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osCommerce

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Questions on eBay Auction Contribs


Iceberg

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Hello everyone,

 

This is my first post, and I am just starting to learn about osCommerce. Looks like an excellent open source product, keep up the good work!

 

Anyways, I have not deployed my store yet, and was looking into the different ebay Auction contribs out there.

 

My question is regarding what is best suited for my needs, and the differences/advantages/etc of each. I have already researched the forums and contribs, and now I have more questions! :)

 

Basically, I currently do eBay auctions and will be expanding to also do a website selling similar items.

 

For the integration between my store and eBay, I need:

1. A single unified inventory, and when an item sells in ebay, for the inventory in oscommerce to decrement.

2. Possibly, the ability to generate ebay templates based on item description, pics, etc.

3. The ability(but not required) to drive ebay users to my website for final checkout, in order to use my payment processors, other than just using paypal directly.

4. The ability to somehow (manual or automatic) decrement product inventory when a ebay user only uses eBay and Paypal to purchase their product.

5. It would be nice, but not required, to have some mgmt of ebay auctions in oscommerce.

 

I dont need:

1. eBay listings in osCommerce

 

Now, based on the above requirements, I have researched the modules, and have come up with the following. What do you guys think would be the best suited for my requirements?

 

1. Automated Auction Process - http://www.oscommerce.com/community/contributions,1739

Seems like a great contrib, and parses raw ebay html, but do not know if it does inventory integration. Or if it works when an ebay user pays directly with paypal?

 

Could the payal direct bit of 'eBay Auction Sales Manager' below be integrated with this contrib to allow direct paypal checkouts?? Has anybody looked into integrating this with eBay SDK other than parsing HTML (I know the author prefers parsing HTML as you don't have to pay eBay, keep it free, etc)

 

2. eBay Auction Sales Manager @ www.auctionblox.com

Looks almost exactly what I need, but I am confused as to the status of this project. Seems not to be listed in contribs(although you can find an old version by going to the URL directly) due to it's somewhat commercial nature. The forums also said this may be reinstated I am not sure what you lose though by not paying for the auctionblox.com service(yes, I have read the auctionblox faq, but am still confused). This ebay listing also seems to integrate via the ebay SDK??

Has anyone tried to make a open source version of the auctionblox services (with each individual user paying the eBay SDK fees - $100/yr vs. 39.99/mo at auctionblox)?

 

3. I have reviewed the other contribs by doing a 'ebay' contrib search, but they seem to revolve around listing your ebay auctions in oscommerce, so they don't seem to apply.

 

Can anybody please shed some expereince on this subject, and help a noobie out?

 

Thanks, Ivan

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Iceberg,

I think EAM is exactly what you want. It fulfills each and everything you listed.

 

As for the other contribution using the HTML scraping. There will always be flaws in that. First off, eBay does not allow it. So, if they find out, you could get your account suspended. A fact that he fails to mention. Secondly, eBay is constantly changing their HTML to purposely screw up anything trying to scrape the HTML. So, if they make a change, you have to wait for the author to fix the code before you can continue business. For an occasional user running a side business part time, that might be an option. However, to me, it is not an option. I will not tolerate even 5 minutes of downtime. Ask AuctionBlox (author of EAM), soon as something breaks, or doesn't work, I'm all over him to fix it immediately.

 

EAM integrates beautifully into OSC with a very minimal install. Initial install from start to finish took me about 20 minutes. If you look at the size of the contribution, and compare to the install time of equivalent contributions, that is a big deal.

 

Like I said, EAM has everything you need. The buyer is sent an email with a link to your website to complete checkout. They can complete the checkout on your website, and add additional items to their cart as they do so. Also, they can pay via PayPal immediately after the auction (most people do), and EAM will generate an order from that payment.

 

EAM 3.0 has a new template feature that you will find quite useful. You can set up a template for an item, and list it automatically from your OSC store. No need to even go to eBay. You can set up multiple templates for each item, or just use one template, list the item, change the name, list it again, etc.

 

Since everything is driving via OSC it ties directly to your inventory. I believe you can even reserve the amount if you list several on eBay so that someone doesn't checkout via your store and leave you short. (Not POSITIVE on that one, I handle my inventory differently)

 

EAM is a complete auction manager. From the sale, to the feedback, it can do it all. Send reminders, file NPB and FVF, leave feedback, etc.

 

Since EAM uses the eBay API, you do not have to worry about things getting screwed up whenever eBay changes their HTML code. AuctionBlox is fantastic with support! Any issues that have come up have been solved within a very short time. Most of the time it's eBay's fault, and he'll determine that it is their fault and confirm it for us, and he'll let us know if there is an expected time that they will have it fixed.

 

As for the paying and things. Well, anytime you change the code for the API, you have to have it recertified through eBay for an additional $100. Then there is the construction of the interface between eBay and OSC to handle the API calls. I personally know two people who have done this, and they said it has been a nightmare dealing with eBay, and trying to make sense out of their API, and trying to make calls with the API that don't waste tons of calls and cost more money.

 

I personally used EAM before it even had this option available. I entered each order manually. Even THAT was far better than the Excel spreadsheet I tried to keep track of the orders in. And the Access DB that I tried to keep track of the inventory needed and keep track of orders placed with vendors. I would recommend the download service for any heavy user. I sell between 150-250 items/week. Now I couldn't imagine trying to enter that many sales into EAM manually. EAM has freed up tons of time to allow me more time to focus on packing, customer service, and expanding my business. EAM is a tool. It has become a necessary tool in my business, and one that I will not give up.

 

As for the cost itself. Check out similar products on the internet. Not the OSC contributions, none of them truly compare. There are several services that are similar to EAM on the web. For the volume that *I* do, they would run me between $40 and $150 a month. Each have their own features, most of which have been incorporated into EAM. But NONE of them integrate into OSC, allowing you to do everything through your store, and online. I now have the ability to run my business from anywhere (including the cruise ship I will be on in September).

 

Best of luck with your business. If you have further questions, feel free to msg me directly.

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Thanks for the detailed reply Sean, very usefull. I will give both modules a try, but I certainly am leaning towards using EAM at this point.

 

I see that 3.0 will be out shortly, but still isn't available for download, so I will be looking forward to that release.

 

Thanks again,

 

Ivan

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