Looking to add online sales to my site.
March 8, 2008 4:26 AM   Subscribe

I built a website for my business. I want to sell things from my website! My hosting has a CGI-BIN directory and will run scripts etc. What do I need to know to add a shopping cart function and sell goods? What e-commerce software would be easy to use and integrate into my site? Payment doesn't need to be automated, but I would like to be able to securely take credit card numbers for processing later, if possible.

Further details :

About 100 different items in the store that I sell.
I have reasonable knowledge of html.
I've briefly looked at a few web commerce packages (such as Zen Cart) but recommendations are very welcome.

posted by tomble to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You are almost certainly _much_ better off going with one of the established e-commerce platforms like Google Checkout or Yahoo Store. They've got all the infrastructure you really want to have if you're selling things online, like credit-card processing, etc.

Some of them might require that you really create a separate site, on their platform, but others, I believe, should be able to integrate into an existing site, with some coding. I'm not familiar enough with any of them to make a specific recommendation, but I'm sure others here can.

Honestly, I think just the fact that you're asking the question is the best indicator that you want to go with a complete platform. Unless you're really interested in understanding how e-commerce sites are coded, etc., you're not really going to benefit from a DIY approach.
posted by LairBob at 5:01 AM on March 8, 2008

Best answer: Yea, zencart or phpshop, integrated with google checkout or paypal are going to be your best bets.

Honestly, it sounds like you don't have a lot of experience, so I would post it at one of the rent-a-coder sites and pick a low bid. You can probably get some poor starving coder to do it for >$50. I mean, it's easy and fast---but if you have no idea then it's best to get someone to help.
posted by TomMelee at 6:22 AM on March 8, 2008 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Cool, both very helpful responses! Thank you!
posted by tomble at 7:03 AM on March 8, 2008

Hehe, may I just say that talk of CGI-BIN and scripts brought me back to '98. That's not to say people don't still use Perl/CGI, etc. It's just that it represented one of the earliest forays into "scripting."

You're definitely going to want to go with a Yahoo type store. They have gotten this stuff completely down right. You can customize to your heart's content, they take very little, either off the top or monthly, depending on who you use, and they're far more secure than you'll ever want to worry about being.

(Taking credit cards for "later" processing is NEVER acceptable, for what it's worth. We have a client who has been under the impression they can just have CCs emailed to them, and they'll have one of their employees enter them manually into their physical terminal. Um, no.)

Good luck and shop around a bit. You'll find something you'll like, I'm sure.

Also, feel free to ping me if you have any more questions. I do the whole web consulting/adwords campaign stuff/development stuff for a living. :-)
posted by disillusioned at 10:11 AM on March 8, 2008

I recommend going with a Yahoo store.

Very very easy to set up, useful stats so you can see how long they spent on your page, what items they looked at, where they went after they left your site, etc.

It is also extremely easy to process credit cards through Yahoo - it is very secure.
posted by Ostara at 10:15 AM on March 8, 2008

I would recommend a pre-rolled setup using either paypal or google checkout for payment. Getting a vendor account set up to take credit cards your self and getting all the server security correct is a pain.
posted by DJWeezy at 11:23 AM on March 8, 2008

For what it's worth, I am setting up my first e-commerce site for a client and I was pleasantly surprised at how simple the Joomla/VirtueMart setup was. I am used to poking and prodding Wordpress into doing what I want so to have Joomla just work was a nice treat. Then again, since I am used to poking and prodding Wordpress, the learning curve for Joomla may have been significantly reduced. Also, my client is already set up for credit cards, since he has a real-world store, so that hurdle has already been cleared.
posted by Biblio at 6:48 PM on March 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Obligatory shout out to mefite frentic for an easy to install php based digital download web store. (You didn't say what your products were.. ) Uses Amazon for hosting and PayPal for payments. The newest versions might support physical products as well. Link.
posted by acro at 6:59 PM on March 8, 2008

What DJWeezy said. I'm a developer and I had to set up a small e-commerce site for a client -- my first time doing this. It was a royal pain. Took lots of testing. I wouldn't want to do it again. I'll definitely talk clients into doing the Yahoo thing next time if at all possible.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 9:39 AM on March 10, 2008

« Older The weak things of the world shall confound the...   |   80s fancy dress Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.