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Starting Member

5 Posts

Posted - July 07 2004 :  20:43:37  Show Profile  Visit Sorgesu's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm considering buying VP-ASP. From the postings I've seen here, I don't think I can take the time to do the setting up myself. I'd like to be able to administer it on an ongoing basis, but the initial set up looks too time consuming. I don't as yet have a website although I do have a trusted Web-site designer in Canada who doesnn' do shopping carts. I posted this as an assignment on a job board and got a flurry responcses from web-devleopers in India who claim to have experience with shopping carts, though not necessarily this one.
I'm confused. Does this shopping cart software negate the need for developing a website? Can I use the shopping cart to create the web-site too? If I'm alredy spending $300 on this software, how much more should I expect to spend getting it set up and getting a bit of web-site around it. The prices from India seemed out of line, especially when one takes into account the value of the US dollar (I'm Canadian so that is just an added expense for me) and the fact that I would have this package already. Can anyone offer some advice?

VP-ASP Super User

304 Posts

Posted - July 07 2004 :  22:47:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Sorgesu-

This really all depends on how you want your site to look. VP-ASP comes with a default home page that looks like this:

This is pretty much exactly what you receive when you purchase the product. It needs to be installed on your server, but this can be pretty simple if you have some computer/technical background. If you are using an ISP that is already running IIS with ASP support, all you do is copy the files to the server. You first priority after that is to set up the security for the site (see http://www.vpasp.com/virtprog/info/faq_security.htm)

After that, your site will look just like the demo in the link above. It will even contain those products shown! You can login as the administrator, delete the demo products, and start adding your own. The admin interface takes some getting used to since it isn't fully user friendly. It will take some trial and error for you to get used to it. However, if you have fairly basic computer skills, you can get to the point of having a secure site with a few products that looks just like the demo in a few days.

So, to partially answer your question, you don't NEED any additional web-site design beyond what is already included in VP-ASP if you are satisfied with what you see in the demo. However, you almost certainly will WANT much more....and you may NEED much more if you actually want to attract customres. The demo home page that is provided with VP-ASP is meant to be a technical example of how to link to different features of the cart from a HTML page. It it not meant to be attractive.

Most sites have an immense amount of design that goes into them to define the overall look and feel of the site. The choice of colors, graphics, and navigation are all very key. Compare the demo site above with some of the customer sites:

What you don't know is how much work it took to make these sites. Almost all of them at least change the home page. The most effective change the default colors, create custom templates, custom design a nice graphical home page, implement their own site navigation strategy, create various information pages such as "about us," and even make a lot of modifications to the ASP code. The full custom site could take months to design or plenty of money (easily thousands of US dollars). You can change a few colors yourself in a small amount of time and be happy with it, or you might want to build a full custom site around the cart, or anything in between. Its all up to you.

If you want to use many of the advanced features of VP-ASP, its likely you'll feel rather restricted. There are things like breadcrumbs, category displays, and the gift registry that meet the basic function described, but really just don't work right. Many of the customer sites you see have done a fair amount of modification of the ASP (VP-ASP uses embedded visual basic in its ASP) code itself to get what they are after. They might have done a little...they may have done a whole lot. This is viewed to be part of site "customization."

Oh yeah...if you have a lot of products, you'll find that just the data entry itself will consume a lot of time, especially if you try to write custom text or use professional photography.

After going through several man-months of design work on my site I'm starting to be fairly pleased with its basic operation. I still have 1-2 more man months of work to get the advanced features working to the level that is required.

If you decide to hire someone to do it, you'll do well to hire someone already familiar with VP-ASP and who can show you example sites they've done that you like. Otherwise you'll be paying someone to spend hours learning VP-ASP even if they are already an EXPERT at web design. At the same time, knowing VP-ASP doesn't mean a person knows anything about effective web design. You need both.

Edited by - greatphoto on July 07 2004 22:54:20
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VP-ASP Super User

304 Posts

Posted - July 07 2004 :  23:02:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I think you'd do well to check out http://www.yourvirtualstore.net/default.asp. It is built on top of VP-ASP, so you should get all the benefits of VP-ASP plus much added to automate creation of your entire site. It does cost a fair amount more than the basic VP-ASP. Representatives of that company post to this forum frequently. They are clearly very knowledgable and helpful regarding VP-ASP. They have also attempted to address many of the shortcomings of VP-ASP by the improvements in their product. I have not personally tried it, but I'm impressed with what I've seen on their site so far. If you think you would like your site to look like their demo, its well worth the extra money since it will cost you a lot more to get there yourself by hiring someone or doing your own coding.

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VP-ASP Super User

304 Posts

Posted - July 07 2004 :  23:16:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There are really just so many different ways to get started at this depending on your own ability, preference, and goals. For example, if you are fairly technical, you would do well to to download the free demo and start entering your products and making the site the way you want it. It will give you a feeling of how much work it will take to get it the way you require it.

If you find that its pretty tough, you could hire someone from this message board to install VP-ASP for you and get the basics going. Then you could contract with your Canadian web design contact to just design specific HTML pages you need such as your "about us" and homepage. You could hire a graphic designer to create a "skin" for your site, which is the basic look and feel of your home page and navigation (I think this can run around $600 depending on how fancy you want it). You might need to contract again with someone on this board to connect your home page to the cart and do some customization to mesh the cart with the rest of your skin.

Its pretty much all up to you. Its rather exciting as there are so many possibilities. Its also a lot of work.

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Senior Member

United Kingdom
1898 Posts

Posted - July 08 2004 :  04:15:43  Show Profile  Visit devshb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The above postings are all excellent tips/advice in my view; as mentioned in those postings it does depend on what you're after and how much effort you want to put into it yourself and how much you just want to throw over to someone else.

We do installation/setup/customisations/design too; our general advice is for you to look at the vpasp demo stuff, design your own basic html-templates/graphics for how you generally want your product pages to look (or get someone else like us to do it for you), and then contact one of the developers who does customisation for vpasp and email them a copy of your look+feel templates and ask "what's involved in installing vpasp and getting it to look like this and to show this info?" Sometimes you can plug it in with standard vpasp, sometimes you might need customisations/addons; it depends what you're after.

You should note that whoever does the look+feel design doesn't have to be the same person/company that plugs that look+feel into vpasp (although it would help as the person/designer would know the general structure of the cart) - there's no reason you can't get an independant designer involved in making pretty templates and then throwing all that over to a vpasp programmer to plug it all in.

We've got a few useful bits and pieces on our site that you can use as addons, and a forum for those addons etc, but a lot of our addons are not publicly available for download yet as they're waiting in the wings to be documented, however they are ready to be bought/used if someone contacts us direct asking questions like "how can I do this?", in which case we'd say "we've got code that does that, we can add/install it for...."

vpasp isn't really just a cart; it's also potentially an entire site-solution and is capable of doing everything your site will most likely need to do. It's an incredibly powerful tool and saves you a fortune in development. It's easily worth the cost; the amount of logic it's got in it is humungous.

So, in summary, my advice is:

1) Get your designers to design html templates for how you want your site to look/work.

2) Contact a developer who does lots of vpasp stuff, send them your templates and ask them for (free) advice.

3) Buy the most relevant version of vpasp depending on the advice given by the developers and your own thoughts; some vpasp developers such as us are also approved vpasp re-sellers, selling either standard vpasp and/or enhanced/changed versions of it. Sometimes you can go for the standard one, sometimes you might need a heavily-customised/enhanced version to begin with, sometimes you might need customisation built on top of whichever version you go for.

4) Work out which customisation/installation bits you want to do for yourself, and which bits you want to hand on to a developer, and then get the developer to do the relevant bits. Advice on that would be offered under point 3 (ie before buying the cart, the developer would say "$x to buy the relevant version of vpasp", "$y to build the customisations" you'd need)

5) Once you're up and running, use the forums to avoid extra development costs where possible; you'll get tons of free advice here and on developers' forums.

We do 1+2+3+4 (design, installation/customisation, and re-selling different versions of vpasp), but you should never feel forced into using the same people for each of those steps if you don't want to.

Hope that helps.

Simon Barnaby
[email protected]
Web Design, Online Marketing and VPASP addons

Edited by - devshb on July 08 2004 04:48:04
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Starting Member

5 Posts

Posted - July 08 2004 :  06:26:14  Show Profile  Visit Sorgesu's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I can't believe the anount of time invested in giving me my answer. Thank you so very much. I have a lot to mull over. Thanks again.

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Starting Member

38 Posts

Posted - July 08 2004 :  09:37:49  Show Profile  Visit ecartstudio's Homepage  Reply with Quote
If you want to change the look of VP-ASP. We are offering different type of template look that will save you a lot of time to hire someone and develop. If you are interested, please take some time to take a look at our site to see if you fins anything to match with your criteria.
Please feel free to ask if you have any furthur question.


contact: [email protected]
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