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WEB SCHOOL Finding the ideal ecommerce platform

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rob223

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Jun 23, 2015
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Hi. Long time reader, first time poster. I'm inspired just reading the forum categories when looking for where to post this. I'm working a standard 9-5 and determined to not be. Lots of web design and technology experience to trying to make money from that.

My friend runs a small business and has offered a percentage of profits in exchange for me building a new web store. We've discussed an ownership percentage and/or a percentage of revenue. The business currently has a monthly revenue around $500 but has the potential to be $100k+ in 3 years. To get there, they will need a good, scalable web store.

I've been researching web stores but I'm struggling to make the best choice. I want to be able to prototype freely for a few months and ultimately pay less than $30 a month if it goes live. I'll be presenting him my prototype and if he likes it, we'll be replacing the SquareSpace account which costs around $250 a year (unless SquareSpace is the best choice).

I've considered Magento 2 but the only place I can find to install it for free is AWS. If I need to learn AWS, I will, but I'm hoping there's an easier solution. I also checked out Bitrix24 but I'm not sure if it can do what I want.

The business runs a small operation that processes about 20 different similar products. Customers order through the website exclusively. I want a platform with about 5 product categories and then lead the user through a sales funnel of product customizations. The output should be a message to the factory and a receipt (presumably email but open to ideas) to the customer.

I want analytics on the sales funnels and features like email marketing campaigns, follow-up offers, and other similar tools to really build the brand; i.e. a full Customer Relationship Management tool (if I understand correctly). Long-term, the backend would have to be customizable as we potentially outsource processing.

Thanks for reading. Hoping I can get some pointers in the right direction.
 

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MoneyPhantom

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 6, 2017
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Germany
Welcome!

I've considered Magento 2 but the only place I can find to install it for free is AWS. If I need to learn AWS, I will, but I'm hoping there's an easier solution.
You want to make money and have not a single dollar to spend on some web hosting? C'mon. Web space is cheaper than ever before. A lot of web hosting companies even offer free trials. If you really don't have any money in you pocket, get some. Go mowing lawns. If there's a will, there's a way.

AWS is expensive and totally oversized for a regular website/store. It does make sense if you need often so switch up/down servers on the go (e.g. because of traffic peaks) or you're building a bigger network of multiple servers. It also takes some time to set up and configure the server. Better go with some ready-to-rock hosting if you don't have the experience.

Magento itself is a very, very powerful and extensible system which you can build on. But do also bear in mind that there's a lot of work behind it.

I can remember the times when Magento became popular and suddenly everyone started offering Magento stores. From what I saw and got told by clients, at least 90% of that agencies didn't know what they did, resulting in bad work and cancelled projects (good for us, bad for the client) as they sold the stores for like $250 and then saw what a lot of work they had committed to.

If you want to set up some small store in short time, go with Shopify, WooCommerce or something like that. If you want a totally future-proof, customizable solution and are willing to put in the work beforehand (and have the technical knowledge to dive into the Mage code), then have a look into Magento.
 

GoGetter24

Gold Contributor
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Oct 8, 2017
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You want to make money and have not a single dollar to spend on some web hosting? C'mon.
Amen.

You can get a 1 CPU host for about $250 a year. If you think that's significant money vs the potential revenue, you should shut down this side project right now and stick to your day job. Have a cheap mindset and you'll get cheap results.
 

MoneyPhantom

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Aug 6, 2017
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Germany
Have a cheap mindset and you'll get cheap results.
And you'll spend a lot of time fiddling around with unreliable/unsuitable web hosting which you could use productively to get more money in your pockets.

I myself have been there years ago, rather putting in hours and days of work trying to get something to work on some free web host instead of just paying them a single dollar. If I had invested that time into building a business...
 
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rob223

PARKED
Jun 23, 2015
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Thanks for the replies and the advice on my money mindset. I'm working on it!

I choose to go with Magento 2.2 installed on a Digital Ocean droplet. Digital Ocean starts at $5/mo for prototyping and I can easily upgrade to more powerful servers when I move to production.
 

0VO

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 8, 2016
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If it's already producing $500/month, a years hosting will only be half a month's revenue. Or pay out like $10 a month. There's so many different web hosting companies.

You could literally go to 10 people you know, say hey I need to borrow $200, I'll give you $300 back in a year. Not a bad deal?

As for a Store Platform, Shopify, Woocommerce seem to be the popular ones. I'm also seeing "BigCartel" on sites quite a bit lately, but I don't know much about that one.

Have you looked into Click Funnels?

Also, if you're building the site and paying for hosting out of your pocket, and this is a "Business Deal", and you have exact agreed upon numbers, get the deal in writing. Period. Friend or Foe or Family - business is business.
 
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rob223

PARKED
Jun 23, 2015
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I looked into Click Funnels but they didn't offer the flexibility I want.
 

trace987

New Contributor
Sep 27, 2017
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Austin, Texas
Thanks for the replies and the advice on my money mindset. I'm working on it!

I choose to go with Magento 2.2 installed on a Digital Ocean droplet. Digital Ocean starts at $5/mo for prototyping and I can easily upgrade to more powerful servers when I move to production.
I found out that Magento 2.2 support stops on September 2019, so keep that in mind. However 2.2 is the latest version, and everything might change as it was with the 1.x version.
Found it here: Magento 2.1 Discontinue Date
 

snazzy

eCommerce Development Consultant - www.snazzy.ie
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Nov 13, 2017
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Dublin, Ireland
Hi,

I'd consider myself to be an eCommerce Development Expert, I build platforms that scale to handle visitors and sales at peak times, and more importantly to suit what works for my client's workflow.

The biggest issue you have currently is positioning, you want to be the big high street flagship shop, but only have the budget to be a small cottage industry currently. Without investment where you are now, and where you want to be will just not happen. They're miles apart.

My suggestion would be to use Shopify for now, scale, make money, and when funds are available to look at a better solution.

If going a self-hosted route, to get what you want, you need €10k - €20k system built to suit the project's needs. This route also requires maintenance, planning, updates, and partnering with someone to help you grow.
 

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