Beginning to Sell Online

Hello,
 
I`m still trying to launch my new business and am almost there but I`ve hit yet another obstacle.  Microsoft Office Live Store Manager does not give customers the option to select colors, sizes and so on for a product.  A sweater available in a thousand colors would have to be listed as a thousand individual products.  Can you imagine the confusion of the poor customers?  It`s frustrating to have gone through so much setup only to end up flat.  I certainly don`t want to present my business to my customers in this way.  Does anyone have anything to suggest?  Any trick around this glich or another company that offers more diversity?  I really would appreciate a quick fix at this point.  I was hoping to officially open for business yesterday, but now I find myself quite a few steps back.  Thank you for all of your help and advice!
 
Theresa JB

Comments

  • vwebworldvwebworld Posts: 40subscriber
    Your problem underscores the importance of determining your site`s needs and finding the appropriate program/script that can provide for those needs.
     
    I`m not sure there is a "quick fix". Did you explore all the resources for that product (support or forum)?
     
    Alternatively, I`d suggest using ZenCart or another open source ecommerce program, but it`s not a quick fix, because the site needs to be created and product information loaded, etc. The advantage is the monthly fee will be lower than what you pay now.
     
    ~Roland
  • azedgeazedge Posts: 1subscriber
    ZenCart is ok but if you want a good product type in SaaS Commerce in google. SaaS = Software as a service. Look at using PinnacleCart.com or possibly Creloaded if you like the oscommerce/zencart layout. By the way ZenCart is based on OsCommerce which is not all that stable from what ive heard.
  • tjbeaulieutjbeaulieu Posts: 9subscriber
    Thank you for all of your replies.  Seeing as I`ve had to start over from scratch by transferring my domain name from Microsoft Office Live to Bluehost in order to get ZenCart, it`s taken up most of my summer so far and I`m still trying to get my online store open.  As easy as it was made out to be, ZenCart is proving to be quite complicated for me.  Would anyone who has had experience with them have a `simple` get-started process for me to follow?  As it seems now, looks like I could be reading all winter before I can figure out where to start!  Thank once again for all of your help and advice.
     
    Theresa
  • tjbeaulieutjbeaulieu Posts: 9subscriber
    Thank you for your time and consideration in responding to my posts.  It`s all been so helpful.  I do have a question for the ZenCart users...I`ve been trying to customize my template and can`t seem to find some missing link.  I have Crimson Editor and Filezilla.  When I edit a ZenCart template in Crimson Editor and save my changes, what exactly are the steps to be taken afterwards to get those changes to show up in ZenCart`s Administration cpanel? (for example, as an option in Template Selection)  They say save your file and then `upload your /CUSTOM folder to your server.`  I`ve spent a lot of time on their forum but I`m just getting along at a crippled snail`s pace!  I`d just like to set up something simple and open for business already.  I would truly appreciate any help.  Thank you!
     
    TheresajB
  • vwebworldvwebworld Posts: 40subscriber

    Thank you for your time and consideration in responding to my posts.  It`s all been so helpful.  I do have a question for the ZenCart users...I`ve been trying to customize my template and can`t seem to find some missing link.  I have Crimson Editor and Filezilla.  When I edit a ZenCart template in Crimson Editor and save my changes, what exactly are the steps to be taken afterwords to get those changes to show up in ZenCart`s Administration cpanel? (for example, as an option in Template Selection)  They say save your file and then `upload your /CUSTOM folder to your server.`  I`ve spent a lot of time on their forum but I`m just getting along at a crippled snail`s pace!  I`d just like to set up something simple and open for business already.  I would truly appreciate any help.  Thank you! TheresajB
     Hi, The "custom" folder is used when you have a template (purchased or created) that you want to use in stead of the default ZenCart layout. The fastest way to get going is to (1) use the default Zencart layout or (2) purchase a template. Both can be modified (graphics and colors, etc) to make it look as you want. The easiest way to change the look of your ZenCart site is to change the style sheet (CSS) file. You can change the font size & color, the link styles and other "styles" associated with your ZenCart layout. In the ADMIN area of ZenCart you have various layout options. So you can show or not show various "sideboxes", control how your products are displayed, etc. Typically, the set up or the "look" for your site is a one time occurrence... with the maintenance of the site being done through the ADMIN login - to add, change , delete products, pricing, specials, and manage customer information, shipping, invoicing, and payments. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. ~Roland
  • tjbeaulieutjbeaulieu Posts: 9subscriber
    Thank you for your help, Roland.  My website is set up on Bluehost.  I want to `attach` Zencart to that site as a the "Store" part of my site so I don`t need a fancy second Zencart page.  I just want it to be the Store part of my site.  How  do I make those changes in the css file and how do I make the connection between my website and Zencart?  The css file I looked at is a list of text and symbols that I`m not sure how to manipulate.  (this is under includes/templates/template_default/css)  I am at the right place?
     
    Theresa
  • vwebworldvwebworld Posts: 40subscriber
    Linking to the store is the easy part... you can just add a menu link to www(dot)yoursite/zencartfolder  where "/zencartfolder" is where zencart is set up.
     
    Changing the default look (colors and graphics) is a little more complicated.
     
    The easy way to change the header graphic is create a new header grapgic with the smae imagefilename.jpg and upload it over the existing file.  Making sure that the new image has the same dimensions.
     
    Depending upon what your need to change it may involve a CSS file or just some other image files. To change the CSS you can use wordpad or an html program.  Which one to change, I couldn`t tell you without looking at what you have and knowing what to need it to look like.
     
    ~Roland
  • tjbeaulieutjbeaulieu Posts: 9subscriber
    Thank you for your help once again, Roland.  I`ve been able to start cleaning up my Zencart main page.  The real hangup is still linking Zencart to my site.  When you say to add a menu link, do you mean on my web home page in Page Wizard on Bluehost?  Then, with all of the work I`ve been doing, I really can`t recall exactly where I downloaded Zencart to in the first place.  I do know where it`s located on Filezilla--it`s in public_html, shop.  Is there a way to link it using that?  Thank you so much for your patience and help.  It`s very much appreciated.
     
    Theresa
  • tjbeaulieutjbeaulieu Posts: 9subscriber
    Nix that last post--I finally got it to work!  It was just too easy.  I suppose the overwhelming amount of info I`ve been swimming in lately has put me into complicated mode and I just didn`t see the obvious.  Thank goodness for the wonderful people in these forums or I would have given up a long time ago.  I certainly plan to pay it forward in the same way when I get to be a more seasoned business person.  Have a great night--I know I`ll sleep well tonight!
     
    Theresa
  • tjbeaulieutjbeaulieu Posts: 9subscriber
    Well, a new morning, a new challenge...Someone brought up something very interesting, unfortunately with no resolution.  Once a customer has gone from my website to Zencart`s shop, how would I create a link for them to get back to the website? 
     
    Theresa
  • MerchantProfMerchantProf Posts: 0subscriber
    It`s true that Zen Cart was born of OSCommerce, but the code has been re-written. I`ve hacked around with both of them and they are VERY different. Zen Cart is way easier to work with.
    But Zen still requires quite a bit of work if you want to add plugins or change the design. Their template over-ride system can be very confusing, and adding plugins usually requires editing php files by hand(although, line-by-line instructions are provided). A person can buy templates for Zen cart, which I would recommend for a quick startup if this is the way you decide to go.
    For a quicker startup and easier management I would use a commercial cart product. X-Cart or Miva Merchant or Able Commerce or...
    I`ve used Miva Merchant a bunch and being able to just upload a plugin/module when I want to add functionality is great. MerchantProf12/19/2008 9:06 PM
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