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Sequence of things to be done when starting ecommerce site

Discussion in 'eCommerce' started by ketanco, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. #1
    I want to start an ecommerce site, where I will not hold any inventory but will require the manufacturers ship directly. I will start out with a small number of products at first.
    My questions are:

    1-Do I get a shopping cart first, and then merchant account? Or reverse order?
    SEMrush
    2-When I get a merchant account, do they give me a payment gateway too or is that something i have to get separately?

    3-A shopping cart is not a website right? It is something I can add to an existing webiste? Or when they say shopping cart, it means a webiste for selling which has a shopping cart? If it is separate, how do I integrate webiste and the cart?

    4-What is your suggestion for what to use for cart, gateway and merchant account?
     
    ketanco, Jun 8, 2012 IP
    SEMrush
  2. jestep

    jestep Prominent Member Premium Member

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    #2
    I would go website/shopping cart and the merchant account and payment gateway are usually at the same time if you get them from the same company. Definitely have the website nearly ready to go before worrying about the merchant account.

    Most ecommerce systems require you to build the site into the shopping cart. This is totally fine as long as you are starting from scratch. Magento, oscommerce, zen cart, and a ton of others are free and well established systems. They can pretty much do anything you want them to although you may want to buy a professional design or hire a designer to make on for you. You may also need custom programming if you have any abnormal requirement or want the cart to work a certain way, but they generally cover 90% of websites out of the box.

    If you have an existing website, I would check out avactis. It's one of the only carts that integrates into an existing site rather than trying to hack the site into a new shopping cart.
     
    jestep, Jun 8, 2012 IP
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  3. ketanco

    ketanco Member

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    #3
    ok so since you are saying most e commerce systems require me to integrate site into shopping cart, it means, the shopping cart itself is like a site already? if so i dont need to push in a site into shopping cart anyway. i mean i dont need a separate site i just need to sell stuff so... do all the shopping carts you counted are like websites already?

    also you said have the website ready first so does it mean no matter what my shopping cart is, the merchant account and payment dateway will just fit in?

    merchant account and payment gateway are just back end things and they dont change the appearance of my site or cart in any way right?
     
    ketanco, Jun 8, 2012 IP
  4. jestep

    jestep Prominent Member Premium Member

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    #4
    Yes, all of the carts I listed allow you to build the site around them. The cart has functionality to add additional pages to the site, or a blog, forum, or other features you would typically see. Avactis allows you to integrate it into an existing site if you already had one. If you need really full featured content management, using joomla with http://virtuemart.net/ for the shopping cart is a fairly common way to do it. You would really only need to do this if your requirements for the non ecommerce parts of the website are way more complex than what the cart software can provide.

    All of the major carts are going to have payment modules for most payment gateways so you should be fine setting the cart up first. And yes, the gateway and merchant account aren't something the customer will ever interact with as long as your customer stays on your website through the entire checkout process. Some gateways have methods where the customer will enter their payment information directly on a page with the gateway. This reduces your requirements as far as security goes since you never touch the payment data at all. As far as conversion go, it's usually better to keep customers on your website throughout the entire process.
     
    jestep, Jun 8, 2012 IP
  5. ketanco

    ketanco Member

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    #5
    thank you. so I knew it the opposite way then. from what I understand you are saying that the main thing is the shopping cart itself and I can add any content I want to it, which is fine. Yes it would be great to add some extra pages for content etc... so I can totally do everything from scratch and use a good shopping cart, and will build my site around it. what is your suggestion?

    You also brought up a good point. Isnt it better to have customer enter their sensitive info on the other site to get rid of liability?

    Or the major sites and decent ecommerce sites do everything on their site?

    And one point that I just thought about based on this. Now that I am going into ecommerce and if I have the user enter his info on my page, which I probably will, to protect myself against liability, what shoudl I do? WHat do people do? Is there a special insurance for ecommerce sites do u know?
     
    ketanco, Jun 9, 2012 IP
  6. jezwebb

    jezwebb Member

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    #6
    1. Choose your merchant account - PayPal Pro / WorldPay / SagePay etc. You choice is dependant on many things, mainly fees and integration options - will it work with the cart you want to use? The merchant account will allow you to access their payment gateway.
    2. Get some hosting (I can recommend sefhost.com, which does one click installs of OsCommerce, ZenCart, OpenCart and more!)
    3. Install cart and set up.
    4. Set up secure certificate to secure user information.
    5. Add Privacy / Security / Delivery information.
    6. Insurance is not a bad idea. If in the UK, consider membership of the Federation of Small Business that has excellent protection for SMEs.
     
    jezwebb, Jun 12, 2012 IP
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  7. ketanco

    ketanco Member

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    #7
    thanks yes i will do
     
    ketanco, Jun 15, 2012 IP