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Starting an Online Store - Any Recommendations?


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6 replies to this topic

#1 Chris Jeffery

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:53 AM

The Youth Rail Enthusiasts Association, an organisation which I set up almost 2 years ago, isn't in it for profit. However, many members like to have YREA merchandise such as branded clothing, pens and so on. We used to sell these items through Spreadshirt who make the items for us and make the website to sell them on, but they're quite expensive. For this reason we decided to search around and get our own suppliers. The suppliers are now sorted, but now we have reached the next problem - how do we sell the items?

As I understand it, we need an e-commerce application of some sort which we can run on our server and use to sell our products. I've searched the internet and found loads, all claiming to be really good, but what I am looking for is some ideas from your own personal experiences. What e-commerce platforms have worked well for you? We do have some simple requirements for the system which we end up with, and these are:

  • The store must be able to support coupons / vouchers. Members of our forums earn points as we post, and we want to be able to offer them money off in exchange for their points.
  • The solution must support PayPal, as that's the only way we can process payments at this time.
  • It can't be anything to complicated - I can setup things like WordPress and so on, but I'm not what you'd call a programmer. I like applications which are simple to use for both me and the people buying things from the shop.
I should also add that we use WordPress for our main website and MyBB for our discussion forums. Are their e-commerce plugins for either of these platforms available? Another non-essential thing is that it would be nice if the solution had some sort of template system, which would mean we can make it match our current website design.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions.

Edited by groovicus, 05 March 2012 - 09:09 AM.


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#2 groovicus

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 09:10 AM

See this topic:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic441730.html

#3 Chris Jeffery

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:08 AM

See this topic:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic441730.html

Thanks for sharing that link, I'll have a read through it all :)

#4 tripflex

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:48 PM

ZenCart is probably one of the most popular.

You need to understand you are probably going to need to hire someone to do this for you unless you are a really tech savvy person. Most of what you're looking for will have to be customized to work the way you want, especially if you want the same template because almost everybody's syntax is different.

"Members of our forums earn points as we post, and we want to be able to offer them money off in exchange for their points."

This is definitely going to be a challenge for you, first you would have to find a plugin that would work for both your forum and eCommerce script...this would probably have to be something done custom.

PayPal is supported by almost every ecom solution so you shouldn't have any problems with that.


Here's a link from Softaculous which is a script I have installed on my shared servers for clients to instantly install scripts without much knowledge of how to do so. This will give you a good idea of popular scripts that are used along with some ratings.

http://www.softaculous.com/softwares/ecommerce
There's no place like 0.0.0.0, i'm tired of being at 127.0.0.1

#5 Chris Jeffery

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:48 AM

ZenCart is probably one of the most popular.

If its popular it must be a good one, so I'll install that on my server and see how it goes, thanks :)

"Members of our forums earn points as we post, and we want to be able to offer them money off in exchange for their points."

This is definitely going to be a challenge for you, first you would have to find a plugin that would work for both your forum and eCommerce script...this would probably have to be something done custom.

Not sure if I made this clear in my post but this wouldn't be an automated thing. I would just subtract the points manually from their forum account and then create a voucher code for them in the shop. Hope that makes it more understandable.

Here's a link from Softaculous which is a script I have installed on my shared servers for clients to instantly install scripts without much knowledge of how to do so. This will give you a good idea of popular scripts that are used along with some ratings.

http://www.softaculous.com/softwares/ecommerce

That's installed on my shared server too, so I'll have a look around it :) Thanks again.

#6 alexsmith2709

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 05:10 PM

If its not too late, i have used Zen cart in the past and while it was ok, it lacked a little something and some bits were not very user friendly.
Now i have setup a site for my girlfriend using OpenCart. This seems much more user friendly, gives a more professional look (in my opinion) while still being free!
While alot of the addons cost money, they are well supported in my experience and do exactly as described.

#7 Chris Jeffery

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 02:22 PM

If its not too late, i have used Zen cart in the past and while it was ok, it lacked a little something and some bits were not very user friendly.
Now i have setup a site for my girlfriend using OpenCart. This seems much more user friendly, gives a more professional look (in my opinion) while still being free!
While alot of the addons cost money, they are well supported in my experience and do exactly as described.

Thanks, I'll look that one up too :)

Edited by Chris Jeffery, 23 March 2012 - 02:22 PM.





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