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Shop Amai Online

After launching the new Amai website last week, the first question everyone asked was, “Where’s the shopping cart?” Even though Andrew and I have been in the web design world for many years, neither of us have had to deal with building our own e-commerce tool. It’s a suprisingly difficult task. Free shopping carts are poorly programmed, and custom tools are expensive for small businesses. We looked at Shopify, but they take a 3% commission which is too much for a little shop like ours. We also looked at several free cart options, and ultimately decided on Zen Cart because of their shipping calculators. This is not an endorsement for Zen Cart by any means. It is filled with too many unnecessary features and is so confusing to navigate it is amazing that the average online business can use it. The final battle came with credit card processing. Google Checkout has free processing until the end of the year, but they don’t work well with Zen Cart’s shipping calculators, so that option was out. The best option to get the site up quickly was PayPal. The integration is a little akward, but it is secure and allows us to charge any type of credit card (paypal accounts are not required.)

Ultimately Andrew conquered the ZenCart system enough to get our online store up and running, just in time for the holiday season. You can now purchase Amai sweets directly from the source and have Tea Sweets and Botanical Brownies shipped right to your door. Thank you to those of you who have already placed an order! We tried to quietly launch it this weekend while testing, but many of you caught us and got your orders in. If you notice any issues with the cart or have any suggestions please let us know.

In addition to our Tea Sweets and Botanical Brownies, we’re also planning to offer a special holiday Champange Brownie sale in December. It’s so exciting to be able to offer specials directly to you. Let the holiday shopping begin…

Amai Tea & Bake House Online Store

Thank you Andrew!


Debbie says on November 14th, 2006 at 11:00 am:

Andrew did an excellent job. Here’s to Christmas shopping via Amai’s new shopping cart!

Andrew M. Lin says on November 14th, 2006 at 12:23 pm:

Thanks Debbie, and you are very welcome Kelli. If anyone has any difficulties in placing an order, let me know.

Zen Cart isn’t all that bad – it’s free. But I would consider it “bloated” software. There are simply too many features that get in the way of implementing a simple cart. For more about our experiences with shopping carts, read here.

leslie says on November 15th, 2006 at 9:53 am:

Have you tried Miva Cart? I’ve set up a tonne of them before and they are relatively easy and you can customize quite a bit of it. We used it for this site: http://www.oseaskin.com/ amongst others.

Mariko says on November 16th, 2006 at 6:45 pm:

Congrats! Yippeeee!

Elizabeth says on November 17th, 2006 at 6:30 pm:

I always thought Lovescool and Amai’s websites are designed and maintained well above most food sites. I have appreciated the helpful information too.

One question I have is what is the standard for webhosting fees? A company has shown me a sample website that I can design for my own business. It’s user friendly in that the user can change the text and graphics themselves. With a one time $1,000. start up fee, $50.00 monthly fee – it offers tech support and 500mb. I don’t know if this is the median fee in the field or a bit high.

If you have any thoughts, I’d welcome the input. Thanks.

variable annuity says on February 16th, 2007 at 12:08 pm:

Great website, it was actually quite real helpful.

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Lovescool is the documentation of a journey to discover what sweet things are out there, why people love them so much, and perhaps what it takes to start something new.

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An interest, that turned into a blog, that turned into a career. Kelli Bernard is now the owner and baker of Amai Tea & Bake House.

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Blog posts are dropped into categories like cookies on a cookie-sheet.

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