Having just put together another website update, and spent some time updating our shipping fees as well, I’ve been looking into one other issue that I’d love to fix if possible. Paypal’s payment buttons currently don’t have any way of automatically marking an item sold on our site, so I have to mark each item manually. This is working time that I would love to not have to waste doing this, because it’s a pain (Open Photoshop, find catalog item pic, add “Sold” text, run outline action, save, open Dreamweaver, upload pic to site, open item page, mark “Sold” in text, remove payment button… for every single item that sells…), and also it would be handier for buyers if items could be immediately auto-marked as Sold upon purchase.  What happens sometimes is that I’ll post an update, then get back to work in the shop, and several people will all try to buy the same thing before I come back to the computer to see it’s been sold and mark it accordingly.

From what I can (vaguely) comprehend from Paypal’s tech help, the Paypal buttons can be set up to send some sort of acknowledgement to a script on your own page, which can include code to update a site database accordingly.  Now, everything in the latter half of that previous sentence may as well be Russian to me as I know nothing about scripting for sites or site databases.  So my question is, does anyone know of a good tutorial or system which could accomplish this auto-marking of sold items for me?  If it’s not horrendously complex I could probably figure it out for myself if there are any plain English explanations available, and obviously it would be desirable to be able to fully understand and operate the system on my own.

My limitations are those of most one-man businesses – I don’t have the time to take off a week for learning all about site databases, nor the money to pay a site guru.  Though I would be amenable to some sort of pipe trade if anyone was able to provide some help explaining and/or setting something like this up.  I know there are some shopping cart systems that do this, but those all cost money every month and that’s something else I want to avoid – I like using the Paypal buttons because they’re free and only pay to PP for items that sell, rather than hitting me with a $50/month bill AND credit card processing fees.  If anyone has any ideas or solutions for this issue, please give me a buzz or leave a comment.

Categories: Pipe Blog

11 Comments

Trever-T · August 22, 2012 at 12:02 am

Yeah, my issue is as much, "Finding the time to learn it" as anything else. Right now I'm overdue on something for my movie review blog and am way overdue on my web comic and have six pipe experiments in the works, several test castings of custom acrylics, and a test morta being made on the side for my own experimentation. I have "Look into Pair web catalog" on my To Do list but that's as far as it's gotten since I posted this! Thanks for the offer of help. I will shout if it looks like I seriously need it, and try not to be a bother otherwise. Merci!

Scott Ramsey · August 21, 2012 at 5:43 am

My guess is you can probably handle it, but I understand the trepidation. If I can help in any way, let me know. I would guess that managing it would be very simple once you had it set up. It certainly should be easier than your current procedure.

Trever-T · August 15, 2012 at 2:29 am

Thanks very much for the info! Actually, I may already have a developer account, I can't even remember, but I did have to upgrade it for some of the graphics scripts that the site uses. I had forgotten that Pair even offered a shopping cart setup, though I have to admit that the idea fills me with trepidation since it would mean a whole huge new thing to have to learn and set up, where I was hoping there might be some sort of simple fix.

Scott Ramsey · August 14, 2012 at 1:10 am

Hey, Trever. Just came across your site while checking out your pipes. You'll have to have some sort of shopping cart software to accomplish what you're after, particularly if you want to be able to manage it yourself. Since you're hosted at Pair, you would need to add their ShopSite plan for $9.95/month or have a developer account and install OSCommerce for free and then add the PayPal plugin. That should allow you to avoid a monthly fee for the shopping cart, but I don't know what your paying monthly now and how much more the necessary account might cost.

Trever-T · August 2, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Yes, I'm definitely open to barter, but I've already got the site, not looking for a new one – I'm just hoping I can find some way to make this work in an integrated way with my existing site. Though I have to admit I've been curious about Drupal, as a friend of mine recently built her own site with it. One of these days I plan to build a dedicated site for my Kentucky Fried Popcorn blog and comics, and am planning to do that via either Drupal or WordPress.

Trever-T · August 2, 2012 at 7:35 pm

@David – I'm already doing that much. Each item has an inventory count so they can't oversell. The issue is that I'd like some way for the website to auto-update to show which items have sold, so customers wouldn't have to try to purchase something only to find out during the purchase process that it's already sold to someone else.

    David Needham · August 2, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Ah, I see. Would you be open to barter? It may be overkill, but I could build you a foolproof Drupal site that practically runs itself in exchange for a drupal-themed pipe.

Trever-T · August 2, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Well, the simple answer on that is "I don't know how to" – Especially not in a way that would integrate fluidly with my existing site. Most of the pre-packaged shopping cart setups I've seen use those "Enter our Store" links and the aesthetics completely change, which bugs me.

David Needham · August 2, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Take a look at your button creation / customization page. For me, I have the option to track inventory. If you select that, I have the option to disallow orders if out of stock. Screenshot: https://img.skitch.com/20120802-tpemgi2u8reencd6wnp5rm1aur.jpg

That seems better than what you're doing now, but you may be able to take it a step further. Let me know, and feel free to contact me directly (david AT enjoycreativity.com).

Jeff · August 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Why not just install a proper shopping cart? There are many open source apps that will fill the bill nicely. Most all can accept a huge variety of payment methods, including PayPal.

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