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What's a good resource for E-Commerce?

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Anthem78
What's a good resource for E-Commerce?
on Aug 11, 2005 at 2:28:42 am

Does anybody know of a good resource (book or website) that would help me start to build a good online store? I don't need the simple PayPal "Buy It Now" buttons, I need to do the whole shopping cart thing. I've designed a fair amount of websites, but I'm more on the visual end, with no programming or coding know-how. So I'm looking for something that will explain in detail PHP, SQL and how to build your site from the ground up.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks.

Mike



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Bret Williams
Re: What's a good resource for E-Commerce?
on Aug 11, 2005 at 5:03:24 am

There are tons of solutions out there that are either free or one time fees of around $300. Basically, it's an "engine" or app that gets installed on your hosting server as php. Then you add code to the products, customize the templates and output, prices, etc. NOT like the paypal deal. BTW - if you're in the US, paypal just added a new tier to their system, that costs nothing more, but is able to integrate directly into your website with no mention of paypal. But, you either need to know how to build complete shopping carts/store software from the ground up and integrate their api, or you have to be using one of the shopping cart systems that support the new paypal api.

Whatever you come up with, you'll probably want to accept credit cards. That will require a merchant account and gateway, which will cost you both a big setup fee and a monthly fee. Plus about 2-3% of everything you sell. You'll also have to jump through some paperwork and cash to setup a secure server.

I'm working on a new site and we looked at all sorts of php shopping cart systems. Dreamweaver plugins, free php ones, amazon look alikes with reviews, etc. and the pre-installed ones on my host, lunarpages. In the end, they would all still need a merchant gateway to accept credit cards, plus we'd have to pay for a secure server setup via verisign or thawte or one of the secure server certificate guys. Not to mention the hours my client would have to pay me to customize it, deal with all the parties involved, etc. So he went with paypal. It's a minor issue. If he starts selling hundreds of products a month - then we go the gateway route. But as cheesy as the Paypal thing is, it's the cheapest way to do biz on the web. And adding products to a page is so simple it's ridiculous. There is a sense of security when they see they're entering their credit card into a paypal system as well.

I'd first look at the installed or installable scripts already on your hosting provider. Lunarpages has a good number that you can install with a few clicks. The server details are preformatted. Or, do a google for php shopping carts.

Maybe Curtis will suggest you take a year long php/mysql training class to learn to build a store, but I think you'd be reinventing the wheel on that one.


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Curtis Thompson
Re: What's a good resource for E-Commerce?
on Aug 11, 2005 at 5:25:03 pm

hello...

[Bret Williams] "Maybe Curtis will suggest you take a year long php/mysql training class to learn to build a store, but I think you'd be reinventing the wheel on that one"

nope - writing shopping cart software can be relatively easy but it is typically something that you probably don't need to be doing unless you have a very custom need or want to learn how...but when it comes to collecting payment info, it can get very confusing and risky quickly (storing cc info encrypted, etc.), so it can often be much easier to use existing products to handle that...

but if you want to learn, this book covers the basics:

http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/webdbapps/

sitruc


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Anthem78
Re: What's a good resource for E-Commerce?
on Aug 11, 2005 at 5:39:49 pm

Thanks for the info. Maybe it would be easier just doing PayPal.

One question: I've downloaded the WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Toolkit for Dreamweaver (the free one), the "Buy it Now" drop in works okay, but the "Add to Cart" version doesn't even have a way to add shipping. Is there a better resource for intigrating PayPal, or is this the best way?

And thanks again for the helpful response.

Mike



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Bret Williams
Re: What's a good resource for E-Commerce?
on Aug 11, 2005 at 7:12:45 pm

I'm working on a beta site right now that already has the paypal working and it does include shipping rates.


I didn't even know they had a dreamweaver plugin. I just made one button on the paypal site and copied and pasted and adjusted for each of our products. But in the form that is the add to cart button, you just have to have a hidden element that is the shipping. You may also need to change shipping settings in the clients paypal account under merchant tools.

input type="hidden" name="shipping" value="7.50"

Where is the Paypal for DW link?


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Anthem78
Re: What's a good resource for E-Commerce?
on Aug 11, 2005 at 9:02:44 pm

See if this link works: http://www.webassist.com/Products/ProductDetails.asp?PID=18

Also, on your previous response, you stated that to change the shipping use: input type="hidden" name="shipping" value="7.50" for an example. Where do I put this in? Sorry, but I don't have much experience with code and programming.

I'll check out the PayPal site and see if I can figure it all out.

Thanks.

Mike


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Bret Williams
Re: What's a good resource for E-Commerce?
on Aug 14, 2005 at 4:23:07 am

Highlight the paypal button in dreamweaver and open up the source code. You'll see a lot of things listed as input type = hidden. You'll also see in design view that there are a bunch of yellow block icons near the button. Each of those is a hidden element. That's where the new code I gave you goes. Just copy and paste one of the hidden elements and change the code to match the code I supplied, with the right shipping amounts of course.


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