Web-store-buddySearch engine friendly e-commerce for your web site

Web-store-buddy system requirements...

There are two sides to this question - What are the system requirements from your side? And what are the system requirements for your shopper?

Your system requirements

The good news is that there are no system requirements from your side as Web-store-buddy software is not running on your server! So all you need to be able to do is design and publish any regular web page to your site. In other words you need a domain name, a web hosting plan, and some web authoring software. That's it!

What you need to be able to do

You need to be able to design and publish your product pages to your own server. Web-store-buddy does not do this for you. This is a key feature: It means that you retain complete control over your web pages. However if you are unable to do this, then Web-store-buddy is not for you.

As well as your product pages, you will need to publish one page to your server that Web-store-buddy will reference as a template for your shopping cart. Your template page is just a simple, regular, empty page that contains all the common features of your other pages (logo, menus etc). You can edit and modify this page whenever you like and Web-store-buddy will automatically detect and adapt to your changes.

Most web authoring software allows you to copy and paste HTML code. However there is often one way to paste plain text and a different way to paste code! For example in Dreamweaver 8 you use "edit" >> "paste special" if you need to paste HTML.

Finally you need to be able to add to your web pages the HTML code that Web-store-buddy gives you for your "view cart", "buy now" and "checkout" buttons. The easiest way to do this is to use Web-store-buddy's button wizards that provide you with the code to simply copy and paste.

Limitations

If you have a very large product range, then the Web-store-buddy approach may not be suitable. A typical Web-store-buddy merchant will have anything from a handful of products to a thousand products. Of course many of those products may have "attributes" such as color or size, and Web-store-buddy supports attributes by allowing you to have one product with a number of different flavors. But if you have many thousands of products it becomes impractical to manually design and publish all of the required web pages. So in that situation you might benefit from the type of shopping cart that uses a content management system (CMS) to generate the product pages for you rather than Web-store-buddy.

System requirements for shoppers

This is an important consideration - and not all shopping cart systems are entirely up front about this!

The first thing to say is that because you design your product pages with Web-store-buddy using your own authoring tool, it is under your control whether you design your web pages to accommodate all types of browser, and technologies such as Java, JavaScript, Flash, and so forth. The shopping cart functionality of Web-store-buddy does not itself make use of any technology other than the most basic HTML and CSS (which are supported by all browsers). And one other thing - "session cookies".

It's fair to say that all shopping cart systems use cookies in one form or another. Cookies are the way that software can manage your shopper's selections as he or she browses your web site. There are two types of cookies: persistent cookies and session cookies. The difference is that whereas session cookies are deleted as soon as the shopper closes their browser, persistent cookies may be retained by your shopper's browser for some time. Session cookies never get further than the computer's RAM (volatile) memory, whereas persistent cookies are stored on the computer's hard disk.

Cookies are in fact very innocuous items (they are not potentially malicious code). However some misconceptions have been stoked up about cookies. Wikipedia says this for example:

"Since their introduction on the Internet, misconceptions about cookies have circulated on the Internet and in the media. In 1998, CIAC, a computer incident response team of the United States Department of Energy, found the security vulnerability "essentially nonexistent" ...In 2005, Jupiter Research published the results of a survey, according to which a consistent percentage of respondents believed some of the following false claims: "Cookies are like worms and viruses in that they can erase data from the user's hard disks", "Cookies generate pop-ups", "Cookies are used for spamming", "Cookies are only used for advertising""

Of course it's not so much the facts, but the public perception that counts. And because of suspicion about cookies, whether hyped or not, some types of privacy software will disable persistent cookies in the browser. However this does not happen with session cookies - and it is solely this type of cookie that is used by Web-store-buddy.

So the good news is that with Web-store-buddy you can be confident that the system will work in your shopper's browser whatever their settings and whatever privacy software they are using!