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  1. #1
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    I have landed a big client who wants a rather large online store. They have about 800 items, but want a rather simple solution b/c they have a person on staff capable of running the site. I thought of going with creating PayPal and copying the code in, but that would be a lot of work. They don't necessarily want to go with the shopping cart solution (and neither do I) for cost reasons and the reason that they do not have everything in stock. They admit, they would actually need to SEE if they had the item in, and they would have NO CLUE when they could even get it to the customer.
    So I believe the best method is taking a credit card and being very descriptive to the customer about the situation.How do you take credit card numbers in a secure way?
    Also the pages...20 - 30 pages, 50 - 60 items each. Each item would have a page of it's own. Anyone familiar with a simple way to have one page that will have this info filled in? I don't want to create a page for 800 items.
    And as the seasons change, they want to be able to completely overhaul their website. I was thinking of cushyCMS so they can do this, but will the free version of this allow for that type of load? 800 images...potentially 800 pages?
    What is the cheapest, easiest way of doing all this? For it to be worth my time, i charged a decent amount even though I am doing them a big favor by what I am charged. This is all rather unique for me. Need help.

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  3. #2
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Using PHP, MySQL for the database ... and it would be dynamic (one script for all pages).

    The credit card issue is going to cost (monthly and by transaction) no matter which CC merchant
    you use. Have them first check with their bank to see if they can offer the service. Otherwise,
    they subscribe with a service like authorize.net

    You'll have to sub-contract a PHP programmer (freelance or business) to do the programming.
    It sounds like you're not experienced with PHP. Who is their current webhost, or don't they
    have an existing site?

    And I'll finally mention my concern about an online store that doesn't know what they
    have in stock, or will have difficulty communicating to online buyers. People want to
    shop, click and buy. Nobody will buy anything from their online store if they have to
    deal with emails or phone calls. I think your clients are going to be very disappointed in
    how it works for them. Their profile (as you told us), is doomed to failure.

    Added note:
    They also have to deal with shipping, damaged item returns, refunds, mad customers,
    emails that need immediate attention, and problems with CC issues. Good luck with that.
    TheGAME1264 likes this.


  4. #3
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    The cheapest, easiest way to do this would be to program the site so that people could upload stock via CSV or XLS files. The files could be uploaded, parsed, data could be updated, and away you go.

    I'm with mlseim on the process as well. You can't take a credit card from someone if you're not sure if you can fulfill the order. The chargeback/refund fees alone (unless it's PayPal) would likely kill the business idea. And people aren't going to accept "we have these in stock...maybe...call us to order...and maybe...we...can...ship to you."

    Simple solution for the latter: go to UPS, USPS, FedEx, or any other shipping provide of your choice that provides an XML datafeed and integrate it with the site so that shipping can be calculated (if available) on the fly. I'd suggest UPS just because their XML shipping module is the least flaky of the three that I've found, and I've also found their support team actually has somewhat of a clue (not a full clue, but enough to get you to the answer if you're a halfway decent coder).

    For the stock thing, though? Best way to handle it is to update it daily. If they don't know if it's in stock, say it's not and don't promise anything.
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  5. #4
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    That "person on staff" will also be packaging, shipping, getting the items to the shipper,
    handling transactions, managing inventory ... updating the website, reading emails, replying
    to them, taking phone calls ... calling people back, handling shipping and packaging errors,
    taking any customer complaints, item returns, and contacting YOU to fix things on the site.

    I personally would tell them this: "Thank you for offering me the opportunity to work on your
    website, but my schedule is really full now, so I will have to reluctantly decline."
    TheGAME1264 likes this.


  6. #5
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    I'd disagree with everything except for the parts about updating the website and contacting the developer. if these guys don't have half the stuff in stock, then there aren't going to be many orders (if any) in the beginning unless they have a product so rare and hard to find (say pottery or antiques) that a customer would want to wait for it to come in stock.

    I'd take it on just for the sheer challenge of it. Then again, I'm a sick bastard.
    Ronald Roe likes this.
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  7. #6
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    Game ... I agree that this type of project would be a great learning experience.
    I just don't thing it's a good business decision, for the web developer specifically.
    To make money on developing websites, you need to be able to complete a
    defined goal, in a specific amount of time. The job needs to "end" someplace.

    This project won't end, because the project isn't defined .. with a specific goal.
    If the client isn't sure how the online store is going to work, how can a developer
    or designer determine when the job will end ... or how much to charge?

    But I know you good enough on this forum to agree you're sick
    TheGAME1264 likes this.


  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Depends on the circumstance. A fixed-price job, yeah, definitely a good point. You don't want a job like this dragging on forever.

    You get paid by the hour, though? It's on their dime to be stupid. So charge an hourly rate for the setup to get to the "live" point, where the customer can maintain the inventory. Then charge an hourly rate for whatever tasks occur after it. If the contract's laid out with all specs defined, then it can work.

    This could also work for a fixed-price job IF the terms of the job ended with the delivery of the live site and you operated on a month-to-month or whatever your billing period is for maintenance. The problem with that setup is that after the job ends, you're both working without a net. So that's a client judgement call.

    naynay447: I guess what we're both trying to say is that you're going to have to think about it. I think it could work, mlseim doesn't think so. Doesn't mean either of us is wrong...just means that you're going to have to ultimately figure this one out for yourself.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

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  9. #8
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    Really GREAT discussion. I have spoken to a C expert in security who owns a consulting business that primarily is concerned with bank systems (I.O.W. he knows his stuff). He firmly believes off the top of his head that taking the MONEY knowing that you have to CHECK what you can get from your supplier and WHEN you can actually get it can bring upon fraudulent charges. He told me to write my contract carefully, and to not give ANY advice under no circumstances. Then we got into a solution...

    As of right now, everyone agrees this is awful business...but that isn't my concern. So far, my best solution is a PHP/mySQL db that THEY update. When someone hits a brand, PHP does the work, and when someone hits a dress, PHP does the work (well within my capabilities). Next, my plan is to get SSL and simply email ALL the info from their customer to my client. The form will have shipping address, credit card, sizes, color, blah, blah, blah.

    Now...the kicker. On the checkout page's load, the customer will have to agree to some simple terms. The terms will completely state the entire situation. They can't keep every item for every particular situation in stock...blah...blah...blah, your credit information will never be ran, if the item never ships.

    As for this "working," my potential client has assured me customers have emailed them credit info with similar situations in the past (makes me sick, b/c I doubt it was the least bit secure).

    So...seems simple enough. They update database manually, SSL secures the sending of this email, and PHP loads everything in it's usual, smart way to cut my work load a bit.

    A secure server would protect this form being sent, right? The expert tells me that MY concern is the info being sent. MY concern isn't in the before nor the after...and I feel a bit "sick," too. The more difficult this becomes, the more I enjoy

  10. #9
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    I don't know about fraud charges, but you will end up with a lot of chargebacks and refunds, and that probably will get your merchant account cut off...unless you go with a high risk one (one of the ones offshore companies and gambling sites use), and then you're paying 5, 6, 7, 8, 9%.

    You do NOT want to have the CC info emailed. If you have to do anything, store it in database with some form of encryption (this won't come from the SSL...you'll have to add that in), but don't have it sent via email. The SSL will protect it from being sent, but that doesn't mean that it stays secure once it gets to someone's email. Email by its very nature is insecure. And if it gets intercepted after the fact, you're still going to get blamed, and depending on the laws of the land in which you're dealing, you may very well be held liable.

    And if your client has accepted emailed credit card info from customers in the past, they're treading in some dangerous water. I actually had a client lose his merchant account six years ago repeatedly trying to process what he thought was a $20,000 order with an emailed credit card number (I'll give you one guess as to the country of origin.) The client then proceeded to yell and scream at me because the credit card processor wouldn't take what he thought was a legitimate card number and shut him down, until I pointed out that his average sale is about $30-$40 and $20,000 should have raised a red flag in the first place.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 226098
    I don't know about fraud charges, but you will end up with a lot of chargebacks and refunds, and that probably will get your merchant account cut off...unless you go with a high risk one (one of the ones offshore companies and gambling sites use), and then you're paying 5, 6, 7, 8, 9%.

    You do NOT want to have the CC info emailed. If you have to do anything, store it in database with some form of encryption (this won't come from the SSL...you'll have to add that in), but don't have it sent via email. The SSL will protect it from being sent, but that doesn't mean that it stays secure once it gets to someone's email. Email by its very nature is insecure. And if it gets intercepted after the fact, you're still going to get blamed, and depending on the laws of the land in which you're dealing, you may very well be held liable.

    And if your client has accepted emailed credit card info from customers in the past, they're treading in some dangerous water. I actually had a client lose his merchant account six years ago repeatedly trying to process what he thought was a $20,000 order with an emailed credit card number (I'll give you one guess as to the country of origin.) The client then proceeded to yell and scream at me because the credit card processor wouldn't take what he thought was a legitimate card number and shut him down, until I pointed out that his average sale is about $30-$40 and $20,000 should have raised a red flag in the first place.
    Completely agree. I wasn't talking about a normal Yahoo or gmail account. I was assuming there would be some secure email provided by the host that basically did it all for you. If not, I can find something and handle all that myself. I am running out of options...b/c I think we can all agree that I can NOT have a buy button. I can't just take money out of an account and then find out if the item can be provided. So I have to do something where the card is ran IF the person's item can be provided by the appropriate shipping date.

    But, in your opinion, is it a good idea to take the info at all? Transfer will be secure and the data that arrives will be secure. Good idea?


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