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looking for an e-commerce beginner's reference
04-10-2008, 06:08 PM
Post: #1
looking for an e-commerce beginner's reference
I'm looking for an e-commerce beginner's reference, in book or web site form. I'm not looking for something that goes into any great detail, and especially not something that attempts to explain technical concepts for newbies... technical reference material can be easily found for any device or software, but first you have to know what technical device you want to use... ya know what I mean?... A person has to know what technical jumble of stuff makes sense for their given particular application... Otherwise, a person just spends time re-inventing the wheel... e.g. I could install zen cart, spend hours learning how to get it to work, only to learn that hey - this isn't what I need at all - or maybe it will work but maybe there is some other solution out there that is more of a turn-key solution that might be easier for me and might fit my application, but I don't even know it exists!

I'm just looking for an overall framework that presents the key concepts, and a list of options for each concept. Concepts like:

-- what are some different payment processing strategies and the associated pros and cons, with a few examples of some specific vendors whose services fit the various strategies. Sure Zencart might be great, but maybe for my application and my technical ability level, it might be better to outsource all the processing including the cart... or maybe not... that sort of stuff.

-- what's a good shopping cart.. what are the pros and cons of various options...

I know I could get an ecommerce for dummies book, but I'm just wondering if there's a particular reference source that anyone would personally vouch for?

Thanks very much for any suggestions anyone has for this!
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04-10-2008, 07:15 PM
Post: #2
looking for an e-commerce beginner's reference
Choosing a cart is nothing more than personal preference, based on what you like and what best matches your setup.

Payment processing is completely separate from a cart, whether you go with PayPal, Google, your own merchant account, third party processors... Again, that's pretty much something you have to match to what you want, how much volume you'll do, etc...

Outside of personal preference on the shopping cart selection, you'll basically just need to make sure you pick something that will work with your host. Here, you can't really go wrong with PHP & MySQL, but you won't want carts that are ASP, Cold Fusion, etc... or that use a DB not supported here.

At Dreamhost, I'd say if you don't know what you want, Zen's a good choice because it obviously works fine here and it's a simple one-click install.

There are a ton of carts out there, but if you see one that really stands out as great, or seems perfectly built-in to the site, it's probably custom made (or at least a heavily modded version of a common one). Most cart sites should have demos you can check out, plus you can search for mods, skins & other customizations.

Also keep in mind that they're not all free, but some of the most popular ones (like Zen) are.

I can't think of any tech related books I'd recommend on any subject. Things can change by the time they hit the shelves (I think I still have a PHP3 book floating around somewhere). I stick with the web for that stuff.

Your best bet is probably Google, reading up on forums, etc... Another plus there is that the searches will show you which ones have plenty of community support, which you'll likely need at some point if you get stuck.

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04-10-2008, 11:43 PM
Post: #3
looking for an e-commerce beginner's reference
I guess another consideration for me is the fact that my computer is so old that it's painfully slow to surf the web. As a result, I really prefer books right now. A lot of web sites just suck when you have a fast computer, and are even worse on a slow computer. It's a damn shame so many chat boards and such feel the need to bottle information up such that you have to click and navigate extensively to get to it, and without proper indexing and search capabilities. Resources on the web can be good... but like shopping carts, there are the good, the bad, and the ugly... A single index or compilation of some useful resources would really be great, in print form or on a web site somewhere... there are lots of different e-commerce applications... But for any given general category of or type of application, there's gotta be someone somewhere who sat down and complied a list of those google results which were useful for that given application... I can sift through Google results and message boards and blogs, but, it just really feels like I am reinventing the wheel when I do that, you know what I mean.
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04-11-2008, 12:08 AM
Post: #4
looking for an e-commerce beginner's reference
Quote:It's a damn shame so many chat boards and such feel the need to bottle information up such that you have to click and navigate extensively to get to it, and without proper indexing and search capabilities.
gopher! I miss gopher! Wink

--rlparker
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02-28-2011, 04:32 PM (This post was last modified: 02-28-2011 04:33 PM by EdwardMartinIII.)
Post: #5
RE: looking for an e-commerce beginner's reference
Can someone tell me how well (if?) Zen Cart integrates with Drupal?

I'm just starting a new site here on DH, powered by Drupal 7, and I'd like to at least set up MY end of the shopping cart experience. Is Zen Cart a good way to start?

In reference to the base note, it's my understanding that in order to have a functioning e-commerce system, one needs:

1. a website (such as what we're all building) that supports an e-commerce platform (such as Zen Cart)
2. a Gateway (such as Elavon), which is a commercial provider that connects your shopping cart app (such as Zen Cart) to your actual Banking Entity (such as your business bank).
3. a Banking Entity (such as your business's current bank, or Paypal, etc.) that tells you "This is the Gateway to which we subscribe/connect, arrange the connection of your website to them and tell them you're connecting to such-and-so account here at our bank."

Is that correct?
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03-02-2011, 07:43 AM (This post was last modified: 03-02-2011 07:45 AM by Ryo-ohki.)
Post: #6
RE: looking for an e-commerce beginner's reference
I have been working on my e-commerce website lately and just wanted to put in my 2 cents. I have been working with Drupal for a long time. My store didn't really generate a huge amount of sales so when it broke a while back due to a DH server move (i expected it, as my Drupal version was still 4.x and I never upgraded it) I never fixed it. My web store was using D4.x with the e-commerce modules. The site is still visible in my signature but it is broken so you cannot register or log in or anything like that but the pages themselves are still operational.


I have tried using various shopping carts such as oscommerce, zencart, and a few other things but Drupal is a much more robust platform. I have also installed Drupal 7 on one of my domains and my own local wamp install so I can play with it before making the site live. I have been working with it for a few weeks now and I must say that Drupal 7 is NOT ready for prime time. I found navigation cumbersome and not very intuitive (from an administrative point of view) but if you haven't used previous versions I doubt that will matter to you at this point since you are learning from the jump. The main problem for me is that a lot of the modules that I want to use do not yet have D7 support. For that reason alone I would recommend installing Drupal 6.x and use of the ubercart set of modules. With Ubercart you can use a wide range of payment methods and there are other modules tailored specifically for ubercart to add other types of functionality. I highly recommend it.

While I'm sure D7 has brought some interesting out of box features to the table (integration of jquery FINALLY) it is not worth it to use D7 on a production e-commerce site imho. There is a commerce package available for D7 but I have not installed it. I am waiting a bit longer for it to mature before committing myself to it.

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03-07-2011, 11:36 AM
Post: #7
need help in loggin into zencart to administer it
i installed zencart and can access it via mydomain.com/zencart, and i see the index.php page but when i try to login to administer zencart, it hangs indefinitely

i noticed that it's trying to find the https login page. does that mean i don't have access to the secure area? do i need to enable that for when i log in via that page?

[quote='seiler' pid='104704' dateline='1207880118']
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03-14-2011, 01:46 PM
Post: #8
RE: need help in loggin into zencart to administer it
If you're just starting out and want to simply administer your new Zen Cart site, then change that URL for your administration domain from HTTPS to HTTP and that ought to get you there.

Be sure to follow all the directions that came with the installation email.

And be sure to change the name of your admin domain.

Does that help at all?

(03-07-2011 11:36 AM)sales@mylifeinla.com Wrote:  i installed zencart and can access it via mydomain.com/zencart, and i see the index.php page but when i try to login to administer zencart, it hangs indefinitely

i noticed that it's trying to find the https login page. does that mean i don't have access to the secure area? do i need to enable that for when i log in via that page?

[quote='seiler' pid='104704' dateline='1207880118']
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