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  1. #1
    HTML's Avatar
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    getting started with ecommerce website

    I have been asked to build and run a site for a woman who makes and sells decorative scarfs and bandanas for folks going through chemotherapy. Though I have done some research regarding ecommerce I would have to say my knowledge in this area is not as plentiful as many of you. I am sure I am not the only person that has so many questions that is impossible to even know what to ask, with this in mind I am asking for your help for myself and others.

    I would like to see this thread develop into a beginners tutorial/faq for getting an ecommerce site off the ground.

    - what is needed to get started, hosting, ssl, types of software etc.

    - choosing the right solution, seperating functionality from fluff.

    - I dont know, that is why I am asking

    Dave

  2. #2
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    one solution is to use a Merchant gateway, like www.worldpay.com
    If one of our members helps you, please click the icon to add to their reputation!
    No support via email or private message - use the forums!
    Before you ask, have you Searched?

  3. #3
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    Actually, I think there's a step before that. I would think that you need to decide whether to invest in getting your own merchant account or use a third part processor like 2checkout.com or paysystems.com.

    You also have to decide what shopping cart system to use. osCommerce seems to get pretty good reviews and some control panels (e.g., cPanel) have it available as a one click install.

  4. #4
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    Most hosting companies will provide a free SSL for your site. Then everything can be directed there. You will want to make sure that you are always in https when entering the CC number. A lot of people make the mistake that is they only post to https then it is secure.

    As far as software, most credit card processors also provide a shopping cart & their own SSL - so no need to worry about extra programming. You just direct everything over to that. Or you can host your own PHP / ASP shopping cart depending on what your hosting company supports.

    If the person is thinking that she will sell about $1,000 or so a month - I would recommend getting her own merchant account. This will meet the monthly minimum of usually $25.00 derived from the discount rate rate - which is usually 2.25-2.35%. (If your total sales for one month was $1,000 - the charge would be $22.50 (discount rate being 2.25%) so the merchant would still have to pay an extra $2.50 to meet the monthly minimum. But if the sales were $2,000, the charge would be $45.00 - and the monthly minimum has been met.) The transaction rate is usually .25-.35 per transaction - (think of this as the toll to access the gateway).

    If you decide to use a 3rd party processor (i.e paypal especially) - open up a checking account for Paypal to dump the money into. And then transfer the money to another account. If anythig were to ever happen, Paypal could seize that checking account until they figured out what happened.

    Obviously, the best option would be a merchant account. They are very easy to get these days - and the approval rating is very high. Plus the money is dumped into your bank account within usually 2 days without any extra interaction on the merchant's part.

  5. #5
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    Wink Re: getting started with ecommerce website

    There are 3 important things required to setup an ecommerce web site:
    1. Shopping Cart
    2. Online payment gateway
    3. Traffic
    Regarding #1, if you are not so experienced, you may want to use a hosted shopping cart solution. In this case, your site will redirect users to a third party site were you store is hosted. If you have some tech experience it is better to use a shopping cart installed in your own hosting. Again, try www.comersus.com or www.oscommerce.com (they are open source and free)
    Regarding #2, if you want to avoid the long waiting for a merchant account, a gateway account, bank issues, high fraud, etc you may want to take a look at Google Checkout http://checkout.google.com and www.2checkout.com Google Checkout is not charging transactions until 2008. So you can save 5% of your sales. 2Checkout charge $49 to setup and 5.5% per transaction but is quick and you don't need SSN or US company incorporation to setup and account.
    Regarding #3. The web site and cart must be optimized for search engines. If you don't have traffic you will not get sales.

  6. #6
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    Re: getting started with ecommerce website

    I opened a similar site three years ago and the trouble is as always getting visibility, i.e. traffic to your website. This for me was a long and on-going process. Take a look at a site called seochat (cannot post link). Great information there for free
    Regards,
    boyrev



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