by April 1, 2000 0 comments

Thinking of setting up an
e-com site? You have to take care of three functions here–a storefront
where customers can shop and place orders, validation of payments, and
maintaining a customer profile, apart from getting the back-end
infrastructure in place. Here, we help you create your storefront.
Validation of payments can be done through e-mail, or by direct
communication to the bank’s server in case of credit cards. Otherwise, to
avoid these validation hassles, you can enable payments through check or
demand draft or send the product by VPP.

We’ve used a software
called StoreFront Web Creator to create the storefront and add a shopping
cart. This software is wizard-driven, and you don’t need to know HTML or
any kind of scripting. It takes you through the process of setting up your
site, and helps you decide its look and feel and navigation.

So, let’s get started with
using the software to create your storefront. We’ve divided the process
into five simple steps.

Basic information:
You have to provide your company name, address, logo, phone and fax
numbers, a link to your homepage, and any other contact information that you
want to give to your online customers. Then, you have to specify how you’d
like to receive the orders. There are five options:

  • E-mail, that is, orders are sent to you
    via e-mail
  • A form per product ordered
  • A shopping cart, where the customer
    browses around your site, and adds the products he wants to the shopping
    cart
  • An order form with a list of products
  • An order form with an entry field, where
    the customer types in the name and the number of units of the products
    he wants

A shopping cart is the preferred method of
these, as it is convenient for you as well as the shopper, who can edit his
purchases when he’s through with the shopping

Data entry and
updation
:
The next important step is to
prepare a catalogue of the various products. Tell the StoreFront wizard how
you would like to set up the navigation. Then enter the actual data. You can
create a new catalogue, or open an existing catalogue, if you have to update
the data. It’s also possible to import a catalogue if you have one as a
text or a LST file

Shipping
information
:
You now have to specify the
shipping modes. If you have more than one shipping option that the customer
is free to choose from, specify them here. If you have some extra charges
for each shipping mode, you’ll have to specify those too. Other policies
like warranty and return have to be declared here. If you want to send an
order confirmation to shoppers, enter that here too

Mode
of payment
:
Here, you decide the modes of
payment a shopper on your site can use–credit card, check or demand draft,
or VPP. You have to specify all the payment options here. You can specify a
maximum of five options, as StoreFront doesn’t accept more than this
number. Also, specify the currency of transaction Look/navigation:

The final stage is to create the look of the site. This creates the
actual pages and adds the background, icons, and buttons. It also arranges
the various components that you’ve specified above on the various pages.
You can choose the look of your site from the themes available in the
package.

Now, you can compile the site and upload it
onto the Web server. StoreFront allows you to directly ftp the pages created
onto the site. But we would advise you to save a copy on your local disk,
test it out first, and then upload it to the server. However, to check out
your site on your local disk, you’ll need a personal Web server so that
the server-side scripting included by StoreFront can be executed

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