I do not have a business at the moment but want to start selling online, can I use your service?
Yes. Although the majority of our clients are existing businesses, the eShopFitters service is an ideal way to start your own online business very cost effectively. However, there are points to consider. To trade online (i.e. to take card payments) you will need either a merchant account enabled for online trading or an account with a specialist online payment provider such as WorldPay, PayPal or NOCHEX. The good news is that our shops are fully compatible with all of these payment methods. It is important to note that these providers will charge an additional fee for their services and that these accounts are arranged independently. See our Guide to Online Payments for more details.
How do I know when an order is placed?
When a customer places an order with your shop the shopping cart software sends a confirmation email to that customer. The shop owner can request that a copy of the confirmation email is also sent to their mailbox. Orders can also be tracked by logging into your secure administration account via the internet. Once you have entered your username and password, you can track orders, change their status, print delivery slips and invoices and email customers.
What is the difference between ELOADED and ELOADED PLUS?
ELOADED is our loaded version of osCommerce, the popular open-source shopping cart software. The term loaded means that we have added many of the best software updates for osCommerce, while retaining the fantastic flexibility of standard osCommerce. We have also applied numerous bug fixes and our own bespoke development.
ELOADED provides all the functionality that you need to start selling online. However some of our clients need more. For this reason we have introduced our ELOADED PLUS version. ELOADED PLUS is the result of years of experience of working with advanced users of osCommerce. ELOADED PLUS has all the great features and bug fixes of ELOADED but with lots more software updates pre-loaded. These include: Google Checkout, Extra product images (up to six extra images), Show RRP and savings, Google Analytics e-commerce tracking, Related products, Show a product summary table, Purchase without account (PWA), Exports orders to a CSV file, Batch Order updater and more.
How long will it take you to build my new site?
You new site will be ready for you to use in one week, located on our test server. You can then go live in a further week or even sooner. For a more detailed explanation of the process please see our Step by Step Guide.
Do I have to make sure that my images are the right size?
No, the shopping cart software can automatically resize your product images. We think product images are crucial for a successful online shop so we can offer you more advice on image size and quality.
Can I use my existing domain name?
Yes, and we can help you transfer this to your new shop. We can also help you to secure a new domain name for your site.
What equipment do I need to run my online shop?
In brief, you will need: Internet access, email software such as Microsoft Outlook Express, and a digital camera, unless you already have stock photos of your products.
How many products can I sell in my online shop?
As many as you like, there is no limit to the number of products or categories you can have. You are only limited by the amount of web space provided by your web host.
Where will my site be hosted?
This is very much up to you. We are very flexible about hosting although we recommend that UK based business host their site on a server located in the UK. Your site can be hosted where ever you wish so long as the server can handle the requirements of your new online shop. You may wish to consider our hosting partner or organise your own web hosting.
What if my shop stops working, do you provide technical support?
Yes, each online shop comes with 30 days of free technical support via email. Although unlikely, things do sometimes go wrong. In the event of a problem with your site, we will work to correct the problem and get your site up and running again.
How do I make a backup of my site?
Each site is constructed of code (a collection of php scripts), images and a database. The database contains details about your products, orders and the configuration details about your site. As you can make changes to all aspects of your site at anytime, you are responsible for creating subsequent backups. We recommend that you create a full backup at regular intervals to minimise the loss of important data should the unforeseeable occur. You can backup the database at any time via your admin area. The database backup can be downloaded or stored on your site. You can backup the remaining aspects of you site, i.e. code, images and even previous backups, via FTP. You have full FTP access to the site allowing you create backups.
Can I make changes to my site content?
Yes. You can add products and catgeories whenever you wish via the admin area. Site content including your text information (we call them information pages) e.g. your home page, delivery policy page, about us page, terms and conditions, etc. can also be changed. This information is separate to your products and you can change it yourself as many times as you like. You can have an unlimited number of information pages. You create them, add a title and then add your content. You can even temporarily enable or disable individual pages. See our admin area screen shots for more details.
Will customers be able to use search engines to find my shop?
Yes. On completion of your shop your site is submitted to a number of search engines. Our shops are also 'search engine friendly' thus allowing your products to be indexed automatically. You can also submit a Google Sitemap to Google to tell them about your categories and products.
What costs are involved?
We will charge you a one-off fee for site design, configuration and support. Your site will need to be hosted on a server permanently connected to the internet. A fee will be payable to the hosting company for this service. Your card processor will charge for the use of their card processing facilities (typically an annual fee plus a small charge per transaction). Your Merchant Account provider will also charge a small percentage for each sale. See our Pricing page and Guide to Online Payments for more details.
What is osCommerce, 'Open Source' and the General Public Licence (GPL)?
Apologies in advance but there is no quick answer to this question. eShopFitters use ELOADED our own modified version of the popular osCommerce e-commerce software. osCommerce is a state-of-the-art e-commerce package created by a worldwide community of software developers. This community, of which we are an active member, provide support and new software contributions via the osCommerce forum. This is one of the many advantages of using osCommerce. osCommerce is open source software and is freely re-distributable under the GNU General Public Licence (GPL). This means that you do not need to buy a licence to use osCommerce and you could even download the source code yourself (www.oscommerce.com) if you so wish. At eShopFitters we welcome the GPL. After we complete your site you have full access to the complete source code, so you are not tied to us for future updates and you can even make alterations yourself if you wish. Although we hope you will use the services of our osCommerce experts over and over again.
To Summarise: (1) eShopFitters use ELOADED a modified version of the osCommerce e-commerce software. (2) ELOADED and osCommerce are covered by the GNU General Public Licence (GPL). (3) osCommerce is open source, which means that there are thousands of people worldwide willing to help and share their ideas via the osCommerce forum. (4) You have full access to the source code of your site to change it as you wish.
On a final note, eShopFitters fully support the osCommerce development team and the spirit and intention of the GPL. Indeed, this is why we strive to work within the constraints of the GPL. The GPL provides an ideal platform for bringing together the creative contributions of thousands of developers and brings about some wonderful software. It is our policy to freely contribute all of our osCommerce development to the osCommerce project so that others can freely use them under the GPL. This does not mean that we pass on your shop design, layout or your proprietary material (which always remains your property), but we do provide source code enabling others to benefit from the technical advancements we have made while working with osCommerce.