Building an Online Retail Store – Development Log

These logs will mainly outline my progress as well as the steps required to manage multiple online retail stores via a single database, using a custom-designed series of systems to automate a lot of tasks that would be otherwise take up too much manual labour.

These include;
– Automating order imports
– Automating order tracking updates
– Automating stock levels
– Automating pricing

To handle this, a set of systems need to be put in place that manage the stock levels, prices and orders across multiple channels, and store them in one place. One solution would be to rely on systems already developed such as ChannelGrabber or ChannelAdvisor, however there are disadvantages to this, in case of problems with those systems, and being limited to the tools those systems provide. Instead, having a set of systems in-between a system such as ChannelGrabber and OpenCart to manage stock levels will allow a greater level of control, while maintaining the use of the functionality of both, and avoiding creating a single dependency on one system.

The store will use a central database to manage stock levels and pricing across multiple store channels, and act as a central storage for pricing, stock, orders and customer data. So, the overall aim will be a centralised management system that can manage an online retail store, and additional shop channels such as Ebay, Amazon, Rakuten, and be expanded upon in future. A lot of the code work has already been dome, but as these systems were built previously for an X-Cart website, the database script will need to be modified to conform to the database structure used by OpenCart. I’ve also also written an order importer that can import orders from ChannelGrabber into a database, but again, this was designed for X-Cart, so this will also need to conform to OpenCart’s database structure.

However, before all of these things can be looked at, I must first install a test version of OpenCart so I can take a look at the database stucture. The first script I may need to write would be one which will turn a .csv product feed into products to populate the store with.

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