Complex Shop Configuration...
Hey there everyone,
I've been trying to figure this out (on and off between actually getting my first store working) for a few months now. The time has come to deal with these issues, so here goes...
My client has two company divisions: One for US/CANADA and one for UK/EU. They want to have 4 currencies/localizations offered with some variations in products, specials and prices. So they basically want 4 stores that look the same, but have slightly different catalogs and home pages (and probably the logo).
To start, I'd like to get one store tested and working for a few weeks or so, then clone/split/branch the site once most of the changes have stopped/slowed down (so I'm not making changes x 4 and then x 2 for the HTTPS folders). This is to cut down the maintenance and stop me from going insane.
To further reduce maintenance (and by extension the cost), I'm thinking of taking advantage of Plesk's "Use one folder for HTTP/HTTPS" feature. (BTW I'm with GoDaddy using Linux/Apache/PHP/MySQL/ZC 220.127.116.11). These are not going to be high traffic stores with high prices.
SSL and Localized Domains
The other part to this is the SSL certificates required and the different localized domain names the want - domain.ca, domain.com, domain.co.uk, and domain.eu.
My thoughts are if I hosted them all under the same server and even the same domain with either sub-domains or folders for each region's store instance/variation (say ca.domain.com, uk.domain.com, etc., or domain.com/ca/, domain.com/us, domain.com/eu, etc.) I could get either a single SSL certificate or a wildcard SSL certificate and save time and money and only need one dedicated IP for the SSL to work. But, there are some issues with the sub-domain setup and HTTPS (I don't think HTTPS works with sub-domains in my Plesk/Godaddy Virtual Dedicated Server setup without some kind of symbolic link trickery).
Splitting the Sites
I'm also unsure as how best to split things up (if at all). With a setup like this, I could easily host all 4 databases on the same server (with either the sub-domain or folder setup), but if I wanted to have 1 front-end (catalog) and 4 back-ends (admins) connecting to the 4 databases, then how do I split things up so that the SSL/HTTPS situation works well and doesn't confuse things or make more work for me (or anyone else in the future)?
Do SSL certificates work if I have the sites are under the same server/IP, but the location shows a different localized URL? (If I used some kind of URL masking and not a sub domain or sub folder setup method?)
Languages & Currencies
Another issue is the different currencies. The client doesn't want to use the exchange rate to determine the different prices for different regions, but rather a price they choose that matches the market they're in for that product. For example, if we decide to combine and US and Canadian stores into one database and use different Language files with the currency/language switch, they want the product that costs $12.99 CDN to cost $11.99 USD rather than a site-wide exchange rate that could turn the US price into $11.56.
This issue could be solved, if, like having different language content in the product admin area, there was a text box for a specific price for that product in that specific language. Rather than leaving the price up to the exchange rate for that country/language. Do you get what I mean? BTW the client doesn't want to change the prices very often.
Multiple "configure.php" files?
What about this idea... Can I have different admin and catalog configure.php files for different languages/currencies in one store configuration? If I host all 4 catalogs and admins on 1 common store setup, and a shopper chooses their preferred currency or language can the store catalog now connect to a different database (and folder, with different configuration files etc) on the same server? And the admin does basically the same, but based on what folder the admin areas is launched from?
My overall goal here is to figure out how to have 4 stores on one server with 4 databases and share and IP or SSL/HTTPS if possible. Anything to reduce unnecessary redundancy and fragmentation without making things complex or confusing everything. If I have to get 4 separate SSL certificates and 4 separate IPs, then fine. I'd just like to know to get the first store up with a firm plan of what will happen next for each store variation so that I either buy a wildcard SSL certificate or a single one now, and then tell my client that each instance will cost more for a new SSL certificate and IP etc, etc.
There's the shipping tax situation to deal with too, but I'll leave that to another, hopefully not so long, post (sorry about this one ;-)
BTW This is my first store of any kind and I'm new (but not a newbie) to server administration/Linux and SSL/HTTPS.
Any help on this asap would be amazing!!!
Thanks in advance everyone.
Re: Complex Shop Configuration...
I have a similar problem I am going to tackle. A company for which I am setting up ZenCart has two stores. The primary store is located in the U.S. and serves all U.S. customers. The other store is located in Canada and serves all non-US customers.
All the product data will be the same. For now. I figure solving the multiple store location issue is easier by focusing on the customer's account shipping location to determine which store postal code is fed to the shipping quote module. (I plan on looking at the code for tax zones/locations and then hacking my way from there. After that it may be but short step to the product info admin module to determine which stores offer which products.)
Anyway, from what I have read with regard to multiple shipping/drop-ship locations, some experienced Zen Cart people would rather discuss marketing strategy than coding resolution. Which is not the right way to resolve the issue. So, I intend to overcome this hiccup come hell or high water. I am not the most experienced coder, but I've done some incredible PHP hacks with WordPress, and from what I am seeing in Zen Cart's (overly complicated) code, I don't foresee too much trouble.
My timetable is roughly two months to get this done. So, I'll be interested in sharing/exchanging info with you here or offboard, if you are.
So, it has been roughly a week for you. How goes it thus far?
Re: Complex Shop Configuration...
Just a heads up on the Merchant account and processing aspect before you get too far into your set up. You will require a separate Merchant account for each unique IP address (unique domain name) that you are using. That is, www.store.ca will require one merchant account with all the applicable monthly fees (approximately $85/month) while www.store.com will require a completely separate merchant account and all the applicable monthly fees. Each unique domain is considered a separate store by the MC/VISA associations...like two different stores on a city street.
Originally Posted by cyber9
Also, if you set up four separate stores under one IP (using sub domains for example) you will not be able to set up a merchant account for the business unless all four stores are owned by one legal entitiy and you declare all of the products and services up front to the acquirer when you set up your account. If the products are too different or not related in some way you will be required to set up separate accounts (under different domains). For eg. if one sub-domain store is dedicated to sell shoes and the other subdomain is dedicated to selling web hosting then two stores would be required and two merchant accounts. If you attempt to sell for both stores through one merchant account you would be breaching the association rules (called aggregating) and at risk of being shut down.
Again, just a heads up that you may want to get in touch with your acquirer (they set up the merchant accounts....Moneris Solutions in Canada or FDMS in the States for eg.) and discuss your plan before committing to anything too big.
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