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ctowngaming
09-23-2012, 08:18 PM
Hi, My name is Michael Pierce and I am new to this forum.
I own a small business (C Town Gaming) that sells retro video games, and video game merchandise. I currently use eBay and Amazon to sell, however they don't seem like there fees are going down anytime soon and I would like to expand to my own website sometime in the near future.

Back story:
About 6 months ago I hired a web designer I trusted to create a website for me, needless to say I ended up getting ripped out. He made me the website ctowngaming.com, aesthetically the website looks nice, the functionality and difficulty of use is so ridiculously inconvenient and slow, it would be impossible to run a business from. He also hosted it on servers that he rents , so I can not edit the website.

Now I am over getting ripped off and moving forward, I am looking for a new web designer or suggestion of a company I can use. I need a website that looks nice and functions very well and efficient, I really have no idea what this could or should cost. I need a quick integrated system to process orders and keep track of sales, and I also need a quick and easy to use listing format. If you have any advice, I would appreciate it greatly, thank you. -Mike

Wozcreative
09-23-2012, 09:13 PM
There are a lot of web designers here on the forum, you should be able to find one that fits what your needs are. I did send you a PM though with previous examples of what I've done.

Pack-Secure
09-23-2012, 09:17 PM
You should check into eCommerce Solutions for Your Web Storefront | ProStores (http://www.prostores.com) and Magento - Home - eCommerce Software for Growth (http://www.magento.com), they have some interfacing with Ebay. ProStores Design, Development, Add-ons, and SEO | PSHelper.com (http://www.pshelper.com) have been awesome to work with in the past, Frank is very helpful.

Magento - Home - eCommerce Software for Growth (http://www.magento.com) is coming out with some very cool features, as well. PShelper will work with both hosts and are very thorough with their work.

ctowngaming
09-23-2012, 09:32 PM
There are a lot of web designers here on the forum, you should be able to find one that fits what your needs are. I did send you a PM though with previous examples of what I've done.

I sent you a email from my business email address, you can reply to that email address. Thank you for you interest :D

Harold Mansfield
09-24-2012, 11:27 AM
As Woz said there are many web people on this forum including myself.

A few pieces of advice no matter who you hire:

ALWAYS register and purchase your domain and hosting in your own name and have complete control over them. There is nothing wrong with paying someone for maintenance and support of them, but you should never let anyone else be in complete control of your most vital accounts to running your business online.

Second, sometimes ( not all) people end up not getting the website they want, because they don't know how to look for what they need. Everyone doesn't do everything. It's important that you know what you need, so that you can take the guess work out of the equation for your web person so that they know everything they need to, to do the job properly. Don't hold back details or needs thinking that they can be easily integrated later. That is not always the case.

If you need a few more tips on how to get the website that you want, here's a free PDF that addresses some best practices from the clients side. One of the most important points in it is matching your need with their skills. Hope it helps:
How To Hire a Web Services Company.pdf (http://1stinternetmedia.com/NHABIT/like/How To Hire a Web Services Company.pdf)

HireLogoDesign
09-24-2012, 04:56 PM
I am interested in doing this for you if you are still looking.

Harold Mansfield put it best .

ALWAYS register and purchase your domain and hosting in your own name and have complete control over them. There is nothing wrong with paying someone for maintenance and support of them, but you should never let anyone else be in complete control of your most vital accounts to running your business online.

Let me know if you haven't already decided and I can get some more information on what exactly you need. I may respectfully decline, but I can let you know what to watch out for and what you're looking at in terms of cost. My website is in my signature.

Chris

billbenson
09-24-2012, 09:51 PM
ALWAYS register and purchase your domain and hosting in your own name and have complete control over them.

Just to clarify one point here. It's even better to to purchase your domain from a quality domain registrar and host your site elsewhere. There have been scams in the past when you have both your domain registration and hosting in the same place.

Brian Altenhofel
09-25-2012, 12:01 AM
ALWAYS register and purchase your domain and hosting in your own name and have complete control over them. There is nothing wrong with paying someone for maintenance and support of them, but you should never let anyone else be in complete control of your most vital accounts to running your business online.

I would say this depends on the terms of the hosting agreement, unless you're limiting it to the typical I'm-gonna-resell-my-shared-hosting-account folks that are nothing more than a ripoff. Of course, I'm a little biased because I do offer specialized hosting to my clients - and often the rate ends up being lower than the maintenance contract for an externally hosted site. Plus, the client gets an environment that is tuned for their needs. But my agreement also states that I will help facilitate a transfer off of my services if they wish. The reason it is typically more cost effective for both parties in my case is that I spend less time having to "work" with their service provider to try to get access to something the client needs but isn't available by default, and 99% of system maintenance becomes hands-off.

I don't touch domain names, though. I just ask that they point at my nameservers so that in the case of a failure of a single-server environment the DNS records can be automatically updated at the moment of failure. (Multi-server environments use floating IPs.)

billbenson
09-25-2012, 01:16 AM
I would say this depends on the terms of the hosting agreement, unless you're limiting it to the typical I'm-gonna-resell-my-shared-hosting-account folks that are nothing more than a ripoff. Of course, I'm a little biased because I do offer specialized hosting to my clients - and often the rate ends up being lower than the maintenance contract for an externally hosted site. Plus, the client gets an environment that is tuned for their needs. But my agreement also states that I will help facilitate a transfer off of my services if they wish. The reason it is typically more cost effective for both parties in my case is that I spend less time having to "work" with their service provider to try to get access to something the client needs but isn't available by default, and 99% of system maintenance becomes hands-off.

I don't touch domain names, though. I just ask that they point at my nameservers so that in the case of a failure of a single-server environment the DNS records can be automatically updated at the moment of failure. (Multi-server environments use floating IPs.)

That sounds reasonable as long as the customer has full ftp access and db access for local backups. Also the fact that you don't do the domains makes it viable.

However, if you were doing both domains and hosting and got hit by a bus, it would be a bit problematic for your customer.

vangogh
09-25-2012, 03:02 AM
Sorry to hear about your bad experience Mike. Hopefully you know there are many designers who won't leave you with a bad experience. It sounds like you do, but I figured I would defend my profession. I also want to add a few thoughts.

1. I agree that you should definitely own your domain and be the one to register for your hosting account. I'm not sure it's a big deal to have both at separate companies any more, though I usually do keep them separate.

2. With both web design and especially hosting, you get what you pay for. When you mentioned the site being slow I couldn't help but wonder if it was on a shared hosting account where hundred or even thousands of sites share the same server and resources. You may want to up your hosting to something more, at least a virtual private server, though it does raise the price.

3. I'm guessing most every designer her will agree that the more you can share what you're looking for in a site and what goals you have for it and your business, the better we can do our job. Don't be afraid to provide details even if you don't think they're important. A lot of times they will be. Sometimes designers and clients speak a different language and the more we both communicate, the less misunderstanding there is later.

I'll also mention we have plenty of designers here and I'm sure you won't have to look beyond the forum to find someone. It looks like you've already started that process.

ctowngaming
09-25-2012, 07:02 AM
Thank you all for the advice and information, I truly appreciate it.


That sounds reasonable as long as the customer has full ftp access and db access for local backups. Also the fact that you don't do the domains makes it viable.

However, if you were doing both domains and hosting and got hit by a bus, it would be a bit problematic for your customer.

I am going to address your post because it seems like it would answer most every post on here.

1) With regards to being slow, I think you are completely missing what I meant. It was not the hosting that was slow, but the functionality. I asked that the website be fully eCommerce based, I run online sales so I need something that is easy to list on, easy to keep track off, simple and doesn't have issues. the functionality of the site I got was just the opposite, it took so long to list one item that it would take me months to update stock if I needed.

Right now I sell full time on eBay, and I do very well most times. But eBay has its down sides, and for me there is a next level I want to reach, I want to run and have my own successful eCommerce business. I am not saying I need it right this second, I posted because I wanted some insight and price ranges to work with. I am only 21 I have a long time to build and grow business as I see fit, most people my age don't even think about their future or starting their own business.

2) With above being said, I will state exactly everything I need (In a website and in general).
- I need a complete brand to be created, I need to work with someone to create a brand from the ground up, as of right now I am just some other guy on eBay. I really need someone who will listen and understand, if you have a passion for anything then you may understand. I truly have a passion for video games and selling things, I need someone who will really get this and work with me. Besides this and most importantly I am looking for someone who isn't just looking to make money, but they care and want to make a difference, and they want to help me be as successful as possible.

In respect to website functionality I need everything listed below
- A website that ties in with Paypal, I already have a business account with Paypal.
- A easy way to keep track of orders and report profits, if possible it would be awesome to have my sales easily exported into some kind of spread sheet I can print out monthly. This is a very important piece of the puzzle, I spend way to much time now just trying to keep track of sales and it cost me so much time.

- A very efficient and easy way to list products, I list upwards of 200 products a month now, which means I would expect to list even more on this website. It needs to be FAST!if possible I would like the listing area to have a spot for cost of good sold, that way when I export my sales it automatically removes the cost of good solds so I am only left with a true profit. Entering and keep track of cost of goods sold is a hassle of its own degree, especially since I specialize in something that is almost 99% of the time used.
- The website needs to look professional and scream my brand (which will be created)

If you have any questions then just ask, everyone here keeps saying please tell us what you need. Well ask me the things you need to know, I am not a web designer and do not think like one. I am a entrepreneur and 95% of the time I am just thinking how to grow my business :P .

Thank you all for your responses I appreciate it, below is my contact information feel free to email me.

Business Email - CTGG@ATT.NET

Harold Mansfield
09-25-2012, 10:31 AM
Now you are getting into details which should really be discussed on the phone so that there is clarity, but a few observations.



A very efficient and easy way to list products, I list upwards of 200 products a month now, which means I would expect to list even more on this website. It needs to be FAST!if possible I would like the listing area to have a spot for cost of good sold, that way when I export my sales it automatically removes the cost of good solds so I am only left with a true profit. Entering and keep track of cost of goods sold is a hassle of its own degree, especially since I specialize in something that is almost 99% of the time used.

How fast you can list products depends on you. How fast can you get in a decent image, descriptions, price and shipping information for each product? It's only going to be so fast because you are running it yourself now. You won't have the benefit of huge, fast servers all over the world, and proprietary auction software run by one of the largest web companies in the world.

Anything you want can be built if you have the budget. After you know what is out there, you can then determine if you want something custom built from scratch, or if you want to work with some out of the box solutions and have them set up and integrated properly.

But it would help to know more about the products. What information needs to be input with each one? Shipping info and how that needs to be calculated?

If you are dealing in products that are all the same size, and shipping class, and need some kind of batch upload function....that's really important to know up front.

But all of the other stuff, inventory, tracking, reports...of course that's all doable.

Which brings up a point, do you want an ecommerce site where products are cataloged, have a set price, people order and you ship? Or do you want an auction or classified type site where products change frequently and don't have lots of inventory?



If you have any questions then just ask, everyone here keeps saying please tell us what you need. Well ask me the things you need to know, I am not a web designer and do not think like one. I am a entrepreneur and 95% of the time I am just thinking how to grow my business :P .


You don't go to buy a car and tell the salesman "I just want to drive something. I'll leave it to you to ask all of the right questions to find out what I want"...don't treat your website like that either. Ecommerce is not one sized fits all. It's too important. It's the sole sales tool for your business, and you've already been burned once. You need to get involved and investigate your own options too.

This is your business. You are the marketing, accounting, shipping, customer service and web department. You can't sit back on "I'm only focused on this right now, you guys figure it out". You don't have guys. You're the guys.

We can only ask so many questions, but we can't guess every single possible scenario that may be going around in your head.

No one expects you to know all of the technical terms and every possible software, but we do expect you to be able to tell us what you want, like and maybe even some examples in your industry.

This isn't a lecture, I'm just trying to get you to understand that the more you do your own investigation and get some ideas before talking to a web designer, the better your chances are of hiring the right person, having all of your needs met, and being really happy with your website

ctowngaming
09-25-2012, 08:13 PM
Now you are getting into details which should really be discussed on the phone so that there is clarity, but a few observations.


How fast you can list products depends on you. How fast can you get in a decent image, descriptions, price and shipping information for each product? It's only going to be so fast because you are running it yourself now. You won't have the benefit of huge, fast servers all over the world, and proprietary auction software run by one of the largest web companies in the world.

Anything you want can be built if you have the budget. After you know what is out there, you can then determine if you want something custom built from scratch, or if you want to work with some out of the box solutions and have them set up and integrated properly.

But it would help to know more about the products. What information needs to be input with each one? Shipping info and how that needs to be calculated?

If you are dealing in products that are all the same size, and shipping class, and need some kind of batch upload function....that's really important to know up front.

But all of the other stuff, inventory, tracking, reports...of course that's all doable.

Which brings up a point, do you want an ecommerce site where products are cataloged, have a set price, people order and you ship? Or do you want an auction or classified type site where products change frequently and don't have lots of inventory?



You don't go to buy a car and tell the salesman "I just want to drive something. I'll leave it to you to ask all of the right questions to find out what I want"...don't treat your website like that either. Ecommerce is not one sized fits all. It's too important. It's the sole sales tool for your business, and you've already been burned once. You need to get involved and investigate your own options too.

This is your business. You are the marketing, accounting, shipping, customer service and web department. You can't sit back on "I'm only focused on this right now, you guys figure it out". You don't have guys. You're the guys.

We can only ask so many questions, but we can't guess every single possible scenario that may be going around in your head.

No one expects you to know all of the technical terms and every possible software, but we do expect you to be able to tell us what you want, like and maybe even some examples in your industry.

This isn't a lecture, I'm just trying to get you to understand that the more you do your own investigation and get some ideas before talking to a web designer, the better your chances are of having all of your needs met.

I guess ill tackle this in sections quickly,

1) Listing speed hardly depends on me at all, Pictures and the speed of my typing are hardly relevant. Reason being, by the time I go to list this is all created and ready, I am talking purely about quick and easy functionality. The pictures I take and descriptions I write are already done by the time I go to list, it is part of my daily routine to stock up descriptions and images for future posts. The problem comes when there is not functionality specifically designed for listing quickly and efficiently.

2) In respect to what I sell my stores are listed below, I sell and focus on selling video games.
My Ebay Store - Shirts, Accessories items in ctowngaming store on eBay! (http://stores.ebay.com/ctowngaming)

My Amazon Store - Amazon.com:C Town Gaming Storefront (http://www.amazon.com/shops/ctowngaming)

3) The shipping information and rate would be set for each product, but there are alot of products. I would need to set shipping profiles for every type of game, game systems and such.

4) I want a place with flat prices, no auctions. Setting up a auction site would have me directly compete against companies like eBay, which is damn difficult.


Below is in response to your second section of the post, and quite honestly I don't think you put much thought into this part. Your comparison of buying a car from a car lot is complete wrong and does not relate to this what so ever. Me asking you to ask questions is much more like me going to have a custom car built from a great mechanic, he knows everything there is to know about cars and I know very little. In that case I would tell him what I want, but I know little about the inner workings and what is actually plausible and possible. So I say can you ask me questions that will help decide which direction to go with this project, I am sure he would be fine asking specific questions he know would help me end up with the best end product.

See I know very little about what needs to happen to make my vision true and I know little about what is even close to possible. So asking you to ask me questions you think would help with the project is not me "Asking the guys to figure it out", its me asking for your expertise and opinion.

Brian Altenhofel
09-26-2012, 10:49 AM
I guess ill tackle this in sections quickly,

1) Listing speed hardly depends on me at all, Pictures and the speed of my typing are hardly relevant. Reason being, by the time I go to list this is all created and ready, I am talking purely about quick and easy functionality. The pictures I take and descriptions I write are already done by the time I go to list, it is part of my daily routine to stock up descriptions and images for future posts. The problem comes when there is not functionality specifically designed for listing quickly and efficiently.

I'm guessing that you mean that you use an application to manage your listings on both eBay and Amazon? So something ideal for you would be something that integrated with that application, either directly or indirectly?

Shipping rates per product, or even by product type, is a trivial thing to implement.

I'm just trying to help clear things better. While I'd love to work with you on this, I currently have a waiting list.

Harold Mansfield
09-26-2012, 11:03 AM
Sounds like I may have irritated you, but your response gave important information that wasn't previously known and now gives someone a better idea of your needs and how organized you are. So forgive me for being harsh, but tons of people say they want something but neglect to understand that their own organization to complete the task is critical.

Seems like you already had WordPress with the other site, so staying with what you already know, Here's one suggestion:

1) Category Pricing: With Woo Commerce (for WordPress) you can set Category pricing so that you don't have to repeat the same pricing info over and over again.

Under the Simple Category Pricing screen you will see a list of all the product categories in your system and will have options to enable a pricing rule for the specific product category.

With that set, you should be able to upload your [default size] product image, paste in a description, check the category, publish, and move to the next. That will make things much easier if the next suggestion is implemented....



Shipping rates per product, or even by product type, is a trivial thing to implement.

Brian is spot on. But it sounds as if you haven't looked at anything to even know what's out there, so I can break it down.

3) Shipping: My suggestion would be to average out your shipping rates from the smallest to the largest product and set a percentage of the total order as the shipping fee. If done properly, it eliminates the need to put in dimensions for every single product (that's how shipping is calculated) and it's the perfect solution for using flat rate shipping options (USPS Ground). And you can still offer additional options such as air and overnight if you set them up with the shipping company.

As you can see, this is less about the capabilities of the software and more about how you set up your business to run. If you are set on individual rates per product or a specific shipping company that doesn't offer flat rates, then "fast" upload will never work for you because you'll HAVE to input LxHxW for each product.

If your products are generally the same dimensions per category, (ie: all game cartridges are the same size.) then you could set up shipping classes, much the same way pricing categories work, but I can't make that decision for you. You have to look at your expenses and determine the best way to go about it. The point is, it can be set up. How automated it is for you, is up to you and your product organization.

How "fast" it is, depends on your tools ( website design, computer, ISP, hosting). The software itself does not run slowly.


If shipping isn't figured out properly, it alone can absolutely kill a small ecommerce business. Too much and no one will order. To little and you will lose money on every order.

You can also set inventory tracking. I'm sure some products you have a ton of and others only a few items. Auto removing the limited supply items when they've all been ordered is a huge time save.

There's tons more options. It's a full figured solution. Open source. Fully supported. From a highly respected company.

More about Woo Commerce: WooCommerce: An open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress (http://www.woothemes.com/woocommerce/)

ctowngaming
09-26-2012, 09:42 PM
I'm guessing that you mean that you use an application to manage your listings on both eBay and Amazon? So something ideal for you would be something that integrated with that application, either directly or indirectly?

Shipping rates per product, or even by product type, is a trivial thing to implement.

I'm just trying to help clear things better. While I'd love to work with you on this, I currently have a waiting list.

No I don't use any special listing software, I am looking for a good one. But most are way over priced and under functioned, I do however take images for things I plan to list for the whole month and I tend to have descriptions typed up in my computer and I can just add in what i am selling and some slight details.

ctowngaming
09-26-2012, 09:46 PM
Sounds like I may have irritated you, but your response gave important information that wasn't previously known and now gives someone a better idea of your needs and how organized you are. So forgive me for being harsh, but tons of people say they want something but neglect to understand that their own organization to complete the task is critical.

Seems like you already had WordPress with the other site, so staying with what you already know, Here's one suggestion:

1) Category Pricing: With Woo Commerce (for WordPress) you can set Category pricing so that you don't have to repeat the same pricing info over and over again.


With that set, you should be able to upload your [default size] product image, paste in a description, check the category, publish, and move to the next. That will make things much easier if the next suggestion is implemented....


Brian is spot on. But it sounds as if you haven't looked at anything to even know what's out there, so I can break it down.

3) Shipping: My suggestion would be to average out your shipping rates from the smallest to the largest product and set a percentage of the total order as the shipping fee. If done properly, it eliminates the need to put in dimensions for every single product (that's how shipping is calculated) and it's the perfect solution for using flat rate shipping options (USPS Ground). And you can still offer additional options such as air and overnight if you set them up with the shipping company.

As you can see, this is less about the capabilities of the software and more about how you set up your business to run. If you are set on individual rates per product or a specific shipping company that doesn't offer flat rates, then "fast" upload will never work for you because you'll HAVE to input LxHxW for each product.

If your products are generally the same dimensions per category, (ie: all game cartridges are the same size.) then you could set up shipping classes, much the same way pricing categories work, but I can't make that decision for you. You have to look at your expenses and determine the best way to go about it. The point is, it can be set up. How automated it is for you, is up to you and your product organization.

How "fast" it is, depends on your tools ( website design, computer, ISP, hosting). The software itself does not run slowly.


If shipping isn't figured out properly, it alone can absolutely kill a small ecommerce business. To much and no one will order. To little and you will lose money on every order.

You can also set inventory tracking. I'm sure some products you have a ton of and others only a few items. Auto removing the limited supply items when they've all been ordered is a huge time save.

There's tons more options. It's a full figured solution. Open source. Fully supported. From a highly respected company.

More about Woo Commerce: WooCommerce: An open-source eCommerce plugin for WordPress (http://www.woothemes.com/woocommerce/)

You just struck a nerve by acting like I am being lazy, which I am not. With shipping I would like to set up shipping classes for each type of game, and system (for instance all NES systems would cost XXX, and all NES games would cost XXX, this would work because some games are lighter than others and some heavier so it would average out.) It would take some time to setup each profile, but in the end it would make sure I wouldn't lose any money off of shipping and it would also save time because all I would have to do is choose from a drop bar.


Also this would be extremely easy for me, I know almost all shipping cost by heart.

For me what would really be important is having some type of system that would keep close track of all sales and cost of good sold, and let me print out reports once per month (specifically of just profit made after shipping and cost of good sold) accounting and tracking sales is such a huge task through eBay because I have listing fees, sales fees, paypal fees, shipping cost, cost of good sold, and lord knows what else.

Harold Mansfield
09-27-2012, 06:29 PM
You just struck a nerve by acting like I am being lazy, which I am not.
Mike,
I think we are off to a bad start here. You have to remember, I don't know you, we have never spoken and we have no history for me to draw on. I'm just trying to help based on the words that I'm reading on the screen and cover all bases so that I don't give the wrong information by taking what you may or may not know for granted.

There are people of all business levels here. So please accept my appology if you think I'm treating you like a noob. That is not my intention.



With shipping I would like to set up shipping classes for each type of game, and system (for instance all NES systems would cost XXX, and all NES games would cost XXX, this would work because some games are lighter than others and some heavier so it would average out.) It would take some time to setup each profile, but in the end it would make sure I wouldn't lose any money off of shipping and it would also save time because all I would have to do is choose from a drop bar.

Also this would be extremely easy for me, I know almost all shipping cost by heart.

You can set it up anyway you want. Shipping classes and how you set them up are pretty standard with any ecommerce solution. The only thing is, if you set each product category in it's own shipping class and rate, how do you account for orders of multiple products from different classes? If you do it per item, your users will get all classes added together and pay for shipping per item, instead of as a total of the order.

How have you been doing it? Have you been charging a shipping cost per item on multiple orders?

I've seen a few out of box solutions and I haven't seen any that do the math, "If customer orders this combination of items, then reduce shipping cost by this much because they will be in the same box". Or does everything go out in seperate boxes? If I order from 3 different shipping classes and they all have a set rate, are you going to charge me $70 to ship $150 worth of stuff?

But this is really more on your end, reguardless of the software, and how you have your shipping rates set up. Setting shipping classes per item or category of items is pretty standard across the board.


For me what would really be important is having some type of system that would keep close track of all sales and cost of good sold, and let me print out reports once per month (specifically of just profit made after shipping and cost of good sold) accounting and tracking sales is such a huge task through eBay because I have listing fees, sales fees, paypal fees, shipping cost, cost of good sold, and lord knows what else.

Woo Commerce, the one I linked to, has inventory and sales tracking by product, category and customer, best sellers, trends and so on. However, I'm pretty sure that figuring your costs are NOT the back end options that you will be able to track from your website dashboard. Most people keep track of that in their accounting software.

Woo Commerce does have QuickBooks integration: QuickBooks Integration | WooThemes (http://www.woothemes.com/extension/quickbooks-integration/), and Bulk Stock Management: Bulk Stock Management | WooThemes (http://www.woothemes.com/extension/bulk-stock-management/), but the more I read, the more it sounds like you want a webstore and business accounting all in one solution.

If you went with a more enterprise solution like Dell Ecommerce or Micros, you can probably get that all in one solution that you are looking for.

Maybe Magneto or some other website solutions are different and someone else can chime in on those.

ctowngaming
09-27-2012, 10:10 PM
Mike,
I think we are off to a bad start here. You have to remember, I don't know you, we have never spoken and we have no history for me to draw on. I'm just trying to help based on the words that I'm reading on the screen and cover all bases so that I don't give the wrong information by taking what you may or may not know for granted.

There are people of all business levels here. So please accept my appology if you think I'm treating you like a noob. That is not my intention.



You can set it up anyway you want. Shipping classes and how you set them up are pretty standard with any ecommerce solution. The only thing is, if you set each product category in it's own shipping class and rate, how do you account for orders of multiple products from different classes? If you do it per item, your users will get all classes added together and pay for shipping per item, instead of as a total of the order.

How have you been doing it? Have you been charging a shipping cost per item on multiple orders?

I've seen a few out of box solutions and I haven't seen any that do the math, "If customer orders this combination of items, then reduce shipping cost by this much because they will be in the same box". Or does everything go out in seperate boxes? If I order from 3 different shipping classes and they all have a set rate, are you going to charge me $70 to ship $150 worth of stuff?

But this is really more on your end, reguardless of the software, and how you have your shipping rates set up. Setting shipping classes per item or category of items is pretty standard across the board.


Woo Commerce, the one I linked to, has inventory and sales tracking by product, category and customer, best sellers, trends and so on. However, I'm pretty sure that figuring your costs are NOT the back end options that you will be able to track from your website dashboard. Most people keep track of that in their accounting software.

Woo Commerce does have QuickBooks integration: QuickBooks Integration | WooThemes (http://www.woothemes.com/extension/quickbooks-integration/), and Bulk Stock Management: Bulk Stock Management | WooThemes (http://www.woothemes.com/extension/bulk-stock-management/), but the more I read, the more it sounds like you want a webstore and business accounting all in one solution.

If you went with a more enterprise solution like Dell Ecommerce or Micros, you can probably get that all in one solution that you are looking for.

Maybe Magneto or some other website solutions are different and someone else can chime in on those.


No worries, life goes on haha.

As far as shipping right now, I offer free shipping on nearly everything because eBay offers a search result boost for free shipping. But in actuality it is shipping included because I add the cost of shipping to the price of the product.

I think you miss understood what I meant about shipping fees, I would take the time to setup all shipping profiles for each type of system and game. So say you bought a xbox and the shipping profile was already calculated at ($15), and a Gameboy which had a shipping profile of ($2.5), then I could easily ship them together for nearly the same price or I could just ship them separate and it would be fine. I do however see what you are saying what if someone buys say 100 Gameboys, they wont want to pay $250 for shipping that is going to cost $80. A solution to this is to have a weight profile within the shipping profiles, that way when multiples quantities are purchased it calculates by weight rather then the set price?

As far as accounting goes, I do not want a accounting software aswell. I want to try and eliminate and simplify the account process for now, I understand good accounting software can give you charts, and statistics that can be used for many things. I would rather (for now) just have a output every months of my paypal fees, cost of good sold, gross income, and profit. Now this is where I am saying I don't really know if it realistic, but it could help a ton.

Harold Mansfield
09-27-2012, 10:41 PM
A solution to this is to have a weight profile within the shipping profiles, that way when multiples quantities are purchased it calculates by weight rather then the set price?
I'm sure that could be custom coded for you.

My suggestion to a client who's site I just finished doing, was flat rate shipping and it's working well. A simple math equation to average all possible rates (6), divided by average product price and you get a percentage of sales as the cost of shipping.



As far as accounting goes, I do not want a accounting software aswell. I want to try and eliminate and simplify the account process for now, I understand good accounting software can give you charts, and statistics that can be used for many things. I would rather (for now) just have a output every months of my paypal fees, cost of good sold, gross income, and profit. Now this is where I am saying I don't really know if it realistic, but it could help a ton.

You keep saying you don't want accounting software and then proceed to explain what you do want by naming all of the things that accounting software does.

Sounds like what you are saying is, that you want an easier way to keep your books. The software on the website can give you accurate numbers of what it does. Sell products. The entire accounting of your business is generally done seperately. At least on a single user, small business scale.

If you are saying you want to do all of that from your website, I don't see that happening. Nor do I suggest it.

But like I said, if you want an integrated solution like that, then you need something beyond just "I need a website built"

You need to look at solutions with business accounting and eCommerce for online retailers and have your site built using that software. You'll probably get what you want, one solution that does everything including run the website and run a report that figures in all of your costs for you.

It will also be the most expensive way to go and is a little beyond any small business solutions that I know. So as they say on the Shark Tank, "I'm out". I can't help you with those.

Brian Altenhofel
09-27-2012, 11:20 PM
You keep saying you don't want accounting software and then proceed to explain what you do want by naming all of the things that accounting software does.

Sounds like what you are saying is, that you want an easier way to keep your books. The software on the website can give you accurate numbers of what it does. Sell products. The entire accounting of your business is generally done seperately. At least on a single user, small business scale.

If you are saying you want to do all of that from your website, I don't see that happening. Nor do I suggest it. [/quote]

I've really only used one eCommerce platform (Drupal Commerce), but I know that it either gives you or makes it easy to calculate all of that data that was mentioned.


But like I said, if you want an integrated solution like that, then you need something beyond just "I need a website built"

This.

How much can be integrated is directly proportional to your budget. If you're wanting to get to the point where an order placed triggers a new Quickbooks customer and invoice, as well as adjustments in the customer's Quickbooks information being reflected on the site, or perhaps even where a listing on your website can trigger listings on Amazon and eBay, you can easily get well into the five figure range.

But if you just want an eCommerce solution only for the website that is capable of generating ecommerce-related reports and downloadable spreadsheets, the budget doesn't have to be nearly as high. The decision depends on whether you want to pay for automation or you want to "pay" to do stuff manually.

ctowngaming
09-28-2012, 01:05 AM
I'm sure that could be custom coded for you.

My suggestion to a client who's site I just finished doing, was flat rate shipping and it's working well. A simple math equation to average all possible rates (6), divided by average product price and you get a percentage of sales as the cost of shipping.



You keep saying you don't want accounting software and then proceed to explain what you do want by naming all of the things that accounting software does.

Sounds like what you are saying is, that you want an easier way to keep your books. The software on the website can give you accurate numbers of what it does. Sell products. The entire accounting of your business is generally done seperately. At least on a single user, small business scale.

If you are saying you want to do all of that from your website, I don't see that happening. Nor do I suggest it.

But like I said, if you want an integrated solution like that, then you need something beyond just "I need a website built"

You need to look at solutions with business accounting and eCommerce for online retailers and have your site built using that software. You'll probably get what you want, one solution that does everything including run the website and run a report that figures in all of your costs for you.

It will also be the most expensive way to go and is a little beyond any small business solutions that I know. So as they say on the Shark Tank, "I'm out". I can't help you with those.

Ofcourse accounting software does everything I name, because accounting software can do damn near anything that has to do with numbers. The point I am saying is I don't need all kinds of robust extra features, quickbooks has alot more to offer than I need, and if there is a way that a simpler system can be implemented for cheaper. Then that is the system I would prefer, all I want is quick print outs (monthly) of the numbers I have, that way tax time is a breeze.

Harold Mansfield
09-28-2012, 10:23 AM
Ofcourse accounting software does everything I name, because accounting software can do damn near anything that has to do with numbers. The point I am saying is I don't need all kinds of robust extra features, quickbooks has alot more to offer than I need, and if there is a way that a simpler system can be implemented for cheaper. Then that is the system I would prefer, all I want is quick print outs (monthly) of the numbers I have, that way tax time is a breeze.
Brain mentioned that Drupal Commerce may have what you want. Sorry, I don't know Drupal but it would be worth a look.
But you also need to consider ease of use, and support for the website itself. You may find that the back end has the options you want, but you don't want to run your website with it.

It's a tough decision. What concerns me there is that it doesn't seem that Drupal ecommerce has been touched since 2004. That may mean nothing, but it's strange.
e-Commerce | drupal.org (http://drupal.org/project/ecommerce)

I think what is important is that whatever you want can be done. Nothing is out of reach with the right budget.

I use Quickbooks too and probably know how to use 20% of every thing it can actually do, so I feel you on that one.
Unfortunately for the ecommerce functionality of your site, I can only suggest a platform that gives you reporting directly related to the transactions on the site itself.

As far as your Pay Pal fees are concerned, you can download that info from Pay Pal along with profit and loss statements, and your entire financial summary and business accounting. It could be that you have what you want already. The reporting features are pretty robust and track a lot of the things you mentioned. If all of your transactions in Pay Pal are from one source, then you could get all of that information right there.

Bookkeeping: https://cms.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/marketingweb?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=acct_setup/Accounting&fli=true
Reporting Center: https://business-cog.paypal.com/webapps/merchantreportingweb/page/reportsHome.form

And those are just the normal services. They have more services for advanced users or businesses that need more features. I would start there before you spend a lot of money trying to integrate all of those things into a website software. And where the money comes in is the best place to get those reporting features.

Just a thought.

Also, while what you are looking for as far as reporting ease is important, it shouldn't be your most important consideration when it comes to your website. Your user experience should take precendence. Not yours. If your website isn't build for users first, none of those reporting features on the backend will matter because you'll have nothing to report.

billbenson
09-28-2012, 10:53 AM
Harold, I don't want to hijack this thread, but a quick shipping question. My products weigh from 2 lbs to 100's of pounds. I haven't been charging shipping but rather adding margin to the product cost. I'm getting hit up for discounts recently, so I'd like to start adding shipping. Just one line on the bottom of the order. I want to underestimate shipping in the customers favor so I only need to know approximate costs. How would you do that? Do you have a chart of any kind?

Harold Mansfield
09-28-2012, 11:03 AM
Harold, I don't want to hijack this thread, but a quick shipping question. My products weigh from 2 lbs to 100's of pounds. I haven't been charging shipping but rather adding margin to the product cost. I'm getting hit up for discounts recently, so I'd like to start adding shipping. Just one line on the bottom of the order. I want to underestimate shipping in the customers favor so I only need to know approximate costs. How would you do that? Do you have a chart of any kind?

You have a history to draw on, you should be able to average out your total shipping costs for a period of time and add that as a percentage of the total sale.

For instance, if you shipped 100 individual orders last month, at total retail price of $10,000. And those orders cost you $1,000 to ship. Your shipping cost is around 10%. So add a 10% "handling fee" or whatever you want to call it. The more months or years you can average, the better. However if you have an abnormal run on 1000lb products one month, that month will be off. That's why history is important. For the year, it should balance out if you have that much data to look at.

Some people will pay a few dollars more, some will pay a few dollars less, but your average should be pretty spot on if you base it on your history. And you'll have a consistent user experience.

Track it every month and compare it to actual costs and make adjustments where you need to. You may have to go up or down a few fractions.

This only works if you use the same shipping option for everything. It's a little harder to figure out if you have multiple shipping options, then you have to take each shipping class and do the math if you want to average the cost.

What I've done recently, was to make 2 shipping options. As a percentage of sales and that is strictly USPS flat rate shipping, and also offer overnight or express as an option, and they pay whatever the individual rate is.

This is just the general idea. Your shipping company may be able to help even more. And depending on your volume, I'd see if you qualify for any discounts. As far as I know, only USPS has flat rate shipping. Everyone else is LxHxW per product or box.

billbenson
09-28-2012, 11:30 AM
That's the problem. I raised my proces about 5% to cover shipping. It ships directly from the manufacturer. They don't give me a report of shipping costs. I would have to call customer service and ask them order by order what my shipping costs are, and they are a pretty overloaded, over worked group of people. I don't get tracking numbers either. And this is a $1.2B company. Amazing isn't it.

Harold Mansfield
09-28-2012, 11:36 AM
That's the problem. I raised my proces about 5% to cover shipping. It ships directly from the manufacturer. They don't give me a report of shipping costs. I would have to call customer service and ask them order by order what my shipping costs are, and they are a pretty overloaded, over worked group of people. I don't get tracking numbers either. And this is a $1.2B company. Amazing isn't it.
WTF? That is crazy. So.....they are charging you for shipping, included in the total cost? And they are doing the shipping? So where are you losing money?

billbenson
09-28-2012, 12:57 PM
I haven't been loosing money because it is built into the margin. But recently people have been asking for more and more discounts. So I want to start adding shipping to the order.

Harold Mansfield
09-28-2012, 04:27 PM
I haven't been loosing money because it is built into the margin. But recently people have been asking for more and more discounts. So I want to start adding shipping to the order.

Seems like you can just add, say, 10% to your pricing and call it "shipping" , and then when people ask for a discount, tell them you'll give them Free Shipping :)

billbenson
09-29-2012, 12:17 AM
That's not going to work because I'm already priced high. Site visitors will see that extra 10% and leave. If it's a separate line item called "shipping" that wouldn't surprise them and they would only see it at checkout. If the shipping appears more than reasonable that's an additional trust factor. In other words it the customer is expecting $100 for shipping and I come in at $75 they won't feel they are getting screwed. I've already increased the prices because I'm expecting more discounting to be required.

Harold Mansfield
09-29-2012, 10:25 AM
That's not going to work because I'm already priced high. Site visitors will see that extra 10% and leave. If it's a separate line item called "shipping" that wouldn't surprise them and they would only see it at checkout. If the shipping appears more than reasonable that's an additional trust factor. In other words it the customer is expecting $100 for shipping and I come in at $75 they won't feel they are getting screwed. I've already increased the prices because I'm expecting more discounting to be required.

I'm not sure if I understand what opinion or help I can offer. Sounds like you want to add an additional fee called "shipping", but the actual price is arbitrary. It would be just a general shipping charge that is not actually a reflection of your shipping costs. More like a Handling fee.

MyITGuy
09-29-2012, 12:06 PM
That's not going to work because I'm already priced high. Site visitors will see that extra 10% and leave. If it's a separate line item called "shipping" that wouldn't surprise them and they would only see it at checkout. If the shipping appears more than reasonable that's an additional trust factor. In other words it the customer is expecting $100 for shipping and I come in at $75 they won't feel they are getting screwed. I've already increased the prices because I'm expecting more discounting to be required.

If you have any of the LxWxHxW information then you can update your site to pull this information for you: http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/resources/sri/apidefinition.html

rajesh
11-16-2012, 11:45 PM
Sorry to hear your story. Let me give you an advice - What is the need for web designer when you have wordpress. Wordpress has in-numerous attractive and professional themes with which you can create your own website yours. You can make a website better than your web developer from wordpress in just a week. If you do not want wordpress, then you can learn basic web design - HTML and CSS (not recommended) to make your website. But you will take a minimum of 1 month to learn it if you devote your time in it. Then after building your website, concentrate on SEO for it will definitely increase your sales.

billbenson
11-17-2012, 12:30 AM
Sorry to hear your story. Let me give you an advice - What is the need for web designer when you have wordpress. Wordpress has in-numerous attractive and professional themes with which you can create your own website yours. You can make a website better than your web developer from wordpress in just a week. If you do not want wordpress, then you can learn basic web design - HTML and CSS (not recommended) to make your website. But you will take a minimum of 1 month to learn it if you devote your time in it. Then after building your website, concentrate on SEO for it will definitely increase your sales.


What is the need for web designer when you have wordpress
Because a web designer can build a wordpress site that sells. For someone who is starting with little knowledge, a WP site is a quick way to get a site up and learn, but it won't be placing 1 on google and it won't have the call to action pages for a business.

You can make a website better than your web developer from wordpress in just a week
There are web designers that design only in WP. To say that you can do better than a web designer in a week isn't true.

If you do not want wordpress, then you can learn basic web design - HTML and CSS (not recommended)
You are recommending that someone who is going to be designing his web site not learn web programming? The knowledge of html and css is paramount in creating a decent WP site.

But you will take a minimum of 1 month to learn it (html / css) if you devote your time in it
One month? Try one year or more for a non programmer.

Then after building your website, concentrate on SEO for it will definitely increase your sales
SEO is an intrigal part of building a site, not something done after the fact.

Harold Mansfield
11-17-2012, 11:13 AM
I have to agree 100% with everything Bill responded to. It's easy to look at something after you know it and then say how easy it is. But for people who don't spend 24/7 on the web or on their computers there is no way to learn it quickly. Nor do they have the patience or will to.

Even though WordPress is user friendly, designing and customizing a WordPress website still requires the skills and knowledge and designing any other website. No matter how many tutorials you read about the technical, it still doesn't teach you design principles, on site SEO, and methods for creating a user friendly website that gets people to take action based on experience and tried methods.

Can you learn to install WordPress and set up a theme on your own? Sure, if you want to.

Will you know what to look for in a theme, which designers to trust, which hosting companies suck, what warning signs to look for, and so on? Absolutely not. There is no tutorial for those things.

Can you learn to build a professional, clean, user friendly, website that suits your needs from WordPress tutorials? Can you troubleshoot problems? No way. If you've never done anything like it before, you'll end up with the basics and a website that looks like it was written and deigned by an amateur. And one small thing will frustrate you and take days to figure out.

If you are set on doing it yourself, you can learn anything. But to tell someone who isn't interested in learning, has no HTML, PHP, skills, knows nothing about the web, websites, hosting, databases, domains, SEO, Google products, and so on....nor has the time...that they can learn it and do it quickly and easily is not true at all. That is bad advice.

libra
12-03-2012, 08:55 AM
Just to clarify one point here. It's even better to to purchase your domain from a quality domain registrar and host your site elsewhere. There have been scams in the past when you have both your domain registration and hosting in the same place.

What are the possible scams or potential problems to look out for?

billbenson
12-03-2012, 09:33 PM
Not to many years ago both 1 and 1 and Network solutions, both very large hosts, were known for domain squatting. You would call them up and say you want to move your domain to a different company, they would say they were transferring you to that department and they would put you on hold - forever. It pretty much took a lawyer to get you control of your domain. I don't know if they still do this. A friend abandoned his domain with Network solutions when he couldn't get control of it.

The other risk is what if the owner of the hosting company goes bankrupt or gets hit by a train. By keeping things separate and registering you domain with a known honest registrar you limit your risk. The registrar should have a control panel that allows you to move your domain. Network Solutions required you to call them to move a domain which gave them the control.