A short while ago I attended my first meeting of the Mayfield Business Forum (1st March 2011). At that meeting two people from Comtec, presented an excellent article on ecommerce, which for the average business may have seemed bewildering. Tom Blackden from Comtec, also provided a very compact article explaining a lot of the ‘ins and outs’ of setting such a site up.
In the main Tom promotes a way forward for the medium to large businesses wishing to go the ecommerce route, and if your are a business of that ‘ilk’ then you should be speaking to Tom.
However some of us are independently spirited, entrepreneurial, and keen to give it a go. I am a systems developer and always looking for innovative and simpler ways of doing things.
PayPal and Ebay have been mentioned, and are used by some to make a very good effort at selling on the Internet. I spend a lot of time looking at applications to integrate into my systems, rather than ‘re-invent the wheel’ I find sources of something that are adapable or perfect for the application I need to use it for.
I run and look after several ecommerce websites which range in complexity from a simple shop; www.heathfieldcarnival.co.uk uses a simple Google checkout payment mechanism pasted into each photo page to create a simple order and purchase system, through to www.simplybamboo.co.uk and www.trading4u.co.uk which use a full blown web shop ecommerce system.
When looking for an ecommerce offering, you will find that most of them are US and Dollar based, a few are adaptable to our market place. Two stand out as being different, as they are UK based and understand the VAT system we use here.
Now here’s the secret, one is totally free; it’s based in Blackburn Lancashire and called open cart. Once set up it is very easy to use, and integrates well with several merchant services including PayPal to take credit card sales. The rub is once set-up. An example of opencart is www.trading4u-furniture.co.uk.
So why have I written this; well I was struck by several people at that meeting wanting to go that step further, yet not spend out a lot of money, and Vicky Streeters article on ‘Four Winds’ 40 Years of Trading in Mayfield now on Facebook has pushed me to write this. So I think some of you just need somebody to hold your hand whilst you see if it’ll work for you.
We all learnt how to ride a bike….. We didn’t just get on and ride it. Some one held the saddle till we got the knack. I leave this as food for thought – If you want to know more and get over the set – up part then please contact me.