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Unread 4th March 2014, 03:08 AM   #1
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Default Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Fellow Warriors. Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform.

Details:

100% drop shipping sales.

Thousands of available SKU's many with variations in size and color. I won't use all available SKU's as I only want to sell the top shelf products.

Ratings and review plug in's. I want the community of shoppers to leave reviews and rate products so that the cream rises to the top.

Multiple distributors (currently 3)

Absolutely need the ability to import CSV files to populate products.

Absolutely need the ability to update inventory from the distributor several times a day. Some sort of automated inventory updater plugin would be great. Again this will be CSV file based as far as I know. I have no problem doing this manually at first, but the goal is to have this be as hands off as possible.

I'm currently calculating shipping based upon weight. I've toyed with a flat rate option to draw in shoppers.

I need to include subcategories under major categories.

Ability to utilize my own payment processing company.

Social media buttons.

Easy to use and set up as I'm pretty new to this. I figured out Squarespace pretty quickly. I want to do this all myself so I know how it all works.


Background information:

Pure dropshipping website. I have a full time job and I'm wanting to automate as much as possible. I have no issues with placing orders with my distributors manually at this point, but I'd like the ability to automate or outsource that in the future.

I've already posted a couple of times about my failure to research before building a website. I went with Squarespace. Squarespace forces me to use Stripe for payment processing, Stripe's terms of service hamper my ability to sell some of my most in demand products. Squarespace has no way for me to import products directly from my distributors or import inventory levels. In order to import products I'd have to import them to Big Cartel, Shopify, or Esty first.... which makes zero sense.

Basically I dove in head first and then realized Stripe would hinder me a bit, but I pressed on. Then I realized I would have to manually enter all of the products, variations, size, weight, colors. Which I spent hours doing. The final nail in the coffin is having to open up two browsers, one with the distributor and one with my store, and go through the products 1 by 1 updating the inventory levels. Each. And. Every. Day.

So. Now I'm looking to take these lessons and adapt and overcome.

Feel free to include any advice for this business model, or to add features you think I will need.

Thank you in advance!
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Unread 4th March 2014, 05:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

If you are building it for business purpose from my opinion magento eCommerce sites will be best preferable for business purposes.
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Unread 4th March 2014, 05:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Magento will be the best option!

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Unread 4th March 2014, 06:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Magento is a good CMS for e-commerce websites. If you want to more help then you can visit Netscapeindia.com. It is a website designing company in delhi.
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Unread 4th March 2014, 06:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Yeah if you want plenty of functionality and a scaleable solution then Magento is the way to go, however, it's a hungry little beast so go for the best hosting you can afford for your site.


Amazon repricing software that helps you win the Buy Box more often.
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Unread 4th March 2014, 06:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Thank you, I'll research further to make sure I'm not restricted from selling my products. I know Ebay isn't very friendly to my niche.
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Unread 4th March 2014, 02:24 PM   #7
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

With this business model there are many ways to implement it. We do something similar and we use Magento however I believe that there are several carts (Magento, Open Cart, Presta Shop) that could handle this. However you will definitely need a sophisticated 3rd party app (for drop shipping, inventory management etc.) to integrate with your shopping cart.

Actually this aspect may be more critical than the specific shopping cart you use. Some of the apps that will automate inventory updates, automatically place drop ship orders etc are VERY expensive.

How do you submit orders to you vendors? (Email, EDI, FAX?)
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Unread 4th March 2014, 02:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

I am going to disagree with about every one of you. After reading what the OP said, he needs a robust platform, but he also needs something easy to use. The fact he wants something as easy as Squarespace says Magento is the wrong way to go all around. Yes it is powerful, yes has lots of functionality but no way in heck is it easy to use. His best bet is to go with a hosted platform that balances ease of use with the flexibility he is looking for.

Almost all of the hosted platforms allow you to upload a CSV file. While Shopify is the easiest to use on a daily basis I think it is going to fail given the big variety of products he is looking at as well as other things. Big Commerce might work unless we are talking restricted products but if he wants maximum flexibility, check out Americommerce. A little more complicated to use but extremely powerful and he/she won't need to deal with servers, SSL certificates and the others.

If he/she wants to try self hosted, Opencart and Prestashop have less of a learning curve.

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Unread 4th March 2014, 05:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjamesnv View Post
With this business model there are many ways to implement it. We do something similar and we use Magento however I believe that there are several carts (Magento, Open Cart, Presta Shop) that could handle this. However you will definitely need a sophisticated 3rd party app (for drop shipping, inventory management etc.) to integrate with your shopping cart.

Actually this aspect may be more critical than the specific shopping cart you use. Some of the apps that will automate inventory updates, automatically place drop ship orders etc are VERY expensive.

How do you submit orders to you vendors? (Email, EDI, FAX?)
The way it works currently is that an order is placed, I receive an email, I log in to the vendor's site and place an order that is shipped to the purchaser. It doesn't take much time as I'm pretty handy with the ctrl c and ctrl v functions, but as order volume grows it will take it's toll.
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Unread 4th March 2014, 06:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlineStoreHelp View Post
I am going to disagree with about every one of you. After reading what the OP said, he needs a robust platform, but he also needs something easy to use. The fact he wants something as easy as Squarespace says Magento is the wrong way to go all around. Yes it is powerful, yes has lots of functionality but no way in heck is it easy to use. His best bet is to go with a hosted platform that balances ease of use with the flexibility he is looking for.

Almost all of the hosted platforms allow you to upload a CSV file. While Shopify is the easiest to use on a daily basis I think it is going to fail given the big variety of products he is looking at as well as other things. Big Commerce might work unless we are talking restricted products but if he wants maximum flexibility, check out Americommerce. A little more complicated to use but extremely powerful and he/she won't need to deal with servers, SSL certificates and the others.

If he/she wants to try self hosted, Opencart and Prestashop have less of a learning curve.
To be perfectly honest I went with Squarespace because it was advertised on a podcast I listen to during my commute to work. I'd recently read "The Four Hour Workweek" and was all fired up to get started. I looked over Squarespace and make sure I could set up a web store without considering or even realizing I needed to consider things like importation of products and importation of inventory levels.

I'm a pretty tech savy guy and I'm sure I could slog through the set up of a more complicated platform, but I am by no means able to write code.

What do you mean by self hosted? I run my own server that keeps the website online? If so that's not really something I'm interested in at this point.
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Unread 4th March 2014, 08:17 PM   #11
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Quote:
Originally Posted by DropShipDreams View Post
The way it works currently is that an order is placed, I receive an email, I log in to the vendor's site and place an order that is shipped to the purchaser. It doesn't take much time as I'm pretty handy with the ctrl c and ctrl v functions, but as order volume grows it will take it's toll.
You might want to check with your vendors and see if they offer another way to submit orders - like an API or some kind of electronic method (EDI or XML) other than a web site. If they accept orders via email then it's easy.

Many larger vendors support a system called EDI but unless you are doing big volume (100's of orders/month) they may not want to support that because its a bit complicated and expensive to deal set up.

However, if a website is the only way to submit orders then it will be more complicated to automate. That may require custom programming. It may be easier (and less expensive) to simply hire someone off shore to enter the orders manually. That's what we do with some of our suppliers.
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Unread 4th March 2014, 09:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Big Commerce got back to me very quickly and gave me the green light on my full line of products. They also confirmed payment processors friendly to processing transactions for my products. 70 dollars a month seems pretty steep though. Are there any tricks of the trade or affiliate links I can use to get that monthly cost reduced?
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Unread 5th March 2014, 02:30 AM   #13
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlineStoreHelp View Post
I am going to disagree with about every one of you. After reading what the OP said, he needs a robust platform, but he also needs something easy to use. The fact he wants something as easy as Squarespace says Magento is the wrong way to go all around. Yes it is powerful, yes has lots of functionality but no way in heck is it easy to use. His best bet is to go with a hosted platform that balances ease of use with the flexibility he is looking for.

Almost all of the hosted platforms allow you to upload a CSV file. While Shopify is the easiest to use on a daily basis I think it is going to fail given the big variety of products he is looking at as well as other things. Big Commerce might work unless we are talking restricted products but if he wants maximum flexibility, check out Americommerce. A little more complicated to use but extremely powerful and he/she won't need to deal with servers, SSL certificates and the others.

If he/she wants to try self hosted, Opencart and Prestashop have less of a learning curve.
Excellent advice as usual. I'd second much of this. Hosted carts are just better in so many ways when starting out - allowing you to focus on the inventory and customers.
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Unread 15th March 2014, 09:34 AM   #14
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

If you think $70 a month is steep for a hosted solution, then try doing it yourself. You'll chew up tons of time trying to figure out issues yourself. BigCommerce has great support, and it's even available on weekends. At $100 an hour for support you'll make you money back in the first week.

Remember the value of YOUR time. Getting a problem solved quickly by an expert is worth far more than trying to figure it out yourself or posting in a forum and waiting for some BS answer that likely is not right.

If you are serious about this then $70 is not an expense, it's an investment. Know the difference.
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Unread 15th March 2014, 09:52 AM   #15
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Quote:
Originally Posted by redlegrich View Post
If you think $70 a month is steep for a hosted solution, then try doing it yourself. You'll chew up tons of time trying to figure out issues yourself. BigCommerce has great support, and it's even available on weekends. At $100 an hour for support you'll make you money back in the first week.

Remember the value of YOUR time. Getting a problem solved quickly by an expert is worth far more than trying to figure it out yourself or posting in a forum and waiting for some BS answer that likely is not right.

If you are serious about this then $70 is not an expense, it's an investment. Know the difference.
If he thinks $70 a month is steep for the cart he'll get a kick out of the cost of just hosting a large Magento site. lol

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Unread 17th March 2014, 02:58 AM   #16
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

70$ is steep compared to what I was paying for squarespace.

I've decided like I like my squarespace page and want to set up on shopify for 24$ a month and I'll just import data from there to Squarespace. At least this is how I'm thinking it will work.

Now I'm on to a new problem. Importing 21,000 products, images, descriptions, etc. using FTP or CSV, both of which I know an absolute minimum about after reading on google and wikipedia. The help files on Shopify and other sites seem to assume I know something about how this works. I've managed to download the catalog into excel, convert it into CSV, and I've put title headers in.... and now I'm stuck as it will not accept my CSV upload and I don't have all 21,000 pictures hosted anywhere. (Image CD is in route to my home)

Is there a good thread here or otherwise that explains FTP vs CSV to complete noobs? Which should I use? Is FTP what I'm thinking it is? Basically a data stream with the latest inventory levels, descriptions, and pictures? Is it going to be easier in the long run to utilize FTP or do I need to do both in order to set my advertised prices, etc.?

I jumped into this to learn and OH BOY did I underestimate the amount of time I would actually spend reading and problem solving.

Is there a CSV or FTP guru here that I can contact for help?

So far the advice has been top notch.
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Unread 7th May 2014, 02:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

**Hey Dropship Dreams

Great list! I’ll go down each item and answer the needs that ecomdash can meet. Please know, we are not a website platform though – more of an inventory automation platform that would sync with whatever ecommerce platform you decide to work with. We currently integrate directly with Shopify, 3dcart, ZenCart, and Magento is just 30-45 days away from being integrated as well.

We have clients who are solely dropshippers, so we can accommodate you.
We integrate with marketplaces by SKU (ASIN, UPC, or other – flexible).
You can manage multiple warehouses and suppliers from ecomdash.
We enable CSV file import/export – and we’ve made it super easy.
We can check for sales orders as often as every five minutes on every place you sell. Within five seconds after, we automatically update your inventory to reflect the change. It’s totally hands – off.
We have a shipping function built it. We offer USPS options through stamps.com and endicia. We have flat rate shipping options.
Our set up only takes minutes. If you needed help or wanted someone to walk you through it, we do WebEx meetings with our developers. We also offer phone and email support. Amazing support – always free.

You could also check out webretailer and ecombytes for suggestions on website platforms. I know they post customer reviews, so you’ll find some reliable feedback. Hope this helps! Best of luck!


Tiana with ecomdash
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Unread 8th May 2014, 09:26 AM   #18
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Default Re: Help me choose the correct ecommerce platform

Magento is the best platform of the e commerce website
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