completing a purchase (that extra step puts off many potential customers), and with some settings and options difficult to find and change.

On the plus side, OsCommerce can be a good solution if you are happy with the features and graphical look-and-feel that are provided "out of the box". For extra functionality, there are AddOns available, provided by the open source community (but may require help to install and set up).

Stockashop on the other hand provides a very user-friendly management interface. You don't need any technical knowledge at all - everything is self explanatory. We have also focused our efforts on the user-friendliness from the customer's point of view, especially the shopping basket and checkout process. For instance, all Stockashops provide up front shipping costs.

Feature comparison

This is a comparison of a selection of features - chosen for their importance. There are many more things that all three ecommerce systems can do.

? Actinic OsCommerce Stockashop
Who provides it? Actinic open source community? Sensable Media - that's us!
Is installation done for you?? ?
On a recent Windows computer?

On a PHP/MySQL ready server, requires a database and FTPing the software?

It's all done for you?
Is it hosted?

Actinic does offer their own hosting at ?15/month or you find a host

You must find a PHP/MySQL host
We host it for you
Can I manage my site anywhere from any computer? ?
only on the WIndows computer where the software is installed
from any web browser anywhere
from any web browser anywhere
Can I edit every page of my site? ?
Except perhaps for the Info page
AddOn is required
every page!
Can I change the template - the overall way my website looks? ?
(We think), within the Actinic software
Doesn't really have a template, though you can position elements
You can control the header graphics, menu? colours, and font colours
Can products have options with varying prices? ? ? ?
Is stock managed live when a purchase is made?

The website is not up to date until orders are downloaded and stock figures are re-uploaded

AddOn needed to manage stock products with? attributes
Including managing stock of products with attributes
Can customers login and view their order history? ?

AddOn may be required?

Orders can also be amended by administration


We encourage you to talk to other Actinic and OsCommerce users, or read through Internet forums and reviews, to find the most suitable solution. Then take a look through our Stockashop portfolio which includes some great testimonials from happy clients, and have a chat with us about a new Stockashop.



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