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Need your input on a Gotmead store

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pain

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Hi all,

I'm planning a store for Gotmead that would have a brew shop, a honey shop, an herb shop, a glassware shop, mugs, mazers, wineracks, mead and other items. It will all be drop-shipped from the various suppliers.

Which makes it complicated, because figuring shipping for such an arrangement is about impossible to do with ease. I'm researching, and am finding that getting such a cart would cost over $1000 by the time the necessary modifications are made.

So, that being said (unless you know a package that *can* do this), I need your feedback:

If I put up such a store, would it be too inconvenient to shop multiple stores for items, honey in one, supplies in another, etc. and have multiple checkouts? Or would you normally say 'this is a pain' and leave?

Please be honest, I have to make some decisions on how to do this, and need to know what y'all would think.

Thanks!!
 

lostnbronx

Senior Member
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Dec 8, 2004
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Just speaking for myself, multiple check-outs from multiple sources would be a big hassle. I've run into this before on the Web, and I don't tend to go back to a site if the buying process is a lot of trouble. The whole object of shopping at home is to make things easier on the customer. If it isn't -- or, at least, if it isn't perceived to be -- then people tend to go elsewhere.

This is none of my beeswax (heh), but do you think you could qualify for a small business loan or even a grant in order to expand GM? You've got all the statistics at your fingertips that money people would want to see. Seems like it would be a decent risk to me.

-David
 

memento

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Aug 3, 2005
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honest - it would be a pain. If you had good deals on buckets of honey, I might use it for that, but wouldn't use multiple checkouts if I wanted to get a bunch of stuff. I'd go to morebeer.com or someplace like that.

I used to order from a website called drumsdirect.com and they used a similar drop-ship model (selling drums and percussion). They closed their website down but you might be able to find out some info by knowing who they are?

It seems to me that Yahoo has some kind of service like this, to help you set this up. But I could be mistaken and you probably already looked at that.

$1000 would be a hefty commitment!
 

intothefray

NewBee
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Aug 11, 2005
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I reccommend building the shipping into the prices and offering free shipping. That would make the shipping part much easier on your end and that is something I personally prefer as a customer. That would easily fix your single cart problems in my opinion.
 

pain

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*Some* of the shipping could be built in, the problem is, how do you figure that out? It varies from place to place, and from NY to AK is a *huge* difference. A friend I have just figures from his place (NC) to the furthest away (AK) and charges everyone on that rate, but my drop shippers are all over the map worldwide, and he stocks, so it won't work for me.

I've already checked out Yahoo, and aside from the fact that I'd have to cough up over $50/month forever, I've built sites on their system, and I'm here to tell you it sucks (remember the pool hall site from Hell? Yahoo, and it took almost 6 months to complete), so thats out. I can't do hosting *and* Yahoo on the $60 or a month I'm getting on the Google ads.

I'm with you on the multiple checkouts, and frankly expected y'all to hate it, I know I do. I'm just pulling my hair out on the weird shipping stuff.

Just an example, here's what I've got so far:

Brewshop - uses UPS and USPS, ships from Raleigh, NC
Wineracks - uses FedEx, ships from NY
Glassware - uses FedEx, ships from Sweden
Herbs - uses USPS, ships from CT
Honey - my first source so far ships USPS or UPS, and ships out of NC

We won't even go there on what the meaderies I intend to ship from use, *plus* they have limited states they can ship to.

As far as a business loan, what I found out when last I looked at such things is that as long as you *have* money, they'll loan you money. Which, to my mind is silly. If I *had* money, I wouldn't need to borrow it! Without a proven profit track record and cash in the bank (HA!), they won't give you the time of day. As far as a grant, they tend to be for research/non-profit activities, so Gotmead likely wouldn't qualify, even if I had a clue on how to write a grant request.

::sigh::

There are hundreds of shopping carts out there, you'd think *one* would do what I need for a reasonable price.

Vicky - continuing the hunt, and keep the feedback coming, I need all the ideas I can get here
 

Alden

NewBee
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Sep 13, 2005
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Multiple checkouts would probably deter me from ordering, but then I usually order stuff from different sites so I'm already going through multiple checkouts anyway. Not having to go to different sites would at least cut that out of the equation.

Barring being able to order stuff, what I'd like to see on Gotmead.com is on the links to stores a space for customer ratings/feedback on those linked sites. For example, if I want to buy honey, I would like to look at Gotmead and see a list of honey suppliers along with what other people have to say about them.
 

JamesP

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Dec 3, 2003
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It sounds like a nightmare - "I got a box from brewshop on Monday, two boxes (herbs and Honey) on Tuesday, but its been a week now and I haven't got my box of glassware. Where is it".

How are you going to be able to back-trace the various shipments to prove that the customer got what they ordered, or that the various component orders were received and are being shipped?
 

pain

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Alden: I'm looking into feedback on those, and that will probably come when I convert Gotmead to a content management system (in the works, need to figure out what to use and leaning towards Mambo).

James: Yeah, exactly. But, I'd have contact info for each store's items, so they could be traced, and most use some form for tracking, so I'm hoping to integrate that info into the site. I'm right now looking at http://www.clickcartpro.com/ and http://www.x-cart.com for my carts.

It's a complicated thing, but I'm thinkig that if I can work out the shipping thing, and make sure I post store info for the various products, and let people know that I provide the venue but don't control the shippers, I can manage it, likely with an email link in the 'thanks for your order' email for each mfr they order from.
 
P

Pawn

Guest
Guest
I agree its a hassle to be sent to several webs, and making seperate purchases, I don't have a problem with split shipments from good reliable shippers.

If you have the space for a little storage you may want to go ahead and stock some of the big selling items, and make bulk purchases (just a thought).

When your looking at the carts one thing I personally like is a shopping cart that gives the customer the option of checking shipping prices up front, its nice to be able to type in your zip code, click a button and check the shipping prices before you fill out a registration form, type in visa # etc...

Sounds great though, you can count on my support I will gladly purchase mead/wine supplies through this web, Cheers...John
 

Angus

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Vicky,

Does eBay have a service to set up your own online store and is it feasable costwise? A lot of people seem to do this, so I thought I would bring it up as an option.

Angus
 

Brewbear

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May 10, 2005
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Hi Vicky,
From what I know - and that's not much - e-bay will set-up a shop for you, they will however nickel and dime you to death with %charges and such. I think you have to have items for bidding also, I will talk to a friend that's an e-bay seller and get back to you.
As for the original question, I would support the site, even with multiple checkouts ( bothersome).

Ted
 

memento

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Have you looked at open source shopping carts? I realize there are a ton of different packages, but at least with open source, you can work with the lead developer to implement something that you want.
 

pain

GotMead Owner
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Pawn: I am only dealing with companies I know to be good, so shipping isn't a problem, although FedEx and Big Brown lose stuff now and again. As far as stocking, well, that requires cash. And since I don't have any, stocking is out. The only things I have here are the Gotmead pins 'cause my buddy lets me sell them, *then* pay for them.

I will have a cart with a shipping calculator, though. Thanks for the support!

Angus/Brewbear: Ebay is ok, but like Yahoo, they bill you to death, and it's a pain to keep up, and it is outside the site, which is not an option I want.

Memento: Actually I have looked at open source. Zen cart is pretty cool, but set up for one shop. So, if I want to do it, I'd have to install it once for each shop. But it is *free*. X-cart, also open source, is $495, and I've used it and know its good. But the modifications I'd need would be $500. I'm looking as Oscommerce now and seeing what I can do with that.

Basically, my options now are:

1. Open source (free) and install multiple copies - problem is you have a full db for each and that takes up space
2. Buy open source and customize - doable, but gets me to around $1000 up front, and I don't have that much
3. Buy Nexternal (talked to them last night), which does nearly *everything* I want - is $1000 upfront, a hosted solution, and costs $250/month (*so* not budgetable right now) <--If sales get to where I can afford this, this *would* do the combined checkout, limit shipping states for mead, and deal with the discount crazyness

Thanks guys, keep it coming, you're making me really work on this, and I'm getting closer to a solution......

Vicky - not really awake yet and still pre-Dr. Pepper and caffiene deficient
 
R

RiffRaff

Guest
Guest
I'm into nature photography and about a year ago my uncle was setting up a website for me to sell my photos. He had it set up with PayPal. They supplied the source code and everything for the shopping cart and would accept credit cards and other payments... According to their website there is a onetime setup fee ($100-300) monthly fee($50-90) an a transaction fee (%) depending on amount sold in a month. Thought it might be something you might want to check out.

http://www.paypal.com/
 

Mynx

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Hey Vicki!

I have a friend who uses Zen Cart and she really doesnt like it. Says the interface is clunky and hard to use, and it doesnt do everything she needs.

Just as a heads up.

Otherwise no suggestions here. :(
 

pain

GotMead Owner
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Riffraff: Thanks for the tip, but I'll have several hundred products, and Paypal isn't really good for that (and the fees are high).

Mynx: Yeah, I'd played with it a bit already, and it really doesn't do what I want. Right now I'm looking at osCommerce. Not my first choice, as I don't much care for the language, but there are some promising possibilities out there, and *lots* of add-ons. The best thing is that its free. So, once I get sales to where I need them to be, I can upgrade to Nexternal and be able to afford the fees, and get all the tools I need.

I won't be able to sell mead online just now, as I don't have all the tools in place, but the rest of the stuff is pretty easy, just gotta customize the cart and upload the goods.

With luck, the shop will carry the bulk of supporting Gotmead, at least I hope it will.
 

intothefray

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Aug 11, 2005
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ebay and yahoo turn me off. I've had my credit card stolen from yahoo's cart system.

I don't have a problem with paypal but I know as a seller they can be high priced for fees (although your alternatives require monthly fees).

What a CC gateway company are you going to go with?

I have used paypal and 2checkout because I didn't want a monthly fee or commitment of any kind. However, they're both HORRIBLY expensive for transaction fees. They also don't integrate well because they require you to push everyone over to their site to pay. That can be more secure, but confusing otherwise.

I wish I could just say I'd program something for you but life has been too crazy to even get myself a decent hobby website going.
 

pain

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intothefray said:
ebay and yahoo turn me off. I've had my credit card stolen from yahoo's cart system.
I've had the same problem with Paypal.
I don't have a problem with paypal but I know as a seller they can be high priced for fees (although your alternatives require monthly fees).
And their shopping cart solution is a 'add a product, add a checkout button' method. Not practical when you have a couple hundred products....
What a CC gateway company are you going to go with?
Haven't decided yet. I'm using Quickbooks for offline processing, and will likely use it for a while until I've gotten to where I can afford a realtime processor.
I have used paypal and 2checkout because I didn't want a monthly fee or commitment of any kind. However, they're both HORRIBLY expensive for transaction fees. They also don't integrate well because they require you to push everyone over to their site to pay. That can be more secure, but confusing otherwise.
Yep, exactly. Redstone is using Linkpoint, and the fees are somewhat reasonable, I may consider them. But right now the priority is the shopping cart. I'm leaning towards ClickCartPro at http://www.clickcartpro.com/seo/ste_software_feat.htm. Low cost, and it does *most* of what I want. I'm waiting for some feedback from the developers to make a decision.
I wish I could just say I'd program something for you but life has been too crazy to even get myself a decent hobby website going.
::laughter:: Thanks hon, but designing a cart that will do what I need it to do, I couldn't afford you! The *cheapest* one I've seen that does everything I want is $1000 +$250/month (Nexternal), or $2000 flat (Bug-cart.com), and I'm not there yet. Hopefully by the MeadFest, but not yet.

Vicky - caffinated finally, and feeling a bit more positive about getting a shop up and running
 

pain

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OK, the early finalist for GM shopping cart is ClickCartPro. Those of you that are geekier than I am, please check them out here: http://www.clickcartpro.com/seo/ste_software_feat.htm and tell me what you think.

The main priorities are:

- ability to offer products from multiple vendors
- each vendor or product can have a shipping method
- cart calculates multiple shipping methods at checkout automatically
- ability to limit states to ship to (for wine)
- easy design customization and integration into the site
- drop shipping integration with emails on order to relevant vendor, their products only
- Vendor able to log in and provide shipping info/tracking numbers with automatic emails to customers

Thats all I can think of now. This system has a number of mods, and custom programming is also available (though I don't know relative costs), but the getting-in price is right at less than $200.

Vicky - chomping at the bit to put up the store
 

mouko_yamamoto

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Oct 21, 2005
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Although there will be hassle with the multiple checkouts, as mentioned numerous times before, I think to beginners like myself this would be a great idea. I don't know where to look for supplies on line, and spent all night searching dead ends! Yay! So I think a centralized ordering site would benefit at least us newbees.

P.S. - If anyone wants to direct me towards a good online ordering site, yout help would be much appreciated.
 
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