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CunningPlan

Basic Ecommerce Website - Which One?

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Any help appreciated ...

I need to set up a small site. I was capable ot making quite good sites in Magento Go but that has now gone.

There seems to be a vast choice of 'nearly' solutions- shopify, bigcommerce etc etc but I have a couple of criteria that I cannot find if they can do without actually getting into the depths of them.

Basically I need about 50 products. They are items that will be personalised. Assume company engraved memory sticks for the sake of this question.

The customer will buy a quantity of the sticks for a fixed price / unit (say £1) and then have a compulsory associated product called for the personalisation (say £20) which will only be required once no matter how many of the sticks are ordered.

The personalisation product will need to have some input fields to allow the customer to enter what they want engraved on the sticks.

I know that sounds easy but finding an off the shelf solution that can do these two things proving harder than you would expect.

Thanks in advance ...

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The kit I built can collect the personalisation details (requirement #1) but doesn't do the "apply a fixed fee only once" (requirement #2) bit.

If I were to customise this for a client, I'd have to consider whether to build it into the product, either as product development if I thought it would be useful for someone else and thus enrich the product, or, charge for a bespoke adaptation.

It would end up being the second one as it's quite a quirky requirement.

And if it were a very simple product database as you say, then what I'd probably suggest for the sake of speed is to leave the website and the back end code alone, and put a "hack" into the "Get Basket" stored procedure, something like:

if the basket contains a product that starts with stock code PERPROxx..

.. and the basket doesn't contain the product FIXEDPERCHG..

.... then add that product e.g. 1 of FIXEDPERCHG @ 20.00 net or gross

and

if the basket doesn't contain a product that starts with stock code PERPROxx..

.. and the basket does contain the product FIXEDPERCHG..

.... then delete that product

And then return the list of products for the basket.

I'd also put a check in the basket page to remove the "Delete this item" button on the FIXEDPERCHG item if present. The above logic would delete it if the corresponding product(s) were deleted.

The code for this is very simple to write. However it's a "hard coded" inflexible solution which would only really work if the database is as simple as you say.

A coder familiar with MySQL and PHP (which is what just about all of the off the shelf stuff runs in) should be able to implement this quite easily. However that person is not me, all my work is with MS products.

You could assess which kit you like the most in other respects, and then find someone to do the above - just email it to them, I've set out all the necessary logic :)

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Thanks Mark - I really appreciate the time you have put into this and my earlier question.

I would ideally like to keep this in house. I got spoiled with the ability to look after my own site with Magento Go, and having used a developer to convert my existing sites I have had nothing but grief, errors and delays.

Also, this is very much a kite flying project - if it turns over £5k in the first 12 months I would be happy so whilst I can invest time I am loathe to invest too much hard cash until the market is proven.

Equally, being an impatient sod, I would like to get it going this weekend. Given the right platform I know that is achievable doing it myself but going through umpteen specifying, proof reading and testing sessions with an outside agency would put in delays that I don't need.

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Any help appreciated ...

Basically I need about 50 products. They are items that will be personalised. Assume company engraved memory sticks for the sake of this question.

... these usually go down well ...

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Thanks Mark - I really appreciate the time you have put into this and my earlier question.

I would ideally like to keep this in house. I got spoiled with the ability to look after my own site with Magento Go, and having used a developer to convert my existing sites I have had nothing but grief, errors and delays.

Also, this is very much a kite flying project - if it turns over £5k in the first 12 months I would be happy so whilst I can invest time I am loathe to invest too much hard cash until the market is proven.

Equally, being an impatient sod, I would like to get it going this weekend. Given the right platform I know that is achievable doing it myself but going through umpteen specifying, proof reading and testing sessions with an outside agency would put in delays that I don't need.

Just a though - but could you do something similar with quantity discounts - for your example, £21 for one, £11 each for 2-4, £5 each for 5-9, £3 each for 10-19, £2 each for 20-29, £1.66 ea for 30-50, £1.40 ea for 50-80, £1.25 for 80-100, etc, etc.

(this isn't great as the customer is driven towards the lower quantity for each quantity range, as you can for example get 5 for less than the price of 3. So you're not providing as flexible a solution as the customer might require. But it could be done off-the-shelf)

I guess it also depends on the typical order quantities - if you're expecting 50% to buy less than 10, then have 10 individual prices for 1-10 units, then have quantity discounts over ranges beyond 10 as above.

This would of course be a complete pain to enter into the system, but would be much easier than getting bespoke code together and running. (well, for 50 products it would be).

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Learn Wordpress... Quick to get the hang off and there is bound to be a shopping plugin you can adapt for the backend...

This platform unlike magneto won't be disappearing anytime soon either....

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I wonder if a way around the requirement is to simply have a minimum order quantity/value and some fixed ranges eg

10 @ xxxx (inc the £20 personalisation fee)

20 @ yyyy (inc the fee)

etc. It might well be easier to fulfil than customers wanting irregular amounts eg 33 in one order, 231 in another.

Alternatively try to incorporate the personalisation fee into postage and packing.

Personally, I was going to suggest eBay or perhaps Shopify. Wordpress would be a good call too. I'd be wary of Amazon if you plan to sell any great quantity as they have a habit of shafting marketplace sellers who are doing well.

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One other possible option that occurred to me, would be possible with my kit, and I'd guess, perhaps others:

If ordering any quantity results in the fee being charged.. and especially if delivery is free.. then bastardise the shipping matrix to work as the personalisation charge.

The shipping & delivery matrix is normally set up with the options being related to "total weight of items" or "total cost of items" (e.g. it varies, in ranges). There is also the option to base it on "the highest priced item" or "the heaviest item" (it doesn't vary if you set the matrix up that way, number of items not relevant because it's only ever based on the highest one).

Do something like the latter, and rename the "Standard delivery" option to "Delivery and personalisation" et voila.

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Thanks so far to you all. Plenty to work on tomorrow. As someone that learnt to program writing machine code on a zx80 I am happy to learn. The problem is you get so far only to find one simple thing stops you dead in your tracks and you are then on to the next system. Very frustrating.

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If you did want the SQL based solution in the stored procedure for "Get Basket Items" - I am assuming that MySQL supports stored procedures and that's how MySQL solutions are generally coded (rather than having inline SQL within the PHP code), the last time I looked, it didn't support them, but that was years ago - then I can translate the above logic into SQL that should work though you'd have to do the work of replacing the placeholders I'd put in with the real table and field names.

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If you did want the SQL based solution in the stored procedure for "Get Basket Items" - I am assuming that MySQL supports stored procedures and that's how MySQL solutions are generally coded (rather than having inline SQL within the PHP code), the last time I looked, it didn't support them, but that was years ago - then I can translate the above logic into SQL that should work though you'd have to do the work of replacing the placeholders I'd put in with the real table and field names.

Mark - I am sure you are correct but I need to wait for my simple brain to stop bleeding to understand it! Perhaps a babelfish might help?

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If you do have to contract someone to make those changes set out, and you've set up your database, and you can supply the stock codes affected and for the product that carries the personalisation charge..

It's probably no more than a maximum of half a day of work for a competent MySQL/PHP programmer and the end result is extremely straightforward to test and check.

The "probably" is because I'm making certain assumptions about the way in which the intended framework/software is coded.

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If you did want the SQL based solution in the stored procedure for "Get Basket Items" - I am assuming that MySQL supports stored procedures and that's how MySQL solutions are generally coded (rather than having inline SQL within the PHP code), the last time I looked, it didn't support them, but that was years ago - then I can translate the above logic into SQL that should work though you'd have to do the work of replacing the placeholders I'd put in with the real table and field names.

It's supported them for about 10 years since MySQL 5 came out, however they were always a bit toothless and I don't think they have ever caught on. MySQL used to have a thing called MySQL Guild, around 50 recognised experts in the database field and I was the one for MySQL stored procedures and even I thought their implementation was a waste of time.

I doubt any off the shelf package will contain stored procedures, it will all be within the models via PHP with basic SQL statements.

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