"Reserve and Collect" Ecommerce software

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nevf

New Member
Hi everyone,

Just churning out an idea at the moment at work. It's not something that we'll definetley be doing, but if I see enough potential, my boss has given me the go-ahead. Really I'm just investigating costs and potential now.

The shop I work in, is a fairly small shop, selling computer and music accessories, and our profits wouldn't be big enough to carry loads of stock at any one time. So, what I'm looking into at the moment is an ordering system for our website (eg. PCshop1.ie).

Now, when "Joe Soaps" is looking for a "HDMI cable", he won't just be travelling in from the countryside into our shop to find that we're out of stock and it'll be next week before we get our next delivery.

We want to be able to have Joe be able to go onto PCShop1.ie, check around for a suitable HDMI cable, which will cost €35. He will press the order button. A few months before this, he had came into our shop with photo ID and we verified his address. We entered his name into our system and gave him an account username & password. (sorta like Xtra-Vision or any DVD rental shops basically)

At this point, Joe has just ordered a HDMI cable from us which will cost him €35. We will be sourcing this cable for resale from one of our suppliers - CompuSupplies25. At 3pm, the next day, we will ring in our orders with all the suppliers, including Joe Soaps' order.

A few days later, the item arrives in our shop, we email Joe to tell him we have his order in stock. He will then come in, pay for his goods, and we'll have one more happy customer.

Now for the hardest bit of all:
Is there any suitable webbased ecommerce apps out there that i could use, preferably php/mysql, that I will have to do as little hand coding as possible?

I know I'm basically going to have to get a ecommerce script anyway and remove the whole shopping cart bit, and replace it with just an "order here" button, but I'm looking for the safest and easiest way of doing it.

Also, note that there will be no credit card information passing through the website, but I intend on having SSL anyway. I have a fairly decent level of knowledge of PHP/shopping cart systems and all that lingo already, so I shouldn't have too much trouble understanding what i'm being told.

Thanks in Advance.
Nev.
 

paul

Ninja
Just a quick question, as why you don't want to process everything online. i.e. someone searches for "HDMI cables online" and find your store. Sadly they can't order it for the safety of their home, so they will go to another shop online that google tells them.

As for your question, ecommerce isn't really my area, but I'm sure there are some people who can help ya on here.
 

Cormac

New Member
I have to agree with Paul. If the user has gone to the better of searching online for the product there is nothing stopping him/her from purchasing the product from an ecommerce site that actually does do shipping.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
As long as you ship the goods quickly you don't need to have them in stock.

If you were making me jump through hoops like that I'd simply buy the item elsewhere
 

nevf

New Member
Well, i haven't got statistics sitting beside me, but the idea of the website is really aimed for young people who haven't got credit cards, or indeed older people in the same situation. Our other target people are the people who have credit cards but don't want to use them online (we take responsibility for the product if anything goes wrong anywhere before it reaches the customer.

Also, if a customer does have a problem with the product, likewise, just as they bought it from us, they can return it again. We also provide support on anything we sell, or that comes through us. So whether the less tech savvy people have credit cards or not, they may just want the comfort of being able to come in with their iPod and ask us why it's not working with their PC.

The product (or should I say 'service') isn't aimed at people like you, who are comfortable on the internet, using forums, etc, who know all about using credit cards, and how to fix problems. Also, regarding price of buying products from our system, will only be marginally more expensive than large websites like komplett or play.com

please do tell me if I am raving, but I do think it seems like a good idea

thanks for your replies
Nev
 

Wild Thing

New Member
I am with Paul, Blacknight and Cormac on this one. If someone is searching online they will purchase online unless you are just a few miles away from thier location. With postage cheap or sometimes even free why would they waste diesel or petrol travelling many miles to your store. Where your store will work is that if you promote it well within your local area, give new customers flyers about the website etc, it effectively then opens your store 24/7 to clients in the local area. With our ecommerce setup and most other carts you can offer options for payment, such as payment on collection or will send cheque.
In general you will find the majority of your customers will have credit cards and this is a sector of the market you really do not want to miss out on.
 

nevf

New Member
I am with Paul, Blacknight and Cormac on this one. If someone is searching online they will purchase online unless you are just a few miles away from thier location. With postage cheap or sometimes even free why would they waste diesel or petrol travelling many miles to your store. Where your store will work is that if you promote it well within your local area, give new customers flyers about the website etc, it effectively then opens your store 24/7 to clients in the local area. With our ecommerce setup and most other carts you can offer options for payment, such as payment on collection or will send cheque.
In general you will find the majority of your customers will have credit cards and this is a sector of the market you really do not want to miss out on.
Yes, I agree with you on that one. In fact, I agree with everyone on that point. Jumping through hoops for collection service on the internet does sound silly.

So, I'm just wondering, would everyone think that offering a double service, to the effect that you can pay here, and we'll ship it to you, or you can collect. Would that kind of service work or should I just quit now while I'm ahead.
 

Tom

New Member
A shipping and collection service would give you the best of both worlds. I have used collection vs shipping online with argos, just the once mind. I think it depends on the type of product being bought and convenience of the collection. With collection only you'll have a limited range of customers, with a shipping option you'll increase that range a lot.
 

Forbairt

Teaching / Designing / Developing
My thinking

I like argos cus I can check if its in stock .. and reserve it then head in and collect it.

If its not in argos .. I'll look elsewhere.

If I've to wait a day or two ... I'm still probably going to look elsewhere.

If I'm looking for something shipped ... well brand loyalty means a lot to me and I'll tend to stick with the same online trader. (komplett / Crucial for example) If its out of stock with them I'll probably wait till its back in stock.
 

Cormac

New Member
Having a delivery and collection point is great option because a lot of your costumers will be out at work (presumably 9-5) and wouldn't be able to meet the delivery. Providing them with the option to collect the package from your office would facilitate the working folk.

I presume it wouldn't be too difficult to do that in OScommerce either. I presume they already ask if the shipping address is the same as the billing address, should be easy to customise that page with a 'deliver to office X for pickup' option.
 

Lottoplus

New Member
Just to go back on topic and not he ethics of the ordering system. Zen Cart have an option where people “can pick up instore”.

Replace the words in the English file from

“Buy Now” to “Order now”

Change to a couple images giving the impression or ordering not buying.

And option to pay instore.

Can’t see any great difficulty in customising it to the way you want it. I would’ent look for id cards just the order confirmation would do
 

nevf

New Member
I am a small bit annoyed now. I had a beautifully crafted reply written at work and then the Windows Updates started, so i um lost it. :)

A shipping and collection service would give you the best of both worlds. I have used collection vs shipping online with argos, just the once mind. I think it depends on the type of product being bought and convenience of the collection. With collection only you'll have a limited range of customers, with a shipping option you'll increase that range a lot.
Yah, completely agree. The operation will still be running small though. My biggest concern at the moment is that "da boss" has requested that we provide as good a support as possible. So our prices won't be as competitive as play.com or similar, but then again, even if we had brutal support, we still couldn't compete with them.

Also, we can't provide support to someone is Wexford, Waterford, Cork, or Dublin, if the mothership is in West Mayo. :D
I like argos cus I can check if its in stock .. and reserve it then head in and collect it.

If its not in argos .. I'll look elsewhere.

If I've to wait a day or two ... I'm still probably going to look elsewhere.

If I'm looking for something shipped ... well brand loyalty means a lot to me and I'll tend to stick with the same online trader. (komplett / Crucial for example) If its out of stock with them I'll probably wait till its back in stock.
Good example, and i completely agree. But do you think that the process there that you have described wouldn't be at all intimidating for someone less tech savvy? (Just wondering :))

Having a delivery and collection point is great option because a lot of your costumers will be out at work (presumably 9-5) and wouldn't be able to meet the delivery. Providing them with the option to collect the package from your office would facilitate the working folk.

I presume it wouldn't be too difficult to do that in OScommerce either. I presume they already ask if the shipping address is the same as the billing address, should be easy to customise that page with a 'deliver to office X for pickup' option.
Good to hear positive stuff! :D

To be more than honest, dont really like oscommerce. It's good, it's got great functions and everything, but I just dont think it's the baby for me.

Just to go back on topic and not he ethics of the ordering system. Zen Cart have an option where people “can pick up instore”.

Replace the words in the English file from

“Buy Now” to “Order now”

Change to a couple images giving the impression or ordering not buying.

And option to pay instore.

Can’t see any great difficulty in customising it to the way you want it. I would’ent look for id cards just the order confirmation would do
Thank you lottoplus for that. Even though I must admit, the advice I have been given is helpful to say the least. And even when people described the way that i was doing it as jumping through hoops, it suddenly made me think, maybe the process I am making is silly. The way, i am considering now, is a comprimise as to what my original plans were, but I really like them.

Regarding your recommendation for Zen cart, I actually do like Zen Cart, very much so. However, been fussy, would I be able to do similar on Magento, because I really like that, and the code seems very novice friendly.

If I was just providing a basic system where people would order/reserve and collect their products, I would have had to rip out the shopping cart(credit card payment terminal), and the self-registration system out of the equation, and I know people will say that that is like removing the scaffolding poles from the bottom, making the actually face of the software vulnerable to security threats, etc. but now, I think I'm just going to leave everything there, and merely set up an online system, with the *option* for collection.

The ecommerce store we will be creating will only be promoted around west mayo anyway - people within driving distance. BUT we will provide the option to ship to people further away. Currently the best we have down in the west at the moment are the massive supermarket computer giants like Curry's who are often criticised for their lack of after sales support, Maplins (who are a good company, but their are based only in Galway city) and a few dribs and drabs of other places around the place - like us.

@ Lottoplus - I am looking at three ecommerce options; Magento, Zen Cart, and oscommerce (..... listed in order of how much I like them).
 

Forbairt

Teaching / Designing / Developing
@ Lottoplus - I am looking at three ecommerce options; Magento, Zen Cart, and oscommerce (..... listed in order of how much I like them).
Magento looks nice but ... from wikipedia on it

* A primary complaint with Magento has been slow loading speeds and excess features, known as bloat.
* Magento has not been tested yet in a large scale environment.
* Magento is not ready for European commerce use.
I'm actually doing a zen cart install for one client at the moment and I'm kinda loving it.

What I like about it I have to admit is that everything seems to be in there. I don't have to go hacking too much stuff or so it would seem.

osCommerce became a complete nightmare before :( I was looking at CRELoaded ... but didn't feel like something that would contain adverts? (free version)
 

Forbairt

Teaching / Designing / Developing
Please correct me if i am wrong but is zen cart not an offspin of oscommerce.
Yep it is ... but its a version that contains a LOT of the features you want straight out of the box. OSCommerce requires a HELL of a lot of hacking.

ZenCart .. seems to be semi stable as well OSCommerce seems to be in a constant alpha stage of development.

I've used both now ... and ZenCart is a dream in comparison. (I'd used Zen Cart in the past and have to admit I wasn't that impressed ... I installed it yesterday and was semi blown away ... by what its offering)
 

nevf

New Member
Magento looks nice but ... from wikipedia on it
* A primary complaint with Magento has been slow loading speeds and excess features, known as bloat.
* Magento has not been tested yet in a large scale environment.
* Magento is not ready for European commerce use.
I'm actually doing a zen cart install for one client at the moment and I'm kinda loving it.

What I like about it I have to admit is that everything seems to be in there. I don't have to go hacking too much stuff or so it would seem.

osCommerce became a complete nightmare before :( I was looking at CRELoaded ... but didn't feel like something that would contain adverts? (free version)
Thanks Forb, saved me actually doing some research.
Thats Magento off the cards now. :D

Please correct me if i am wrong but is zen cart not an offspin of oscommerce.
Yep, noticed that when i was looking at the code believe it or not. One is based on the other, however the interface and features arealmost completely different.

Yep it is ... but its a version that contains a LOT of the features you want straight out of the box. OSCommerce requires a HELL of a lot of hacking.

ZenCart .. seems to be semi stable as well OSCommerce seems to be in a constant alpha stage of development.

I've used both now ... and ZenCart is a dream in comparison. (I'd used Zen Cart in the past and have to admit I wasn't that impressed ... I installed it yesterday and was semi blown away ... by what its offering)
Yah. Zen Cart is nifty enough.... well i'm going with that then well so...

thanks for the replies!
nev.
 

Forbairt

Teaching / Designing / Developing
Thanks Forb, saved me actually doing some research.
Thats Magento off the cards now. :D
I'd say if you've got the time verify that for yourself ... don't blame me at a future date :D

Think I've come across around 10 flavours of OSCommerce ... some commercial ... some hacks with modules and so on... and thats without really looking for them in the past ... just looked at the source ... and went ... this looks familar :D
 

nevf

New Member
I'd say if you've got the time verify that for yourself ... don't blame me at a future date :D
Don't worry. I'll just blame you anyway. :p

Think I've come across around 10 flavours of OSCommerce ... some commercial ... some hacks with modules and so on... and thats without really looking for them in the past ... just looked at the source ... and went ... this looks familar :D
Happens all the time with other software and I'm not surprised it's the same with the ecommerce apps...
 

nevf

New Member
Hey,

Another quick question:

To create the "Terms and Conditions", "Privacy Policy", etc. : Is it a solicitor job only or would I be able to get a modifiable template online?
 

Forbairt

Teaching / Designing / Developing
In the past for various sites I've used modified T&C and privacy policys I've found. From a legal point of view though I'm not sure how good they'd be. If in doubt get a solicator to do one up. Though that'll end up setting you back a few hundred more than likely.
 
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