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Simple Embeddable eCommerce Solution?

I'm looking for some simple ecommerce software for light site use.

     
3:39 pm on Jul 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hello everyone,

Perhaps you can help me out. I want to add some basic ecommerce capabilities to a family member's website so they can save some money.

All I really want to do is add a few buying options to perhaps one or two pages, in addition to a buying option that allows the user to enter a price of their choice. There's no need for a whole storefront (e.g. CS Cart, Avactis). The customer should, however, be able to pay with a credit card. I've seen some worthwhile solutions which only allow PayPal.

Programming and template is no great concern. I can handle that. I just need an existing solution which is stable, secure, efficient, and and is not time consuming to implement. They're more than happy to pay for this package.
4:01 pm on July 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm interested in this as well...Looking to start a simple 1 - 2 page site selling a few widgets.
5:24 pm on July 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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You could either use the PayPal setup (will allow CC payments) or use something like FoxyCart that will allow you to implement the cart and checkout flow (monthly fee of $20) but you can/design build the product/catalog (if that's what you need) anyway you want. I'm sure there are other options out there as well.
5:43 pm on July 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the reply, lorax. I'm looking for something pretty traditional. Just a software package which enables the same sort of credit card transactions one might process through the fully featured storefront applications, or which might be integrated with an advanced hand-coded ecommerce solution (e.g. integrate with payment gateway, use merchant account).

Although there's nothing wrong with hearing other great ideas. Ultimately I want to enable them to use whatever solution they wish to use.

It would certainly be bad for all of their business to go through PayPal. No business should depend on such a thing if they've got better alternatives.
7:15 pm on July 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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You do understand though, that you can use PP to take credit cards from people without an account, like normal. Right?
7:57 pm on July 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Please correct me if I'm wrong, dpd1, but if you use PayPal to take credit card payments they extract their relative fee and the money for that transaction is managed through that PayPal account? And then there is also the consideration of PayPal functioning as a resource for people who have made payments rather than working through the company/credit card companies involved in the transaction.

I thought it might be a little easier to find an embeddable professional ecommerce solution... whether open source or commercial.
10:40 pm on July 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure what you mean by the second part... but you're going to have fees either way. The PP fees only incurred on sales. The other way you're getting fees whether you sell anything or not. For low volume sales and simplicity, most people go with PP. The other method is a lot more involved.
5:40 am on July 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If you just want to add one or two buying options I really would look at Paypal. It is quick and easy to implement, most people are now familiar with it and trust it (many preferring to use Paypal than type in credit card details on a site they may not know well) and it achieves everything you have suggested you need. If you want to add digital delivery (you don't specify) you can take it one step further and use a provider like ejunkie, but for one or two products that isn't strictly necessary.

Paypal's fees are really very low, too. The ability to take credit card payments can be quite costly from other providers.
7:05 am on July 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If you consider that a typical merchant account costs:

- setup fee (sometimes free, can be $100-$200 avg).

- minimum monthly gateway fee (usually about $25/min unless you have a deal where discount fees offset and cancel the gateway fee)

- discount fee (avg. 2.9%) -- it's not a discount for you -- it's what they "discount" from your earnings for handing the payment.

- transaction fees (usually $0.25 - $0.40 "each way" meaning you pay $0.25 to accept payment, and another $0.25 if you need to do a refund or credit -- any "transaction" you will be charged a fee.

- statement fee (about $15.00 if you want hard copy / paper statements mailed to you -- and some company charge even for the electronic versions).

With that said, lets look at a $1.00 sale.

Of that $1.00 you would pay; $0.25 transaction fee, $0.029 discount fee, and lets say you amortized your statement and monthly fees over 100 sales so add another $0.40

I'm typing off the top of my head -- but I think that's about $0.68 ("sixty eight cents") of the $1.00 income paid in money handling fees. (We didn't add in the need for an SSL certificate, business hosting, or other costs associated with online selling).


Now lets look at a single $100.00 sale:

Discount Fee: $2.90
Transaction Fee: $0.25
Portion of Monthly Fees: $0.40 (approx)

Total cost: $3.55 (or 3.55% of sale)

Obviously for small dollar items you'll get slammed with fees -- but if you can sell $1000/mo in $20 to $100 per-sale amounts, it will work out o.k. (Otherwise, look into "micro payment" formats)

Now compare to PayPal:

Standard fee to receive money: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.
(They offer a "Best Rate" of 1.9% but you need to do $3000.00 in payments plus other criteria to qualify)

There are No monthly fees, No setup fees, No gateway fees...

$100 sale = $3.20 (2.9% + $0.30)

On a $100 sale you'll pay $0.25 less in fees and not have to setup or maintain any kind of merchant account... and you can take a credit card from anyone.

Here's some old-school Paypal code, (all plain HTML, no buttons, no API, no nothin'... just links).

Let's start with an "Add to Cart" link for a:

BLUE WIDGET (Price:$9.99 + $2.00 Shiiping, US Funds)

<a href="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?add=1&cmd=_cart&business=dummy@example.com&item_name=BLUE%20WIDGET&amount=$9.99&shipping=$2.00&shipping2=&no_note=1&currency_code=USD" target="paypal">Add to Cart</a>


a View (PayPal) Cart Link:

<a href="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_cart&business=dummy@example.com&display=1" target="paypal">View Cart</a>



Checkout Link:

<a href="https://www.paypal.com/cart/checkout=1&page_style=PayPal" target="paypal">Checkout</a>



For casual sellers, PayPal is fine. Quick, easy, and you can hand code the HTML into you site for a couple products really easily.

Most people who complain about "PayPal" associate it with eBay selling -- where you can end up paying 10-11% total with listing fees, PayPal fees etc...

The worst part is getting over the hump with PayPal so they let you accept lots of money and deposit it into your account right away, (they are known for holding payments, giving money back to customers you don't want to refund, and charging back amounts you thought long-since cleared).

You can also opt for "PayPal Pro" to do ecommerce and look professional. You can use their API and integrate it into your site and customers will NOT be taken to the PayPal site to "checkout" (on standard PayPal accounts the buyer will always see a PayPal page at Checkout).

Hope this helps.
8:06 pm on July 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your thoughts, everyone, regarding PayPal.

I will elaborate on my concerns here. I'm adding ecommerce capabilities to a community council website for purposes of collecting fees ranging from vendor and event costs to donations. It will not be high transaction and most transactions will be somewhat sizable (certainly large enough that they wouldn't need to worry about the high fee impact of credit card transactions on low cost transactions).

I've worked pretty extensively with PayPal myself. The sort of thing you mentioned at the end, lexipixel, is along the lines of my greatest concerns. PayPal, when they operate properly, can process things smoothly, but when they decide to throw a wrench into things it can be nightmarish. Such problems are extremely rare when working with, say, a merchant account and the associated steps (despite that process being more complicated, both in terms of implementation and programming). I imagine plenty of folks around here have known someone who has wound up on the wrong side of a PayPal intervention or mistake.

I'll discuss PayPal with them to see if they're interested in it (benefits vs. risks) as that certainly would simplify this project. But I have a feeling that they'll probably want to handle this more professionally. That's why I was hoping to find a more flexible paid ecommerce solution which enabled credit card transactions through more traditional channels.
1:57 am on July 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I beleive you can just setup an Authorize.net account and setup a payment / checkout page (very similar to how PayPal works).

You would basically create the item for sale and then a "Checkout Now" or "Pay Now" link and they would see a page with your logo and Authorize's secure payment form, (admittedly, I haven't done this in a while so I can't give you sample code off the top of my head.)

Most people do NOT sign up directly through Authorize.net -- They have a 3rd party network of resellers who can offer faster/better setup and support for integration issues, billing questions, etc..

Sticky me if you want the name of a decent Authorize.net reseller
2:15 pm on July 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

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i'd add ecwid to your list.
2:42 am on July 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I suggest you to use Miiduu. They support more than 20 payment methods including credit card and it's easy to embed your products to your own website or blog. Furthermore, they provide free version which is suitable for store starters.

[edited by: lorax at 12:55 pm (utc) on Jul 22, 2011]
[edit reason] No links please [/edit]