Charges for my osCommerce Services

I’ve recently been getting more and more enquiries as to what I offer in terms of osCommerce products and services – the info is in the blog, but it is hard to find.  So, I will list my charges;

Installation

Most of my own contributions cost £25 ($50) to install – this is because I know the codebase and they are all guaranteed to work, even on a highly modded osCommerce.  Actual charge maybe lower as this is a maximum price.

Install other Contributions:  charge depends upon the contribution you need installed, and how modded your store is.

Consultancy Service

I also offer Consultancy services and design services, both of which have tailored costs depending upon your needs.

I also offer on-site consultancy in the UK, charged by the day + expenses.

Templates

I sell templates ranging from zero to about £50 at osCommerce Templates.

Tutorials

I sell tutorials ranging from £2.00 to £15.00 at osC Books.

Fake Testimonials – do you use them?

Just yesterday a new UK law came into being which “outlaws” the practice of what is known as “fake testimonials”…here is a bit about it;

The Consumer Protection Regulations, which implement the EU directive on unfair commercial practices, mark the biggest shake-up in UK consumer law for 40 years.  As well as a duty for companies not to trade unfairly and to avoid misleading statements or omissions … the wide-ranging nature of the regulations mean that they will also cover issues such as fake testimonials by “customers” giving favourable reviews of products. Source: bbc.co.uk

What does this mean for online traders?

Well, almost every osCommerce and other site I see has some form of misleading communication.  Whether that be claims about a product that cannot be proved or just a “made up” testimonial to try to get more buyers.

It’s pretty plain that all UK business owners need to look at each of their claims about all their products to see if any are unfair or misleading – and if they are, rectify them immediately.  Of course, any “made up” testimonials or “kind words” need to be removed also.

Long story short

Don’t try to BS your customers in the hope of making more sales.  If you can prove that what you convey is true and honest then great – if not, then you are in for a world of hurt with fines of upto £5000 being bandied about.  If you have to BS to get more sales, then your product is not great – simple as that really.

osCommerce on your home computer

I had a few emails over the past days asking just how easy it is to install the new package of PHP, MySQL, PHPMyAdmin, Apache, osCommerce and osCommerce STS…

Rather than answer all those emails individually, I decided to make a video showing just how easy it is!

It’s about a 3 minute video as it shows everything from the time you download out .zip file to getting osCommerce AND osCommerce STS up and running! Just over 3 minutes start to finish – that’s getting everything up and running INCLUDING osCommerce and osCommerce STS !

The .zip file is for Windows users – sorry Mac people and Linux users. The included Tutorial also shows how to take an existing LIVE site and mirror it onto your home computer.

It’s my opinion, that now it is so easy to get osCommerce up and running on your own Home Copmputer, every osCommerce user should be using this package! Doesn’t matter whether this is your first ever go at osCommerce (saves you buying a domain name and hosting until you are ready) or if you already have a live osCommerce site (allowing you to make changes without affecting your LIVE site until you are ready).

What else could this package be used for?

Maybe you are wanting to have someone work on your site?
Download this package, mirror your live site and send it onto your designer/developer. Get them to work on your site, and send you the files back once they are ready – never have your live site broken whilst developers/designers are working on it.

Maybe you are a designer/developer who wants to have your customer be able to see what you have made so far?
Easy! Just grab this package, make your changes, and send to your customers…let’s your customers see the work you’ve done without you having to upload 1000s of osCommerce files!

Maybe you just want to test osCommerce?
Grab the package and try it out! What could be easier. No need to install anything…

So, let’s look at those steps again…

1. Unzip and extract the package we supply to your desktop
2. Double click the Server Start icon
3. Start using osCommerce on your own Home Computer!

Easy as 1 2 3 !

Get this package!

MySQL Error 20, -20 in osCommerce

Anna-Marie asks;

I went into the admin section to put some products on special & it says the following & I don’t know why it is there or how to fix it.

“1064 – You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near ‘-20, 20’ at line 1”

This is quite a common error and is to do with the version of MySQL that your host is using.  Basically it’s a bug in the osCommerce code…

To fix this is quite simple…I’m assuming you are using an older version of osCommerce such as MS2…

Open the following file: /includes/classes/split_page_results.php

Find this code:

[php]$sql_query .= ” limit ” . $offset . “, ” . $max_rows_per_page;[/php]

Change it to:

[php]$sql_query .= ” limit ” . max($offset, 0) . “, ” . $max_rows_per_page;[/php]

Also open the following file: /admin/includes/classes/split_page_results.php and make the exact same change!

Shipping to US States, tiered + handling

A user on the osCommerce Forum required a way to charge $x for 1 item, $y for any other items and $z as a handling charge for Hawaii and Alaska. With a bit of lateral thinking, I came up with;

Club osCommerce USA Tiered Shipping

This contribution allows the Store owner to set a cost for: 1st item + more items + handling fee for selected states…

A real world example

  • You want to charge $10 for the first item, and 50 cents for each extra item ordered.
  • You want to add a $24.95 shipping charge for Hawaii and Alaska
  • 12 items sold in the order

This contribution will give a quote of:

To Hawaii: $40.45 (this being: 1*$10 + 11*$0.50 + $24.95)
To Alaska: $40.45 (as above)
To all other US states: $15.50 (this being: 1*$10 + 11*$0.50)

As the contribution is only for US states, you would probably do well to set up a USA shipping zone, and only have the shipping method show inside the zone. Do this in your Admin section @ localization.

Useful to you?

If you find this useful please consider supporting ongoing development of this and many other contributions – “buy me a beer”. Cheers!

Download It

http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/5965

BUY button – is your OUT and PROUD ?

Yesterday I stumbled across a really interesting article, you can read it here. Basically, this article talks about the size of a BUY button which set me to thinking…

How about changing the BUY button to something bigger and brighter.

The BUY button has to be the most important button in any e-commerce site so why not make it stand out and proud?

A basic osCommerce install has buy button that looks like this:

Which doesn’t do too much for your buyers experience in my opinion! Of course you can make your own buttons easily I previously posted about an online button generator that I found…

But how about using a totally different style of buy button, such as:

Doesn’t this look so much better than a plain flat, boring button? It’s certainly more eye-catching in my opinion. What do you think?

Would you be brave enough to swap out your tiny little buy buttons for something more outstanding like this?

Do you think that changing would hurt or help your sales?  Let’s get a discussion going on this!

The Top 20(ish) osCommerce stores have these buttons:

In my opinion, the more “interesting” buy buttons are nearer the bottom of the graphic.

So, what next?

I am going to make a new buy button for my own oscommerce site!  Once I have it made, I’ll post the URL so that you can see if it makes any difference!

PCI Compliance

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It was developed by the major credit card companies as a guideline to help organizations that process card payments prevent credit card fraud, cracking and various other security vulnerabilities and threats. A company processing, storing, or transmitting payment card data must be PCI DSS compliant or risk losing their ability to process credit card payments and being audited and/or fined. Merchants and payment card service providers must validate their compliance periodically. This validation gets conducted by auditors – i.e. persons who are the PCI DSS Qualified Security Assessors (QSAs). Although individuals receive QSA status reports on compliance can only be signed off by an individual QSA on behalf of a PCI council approved consultancy. Smaller companies, processing fewer than about 80,000 transactions a year, are allowed to perform a self-assessment questionaire. Source: wikipedia.

I used to have a customer that processed payments through his own PDQ (POS Terminal) machine – in order to save the cost of purchasing an external processor such as ProtX or Worldpay etc. Many times, I told him that if his site got abused, he could be liable for big trouble – fortunately his site never did get hacked whilst he was with me. He went to some other coder 3 or 4 years ago – I have no idea if he is still storing CC info in the database.

Just yesterday, I came across a post in the osCommerce Forum where someone wanted the ability to take CC detials directly via his site – obviously that store owner needs to be re-educated. Whose responsibility is that – surely each service provider should be sending letters to their customers to remind customers of the importance of not storing CC details.

Anyway, the point of this post is to make you aware that your site must be PCI compliant – this means acting within the rules and regulations set out by your service provider. If you are in breach, and you get caught out, you’ll be sh1t-deep in trouble.

PLEASE do not store CC details in your osCommerce shop – PLEASE do not use the Credit Card Module that ships with osCommerce. If you want to take Credit Cards, use an external processor such as Worldpay, ProtX or even Paypal – let them take the worry away from you!

What Happens If YOUR Business Does Not Become PCI Compliant?

PCI Compliance is a requirement of your contract with the credit card companies. If you do not make your business PCI compliant, you are in violation of your contract. The credit card companies can take the following actions if your business does not abide by the security standards.

  • Visa may charge your business up to $500,000 per incident if your network and the information of consumers is compromised.
  • You may be banned from allowing your customers to use credit cards issued by the company that finds your business non-compliant.
  • If you do not notify the companies of probable or actual violations or thefts of our customers’ information, you will also be fined. Again, Visa can charge you as much as $100,000 per incident.
  • Other fines may be charged if the credit card company feels that the your company’s violations pose a risk to the credit card company and/or its members.

Read more online at pcicomplianceguide.org

Shipping Quote based on Per Cent of Total Order

In the past few days I noticed a couple of people wanting to charge postage based on a percentage of the total order amount.

I’ve not come across any pre-existing code that enables this in a correct way – I do know of a `hack` to the “products weight” field, but the problem with that is obvious – what happens if a shop owner wants to use the weight feature of the products? There’s probably other contributions but I like to make my own if I can.

So, I decided to spend a little time making my own “Percentage Shipping” contribution…

Introducing the “Club osCommerce % Shipping Module”

Snazzy name, eh? OK, so basically, in your admin area, you enable the “percent” shipping method and input the % rate you wish to charge – the default value is 10.00%. You can also add a “handling charge” if you need to – the default rate for this is zero.

Have a look at this video

It’s kind of hard to see, but in the admin, I set the rate to 10.00% with a 4.95 handling charge. I then checked out a $39.99 product, and got a shipping quote of $8.95 – this being

$4.00 (10% of $39.99, rounded up)
$4.95 (handling charge)
—–
$8.95

There you have it. A nice easy contribution that will allow you to use shipping based on the value of the order. If you want to make changes to it, please go right ahead. If you want to change the wording, this is done in the LANGUAGE file that is a part of the download.

Get it

You can download this at the official osCommerce add-ons site.

Beer Me!

I would really appreciate it if anyone who uses this module would “buy me a beer” – the “beers” that I receive allow me to spend more time creating osCommerce add-ons etc – cheers, santé, prost!

Various Reader Questions; thumbanil, vouchers v2, ms2

Evan asks;

I’ll be trying a contrib soon, but my problem is pixelated thumbnails. I’d like smaller images for the thumbnails and such.

All about thumbnail images! and my solution…

Richard asks;

Im trying to find a link for Version 2 of Gift Vouchers

Version 2 is available only as an installed service at this moment.  The cost of an install is $50, but if you already have version 1.x installed and working, then the cost of an upgrade to version 2 is “beer money”.  Either way, I do the full install if needed, or the upgrade if needed.

Dan asks;

I just downloaded the application from http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/5743 and I started to read the README.txt file and it says the following “This Contribution is for RC1, RC2 and RC2a only”.

My question is: do I need to download the application from somewhere else to make sure it will for for osCommerce 2.2-MS2 platform or it’s the same?

It will work in MS2 so long as you follow the instructions very carefully.  Usually MS2 shops have lots of older contributions installed so you need to be a bit more careful with your copying and pasting.

osCommerce Template updated to RC

A quick post to let you know that I have now updated this well known theme to RC2.  This theme makes osCommerce look, act and feel totally different than normal. The basis of this theme is making everything easy to find.

The categories infoBox is “open”, it has category tabs along the top and category subtabs underneath which change dynamically…also the theme has a best sellers box in the index page (rather than in the column)…

It also has a different column colour for the right hand side.  When you move an infoBox from left column to right column (or vice versa) the look of the infoBox you moved will change automatically to match whichever column it is in.

The “login” page is rejigged substantially – to make it more like the very old osCommerce login page – which I preferred – I’ve also made it so that it redirects to “create_account” when the person does not have an acocunt already.

All in all, a nice version of osCommerce.  Have a look:

And if you would like to purchase this design, that’s possible – see my other site, osCommerce Templates.