Need to set up e-commerce site

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Enlightened1, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Enlightened1 macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2014
    Greetings, I have found lots of useful information from this site in the past, but now have a specific question that I could not find an answer to. Forgive me if a similar topic has been discussed, but it is difficult for a web-ignoramus such as myself to filter through all the topics when I don't speak your language and don't understand most of your terminology.

    I am a newly trained physician and would like to offer medical advice via an e-commerce web store. Unfortunately, as I am fresh out of training, I do not currently have the means by which to hire a web builder/designer to assist me. I can't even afford cheap right now.

    The gist is of my potential website (without getting into too many details) is that a customer, seeking medical advice, would access my site, pay a fee then send me the required documents. I would then analyze the material and send back my report via regular mail/shipping. I do not plan to have this capability initially, but possibly later, I may want to have a repository on my website whereby the customer could login and review their documents and my report(s) online. Initially, I plan to only send them their hardcopy reports.

    So, I need a website with a shopping cart for only a handful of possible charges. My research has led me to hosted shopping carts such as shopify or bigcommerce. This seems the easiest way to set up a shopping cart/website without having to worry about the myriad of hosting issues. It seems I could design the website using the templates they offer. The reason I am hesitant, however, is that these seem more aligned for people with numerous products to sell, when I would only have a few charges. Also, I would just like some reassurance from those who are more knowledgable/informed than myself.

    Of course I have glorious ambitions for the business, and could foresee this getting pretty big. In such case, would it be better to have my own website? Could I start with a hosted site/cart and then switch at a later point when I have proper funds to hire a good website builder/designer?

    Thank you so much for any help or assistance you could offer.
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I would look towards a company that specializes in such things instead of you trying to manage it yourself.
  3. Enlightened1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 5, 2014

    Are you referring to one of the hosted e-commerce sites, like I mentioned above? Can you recommend a company? Thanks
  4. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    My thoughts first:
    The website will be your storefront. Designing one yourself may save you money today, but will scare away potential customers due to amateur look. Mixing medicine and online is a dangerous game. Also, think about the overall picture. You'd make more money treating patients instead of managing/building a site, especially e-commerce. E-commerce is not to be taken lightly.

    If you decide to push through with this look to Stripe to create quick buttons. You can basically pre-program the button with say a $100 fee on a page, $200 on another page, ect. Even this level of easy may be too difficult for you to handle safely.

    Good luck.
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    You probably didn't think through the business model.

    If the patients have the "required documents," the person already went to the doctor and can probably afford to have a real doctor to make a second opinion.

    If they don't, they have sites such as

    In addition, since you don't have a budget, you don't have a budget to secure the website to handle sensitive information.
  6. mripadmini macrumors regular


    Aug 24, 2013
    its impossible to start a company that does this kind of service when you have never worked with/for a already established company that does it.
  7. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    Concentrate on being a physician first. Trying to accomplish what you want to do is going to take some knowledge of web development. Security will be a big issue, especially of what you are asking people to do with their files over the net. If you do try to tackle this on your own, I wish you luck in your endeavors.
  8. blaster_boy macrumors 6502


    Jan 31, 2004
    See all the above comments for why you should think twice before doing this. Putting sensitive documents on the web should be done in a way that is very secure. Make sure that you're legally covered !

    For startup and light loads, however, Dropbox might be something to look into. You can easely upload docs to a dropbox account and then share the link to the document via an url. You could also give them the wrong link by accident... so I would be very careful about doing this. Or not do this at all.

    Your first scenario is just a web-frontend and the exchange of documents and result is done via shipping / mail.

    In that case you don't need anything big. You could get away with using Wordpress + WooCommerce plugin + Paypal and/or Stripe extension to sell your services. Should not cost that much.

    Technically it's all possible. It's up to you if you want to try it out or not.

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