need advice for first-time webstore

  • anticowboyism
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Trying to evaluate some webhosting options for a new webstore I will be starting. I have experience with web programming and network admin, but I have never gotten into the webhosting thing, especially with regards to store checkout scripts and creditcard authorization. These are things I will need to learn about. But my question is:

Would you recommend spending several months learning how to integrate these things myself and use a dedicated server or vps,

or would I be better off having a company supply all the shoppingcart, inventory, checkout, shipping functionality for me? Such as Yahoo small business Merchant Solutions package or similar?

What are my options for plain webhosting vs. webhosting with webstore functionality?
  • SSH-Raj
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Post 3+ Months Ago

i'm not going to go into too many details but in terms of price here is a store i just setup:

domain name and ssl cert $23.00/yr
design and scripting (includes shopping cart) $300 one time fee (if you hire out)
hosting 10gb space/100gb bw $15.00/mo
merchant account and gateway $50.00/mo


so for everything yahoo's pro package offers plus your own design done by someone else you will pay $400 up front and then 70 a month after that.

if you did the design and used paypal to process credit cards then you would pay only 35 upfront and 15 a month after that.

for yahoo's pro package you will play $350 upfront and 300 a month thereafter. and that would include no design.
  • rDolay
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Post 3+ Months Ago

- If you are thinking 3rd party checkout services for low cost or free setup + any hassle of setuping a merchant account then:
1- 2co.com, most famous one but Only Credit Cards + i hate them personally
2-PayPal.com, PayPal now support alltype of credit cards from all countries even the payer have not any PayPal account. Highly recommended.
3- WordlPay, no clue i have about them

- If you want having a real merchant account then go to authorize.net which setup fee is at least $200 and about $20 monthly fee.

or if you have a VPos from one of your bank and if you need only to setup a shopping cart to integrate with it then just find a web hosting service to get a hosting plans that also provides dedicated IP(about $1-4/Mo.) and SSL(about $10 - $300)

There tons of easy free shopping cart softwares such as Agora & Interchange shopping cart and Oscommerce which are usually come with cPanel/Fantastico or Ensim with Power Tools for free
  • CartikaHosting
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hello anticowboyism,

You have many options with regards to a shopping cart/checkout solution....

There are various Open Source cart solutions (Zen Cart, osCommerce, etc..) that can be hosted pretty much anywhere...

There are also some nice commercial offerings that allow for integration into an existing site (shopsite).

All of these shopping carts come with various payment gateways integrated and ready to use.

Authorize.net is the major one in the US. Many hosts are able to waive the startup fees for this gateway - so, clients are now able to get a full merchant account + gateway for $25/month...

"What are my options for plain webhosting vs. webhosting with webstore functionality?"

Pretty much every host offers some sort of shopping cart with their hosting packages - however, theres only a few that actually support the shopping cart itself... If your core business will be the shopping cart - it may be a good idea to shop around for a shopping cart you like - then find a host that supports that particular cart..

Hope this helps...
  • anticowboyism
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks for all the ideas guys! As far as my preference for a shopping cart, I am interested in the opensource carts, mainly for ethical reasons I prefer to use opensource software when given the choice. So osCommerence, Zen Cart, Agoura Cart, etc. Does anyone have any preferrence here? I have no experience with these.

What are some options for inventory cataloging, and integration with product updates on the website? How about shipping integration?

I'm mainly trying to get an idea on whether it will be worth my time to learn these apps rather than pay someone to design the site for me (or use an all-in-one package such as yahoo). I am sort of a perfectionist (well you could say that I just care about the appropriate, functional design of things more than other people), so I am hesitant to give my site design to the responsibilty of someone else, for fear that it will never be what I want. In other words I don't have the funds to pay a designer to care as much as I would.

So how difficult is it to design a store like this and get all the different pieces to work together? Will I be tearing my hair out, wishing I had just gone with a simple integrated package and/or outside designer? I do have html programming knowledge, but I am unfamilar with the configuration of a linux server config such as cPanel. And I am unfamiliar with how to program the site to work with a shopping cart and auth gateways, catalog databases, etc... These are things I will need to learn.
  • SSH-Raj
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Post 3+ Months Ago

as far as shopping carts go my fav is creloaded.

if you are a perfectionist (like my mom) then you are going to have to do it yourself and have someone walk you though it.

setting up cpanel, the gateway, and database is all very easy.

skinning the cart to your design is what takes most people time.

in my option it is better to learn it your self.
  • CartikaHosting
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Quote:
So how difficult is it to design a store like this and get all the different pieces to work together? Will I be tearing my hair out, wishing I had just gone with a simple integrated package and/or outside designer? I do have html programming knowledge, but I am unfamilar with the configuration of a linux server config such as cPanel. And I am unfamiliar with how to program the site to work with a shopping cart and auth gateways, catalog databases, etc... These are things I will need to learn.


If you have html and css skills, I think you will be fine doing the site yourself. Zen Cart has an inherent templating feature and most providers have a snapshop of osCommerce that includes a templating feature. As far as open source shopping carts go - these are your 2 best options (IMO).

They come ready to go an integrated with various payment gateways, 3rd party processors and shipping providers. No additional coding or expertise is required.

May I recommend you play with a live demo of both these products and familiarize yourself with them...

There is actually a really nice integrated module available for zen cart where you can manage your inventory, customers, quotes, etc from a functionally complete, web based application that is integrated with your shopping cart (ie if you sell something from your store front, it is subtracted from your master stock, etc....)

I do think solutions like yahoo have value, however, the value is more on the marketing end then the functionality end...

If you are confident in your ability to market an ecommerce site, as well as have some sort of established local presence in a more traditional brick and mortar associated business, I think the value of yahoo stores drops dramatically...
  • anticowboyism
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Post 3+ Months Ago

CartikaHosting wrote:
I do think solutions like yahoo have value, however, the value is more on the marketing end then the functionality end...

If you are confident in your ability to market an ecommerce site, as well as have some sort of established local presence in a more traditional brick and mortar associated business, I think the value of yahoo stores drops dramatically...


Are you talking about SEO and submission that yahoo will do on your behalf? What areas of marketing help do packages like that usually provide?

This site I am planning will be strictly online. There is no B&M storefront planned at this point. But there will be subscription based services and periodical style content to draw a return customer base.
  • CartikaHosting
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Quote:
Are you talking about SEO and submission that yahoo will do on your behalf? What areas of marketing help do packages like that usually provide?


No necessarily SEO - however, being part of the Yahoo network in theory will drive some visitors and presumably some business your way. Though, as I understand it, these results aren't what they once were and the benefits are now negligible...

From an SEO perspective - shopping carts are traditionally weak - however, there are several ways around this issue.

1) purchase a commercial grade shopping cart that is specifically built with SEO features (the one I am familiar with and offer is ShopSite - However, there are others)
2) If you're dealing with Open Source Products (Zen Cart or osCommerce) - make sure you install all the appropriate modules that allow for custom page meta tags, etc.. - Also, make sure you name the products appropriately - as the product names get written directly into the page <title> tags...

From what I have seen - building a store on your own with a strong foundation of SEO characteristics backed by a well thought out and executed marketing plan is the best method for success. The value mall types of environments like yahoo stores once brought really is diminished - and sometimes your money is better spent on a strong commercial grade shopping cart or a well thought out open source cart.

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