Help building an E-Commerce site

Be gentle with me please!
I’m the first to admit that my knowledge and understanding of Rapidweaver is rudimentary at best and I haven’t used it for anything other than maintenance and simple updates since I built this one site 3 years ago: https://www.dogwalksrus.co.uk.

Now my partner, who’s ready to expand her make-from-home craft business would like me to build a simple but attractive e-commerce site from which she can sell her wares. I’m a little overwhelmed to be honest and not really sure where to start. I know there must be multiple ways to approach this task within the app (purpose-made themes, stacks, using Foundry maybe) but I have no clue which would be best suited to my very limited experience. I’m not at all averse to learning on the job in order to get it done and am pretty sure that this is going to be necessary but, equally, I don’t want to end up following a path that’s overly complicated and won’t see the task finished this side of Christmas. I realise that this question is a bit vague given the myriad of variables that could potentially be involved but maybe someone else has been in the same situation and would be kind enough to suggest an approach consistent with my limited skills and the need to get this done within a couple of months tops?

I have RW8 with the Stacks plug in and 60 odd stacks that I collected with the first project.

Thanks in anticipation of responses.

You are right there are many different ways to do this so you need to think about what is needed and then find what fits best. Also budget comes into it.
eg a few things
How many products. Shipping options. Tax. Other team members log in. Inventory database within site. Ship outside USA.
I think Cartloom with Rapidweaver is fantastic. You pay a monthly fee.
If you dont need all that you could look at Rapidcart Pro.
Again depending on your needs … maybe something like Shopify.
Is she on Etsy ?

Hi @Bananaman,

Another option that integrates well with RW is Ecwid.
They Ecwid store is very flexible, with many shipping options, payment options etc.
You can integrate Ecwid into RW in several ways. You can use a regular theme, and the free Ecwid Plug in, or if you use stacks, you may use their embed scripts, and finally you may use my Ecwid Stacks, which allow you to highly customize the look and feel of the Ecwid into your RW project.

Check out the Ecwid Stacks product page for more information. Also, if you use my affiliate link, once you upgrade to one of the yearly plans, you get a rebate on the purchase of the Ecwid Stacks.

Here are a couple of site using my stacks:

https://ooshkie.com/Store/

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Cheers,

Ricardo

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@Bananaman , I’ve done a few simple e-commerces with Paysnap (no monthly fee, very straightforward but with its limits). They work fine as long as you just want to sell some books or CD’s. Cart 3 is a similar set of stacks. I recently bought it but did not use it so far.

I’ve done one with Cartloom (monthly fee). Very extended when it comes to reductions, links to book keeping, invoices… The set up has to be done on the website of Cartloom and I must say there are a ton of things to fill out before it works as it should. But once you work your way trough that stuff it works fantastic.

So, it depends at what your needs are. A simple e-commerce is not that expensive and time consuming as an extended e-commerce.

Hans

Thanks everybody.

@RicardoR, Ecwid looks interesting and wasn’t something I was aware of.

So, I get that setting up to receive payments is something that can be done through various channels but, I guess, what I’m still struggling with is what site-building structure/format best lends itself to an e-commerce site (for a novice RWer)?

Premium purpose built theme? Stacks-based site within a free theme? Foundation? Foundry?

These are all things I have very limited knowledge of and am happy to learn but don’t want to start pursuing an approach that’s not going to be optimum for the finished product.

Thanks

@Bananaman , you will have to build a Stacks-based site since all of the solutions proposed here are Stacks. You can do this in a theme of your choice or around a Foundry (what I use) or Foundation framework. That’s completely up to you.

Hans

Foundry is probably going to be the quickest to learn. I believe there are a few templates built for an e-commerce page for Foundry as well.

Biggest thing I suggest to look for is make sure which ever method you choose has the payment and shipping methods you require. Sometimes those details are left out or made very unaware.

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Cart3 and PaySnap come standard with Stripe and Paypal payment methods. I suppose Ecwid and others offer the same.

Hans

Hi @Bananaman,

The best combination for developing an e-commerce using Ecwid would be:

RW + Stacks from Yourhead + Axyn Ecwid Stacks + a framework

For framework there are several options: Foundry, UIki3, Foundation6, Source and Platform.

Source is a micro-framework so you’d need some additional stacks to create a project. The others are complete frameworks. All of the frameworks have great support from the developers. Take a look at documentation on their respective websites, plus some examples, to see which fits better with your mindset and workflow.

Keep the questions coming, I’m glad to help

Cheers,

Ricardo

Thanks all. Much appreciated.

Looks like Foundry with an appropriate cart solution is probably my best way to go but any other advice or suggestions will be gratefully received.

Cheers

The framework isn’t really needed to implement an E-Commerce store. Many Rapidweaver built sites use a traditional theme and operate online shops quite well.

A framework like Foundry, Foundation, and Source gives you a lot of flexibility in the layout(look and feel), but with that flexibility comes work with learning a learning curve. You also need to be a creative person, not intimidated by starting with a blank screen.

Honestly, I’ve seen some “not so great” designs using frameworks.

So I think Foundation 6, Foundry, Source and Platform are great products, and if you’re interested in learning true “from scratch” web design their all great tools, and you’ll find plenty of posts and opinions on the merits of each of them. But which framework or traditional theme you choose doesn’t matter when it comes to E-Commerce and implementing a store.

As for E-Commerce (the subject of the post), there are several options mentioned, and a lot of what will make the best or wrong choice has to do with what you have to sell, where are you selling to and from, the volume of sales, etc, etc.

The right solution for someone selling downloadable goods from the US is probably not going to be the same for someone selling furniture that needs to be shipped from the EU.

Someone who sells thousands of dollars worth of merchandise a month won’t mind paying a monthly fee for a shopping cart, where the store that’s mostly a hobby but wants to sell a few items a month might have a real issue with the fee.

Product, shipping, taxes, payment platform, and more can affect the correct solution for the store.

Also wanted to point out one E-Commerce solution that hasn’t been mentioned and that’s RapidCart Pro. It’s a self-hosted (one-time purchase) store. A bit of work to learn and set up but another one to look at.

Perhaps when you’re ready to give more specifics of what you are selling you can get better advice.

3 Likes

Thanks @teefers, I’ll take a look at RapidCart Pro.

I graduated in graphic design and though I’ve specialised in print, I think I can turn my creativity to web. I just really lack the technical knowledge of Rapidweaver and want to make sure I go in the right direction with my approach to this.

I think I hinted at the type of product in my original post but to elaborate, it’s wall hangings, plant hangers, dreamcatchers etc. made with macrame that the site will be used to sell and mainly to the UK market as that’s where we’re based. Turnover is likely to be small as everything is handmade and can’t really be produced in bulk quantities.

I think whatever approach I take, I’m not going to get away without having to watch/read a fair few tutorials along the way but that’s okay because at least I’ll have a better idea of what I’m doing if I find myself needing to build something else in the future.

Cheers

If you go framework perhaps consider a ready built framework template as a starting point. I make and sell them under the Template Repo name. https://www.templaterepo.com/

As Template Repo I also make custom templates for RW users.

I also make sites for clients under a different business name, a lot of them are e-commerce.

If you want any pointers etc. I’m happy to chat via messaging.

@Bananaman , like yourself I graduated in graphic design and worked for printed matter for many years. I use RW since 2012 and for me it’s a great product. I build my sites in Foundry for it gives me the freedom to layout webpages almost similar as I would do in inDesign. Foundry is my personal favourite, but other frameworks do the job just as well. I made a few webshops like the one you are planning. Local, only a few items to sell… I used PaySnap to set these up. If you like to see some examples, visit :

Zinnenspinnerij shop (client has to activate the SSL, but site is safe to visit)

Gerry De Mol heeft een winkel (site will go online shortly. On this one you can play around with Stripe checkout if you want: use the following dummy credit card info…
Card Number: 4111 1111 1111 1111
Exp Date: 12/23
CVC: 123

Cheers, Hans

Thanks @Panans, that’s some really helpful info and I like the comparison between Foundry and InDesign. Nice work on the sites you’ve built - they look great. I’ll be happy if I can get something together like that.

@TemplateRepo, thanks for your input. Your templates might be an easy way into this for me. I’ll put them on the list of possibilities.

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