Affordable but Professional - freelance web designer/developer
with 18 years of experience located in Jersey City and serving

New York City, Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City, Bayonne, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Newark and the surrounding area.

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E-commerce Web Site Designer

If you want a site where you can sell your products/services on the internet you are looking for an e-commerce site.
The other terms used to denote such a site is shopping cart site, ecommerce websiteonline shopping site and product catalog site.

Cartoon-Sell-Roses-Online

 

Let's get into the most common questions I have been asked.

How much does an e-commerce site cost?
Different e-commerce website developers charge different. The same ecommerce site could be cost $2,000 from one web designer and $10,000 from another. I wish I could say the prices vary purely based on the experience of the developers but it's not. A web designer with more years of experience is, of course, likely to charge more, but I have seen the prices to be based on the size of the web design company. A firm started by a big investor in the heart of New York city is likely to charge a very high fee. Interestingly enough some of these firms pass the work to freelancers like myself. The bigger web development firms take $10,000 from the client. A more affordable freelance ecommerce web developer like myself does the actual work for $3,000. The big firm pockets the profit of $7,000.
I can do an e-commerce site for approximately $3,000. I can give you a more accurate number once I get the details.

 

If I sell more products will I be charged more?
There are some online shopping cart sites like Yahoo shopping that charge more for more products.
I prefer to stick with a shopping cart that does not charge you more if you have more products.
In fact, my prices will be the same whether it's one product or a million products you are selling.
You will be adding the products on your site yourself. I will, of course, show you how to do so easily.
 

What are the costs involved in having an e-commerce site?
a. Domain name: $10/year approximately
b. Hosting: $10/month approximately
c. E-commerce site development: $3,000 approximately if I do it.
d. SSL certificate: $150/year approximately.
e. Merchant Account: $25/month + about 3.25% transaction fee (aka Discount Rate) per transaction.


What is a SSL certificate?
SSL-CertificateIn your online shopping site your customers will be entering their credit card number to make purchase. Whenever sensitive information like credit card numbers are entered online the webpage must be secured.
To have your checkout page secured you need to purchase what is called a SSL certificate (Secured Socket Layer). This can be purchased online very easily. Your e commerce web developer and the hosting company will need to work together to setup the SSL certificate. 
 

 

 

 


My hosting company provides free shared SSL. Is this OK?

Some hosting companies provides what is called "shared SSL".  Basically, it's SSL certificate shared by a bunch of websites hosted by your hosting company. In terms of security, I personally think it's not much different from the $150/year certificates. However, the free shared SSL has a couple of issues that makes it distasteful to some.
For one, your URL will look different when using s shared SSL.
For instance, let's say your domain is
http://www.JackiesWebStore.com
If you purchase a $150/year or better SSL certificate, then your secured URL will look like this.
https://www.JackiesWebStore.com    Notice the https instead of http.
If you use a shared SSL, your secured page URL could read something like this.
https://45secureline00.tline.hostmaster.com/~jjones/checkout.php

Secondly, there are some browser settings that will pop up what look like error messages when using a shared SSL.

My reccomendation ? Purchase a $150/year SSL at least.

 

Can I use Paypal only for payment?
Yes, you can use only Paypal as a payment solution. You can also use a combination of Paypal, credit card through merchant account and Google checkout.
Try to use a professional looking email for your business Paypal account (Paypal Merchant Account).  https://www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/merchant
So if you had a personal Paypal email as This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., don't use it for business.
If you domain name is BigDiscountFurniture.com then use This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as your Paypal Merchant Account email.
You can call 888-221-1161 if you have questions on Paypal merchant account.
If you want someone friendlier to answer your question you can call 646-234-6253 and ask for VJ.

 

I already have a credit card machine in my store. Can I use this for charging my customers online?
Yes and No.
Yes, you can capture the credit card information online and then punch those numbers into your credit card machine at your store.
This has two major issues.
#1. Collecting customer credit card information and charging it offline is risky. If the credit card number gets stolen and used wrongly by some evil doers (even if it had nothing to do with you), you could get into trouble.
#2. What if the customer put in a wrong credit card information by mistake?
You won't be able to charge the customer and will need to call your customer up to verify. Good luck with the conversation you will be having with your customer. Don't be surprised if they decide to cancel their order at this point.

Now if your site is setup with online gateway for credit card processing (nothing to do with the physical machine at your store), then the customer is charged by your bank automatically. You will never need to look at your customer credit card https://avi...iption/. On top of that, if your customer enters a wrong credit card number, he/she will know immediately and will need to enter the correct financial information to complete the checkout process.


What other payment processing systems can I use?
Besides Paypal and regular merchant account service you could try Google Checkout and Bill Me Later.
As always, feel free to call me directly at 646-234-6253. I can hopefully answer all the questions.


How do I add a new item or change the price of an existing item?
This is part of the shopping cart software. You should be able to login and enter new items, upload photos, change prices, descriptions etc by yourself.
This should not be the job of the web developer.


I am new to e-commerce sites. What are other important things to think about?
#1. Understand how your e-commerce business works.
a. A customer purchases a product online.
b. You receive an email telling you about the order.
c. You print the invoice, package the item, ship the product and capture the amount if it hasn't already been captured.
Now it's fine and dandy if you are getting one order a day.
What if you get 100 orders or more each day.
All of a sudden, there is a need for a more automated, robust shopping cart system. You need a shopping cart system that will keep track of your cusomters orders. Has the order been shipped already? When was it shipped? What day was it ordered? If you could not ship it because you don't have it in store right now, has your customer been notified?
Can you print out all the invoices in in shot including the mailing labels?
All these questions and more will start becoming important when you have a lot of orders. I hope you are starting an e-commerce site with the plan to make it big.

#2. Do your products come with multiple options?



Does your I love NY tshirts come in black, green, blue, white and red?
Does it come in small, medium, large and extra large?
Are the prices different for different colors?
Are the prices different for different sizes?

So how much is it for large, white I love NY t-shirt?
How about small green I love NY t-shirt?


 

 #3. Understand the need for inventory control.

Do you need to let your customers know if you are running out of a particular item? 
If yes, then do you need inventory control at the attribute level?
For instance, you have only 2 of large white I love NY tshirts, 3 of small white, 0 of medium whilte, 12 of extra large green etc.
NOTE: The addition of these features/functions make the shopping cart more complex to program and manage. 

 

#4. Understand that almost everyone builds the site from an existing shopping cart.
I have had clients tell me that they want all the programming done from scratch. I am not sure who taught them to request this.
An ecommerce site done from scratch is a bad, bad, horrible, terrible idea.
First of all it will take a couple of years to finish if you do it from scratch. Then even after the shopping cart developer is done it is likely to be full of bugs.
Unique design is fine but the whole programming from scratch is nonsensical.

So the right thing to do is to use an existing shopping cart. There are literally hundreds of shopping carts. I have used about 20 of them but my favorite have been Magento, Oscommerce flavors (Zencart, OscMax, CRELoaded and Oscommerce) and Volusion. I have also liked a few features in Sunshop, Virtuemart and Prestashop. 


 

 

Here are a couple of e-commerce sites I have created.

Bambibaby.com

Glamorousboutique.com

JustBare.com
     



I have done many, many, many more e-commerce sites.

 




I am sure you have questions and it's a little boring reading pages after pages of information.
 

 

If you are thinking of getting an ecommerce site but are not ready yet, at least get the domain name.
Domain name is  www.something.com.  It costs about $10 for the whole year and you can buy it using a credit card online anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Buy your domain today. Buy it right now. Stop everything else you are doing and buy a domain.
Why the rush? 
Because, good domains are purchased by others every single day. Don't be surprised if the domain you want or your company name is already taken.
Actually check out our article on purchasing a good domain name before you go and purchase a domain.

 

My name is VJ and you can reach me anytime, any day (24/7) on my cell at 646-234-6253.
You can call or text me.
You can also email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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