Home – New Forums Tech talk Tips & hints needed for starting an e-commerce store

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  • #973305
    rjbb
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    I am new to FS and currently in the development stage of my small business, making and selling hand crafted baby & children’s items. I have been researching sales & marketing options and are considering an online store.

    I am trying to gain as much knowledge as possible before making the plunge and would appreciate any advice anyone has to offer regarding starting an e-commerce store.

    I have browsed some of the websites of businesses that provide hosting services however I am not quite sure where to start. Initially my business will be small, I will be operating as a sole trader, with a view to expanding in the future. My aim is to start with up to 12 different products, so I would like to be able to display the products in on the site, as well as options available for the products such as different fabrics, colours, sizing etc and also a description of the product.

    I would like to keep the costs of establishing a website as minimal as possible. I have noticed that there are many DIY site builder options, would this be a feasible avenue to pursue? Would there be issues with DIY sites and shopping carts? I am also unsure as to how much web space I would need for a small online store and how does backing up my site work? Is that something that I need to do myself or would that be done through web hosting. Anything else that I should know about, fire away too!

    This is all new to me, and as previously said, any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.
    Bec.

    #1060849
    websitedesigner
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    I think a hosted solution like bigcommerce.com could be good for you. A custom site under your own domain will be more flexible but as a starting point a hosted solution will be a lot cheaper. Either that or if you have your own site, PayPal buy now buttons are super easy.

    Good luck, there are a few posts in the tech forum on this topic too.

    #1060850
    VehicleMods
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    Sounds a bit like my path!

    I started with a small DIY web site on a shared host and used PayPal for the processing.

    After 12 months, I could afford (just) to get my site redone and use a payment gateway. It is very hard to get approval for on line credit card processing if your business is < 2 years old and don't have a real (physical) store front.. So day 1 went something like:
    1. Register Business Name
    2. Apply for ABN
    3. Register domain name
    4. Bought a web site on a shared hosting site.

    Then 1 month of pain commenced getting it all sorted out and working writing content and product descriptions.

    The current site is still a work in progress, but the progress is in the back end. slowly!

    #1060851
    James Millar
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    Go hosted for first 12 months. Simple. Fast roll out. Cheap.

    Ashop is pretty decent.

    Helping build better businesses and better lives with expert financial and taxation advice. [email protected] www.360partners.com.au 03 9005 4900
    #1060852
    rjbb
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    Thank you for your info and advice, much appreciated.

    #1060853
    King
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    First, get yourself a good webhost

    Then you can use wordpress to create your site (available as part of the hosting,normally one click install – super easy and free).

    I use Mals-e.com for my cart (free) – easy to used and can be configured to cater for sizes/colours etc. A very helpful support forum as well if you get stuck. There is a page via the forum that has lots of reconfigured options to speed you on your way. Of course there are paypal buttons as well that you can easily implement. Plus some ecommerce plugins around.

    Here is my software store I created this way.

    PS you will have to learn some HTML along the way, but this is a good thing as even if/when you get a rebuild done you will have va grounding in how coding works.

    #1060854
    abpages
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    Hi, I run a web design business and have been in the industry for over 10 years. Just wanted to offer my 2 cents.

    At first, we tried the open source solutions like osCommerce and magento – be prepared to have a developer ready to perform upgrades for you and we found installing certain contributions with osCommerce conflicted with others and had to spend hours working out the kinks. Magento was better, but terrible for product options such as size, colour, etc. Good luck explaining how to set that up with a client.

    My advice is to save yourself the headache and money – go with a commercial hosted service.

    Since trialing BigCommerce last year we have not looked back. We’ve been moving old and any new clients to that platform – we tried ashop – BigCommerce beats it hands down.

    Remember, with their monthly fee, you not only get the shopping cart, but also the hosting and support is included in that – many people forget about this important factor.

    So if you’re using an open source product like oscommerce / magento and something goes wrong or you need to upgrade to the latest version, you have to contact your developer and have him fix it……they’ll probably do it when they get around to it, and then charge you for their time….

    With BigCommerce this is looked after for you by their support team, they schedule upgrades, fix bigs, apply patches. All included in their fee.

    I know this sounds like a massive commercial, but I truly love this product. It works, and can grow as our clients need it to.

    Good luck and let us know how it all goes.

    Damien
    Above&Beyond Web Design
    abpages.com

    #1060855
    PawsForLife
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    Agree with King.

    For a low number of products, something like a Joomla or WordPress plugin is exactly what you’re looking for.

    Research both of these, they have many advantages in user interface over a generic shopping cart solution that smaller operators can utilise.

    Once you are in the hundreds of SKU’s it becomes the domain of dedicated shopping cart software for the ease of batch modification etc.

    #1060856
    lofo
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    PawsForLife, post: 76556 wrote:
    Agree with King.

    For a low number of products, something like a Joomla or WordPress plugin is exactly what you’re looking for.

    I agree with this, although a hosted package like bigcommerce is good and simple to start with.

    If your business becomes large, the inability to customise any of the backend workflow with these solutions will start driving you mad. At that point, you may want to go to an oscommerce or Magento solution to get exactly what you want, but this will cost (although the benefits to your time will probably outweigh the costs at that point).

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