Ecommerce Software Getting Started Guide

Ecommerce Software Getting Started Guide: This page describes how to quickly and easily create, customize, and deploy your personal online estore.

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Ecommerce Software Guide


Introduction:

This guide is intended to help new users to configure a basic online store. Please follow this guide step by step to quickly and easily have your web store created and accepting orders. This guide covers only the basics. For more detailed information or extra help on any of the configuration tasks below please read the official osCommerce documentation. If you notice any features/options mentioned in the that are not displayed in your online store administration tool please don't worry. We have disabled certain features for security reasons or because you will not need to change the default settings for them.

Additional Ecommerce Software Administration Documentation, Tutorials and Support Groups:

Ecommerce Software Common Problems:

  • Depending on when you opened your store, you may notice some categories, products and manufacturers already in your new store. This is only sample data to show you what you can do with your online store. Once you are familiar with the catalog system, please feel free to delete this sample data. In fact, it is very important to remove this sample data before you start advertising your new store.

Step 1:

If you do not already have an account with either PayPal then click on the icon below to open a business account which will allow you to easily and security accept online credit card payments from your customer. Business account registration is free and you will pay only a small per transaction processing free.

Sign up for PayPal and start accepting credit card payments instantly.

Step 2:

Click on the Free Sign Up link in the left hand menu and complete the form to request your online store. You will get a confirmation message through email. Once you click on the link in that message your store will be activated and ready for use.

Step 3:

Use the Customize Store Tool and fill in some basic information about your store. Then use the Page Editor tool to easily create four basic web pages you will need for you site. Try to use colors and fonts that match those of your newly created store. You can preview your store at any time by clicking on the Preview link in the Control Panel menu.

Step 4:

Use the Administration Tool to complete customizing your store and to add your product inventory and specify which payments methods to accept. Please following the steps below to get your store up and running.

  1. Start the Administration Tool by clicking on the Admin link in the Control Panel.
  2. Click on My Store under Configuration.
  3. Complete all the fields with the correct information. To edit a field click on the field name and then click on the edit link at the right of the page and enter the new value. For email from is recommend to enter the address in the format "Your name <address>". For example if you name is Jon Doe and your email address is jdoe@hotmail.com then you should enter "Jon Doe <jdoe@hotmail.com>".
  4. Click on Shipping/Packaging under the Configuration menu in the right hand column of the page.
  5. Complete all the fields with the correct information.
  6. Click on Localization/Taxes then click on Tax Zones in the left hand column.
  7. You will notice a zone named Florida. This is part of the sample data and can be deleted. You need to create a new zone for each geographic group of users that will be charged the same tax rate. For example, if users in your state pay 7% tax and users outside your state but inside the US pay 3% tax and users outside the US pay no tax then you will need to create three tax zones; one for each group of users. After you create a tax zone, you need to click on the zone name and then click on the insert button to specify the country and state that the tax zone applies to.
  8. Next click on Tax Rate and click on the new tax rate button to create a new tax rate for each of your tax zones. You can create multiple tax rates per tax zone and then specify whether you want them added or compounded together using the priority field. You should create at least one tax rate per tax zone and select Taxable goods as the tax class for that tax zone. This tax rate will be applied to all products marked as "Taxable Goods" being purchased by customer who are shipping the product to an address in the tax zone associated with this tax rate.
  9. Click on Currencies under the Localization menu in the right hand column of the page. You should see the US dollar and the Euro already listed. Click on the new currency button to add any additional currencies you wish to accept orders in. You can find a list of currency codes at http://www.riskglossary.com/articles/currency_codes.htm. It is important to use the correct currency code to allow the automatic exchange rate update feature to work correctly. You will also want to delete any currencies you will not be accepting payment in. The next step is to select the default currency. To do that click on the currency name and then check the Set as default option. Once you are happy with the currency list click on the update currencies button to have all the exchange rates automatically updated. All exchange rates will appear relative to your default currency which will always have an exchange rate of 1.0. You should make sure to update the exchange rates using this technique frequently to ensure that you are always using an accurate exchange rate.
  10. Click on Manufacturers under the Catalog. You will notice some sample data manufacturers already entered. Click on the insert button to add one or more manufacturers for your products. You can get a picture of the manufacturers logo from their website. Also make sure to enter the manufactures website address in the Manufacturers URL field.
  11. Click on Categories/Products under the Catalog menu in the right hand column of the page. You will notice that their is already a Hardware and Software category created. This sample data is meant to assist you to understand how the category and product based store inventory system works. You will notice that each category can either have subcategories or products. A category is simply a way to group a set of related products to make them easier for your customers to find. To learn how this system works we recommend you browse the sample data. To see the subcategory of a given category first click on the category name and then click on the right facing arrow under the action category. This will display all the subcategories for a given category. For example clicking on Hardware then on the right facing arrow under Action column will show you all the subcategories of Hardware (CDROM Drives, Graphics Cards, etc...). Clicking on the Graphics Cards subcategory and then on the right facing arrow under Action column shows that this subcategory contains two products (Matrox G200 MMS and Matrox G400 32MB). We recommend you keep exploring the sample to data to get a good grasp of how the catalog system works since you will need to use it to input, maintain and update the products you will be selling.
  12. Click on Categories/Products under the Catalog menu in the right hand column of the page to return to the top level Categories/Products configuration screen.
  13. Click on new category button to create a new category for your product. A New Category configuration forum will appear in the right hand column. Enter the Category Name and if you have an image ready you can also upload an image to be displayed with the category name.
  14. Click on the Category Name you just created and then on the right facing arrow in the right column to enter the configuration page for that category.
  15. Click on the new product button to create a new product and then fill out the new product configuration form. You can browse to upload an image of the product from your computer. If you do not have an image you can always make one using a digital camera or normal camera and scanner or find on the manufacturer's website. Under tax class select "Taxable Goods" if the product is taxable and --none-- if the product is not taxable. Enter the product price in the Products Price (Net): field and the gross price (one that includes all applicable taxes) will automatically be calculated based on the tax zone and tax rate information you entered in sub-steps 6-8 of step 4 of this guide. You can click on the preview button at any time to see how your product will look.
  16. Repeat steps 11 to 14 to create as many categories/sub-categories and products as you need.



  17. Click on Localization then click on Orders Status in the left hand column.
  18. You will notice a Pending order status has already been created. This is the status the order will be placed in right after the customer has successfully completed the order process and you have received an order confirmation email. You will want to add a couple of new order statuses depending on your order fulfillment model. For example, if you confirm the order after you receive it then you should have a state called Confirmed. If after confirming the order you ship it then you should also have a state called Shipped and so on. Having detailed order statuses allows both you and your customers to easily track the status of orders as they are processed and shipped.
  19. The next step is optional but highly recommended. Any online business should have a banner picture with their logo and a brief catchy slogan. Once you upload a banner it will replace the store name at the top of your stores web page. To create a banner click on Tools then on Banner Manager in the right hand column. Click on the new banner button and then fill out the form. You will need to have a banner image created. We recommend creating an image whose size if 400 pixels wide and 40 pixels high and choosing colors that match existing store colors. For Banner Group you can enter any name you want. Banner URL is the page the user is directed to when they click on your banner and this should be your store address. When you are done completing the form click on the insert to add the banner and then you can preview how it will look on your store by clicking on the Online Catalog link at the top right hand corner of the page. Try experimenting with different banner images until you find one that works well with your online store.
  20. The next step is configure how you will accept payment. This step assumes that you have already signed up for a PayPal merchant account. If not, please go back to Step 1 and sign up for an account before preceding with this steps.
  21. Click on Payment under the Modules menu in the right hand column of the page.
  22. Click on the PayPal row and then click on the install button in the right hand columns.
  23. Click on the edit button in the right hand column of the page and then complete the form. You should select True to enable the module and then enter the email address that is linked with your PayPal account. You also need to select which currency you will accept payment in. If you will accept payment in any of the currencies you defined under currencies then you can leave this field as Selected Currency.
  24. You can leave Payment Zone as none since you probably want to use PayPal regardless of where your customer is located.
  25. You can leave Order Status and Sort order of display as the default values.
  26. The final step is to configure how much you will charge for shipping. First you need install the correct shipping module depending on if you intend to charge a flat rate for shipping or charge per item/weight/price. Once you have enabled the correct shipping module you can configure it and apply it certain zones and tax classes as appropriate. Feel free to experiment with this option. Of course to make your life simpler you can include the shipping cost in the price and offer "free" shipping to all your customers.


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