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responsibility to setup an e-commerce site, have no IT knowledge

10:13 am on Oct 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi this is my first post here, been surfing the site on and off for a bit looking up threads relevant to my work.

I am looking to create something like blue nile and have studied the features, offerings etc whatever is possible to see on the front end of the site. We are into the diamond business too and want to start selling directly to consumers.

Since i have no prior IT knowledge i decided to take the help of someone who has the necessary experience. He is a friend so will point me in the right direction and also speak the developer as and when the need arises. In India which is where i am based it would be relatively cheaper to get the work done. I have got quotes ranging from 5k to 40k USD even here and for the same requirements. Anyway i have shortlisted someone and he is comfortable coding it in java. I know that there are other languages like PHP asp.net C# but after doing some reading there does not seem to be any issue if i go ahead and get the site made in java. I hope this is correct. Are there any particular things i need to ask my developer? I am sure there are, hope you guys can guide me.

Currently our inventory mgt software is written in foxpro. Is it possible to link it with my web based software so i dont have to update inventory in 2 places. I want it to be updated in real time. Is this possible without the source code of the software that i currently use? Other alternative was to export/import excel files on a daily basis between my current inventory software and web based software. This seems like a viable option as diamonds are not going to be sold in the hundreds everyday hence it would not be difficult to update, however if it is possible to automate why not.

If i should be looking at this from a completely different angle please guide me :-)

10:58 am on Oct 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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These quastionas shouls have been on the requirements doc that you sent to potential web developers before getting a quote. Before you go any further forward, put all of this on paper, detail exactly what you need in a website, so

1. Lay out & feel of Blue nile
2. secure payment processing
3. Search engine friendly
4. Must be able to integrate with Foxpro to update inventory
5 x, y, z reporting must be available to track sales
6. Customer information stroage and retrieval with email function
7. Bookmark this item facility

If you put together a detailed document with every single one of your requirements, down to the smallest detail, a good web developer should be able to give you a very good stimate of cost, and development time, and it will avoid a lot of confusion and hard work further down the line, because there is nothing worse then finishing a project and then being told "but it doesn't send emails and I wanted it to"

1:24 pm on Oct 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hi Yoshimi,

Thanks for the quick reply, i think i have covered all of the above and the developer seems quite confident that he can do it . I have got a proposal from him which includes the customer management features (auto e-mailers) product mgt, shipping and tax module, admin feature with roles & rights for each employee, affiliate module etc. However he mentioned he would apply whatever SEO knowledge he had to make it SEO friendly but would not dedicate too much time on that. That was one area i am a little concerned about and the other was integration with my current software which he feels is troublesome to find an API which i understand will communicate with the software. He may be right but will have to work it out. Not signed any contract yet so its ok. Do people normally sign like a penalty clause in case the work is not completed on time?