Set up an Eshop?

  MAJ 12:36 31 Mar 2011

A mate of mine owns a shop, and he has asked me to look into setting up his website so that he can sell his products online. I suggested an eshop, but it's not something I have looked into before. His hosting, on my recommendation a few years ago, is with Heart Internet, so that was my first port of call. Unfortunately I couldn't find the information I needed but after using 'Live Chat' on the HI site, I was told that eshops were third-party applications and to Google something like "Cubecart", I did so and saw that, in itself, Cubecart is fairly easy to install and configure (famous last words), but what I need to know is: Is this sort of thing easy to do, what problems should I look out for, etc. My mate can take credit card payments in his shop, I assume this will help when setting up the eshop as to take payments online I think he needs, what is called, a Merchants Account, is that correct? I guess I'm looking for an idiots guide to doing this sort of thing. Can anyone shed some light on the subject for me? It would be much appreciated.

  MAJ 00:32 01 Apr 2011

It looks like (so far) I'm not alone in my ignorance on this subject then?

  Forum Editor 00:49 01 Apr 2011

to have an online 'cardholder not present' trading account with VISA. If that's not possible he can set up an account with PayPal, and they'll handle the transactions on his behalf - it works very well, and lots of people trade online that way.

Setting up a shopping cart system on a website isn't as complex as all that, but it does involve a fair amount of hard work. Your friend will have to understand that his potential market is worldwide - at least it is unless he deliberately sets limits.

Trading this way involves handling orders as they arrive, and because of different time zones that can happen at any tome of the day or night.

He'll need to make sure that he covers the packing and transit costs properly - sending batches of parcels to an island in the South Pacific can be quite pricey.

Get your friend to sit down and work through the process on a document - writing it all down can be surprisingly helpful. He's in for a fairly steep learning curve, but thousands of people successfully set up these operations - it's not rocket science.

  MAJ 01:28 01 Apr 2011

"Your friend will need to have an online 'cardholder not present' trading account with VISA."

Okay, so that's what it's called, I couldn't think of the correct terminology for him when he initially asked me. I assume he would need to do the same with Mastercard?

"If that's not possible he can set up an account with PayPal, and they'll handle the transactions on his behalf - it works very well, and lots of people trade online that way."

Yes I suggested PayPal at the outset but for some reason he wasn't very keen on using them and it's the one area I was reasonably well versed in using, at least on the buying side, as I do have a PayPal account.

"Setting up a shopping cart system on a website isn't as complex as all that, but it does involve a fair amount of hard work."

I was hoping it wasn't too complex, seeing as he'll probably be on the phone to me if problems occur. I can see where the hard work comes in especially as he'll have quite a few hundred products to list, but I have already prepared him for that and he's still keen. I have also wised him up to the way he should charge for his postage and packing so as not to leave himself out of pocket, but he's an astute business man and there's nothing I could teach him in that area.

"... it's not rocket science."

I agree, FE, but it can seem as daunting as rocket science when one doesn't know where to start or the right questions to ask.

Do you have any ideas on a good Shopping Cart application?

  MAJ 10:12 01 Apr 2011

Acronis? I wasn't aware that they did shopping cart software?

  Forum Editor 10:18 01 Apr 2011
  MAJ 10:39 01 Apr 2011

I did look at that one yesterday, but it appeared to be fairly expensive at around £500 when Cubecart is around £110. click here At this stage I am looking for information on the subject so that I can report back, answer some of his questions and suggest some options and prices.

  MAJ 19:19 01 Apr 2011

Okay, I have found more info on my mate's merchant Account provider's website:

We provide a range of services to enable you to trade online. Our payment gateway solutions are designed to simply connect to your eCommerce store.

* Before you can make eCommerce sales, you need a supplementary agreement with us to establish your Internet merchant account (IMA) FE's 'cardholder not present' trading account.
* After this agreement is in place, we will give you guidance about setting up and integrating your website with our payment gateway.
* You will need a specific eCommerce merchant account.
* You will be issued with a new eCommerce merchant account just for your eCommerce sales. You must never use an existing offline merchant account for your online sales.

They deal with VISA credit and Debit cards, Mastercard credit and debit cards, American Express and more, including PayPal. The charge is £19.95 a month with 350 inclusive transactions and 28pence per additional transaction. Their payment gateway, according to them, is compatible with many hosts, so I just need to check out if it's compatible with Heart Internet. Many thanks for pointing me in the correct direction FE, it is appreciated.

fourm member: Good to see the brain is now fully engaged again. ;)

  Proclaimer 23:11 01 Apr 2011

I used Zencart. Easy to install, free, lots of used add ons like Royal Mail Postage Calculators (worldwide) Paypal enabled, and CSS Scripts for customising.

  Forum Editor 00:17 02 Apr 2011

when it comes to shopping cart software, but there are plenty of others. It's a question of looking at a few and taking the plunge - most of the good ones will let you have a free trial.

Before your friend buys anything he should just check with Heart Internet to make sure there are no problems.

  Forum Editor 00:20 02 Apr 2011

that Heart Internet offer several shopping cart applications with their hosting packages - one of which is Zen, mentioned by Proclaimer.

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