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  1. #1
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    Question for my first eCommerce site

    Hey everyone,

    Quick backstory : I've built a couple websites now and Im about to take on my first ecommerce for a friend. Ive worked with a few before but just have some questions re: resources that will be good to learn from/read or any insight anyone can offer.

    I am really comfortable with html and css (not so much html5 and css3 if im writing from scratch) and a decent understanding of php but a lot to learn.

    The way I was going to go just because I dont wanna spend time building things from scratch...
    Wordpress Theme
    Woo Commerce

    So Im just putting together all the requirements and now that Im mulling over the project a few questions come to mind.

    1) How important is it that I get a theme thats "eCommerce ready" - is there a few tutorials and then trouble shooting worth doing to help learn how it works? More learning the better.

    2) Is there a smart way to approach the ecomm side? Ive got a list of about 15 different products. All of them have variations of some degree, 11 have 2 different variables. The variations and variables Im not sure how to handle and boggles my brain a bit.

    Example:

    The F.U Too Pendant
    2 chain sizes: 16" or 20" - choice 1
    3 materials: sterling silver, rose gold, yellow gold

    3) Security - if the site is processing payments, what kind of precautions do I need to take? Any good reading to suggest?

    4) How long would it take a decent developer to pump out the ecomm side?

    Any insight or direction on learning would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Stuck

  • #2
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    I would determine who your credit card merchant is before I picked my ecommerce system.

    Will it be authorize.net, PayPal, or some other CC merchant? And will the method be SIM or AIM? Will you have a secure server HTTPS, or regular HTTP? How many transactions to they expect each month?

    Are they willing to maintain the inventory, keep the database current, handle the online sales, shipping, invoices, product returns, customer complaints, problems with payment or credit card issues? They do realize it's a full time job?

  • Users who have thanked mlseim for this post:

    Stuck (11-02-2013)

  • #3
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    For merchant I was thinking of using https://stripe.com/ca - because i hate paypal. No basis for that decision beyond that.

    or http://www.beanstream.com/home/ which i have a bit of experience with.

    Not quite sure on the difference or comparisons between SIM and AIM.

    As for secure server, the only thing that crossed my mind was http://www.symantec.com/en/ca/ssl-certificates but im not sure if thats necessary or even what you're asking about.

    Expected # of transactions of month I would say hands down less than 5 or 10.

    Maintain Inventory :: she has a small product line so yes.
    Keep the Database Current :: is this just updating inventory #s?
    Handle Invoices :: already doing this
    Shipping :: yes
    Invoices :: yes
    Returns :: yes
    Complaints :: yes

    She is only doing 2-3 sales a month right now through a site called bigcartel. She doesn't really advertise herself or her site because shes embarrassed by how it looks and functions.

  • #4
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    SIM ... the user leaves your site and goes to the CC merchant's secure site to enter credit card info. Your site does not have to be secure because you don't handle any of the actual CC transaction.

    AIM ... the user stays on your site for everything. You have a secure site 'SSL' and you maintain the database of information and there needs to be security involved on your end. This of course costs more for a secure site account and the programming is more difficult.

    PayPal typically uses SIM, where the user is sent to PayPal to do the transaction and they return back to your site afterwards. Most CC merchants offer both methods, but as I said ... with a cost and development needs, which could cost a lot of money.

    Beanstream seems like a good choice. Beanstream doesn't use the terms AIM and SIM, instead they call them Hosted Payment Processing and Integrated Options. It's the very same thing as SIM and AIM. Check the cost of doing it both ways. Remember that with Hosted Payment Processing, you are using their website for the user to make the actual payment. So the user is not on your website during that part of the transactions.

  • #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlseim View Post
    SIM ... the user leaves your site and goes to the CC merchant's secure site to enter credit card info. Your site does not have to be secure because you don't handle any of the actual CC transaction.

    AIM ... the user stays on your site for everything. You have a secure site 'SSL' and you maintain the database of information and there needs to be security involved on your end. This of course costs more for a secure site account and the programming is more difficult.

    PayPal typically uses SIM, where the user is sent to PayPal to do the transaction and they return back to your site afterwards. Most CC merchants offer both methods, but as I said ... with a cost and development needs, which could cost a lot of money.

    Beanstream seems like a good choice. Beanstream doesn't use the terms AIM and SIM, instead they call them Hosted Payment Processing and Integrated Options. It's the very same thing as SIM and AIM. Check the cost of doing it both ways. Remember that with Hosted Payment Processing, you are using their website for the user to make the actual payment. So the user is not on your website during that part of the transactions.
    It sounds like it might make more sense to do the Hosted Payment Processing as she doesn't really have a ton of money to invest in a site. From my perspective it sounds like less problems to deal with for security. How much does the development differ between the two builds in terms of broad time frames? I was assuming like 10-15+ hours

  • #6
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    Back to the questions. Ive done a boatload of research and it does seem that beanstream is the best fit for me. Seems pretty standard for the merchant/gateway relationship to hit the 2.9% and .2-.3 / transaction.

    Conclusion: Hosted Payment Processing with Beanstream.

    So now im back to the drawing board and Im kind of confused as to what the purpose of something like WooCommerce is?

    Based on my conversations with Beanstream I need a shopping cart, tax and shipping calculator.

    Apologies for the silly questions. First time for everything

  • #7
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    WooCommerce is an ad-on for a WordPress site. That would be a good way to go because WP site are easy to do (depending on technical expertise). WooCommerce does have a payment gateway for beanstream (add about $80 to the cost).
    http://www.woothemes.com/products/beanstream/

    But it looks like they still require an SSL Certificate (secure site). I don't know why they need that with a Hosted Payment Processing method. You may want to email or call them and ask about it.

    I still think that might be a good way to go even with added expenses. (my opinion).


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