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Ecommerce Forum

How do I get started?
basic advice for setting up an ecommerce site

 1:30 pm on Jan 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

My friend's business website was left foundering by a company that disappeared. I got his domain name back and now he wants me to design and set him up a new website for his business, with secure online selling. I'm basically a designer though I can handle code up to a point (like html, css and now some php). Should I look for something like a ready-set-up ecommerce package from a big company? I see that 1&1 have got some ("eShops") that seem attractive, but are they? What are the alternatives to getting a package like that? I know this is quite a big "general" newbie type question, but I'd really appreciate some basic advice. Thanks in advance.

[edited by: lorax at 1:54 am (utc) on Feb. 5, 2005]
[edit reason] removed DN [/edit]



 1:57 pm on Jan 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

There are literally THOUSANDS of e-commerce packages out there, some ready to go 'out of the box', some that require some development. I don't want to start yet another thread on 'which cart is the best', but I have had really good luck wiht X-Cart. Inexpensive ($185) and ready to go out of the box. If you want to customize it, it is all template driven and can easily be modified if you have an understanding of hmtl and css. OSCommerce is another package that works well for some people.

Basically, you should just figure out how much you want to spend, do some research, and find which cart system works the best for you. Good luck!


 7:23 pm on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm still finding it hard to understand the options open for doing this commercial website for my friend. I did set up one commercial website (which sold only a handful of things) using WorldPay, by customizing multiple forms which sent the visitor to the WorldPay payment pages. WorldPay sent the values of these forms in its confirmation of sale email, so I got the product, etc information like that, so it all seemed to work OK (except you have to wait a while for payment). I guess someone knows a service out there who does it better than WorldPay.

But, for my friend to accept credit card payments on his website, is this "the" way I do it: get my friend to set up a Merchant Account with WorldPay or similar, and set up his website like the other one I did...? His website will have quite a few items for sale.. Would I necessarily need shopping cart software as well as WorldPay/whoever? What does shopping cart software actually do? Is it code that interfaces with services like WorldPay (like I did "manually" by using multiple pages)?

Are there other approaches? I know about PayPal, but in the UK, a website visitor has to open an account with them in order to purchase something, which I guess can miss some "quick decision" payments. Am I right in thinking that if you buy an SSL certificate from your hosting company/wherever, then transactions are secure? But then I suppose that one needs to merge all that with all the necessaries to process the credit information to one's own bank? How does one approach this?

Sorry to sound like a complete idiot wanting the full manual, but I'm trying to get my head around ecommerce generally so my friend can sell his things, and I'd very much appreciate any basic advice with these questions! Thanks in advance!


 12:12 am on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ecommerce sites are turnkey appliances these days - you can easily get a miva store with any web hosting account or head to Yahoo Stores which can give you a better edge on the marketing side, or many other hosted tunkey solutions. In either case, your friend could start building his online product catalog via the remote store administration immediately while you figure out the site design details.


 12:18 am on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

If the friend has s a serious business with a lot of products, and potentially a lot of sales, I'd suggest the merchant account. That PAYPAL button screams "fly-by-night" when I see it and I rarely order, unless it's just an OPTION alongside visa, mastercard, etc. I figure anyone that doesnt get a merchant account and payment gateway either isn't serious about their business or is so small they can't afford it, which sets off alarms either way.


 1:57 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies..

(Now this might sound like a dumb question, but I hope I'm learning fast): If I used something like Mal's free shopping cart software (Mal's e-commerce, which I understand is secure) on my friend's site, that will enable him to be sent the purchaser's credit card details by email. Now, is it the case that, since he already processes credit/debit cards offline in his shop, he can just somehow get those cc details to his bank and thus credit his account with the money? Or doesn't it work like that, and do you have to have a processor like WorldPay? (One thing that concerns me now about WorldPay is that, at the time of writing, I haven't been able to access their website for two days!) I've also heard of protx and NOCHEX.. I guess there are others.


PS What's a "miva" store?

[edited by: lorax at 5:27 pm (utc) on Feb. 4, 2005]
[edit reason] removed DNs [/edit]


 5:12 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Credit Cards by email?

Tell me you seriously didn't say that....


 6:47 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Your better off having a third party payment system like worldpay - They deal with the script kides etc customers to an extent know and trust them.

DONT send CC details by email, not unless you want to be in teh deep trouble.


 8:04 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry I didn't mean credit card details by email I meant receiving the details of what has been purchased. But I wondered if there was a secure way for his bank to receive the cc details without using worldpay, but it looks like banks don't do this?


 8:26 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hey Nevdev,

I have just set up a website for the shop I work in using optioncart (a shoppuing catalogue designed for mals e-commerce) and Mals e-commerce. It works well, and it is low cost. (mals is free.)

The card details aren't e-mailed to you, as this is very unsecure, but instead you log into a secure section on mals site to retreive them.You can then process them using your PDQ machine as a customer not present transaction (assuming your bank allows it, which they probably will).

I also run my own website and use worldpay. It is a very good system, the only downside being that it takes four weeks for the mnoney to be transferred into your account, but this is no real biggie at all.



 9:28 pm on Feb 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for that, Craig - that's what I meant and I'll check it out.


 12:51 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I also run my own website and use worldpay. It is a very good system, the only downside being that it takes four weeks for the mnoney to be transferred into your account

My merchant account transfers the funds in 2 days here in the US.

Is such a long delay in fund transfer the case with most merchant accounts in the UK?


 9:37 am on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Merchant accounts with banks settle way way faster than
3rd party processors like Word pay.

For fast settle and ease of use try ccavenue.com ive never used but some people on here say good things about them.

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