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E-Commerce  with WordPress

Posted on 2012-03-14
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Last Modified: 2012-03-31
Let me first say I am average experience at best with WordPress and limited E-Commerce experience.  Primarily a graphic designer...

Anyway, I have a friend that I am doing a website for that offers classes for CPR and other health related services.  I will be doing the website itself in Wordpress and hoping to be able to create a class registration and payment option on the site as well.

They will be offering 2 different classes that take place at different times and days.  

I believe a shopping cart plugin of some sort will be needed here for a visitor will A) need to register for classes.  B) Select their classes (1 or more)  and C) make payment for the classes.

My first question is what is the best plugin for WordPress to use in a situation such as this with a service based system?

I expect to list the classes on a "Classes Available" page with a description of each class, and have this page contain an "Add to Cart" option.

Next, I need to figure out this whole collection of money situation and the best way to go about it.  I don't know if this site will require an SSL, dedicated IP, merchant account, etc.  What exactly do I need to do when it comes to an E-Commerce site?  What are the recommended steps?   I have already told her that a system such as PayPal would probably be the cheapest route, and that after a person registers on her site that we could setup something that take them to PayPal which is secure, and they could make their payment.  

The reason I mentioned PayPal is because I figured that having merchant account would be too expensive and I don't even know what it all entails or what is needed.

I am open to a 3rd party payment option as well such as maybe E Cartel???  At this point I am just trying to come up with the number of hours this will take me and the best course of action.

I have my own dedicated server setup through a hosting company and can pretty much do most of what I want.  As a last resort I do have a domain name reseller account through wild west that i can pick up ssl, dedicated ip's etc. but am afraid to go that route because of hearing bad things.

Lastly, relating to WordPress.  Site registration is not necessary for comments and other situations.  The registration will only be used for someone willing to purchase classes and sign up for said classes.  Therefore, I don't have to worry about a double registration or linking registration to the WordPress original installation in case the 3rd party plugin for the shopping cart require its own database for registration.


As always, any and all recommendations and advice are greatly appreciated.
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Question by:goblue1
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Jason C. Levine earned 500 total points
ID: 37722145
"I believe a shopping cart plugin of some sort will be needed here for a visitor will A) need to register for classes.  B) Select their classes (1 or more)  and C) make payment for the classes."

WP Ecommerce plugin.

"I don't know if this site will require an SSL, dedicated IP, merchant account, etc.  What exactly do I need to do when it comes to an E-Commerce site?"

It depends on a number of factors.  If you can live with the fees, you can set up a PayPal or Google Checkout account and just use those for payment.  If you have high volume or large amounts, you will want to get your own merchant account and configure it through a gateway such as Authorize.net / PayFlow Pro or similar.  In that case you will need SSL and a dedicated IP, etc.
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by:goblue1
ID: 37788032
I apologize for the delayed response. I've been waiting for them to decide the next course of action.

I appreciate your answer and am definitely going to use the WP Ecommerce plugin.  I would also like and plan to use either the google checkout or paypal option.

However, they have been asking me how some small sites out there can afford a merchant account?  There is a few sites I have also seen that do not use a google or paypal system and have a full checkout system within their site.  I know for sure they do not have a lot of sales and are simply secondary businesses to a few of them.  So how can they afford the merchant account and such a system?  Are they getting a great deal or using some sort of cheap merchant account if such a system is available?  That is the part that is getting at me because I see these and know the sales are low as mentioned.  

Do you or anyone have any answers as to what they may be doing?  If you would like a link to a few of these sites i would be glad to provide it.  Very small businesses getting away with a professional looking system and not using google or paypal.
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by:Jason C. Levine
Jason C. Levine earned 500 total points
ID: 37789136
>> I know for sure they do not have a lot of sales and are simply secondary businesses to a
>> few of them.  So how can they afford the merchant account and such a system?

A lot of e-commerce is done through packaged/remotely hosted carts and there is only a single merchant account for all of the different users.  Essentially the developer has a single high-volume account and resells it to people for card processing and other considerations.  So each user pays a lot less to have access to it, usually a monthly fee and per-transaction.  PayPal and Google Checkout essentially do business this same way.

Yahoo! Stores is a another way of doing it.
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by:goblue1
ID: 37791191
Thank you Jason
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