Sunday, January 21, 2007

Online Shopping

I’ve just been watching an online video for the company, Magnet Commerce, and it was very tempting to sign up for their 15 day free trial! The only trouble is I’d probably want to go further than the trial, and at the moment I really don’t have the justification for opening an online shop.

Magnet Commerce offers the software to get a shop online for someone who wants to sell online but doesn’t have the means or expertise to get the thing off the ground. You don’t have to download anything – which is always a plus. Everything is provided online, even graphics if you don’t want to upload those yourself. It’s like having a database, catalogue, invoicing system, and admin all on tap.

There were several times when I debated doing this kind of thing with OC Books when I was there, but we never quite got to a decision on the subject. (When I say ‘we’ I mean I never persuaded myself that this was the way to go…at that point.) If I’d come across Magnetcommerce ecommerce software, I might have gone for it. It’s not hugely expensive (the price depends on where you’re working from) especially when you compare all the costs of setting up such a thing yourself.

At OC Books, the suppliers who had online databases were the ones you tended to go back to more readily than those that would reply when they got round to it. With online databases you could tell at the drop of a hat whether the company had something on hand, or how long it would take to get it. That’s my kind of system.

Magnet Commerce also supports multiple languages and multiple currencies on the same store. That’s pretty effective: I could start a shop that sold to people in countries as widespread as India and Indonesia, Ireland and Iran. You don’t have to have a separate ‘shop’ for each location: you just manage them all from the one application. Ah, you say, but would they support all sorts of languages? Well, according to their site: "Any language you want to enable can be supported. Simply contact us and let us know which languages you want to use!" You can deal in multiple currencies too.
Another advantage, they tell me, is that their system is built on the latest ASP.NET 2.0 technology also using Microsoft SQL database. Unfortunately I don’t exactly know what that means, but it sounds impressive. I recognise SQL, because my son and I have talked about it a few times – it means Structured Query Language, if that’s any help. It’s a way of getting information from a database, and updating the database in return. (That’s putting it somewhat simply!)

Being of a curious nature, I checked out Microsoft ASP.NET on Google. It’s a free technology that allows programmers to create dynamic web applications, and can be used to create anything from small, personal websites through to large, enterprise-class web applications. You can see I’m pretty enthusiastic about Magnet Commerce. Good!

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