So you want to setup an e-store? Make your fortune online, working from the end of your garden. How hard can it be? Very! Read on my friends.

Friday, 17 July 2009


Flashback to Early 2007

We took the decision to change web companies, I think basically because I was suspicious of how our previous developer could reduce their price to a quarter of their original quote in an instant. Our new developer could also provide reasonably priced hosting as well, although not as cheap as, which are basically free. In fact, if you’re just starting out and need a basic information only site and cheap domain purchasing I don’t think you can beat the Canadian doteasy.

Fluid took the existing site as a basic structure and went to working adding ‘their’ shopping cart. Once again, in retrospect I should have asked which shopping cart they would be using and took more time understanding the implication of how the payment processing process would work. More of why I should have taken an interest in all this later.

Anyways, once we’d got the basics of what the site was roughly going to consist of i.e. home page, about page, contact us etc Fluid quickly came up with the same list of question the Dr Aitch had. Unfortunately, I can’t find that list of questions, but the long and the short of it was “what are you going to be selling then and how would like it presented?”. Now you’d think that would be a pretty simple question and perhaps if we just sold a few pair of espadrille shoes it would have been. But we didn’t and it wasn’t. Our little shop actually sold quite a range of products from tablecloths and napkins, to tea towels, oven gloves, quilts, cushions, deckchairs, seat pads, bread baskets, fabrics, designer jewellery and a whole bunch of espadrilles. Now cramming all that into half a dozen categories and coming up with short & long descriptions that didn’t sound too crass was far harder that it sounded. In fact it took months simply because it was a task that seemed too daunting to even begin. I even remember taking the laptop on holiday and working on it (in South West France, of course). The whole project was now on hold while I struggled to decide what was going to be listed.

So what were we going to put on the site? Well, everything of course, it was our online market stall. And this is when I started to think the whole idea was crazy and we would never get it off the ground. Not only did we have something like 20 different types of product to list, we had 10 different ranges of design in each. Even with my basic mathematical skills I could see we were going to need 200+ good quality photographs to stop the site saying mostly “Under Construction”.

The project remained on hold……