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View Full Version : Suggestions for an e-commerce website



jamesray50
10-26-2012, 05:42 PM
I'm looking for suggestions, comments or reviews of e-commerce websites. I have already read about Shopify and Volusion. I'd like to know about some of the features that you like with what you are using. How easy is it to add inventory? Can inventory be imported? Can you accept PayPal as a payment method? How easy or difficult is it to export reports to an accounting program, specifically QuickBooks if you use that? How is it on keeping customer information? And anything else I may not have mentioned.

Thanks,

billbenson
10-26-2012, 11:40 PM
Most shopping carts don't have a good way of importing or exporting data. More importantly they may not store the information you would like to have. I haven't seen one that saves product cost for example.

On the good side of the fence, it shouldn't be to difficult to have a programmer write a program that will export the data you want as long is it is saved in the database tables of the ecommerce program.

Yes on paypal, just about all ecommeerce solutions have a paypal option.

Most carts keep track of inventory.

Importing inventory or other data like new products hasn't worked very well for most of the carts I've seen. The problem with the import programs is they try to be everything for everybody, dealing with different currencies, shipping, drop shipping, languages, etc. This also is not something that is that difficult to have a programmer write specifically for your needs.

Harold Mansfield
10-27-2012, 01:49 PM
I'm looking for suggestions, comments or reviews of e-commerce websites. I have already read about Shopify and Volusion. I'd like to know about some of the features that you like with what you are using. How easy is it to add inventory? Can inventory be imported? Can you accept PayPal as a payment method? How easy or difficult is it to export reports to an accounting program, specifically QuickBooks if you use that? How is it on keeping customer information? And anything else I may not have mentioned.

Thanks,
Are you selling and shipping your own products? And what are the products?

Knowing a little about you and that you are already familiar with WordPress, I suggest sticking with it and using Woo Commerce for WordPress: http://www.woothemes.com/woocommerce/

How easy is it to add inventory? - It works on Custom post types, but with a lot more fields for tax info, shipping and so on. How involved depends on what kind of products you have and what options you need. But it can be configured for almost any product, physical or digital.

Can inventory be imported? - Right now, I don't know of anything that can bulk upload products well.

Can you accept PayPal as a payment method? - Yes, as well as most any other payment option and credit card processors worldwide.

How easy or difficult is it to export reports to an accounting program, specifically QuickBooks if you use that? - Yes there is support for that: http://www.woothemes.com/products/quickbooks-integration/


How is it on keeping customer information? - Complete customer management. It can be as detailed as you want it.

Brian Altenhofel
10-27-2012, 05:04 PM
I'd like to know about some of the features that you like with what you are using. How easy is it to add inventory? Can inventory be imported? Can you accept PayPal as a payment method? How easy or difficult is it to export reports to an accounting program, specifically QuickBooks if you use that? How is it on keeping customer information? And anything else I may not have mentioned.

Thanks,

I'm using Drupal Commerce for my clients' eCommerce needs. Adding inventory is simple, and you can include data such as base product costs, fees along the way, or any other data that you want to know about a product. Inventory can also be imported from various sources. I currently have one that is running regular synchronizations with a proprietary POS system.

Paypal can be added as a payment method easily, as can many others including Authorize.net.

Data can be exported - the difficulty lies in what your accounting program needs for import. If the accounting or inventory control software has an API, that's even better because then things can be done in real-time.

Customer information is a non-issue. Their customer profiles are tied to their user, and you could even have it integrate directly with a service such as Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, or Mailchimp to add them to those mailing lists.

You can also track things like cart abandonment and integrate easily into other applications such as Google Analytics.

If you're needing something basic, or just want to see what a basic setup is like, I highly recommend trying out Commerce Kickstart (http://drupal.org/project/commerce_kickstart).

jamesray50
10-27-2012, 09:27 PM
Thanks everyone, that was exactly the feedback I was looking for. I'm still researching all my options. I'm not going to jump into anything like I did 4 years ago. I used a site builder to build an on-line store and they hosted it. When I wanted to cancel with them I wasn't able to set up hosting and move my items to another site.

I am going to drop ship rather than keep inventory. And that is why it is going to take a while. I am going to do lots of research before I do anything. I am not going to use the drop shipping companies that advertise all over the internet. I am going to contact wholesalers and distributors individually. And I am not going to drop ship for anyone that also sells to the public on the internet at their wholesale price. So, it is going to take a while. In the meantime I still have my regular business to concentrate on.

But I do have a name for my store and I purchased the domain for it.

Thanks again for your answers.

Brian Altenhofel
10-27-2012, 09:40 PM
I am going to drop ship rather than keep inventory.

Depending on the distributor, they might have a RESTful API that you can have your eCommerce site attach to to get inventory updates and create orders, or they might have CSV files available on demand and want you to push a CSV order file to them. The API option is ideal because you can get updated information on every page request and push orders immediately after receiving payment. The latter is still a good option, but requires that the fields in the file be mapped to the fields on your product and requires regular bulk updates (i.e. hourly, daily, etc.) or batch uploads. Either of those options aren't too difficult as long as you're building on a decent system, but both will likely require a little bit of custom work.

jamesray50
10-28-2012, 12:10 AM
I have no idea what API is or means. Guess I need to study about that. I am really hoping to be able to import descriptions and images easily. The last website I had the distributor supplied info on a spreadsheet, but with the program I was using I had to manually enter each item and image. It took forever. I don't mind data entry of text, but I cannot do images very well at all. If I have to do any editing of the image I am lost.

I'm not sure what you mean by pushing orders. So far the distributors I have looked at require me to place the order manually. If pushing orders is a way of automating the ordering process then I am all for that!

Thanks.

Harold Mansfield
10-28-2012, 12:27 AM
I have no idea what API is or means. Guess I need to study about that. I am really hoping to be able to import descriptions and images easily. The last website I had the distributor supplied info on a spreadsheet, but with the program I was using I had to manually enter each item and image. It took forever. I don't mind data entry of text, but I cannot do images very well at all. If I have to do any editing of the image I am lost.

I'm not sure what you mean by pushing orders. So far the distributors I have looked at require me to place the order manually. If pushing orders is a way of automating the ordering process then I am all for that!

Thanks.
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It's code that allows your thing, to work with their thing.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you aren't going to be building your own website and programming your own custom shopping cart. And that you don't plan on learning much coding or programming to do this. If that is the case, your best bet may be stores like Etsy.

What you are basically talking about is being an affiliate. That is a little different than setting up a site to sell your own products. What's going to work for you in that situation is heavily dependent on the company that you will be dealing with, what tools they offer, how orders need to be submitted, and what you need to do business with them.

This is what an API is for. It integrates your website with their ordering system. So if that's the road you are taking, drop shipping, I couldn't make any suggestions until I know what you need. It's like suggesting a refrigerator without seeing your kitchen.

It could be that who you use has plenty of tools to make it easy to integrate into existing platforms like Amazon, and Ebay do. Or they may have nothing and it all has to be hand coded..that will make things a little more difficult for you.

Brian Altenhofel
10-28-2012, 01:49 AM
I have no idea what API is or means. Guess I need to study about that. I am really hoping to be able to import descriptions and images easily. The last website I had the distributor supplied info on a spreadsheet, but with the program I was using I had to manually enter each item and image. It took forever. I don't mind data entry of text, but I cannot do images very well at all. If I have to do any editing of the image I am lost.

I'm not sure what you mean by pushing orders. So far the distributors I have looked at require me to place the order manually. If pushing orders is a way of automating the ordering process then I am all for that!

Thanks.

A spreadsheet can be imported from. The website just has to be set up to take it as an upload and process the fields.

On pushing orders, some distributors have a place that your website can talk to to place the order. Others want you to fill out a form (which is also possible to be automated). And most will at the very least accept an email in spreadsheet or CSV form, which is fairly trivial for a programmer to build.

But of course, the above stuff is going to be mostly custom.