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Creating an online shop advise

Posted on 2008-06-11
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Last Modified: 2013-11-29
Hi,

We have a website that we would like to add an online shop to allow people to buy goods securely by debit/credit card but as im new to this area im not to sure where to start.

Does anyone have any advise on what software package to use to create an online shop? would like some software thats easy to use and allows you to create shopping carts. there seems to be a range of software on that does this but i dont know which ones are any good, some software thats well supported wouold be good.

Do we need to use a merchant compnay such as worldpay to handle the processing of the debit and credit card details safely?, is world pay best to use or is there a better company to use? most customers who would buy goods online will be in the UK.

I know this it not really a direct problem as such i need help with but rather some advise instead. ive tried searching on experts exchange but there doesnt seem a great deal of info on this.

Kevin

 
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Question by:kevin1983
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by:bluefezteam
ID: 21758774
Depends on your circumstances, the easiest setup is to buy a preexisting piece of software or service from a business for example CYBERTILL; upside is you will be up and running in no time, they take all transactions and monitor for fraud, downside is cost of setup and the fact they take a margin per transactions.

you could opt for something free like OS Commerce, theres enough free templates to make it look nice, but you will need a payaccount wuch as world pay and again they take transactional cost.

Finally you can build your own system and use a payment gateway such as protex who charge £20 per month for 100 transactions and then about 10p per transaction after 100 in a month (good going).

protex have 2 flavours:

VSP Form, where you list the items on your website but the checkout goes to them to sort out - this means no programming for you other than adding links to the products - downside people have to leave the site to pay. Upside is all the tools and fraud management are provided by Protex.

VSP Direct, the payment is handled by protex but the user never leaves your site, benefits are more professional look, downside is you need to host on a secure server, have a secure certificate and build tools to manage the order process.

For most options you will need a merchant ID, and those companies who let you use theres will take higher commision per transaction. if you are looking to maximise profit get your own Merc Account and opt for something like CyberTill or Protex.
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by:bluefezteam
ID: 21758786
Just to add, both those companies Protex and Cybertill and UK based and I know their customer service is friendly as I've developed apps using both their systems so I can recommend them.

Cybertill specifically relates to managing your shop and stock and their online shop is a by product of that process so they effectively give you an ecommerce site for free with their service; Protex however is entirely payment processing so you will need a site beforehand.
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by:bluefezteam
ID: 21758822
sorry I meant to say protext charge £20 per month for 1000 transactions, so thast not bad seeing as thats all they charge you.
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by:kevin1983
ID: 21759092
Hi,

Ok thanks for your reply bluefezteam that really helps, but have a few queries: we would like to get the online shop up and running as soon as possible so maybe CYBERTILL would be a good option if the setup is not to costly. i have some programming experience (but not creating a online shop) but on the other hand have other work to do so dont really have that much time to spend building a shop.

Worldpay sounds a bit expensive, so maybe using free software such as free like OS Commerce isnt so good. If we used protex as a payment gateway and then built our own system what would we need? - is there software we could use to build our own system that would work with protex?. any software you would recommend?

if we used protex i think VSP Direct sounds best as we really dont want customers to leave our website to make a payment.

How do we go about getting our own  your own Merc Account? -who could we do this with?

p.s sorry about all the futher questions

Kevin
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by:bluefezteam
ID: 21759498
Your merchant account should come via talking with your bank, HSBC and Barclays should offer that service for sure, and from talking with clients they find HSBC very helpful.

I don't know the exact costs on CYBERTILL but they are certainly fast at doing things, their software is a case of logging into the admin area of the site and you can drop in your own web code to customise certain parts of the site if you want to do that, it's all there ready to go.

Protex is a payment system so I imagine there an option in OSCommerce to plugin protex as a payment system, Protex documents will offer an idea on integration for that.

In regards to building your own, with protex form it couldnt be simpler just have images on a webpage in your site with a buy button and it gets added to a cookie that eventually is transferred to the protex site for payment - in reality this is a payment form on their site but you can brand it to look similar to your own so it's not as dire as you think; certainly a happy medium to see if your online shop is viable to make you money.

If it is you can move to VSP direct and invest a bit of time and cash into a more developed shop.

Costs of doing things yourself is in regards to getting an SSL certificate (around £150 a year) a fixed IP on a dedicated server (£20 a year for the IP + costs of server) - for smaller businesses this is why VSP form is more attractive as you can just host links to your products on an existing site and send them to pahyment pages on protex.
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by:bluefezteam
ID: 21760017
anyway, hope that helps, just shout out if you need anything else - otherwise points well earned ;0)
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 21767218
Hi,

Ok many thanks for all the info thats a real great help and yes you will get the points ;-) ok im going to find out out the costs of using cybertill as that sounds like a good option if its not to expensive, on the other hand if we do things ourself it sounds like it would probably be cheaper and if were able to use OSCommerce + protex with VSP Direct that sounds good too although more time consuming but maybe more cost effective.

Please could you clarify a few last things for me?....the SSL certificate would we would need to use someone such as verisign? and a fixed IP on a dedicated server....do you mean its best to have our own inhouse webserver? or pay a hosting company for our own dedicated server thats only used for our website? - any idea how much our own dedicated server is likely to be?

we dont want users to leave our website when they have to pay so i think protex using VSP Form wouldnt be the best option

Thanks
Kevin

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by:bluefezteam
ID: 21767831
£60-70 a month gets you your own webserver from a hosting company that you can remote into, alternatively they may be able to give you a fixed IP on shared hosting.

You can then use the IP to get an SSL certificate from someone like verisign or kommodo (who are cheaper) but it's renewed every year.
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by:kevin1983
ID: 21777236
Hi, ok i looked into the costs further and cybertill quoted 5,000 setup and £20 per month for software, £20 for support. and the 20 for payment for a gateway so overall its quite expensive.

with protx its £20 per month(for 1000 transactions per quarter not per month. If you use your own secure web server with an SSL certificate do you still need to pay for a payment gateway?
 
Im thinking maybe building our own shop but im not so sure about using Oscommerce although its great its free id rather pay some money for some software that comes with some support if we need it, do you know of any other software youd reccomend to build our own shop?

Thanks

Kevin
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bluefezteam earned 250 total points
ID: 21780094
Hmm protex where definately 1000 traansactions per month, maybe they have changed their costs now - but I've only just finished a protex project and the guys paying for 1000 per month..

If you use your own server with SSL you are using protex's payment gateway as part of the £20 per month, same as if you where using VSP form for the £20 per month. Without a payment gateway no payments can be made.

What you say about OSCommerce is true, people forget that things that are free come with downsides, first there's no support other than the generous time of people on places like expert exchange, and secondly if there is a major bug then there's no liability when things go wrong.

'Actinic Catalogue' is a product I have heard positive feedback on, thats a bought solution and it shouldnt be too expensive, it will be supported and if there's bugs then liability falls with them.

Finally, I spoke to protex yesterday and they told me they have a relationship with 1 & 1 hosting who now provide cheap solutions to online shops : maybe try them?
http://order.1and1.co.uk/xml/order/Eshops;jsessionid=87F0E440F05EAF3B5717FBABA00CC444.TC33a?__frame=_top&__lf=Static
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Author Comment

by:kevin1983
ID: 21780319
OK great ill look into Actinic Catalogue, even if some good supported software costs around £500 to build a shop then i think the company i work for will be ok with this as we were quoted very silly money for some companies to completly build the shop for us. One company quoted £18,000 which is far to high epecially for a fairly standard shop! i think id rather buy some software so we have the backup of some support if we need it.

1 and 1 sounds like a good option too, ill look into them, although our website is hosted with a different company than 1and1 so im not sure if they will allow us to use there software tools to buid the shop unless our website is transferred over to them? maybe ill give 1and1 a call next week

Many thanks for all your time/help on this its been a great help.

Kevin  
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by:bluefezteam
ID: 21784743
Hey no worries -
To put things into perspective for your quotes, as a professional company we'd charge around £1400 for a standard shop integrating with a product like Protex, sorting out the SSL etc. Then a round £40 per month on hosting with a dedicated IP

Most of our clients find that solution is ideal for them, some require more specific solutions depending on how they sell items, eg discounts vouchers etc - but they can always be slotted in at a later date.

Good luck with it - thanks for the points.
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