View Full Version : Need your input on a Gotmead store

10-31-2005, 05:20 PM
Hi all,

I'm planning a store for Gotmead that would have a brew shop, a honey shop, an herb shop, a glassware shop, mugs, mazers, wineracks, mead and other items. It will all be drop-shipped from the various suppliers.

Which makes it complicated, because figuring shipping for such an arrangement is about impossible to do with ease. I'm researching, and am finding that getting such a cart would cost over $1000 by the time the necessary modifications are made.

So, that being said (unless you know a package that *can* do this), I need your feedback:

If I put up such a store, would it be too inconvenient to shop multiple stores for items, honey in one, supplies in another, etc. and have multiple checkouts? Or would you normally say 'this is a pain' and leave?

Please be honest, I have to make some decisions on how to do this, and need to know what y'all would think.


10-31-2005, 05:30 PM
Just speaking for myself, multiple check-outs from multiple sources would be a big hassle. I've run into this before on the Web, and I don't tend to go back to a site if the buying process is a lot of trouble. The whole object of shopping at home is to make things easier on the customer. If it isn't -- or, at least, if it isn't perceived to be -- then people tend to go elsewhere.

This is none of my beeswax (heh), but do you think you could qualify for a small business loan or even a grant in order to expand GM? You've got all the statistics at your fingertips that money people would want to see. Seems like it would be a decent risk to me.


10-31-2005, 05:40 PM
honest - it would be a pain. If you had good deals on buckets of honey, I might use it for that, but wouldn't use multiple checkouts if I wanted to get a bunch of stuff. I'd go to morebeer.com or someplace like that.

I used to order from a website called drumsdirect.com and they used a similar drop-ship model (selling drums and percussion). They closed their website down but you might be able to find out some info by knowing who they are?

It seems to me that Yahoo has some kind of service like this, to help you set this up. But I could be mistaken and you probably already looked at that.

$1000 would be a hefty commitment!

10-31-2005, 05:46 PM
I reccommend building the shipping into the prices and offering free shipping. That would make the shipping part much easier on your end and that is something I personally prefer as a customer. That would easily fix your single cart problems in my opinion.

10-31-2005, 06:00 PM
*Some* of the shipping could be built in, the problem is, how do you figure that out? It varies from place to place, and from NY to AK is a *huge* difference. A friend I have just figures from his place (NC) to the furthest away (AK) and charges everyone on that rate, but my drop shippers are all over the map worldwide, and he stocks, so it won't work for me.

I've already checked out Yahoo, and aside from the fact that I'd have to cough up over $50/month forever, I've built sites on their system, and I'm here to tell you it sucks (remember the pool hall site from Hell? Yahoo, and it took almost 6 months to complete), so thats out. I can't do hosting *and* Yahoo on the $60 or a month I'm getting on the Google ads.

I'm with you on the multiple checkouts, and frankly expected y'all to hate it, I know I do. I'm just pulling my hair out on the weird shipping stuff.

Just an example, here's what I've got so far:

Brewshop - uses UPS and USPS, ships from Raleigh, NC
Wineracks - uses FedEx, ships from NY
Glassware - uses FedEx, ships from Sweden
Herbs - uses USPS, ships from CT
Honey - my first source so far ships USPS or UPS, and ships out of NC

We won't even go there on what the meaderies I intend to ship from use, *plus* they have limited states they can ship to.

As far as a business loan, what I found out when last I looked at such things is that as long as you *have* money, they'll loan you money. Which, to my mind is silly. If I *had* money, I wouldn't need to borrow it! Without a proven profit track record and cash in the bank (HA!), they won't give you the time of day. As far as a grant, they tend to be for research/non-profit activities, so Gotmead likely wouldn't qualify, even if I had a clue on how to write a grant request.


There are hundreds of shopping carts out there, you'd think *one* would do what I need for a reasonable price.

Vicky - continuing the hunt, and keep the feedback coming, I need all the ideas I can get here

10-31-2005, 06:44 PM
Multiple checkouts would probably deter me from ordering, but then I usually order stuff from different sites so I'm already going through multiple checkouts anyway. Not having to go to different sites would at least cut that out of the equation.

Barring being able to order stuff, what I'd like to see on Gotmead.com is on the links to stores a space for customer ratings/feedback on those linked sites. For example, if I want to buy honey, I would like to look at Gotmead and see a list of honey suppliers along with what other people have to say about them.

10-31-2005, 06:46 PM
It sounds like a nightmare - "I got a box from brewshop on Monday, two boxes (herbs and Honey) on Tuesday, but its been a week now and I haven't got my box of glassware. Where is it".

How are you going to be able to back-trace the various shipments to prove that the customer got what they ordered, or that the various component orders were received and are being shipped?

10-31-2005, 07:04 PM
Alden: I'm looking into feedback on those, and that will probably come when I convert Gotmead to a content management system (in the works, need to figure out what to use and leaning towards Mambo).

James: Yeah, exactly. But, I'd have contact info for each store's items, so they could be traced, and most use some form for tracking, so I'm hoping to integrate that info into the site. I'm right now looking at http://www.clickcartpro.com/ and http://www.x-cart.com for my carts.

It's a complicated thing, but I'm thinkig that if I can work out the shipping thing, and make sure I post store info for the various products, and let people know that I provide the venue but don't control the shippers, I can manage it, likely with an email link in the 'thanks for your order' email for each mfr they order from.

10-31-2005, 09:00 PM
I agree its a hassle to be sent to several webs, and making seperate purchases, I don't have a problem with split shipments from good reliable shippers.

If you have the space for a little storage you may want to go ahead and stock some of the big selling items, and make bulk purchases (just a thought).

When your looking at the carts one thing I personally like is a shopping cart that gives the customer the option of checking shipping prices up front, its nice to be able to type in your zip code, click a button and check the shipping prices before you fill out a registration form, type in visa # etc...

Sounds great though, you can count on my support I will gladly purchase mead/wine supplies through this web, Cheers...John

10-31-2005, 10:28 PM

Does eBay have a service to set up your own online store and is it feasable costwise? A lot of people seem to do this, so I thought I would bring it up as an option.


10-31-2005, 10:48 PM
Hi Vicky,
From what I know - and that's not much - e-bay will set-up a shop for you, they will however nickel and dime you to death with %charges and such. I think you have to have items for bidding also, I will talk to a friend that's an e-bay seller and get back to you.
As for the original question, I would support the site, even with multiple checkouts ( bothersome).


11-01-2005, 08:29 AM
Have you looked at open source shopping carts? I realize there are a ton of different packages, but at least with open source, you can work with the lead developer to implement something that you want.

11-01-2005, 09:30 AM
Pawn: I am only dealing with companies I know to be good, so shipping isn't a problem, although FedEx and Big Brown lose stuff now and again. As far as stocking, well, that requires cash. And since I don't have any, stocking is out. The only things I have here are the Gotmead pins 'cause my buddy lets me sell them, *then* pay for them.

I will have a cart with a shipping calculator, though. Thanks for the support!

Angus/Brewbear: Ebay is ok, but like Yahoo, they bill you to death, and it's a pain to keep up, and it is outside the site, which is not an option I want.

Memento: Actually I have looked at open source. Zen cart is pretty cool, but set up for one shop. So, if I want to do it, I'd have to install it once for each shop. But it is *free*. X-cart, also open source, is $495, and I've used it and know its good. But the modifications I'd need would be $500. I'm looking as Oscommerce now and seeing what I can do with that.

Basically, my options now are:

1. Open source (free) and install multiple copies - problem is you have a full db for each and that takes up space
2. Buy open source and customize - doable, but gets me to around $1000 up front, and I don't have that much
3. Buy Nexternal (talked to them last night), which does nearly *everything* I want - is $1000 upfront, a hosted solution, and costs $250/month (*so* not budgetable right now) <--If sales get to where I can afford this, this *would* do the combined checkout, limit shipping states for mead, and deal with the discount crazyness

Thanks guys, keep it coming, you're making me really work on this, and I'm getting closer to a solution......

Vicky - not really awake yet and still pre-Dr. Pepper and caffiene deficient

11-01-2005, 01:01 PM
I'm into nature photography and about a year ago my uncle was setting up a website for me to sell my photos. He had it set up with PayPal. They supplied the source code and everything for the shopping cart and would accept credit cards and other payments... According to their website there is a onetime setup fee ($100-300) monthly fee($50-90) an a transaction fee (%) depending on amount sold in a month. Thought it might be something you might want to check out.


11-01-2005, 01:29 PM
Hey Vicki!

I have a friend who uses Zen Cart and she really doesnt like it. Says the interface is clunky and hard to use, and it doesnt do everything she needs.

Just as a heads up.

Otherwise no suggestions here. :(

11-01-2005, 01:54 PM
Riffraff: Thanks for the tip, but I'll have several hundred products, and Paypal isn't really good for that (and the fees are high).

Mynx: Yeah, I'd played with it a bit already, and it really doesn't do what I want. Right now I'm looking at osCommerce. Not my first choice, as I don't much care for the language, but there are some promising possibilities out there, and *lots* of add-ons. The best thing is that its free. So, once I get sales to where I need them to be, I can upgrade to Nexternal and be able to afford the fees, and get all the tools I need.

I won't be able to sell mead online just now, as I don't have all the tools in place, but the rest of the stuff is pretty easy, just gotta customize the cart and upload the goods.

With luck, the shop will carry the bulk of supporting Gotmead, at least I hope it will.

11-01-2005, 02:53 PM
ebay and yahoo turn me off. I've had my credit card stolen from yahoo's cart system.

I don't have a problem with paypal but I know as a seller they can be high priced for fees (although your alternatives require monthly fees).

What a CC gateway company are you going to go with?

I have used paypal and 2checkout because I didn't want a monthly fee or commitment of any kind. However, they're both HORRIBLY expensive for transaction fees. They also don't integrate well because they require you to push everyone over to their site to pay. That can be more secure, but confusing otherwise.

I wish I could just say I'd program something for you but life has been too crazy to even get myself a decent hobby website going.

11-01-2005, 04:11 PM
ebay and yahoo turn me off. I've had my credit card stolen from yahoo's cart system.

I've had the same problem with Paypal.

I don't have a problem with paypal but I know as a seller they can be high priced for fees (although your alternatives require monthly fees).

And their shopping cart solution is a 'add a product, add a checkout button' method. Not practical when you have a couple hundred products....

What a CC gateway company are you going to go with?

Haven't decided yet. I'm using Quickbooks for offline processing, and will likely use it for a while until I've gotten to where I can afford a realtime processor.

I have used paypal and 2checkout because I didn't want a monthly fee or commitment of any kind. However, they're both HORRIBLY expensive for transaction fees. They also don't integrate well because they require you to push everyone over to their site to pay. That can be more secure, but confusing otherwise.

Yep, exactly. Redstone is using Linkpoint, and the fees are somewhat reasonable, I may consider them. But right now the priority is the shopping cart. I'm leaning towards ClickCartPro at http://www.clickcartpro.com/seo/ste_software_feat.htm. Low cost, and it does *most* of what I want. I'm waiting for some feedback from the developers to make a decision.

I wish I could just say I'd program something for you but life has been too crazy to even get myself a decent hobby website going.

::laughter:: Thanks hon, but designing a cart that will do what I need it to do, I couldn't afford you! The *cheapest* one I've seen that does everything I want is $1000 +$250/month (Nexternal), or $2000 flat (Bug-cart.com), and I'm not there yet. Hopefully by the MeadFest, but not yet.

Vicky - caffinated finally, and feeling a bit more positive about getting a shop up and running

11-01-2005, 04:28 PM
OK, the early finalist for GM shopping cart is ClickCartPro. Those of you that are geekier than I am, please check them out here: http://www.clickcartpro.com/seo/ste_software_feat.htm and tell me what you think.

The main priorities are:

- ability to offer products from multiple vendors
- each vendor or product can have a shipping method
- cart calculates multiple shipping methods at checkout automatically
- ability to limit states to ship to (for wine)
- easy design customization and integration into the site
- drop shipping integration with emails on order to relevant vendor, their products only
- Vendor able to log in and provide shipping info/tracking numbers with automatic emails to customers

Thats all I can think of now. This system has a number of mods, and custom programming is also available (though I don't know relative costs), but the getting-in price is right at less than $200.

Vicky - chomping at the bit to put up the store

11-02-2005, 08:51 AM
Although there will be hassle with the multiple checkouts, as mentioned numerous times before, I think to beginners like myself this would be a great idea. I don't know where to look for supplies on line, and spent all night searching dead ends! Yay! So I think a centralized ordering site would benefit at least us newbees.

P.S. - If anyone wants to direct me towards a good online ordering site, yout help would be much appreciated.

11-02-2005, 01:50 PM

Until Vicky has the storefront up and running, a couple of good places are:

http://www.morebeer.com/ These guys have pretty-much everything, but, to be honest, I don't find their site very easy to navigate.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/ A good general-purpose supply outfit.

http://www.eckraus.com/ These guys tend to be a bit expensive, and are more focused on wine than beer, but they have free shipping over $25, and that can make it worth it sometimes.

Once Vicky does have things to her liking, I suspect she'll be taking a goodly portion of my liquid cash each month. :o


11-02-2005, 03:22 PM

How about a "USED" section of the store, where members who are wanting to sell their equipment can advertise?


11-02-2005, 03:47 PM

GM already has a classified section here:


But, as you can see, it doesn't get any action. It's a pretty comprehensive thing, so I think we need a better way to integrate it into the more trafficked areas -- specifically, the Forums. Anybody have an idea? Would it be horrendously cumbersome or inappropriate to actually put the Classified Section INTO the Forum section? You know, with the usual, "GM isn't responsible if you get ripped-off, blah, blah, blah," disclaimer in place. People would look at it then.


11-02-2005, 05:57 PM
I'm open to y'alls suggestions on integrating the classified section. Of course, if all y'all actually *went* to the rest of the site, you'd know it was there....LOL.

Also, the link called 'ads' up top takes you to the classifieds......

Vicky - 1200 pages of data, and you all hang out here ::shaking my head in amusement:: ::)

David Baldwin
11-02-2005, 06:09 PM
Yep, us forum rats tend to crawl in here and never leave. ;D ;D

I have actually made it a new habbit to visit the rest of the site at least once a week.

Thanks Vicky for all the work you have put in here.


11-02-2005, 06:29 PM
Good on you, David! I understand Oskaar actually goes out and looks around too from time to time. That makes *2*!!! ::tongue firmly in cheek::

Seriously tho, I'm tickled that the forums are so popular, and that y'all find them useful. I think we have the largest concentration of mead info in the world right here in the forums, and y'all are the ones that made it happen.

Thanks. A lot.

11-02-2005, 10:30 PM
Seriously tho, I'm tickled that the forums are so popular, and that y'all find them useful. I think we have the largest concentration of mead info in the world right here in the forums, and y'all are the ones that made it happen.


I'm open to y'alls suggestions on integrating the classified section. Of course, if all y'all actually *went* to the rest of the site, you'd know it was there....LOL.


Um...your Dixie is showing, dear.


11-02-2005, 10:45 PM
::laughter:: Hey, what can I say? "Yankee by birth, Suthern by the grace of *several* corporate tranfahs, y'all...."

You should hear me after a few glasses of mead.......and will get to if you come to the MeadFest. I'm interviewing this year, doing articles for GM instead of judging, so I'll be all over the place.

Now, if we can just get the podcast stuff up and running before then, we can do a live feed! (OK, *almost* live....)

11-02-2005, 11:52 PM
David, Vicky,

I hang my head in shame. I missed the classifieds section for used equipment:


GM already has a classified section here:


I do have to venture out there sometime. But it is so frightening :-[ :-[


11-03-2005, 01:37 AM
I do have to venture out there sometime. But it is so frightening :-[ :-[



I reach, man. The fear, the fear...{shudder}...I went to GM's homepage once.


Ha! Just yankin' ya. I actually surf GM first for most inquiries, before going out to the great google beyond. The MLD archives alone are priceless. With a fulltime Meadwench here, we can expect the older stuff to get regular updates, and the newer stuff to always be new.

To that end, lets all dedicate ourselves towards a self-sufficiecy point on GM, when Vicky can work on it 24/7/365 (heh, heh -- just jokin'...you'll get coffee breaks), and she can pay a few bills. Money's tight for me, but I'll order at least some of my supplies through a GM site on principle alone. If we all order a few nutrients and airlocks here and there, we'll be doing ourselves the biggest favor we can by keeping GM "Wenchafide". If Vicky has to take on another "(Fill In The) _______ Site From Hell" job, in order to keep this aspect of our social, educational, and artistic needs alive, then shame, shame on us all!


11-03-2005, 01:53 AM
Hold-on there, y'all !!!! You mean there's more than the forums?????
Just kiddin', the site has an overall coolness about it that I like and I keep telling people to visit it. I'm just curious to see who will be the first customer!


11-03-2005, 08:56 AM
::laughter:: Hey, what can I say? "Yankee by birth, Suthern by the grace of *several* corporate tranfahs, y'all...."

Better than in my situation. southern by birth, southern at heart, trapped in the north. In Illinois even (ewww!). And it's called soda, NOT pop.

11-03-2005, 09:46 AM

I agree with you whole heartedly. I will certainly buy stuff on GM to help keep it going. This is pretty much my exclusive source of brewing info now, so whatever I can do....


And it's called soda, NOT pop.

If you get tired of the flatlander's pop, just drive up over the border to WI and have a drink from a bubbler ???

11-03-2005, 11:04 AM
Naw, it's called *Coke*, no matter what kind it is.....6 years in Hotlanta. My daughter grew up asking for 'orange cokes', known to all outside the south as Crush.......

mouko_yamamoto, sorry you're trapped in the Nawth. I fled and am glad I did. I only venture back to visit family. I moved to the south in '89, and wild horses couldn't drag me back north of the Mason-Dixon. Dixie is my home now, and I'm glad of it.

You would have loved the Confederate memorial we do every year for Oakwood Cemetary in Raleigh. We put on skits about the War of Northern Agression and each features a man buried in the cemetary. Hundreds pay $6 a head to take the lantern-lit tour, and the money goes to upkeep for the cemetary....

Vicky - who served hot chocolate and cookies to the folks taking the tour

11-03-2005, 11:15 AM
I know a few people here who also came from the south, and they ALL hate it here. Just can't get that sweet southern comfort. I used to also live in NC; and I still rep the panthers.

How this relates to a Gotmead store? I dunno, but Vicky, thanks for running an awesome site. ;)

11-03-2005, 11:19 AM
No worries, mouko. Most threads around here get sidetracked at one point or another. I'm not anal about it, life is too short. I get my frustration at home, from my kid, ;D

Yeah, all my southern friends come back from Up North asking me how I stood it. I tell 'em I didn't know any better until I came here. They still call me Damn Yankee, but after nearly 20 years, it has a note of affection in it now.....I expect my grandkids will be born in the South.

I'll bet you miss sweet tea, grits and good barbeque (here where its a noun, not a verb), right?

Vicky - who has acquired a taste for the vinegar-based barbeque they have here in NC

11-03-2005, 12:12 PM
Oh no, another great topic to start: "Mead and BBQ - What's best with what?" :D


"Post your best Mead based BBQ Sauce recipe".

You southerners are lucky though. BBQ is truly the greatest American food, and the South has it perfected. Yes, NC vinegar based sauces are great, but KC sweet sauces are still my favorite.


11-03-2005, 12:26 PM
Oh, Angus when I went to KC for work, I practically *bathed* in the stuff. I adore KC barbeque.

And if you've never tasted Memphis dry-rub barbeque, you haven't lived. Fantastic!

11-03-2005, 12:35 PM
Get it right, Sesh!

Pop is someone's father. Coke gets you into rehab.

It's soda! ;D


11-03-2005, 12:42 PM
If you stick me, I bleed BBQ sauce. :D

Tried every type: dry, wet, salty, sweet, vinegary from all over the country. Made a special pilgrimage to the Salt Lick outside of Austin just to taste their famous brisket.

Ordered the sauce from Ruby's in Austin for my smoked briskets. Not too sweet, not too salty, with a nice little burn to it. Mmmmmm.

Angus - now I'm hungry!

11-03-2005, 01:48 PM
Pop is someone's father. Coke gets you into rehab.

It's soda! ;D

Naw, Co-cola is what its called.....and some like peanuts in theirs.

Vicky - more grits than oatmeal in my bloodstream now...

11-03-2005, 06:27 PM
Oh gosh, I had to break myself of the habit of asking for sweet tea. Seriously, for almost six months after I moved here, it was, "I'd like sweet tea."

"We don't have sweet tea" *nonchalant look*


"You want what?"

I hope one day to return...

12-04-2005, 03:06 PM
Hi Vicky,

I'm enjoying your site. Thanks for the hard work.

As for your issues with a web store, you can resolve a few of them using tools available directly from UPS. You can download a toolset that works with http calls to their server which will return the billing matrix for any set of zip codes. So if your supplier is in, say, New Jersey and a customer in Oklahoma, you can pass the two zip codes (origin and destination) and get back the rates for ground, overnight, 3 day, etc.

I've done this a few times for commercial sites that my company has developed.

A comment, however: While this allows you to have one checkout, it still doesn't get around the fact that your customer will have multiple packages coming from multiple locations, and will therefore pay the shipping/handling multiple times. This was a common complaint that I've still not found a way to deal with.

In any event, thanks again ... you have a great site, and good luck with your store should you decide to proceed.



12-05-2005, 10:48 PM
Hi Cordially!

Thanks for the complement, I appreciate it. The store is coming along, and having UPSOnline and live FedEx and such is no worry, but getting the split to work will take programming. I'm working on getting together the cash for it now, with hopes of implementing it by the end of the year.

The goal is for the shop to calculate the shipping without me having to get in and mess with it (other than setting up handing fees and such). We'll see how well it works in practice! LOL

Vicky - working on the CMS version of GM as we speak

Drunk Tailor Mark
12-07-2005, 03:28 PM
It's all greek to me.

12-07-2005, 08:25 PM
Hey, aren't you supposed to be sewing pants?



02-19-2006, 03:16 PM
Just a thought, could you perhaps set up a complete store for handling everything we might need for online purchases, and set up to buy wholesale from various distributers, that would have everything in stock, and they could then drop ship straight to your customers?

Figure your retail price, plus their shipping. We'd have one stop shopping, same speed of delivery, and you wouldn't have inventory, and handling problems. There are a lot of business's doing this now quite successfully.

Honey you could buy wholesale in bulk and repackage into usable volumes, with your marketing label As a beeker in the past, I know there is an incredible markup on it from bulk to retial package.

And you adveriseing would be free, and you would already have a large volume of soyal customers, many who might be willing to help you do the set up work.
Best regards, John

02-19-2006, 08:53 PM
The store will have everything I can find, and all is going to be dropshipped. I can't do the buy wholesale honey thing, that requires funds I don't have, so it will be drop shipped too.

The shop will be like a 'mall', so each store is complete in itself, with its own shipping (since they're all over the world).


02-19-2006, 11:21 PM
Dear Vickey,

again, I am a total newbe to mead and cider, but determined to learn. However, there are in most small towns via the small business assc. retirede business persons volunteering to help new start ups, and with advice, and links to get gov. grants and secure very cheap loans. They will set up a cost factor,and income factor for you and you will be a shoe in. When they are finished with helping you, you would have a concise idea of your profit potential over expenses for at least a 3 year program, given what you now have, which could expand immensly. Potential is there, absorbe t , enjoy it and use it. Better than a credit card, these programs have super low and longer term interest rates than any credit card compassion. And all this help is free. Again, use and enjoy, as I will also having a one source of ordering. Some of your devoted members are probably quite expert at helping set all this up. Let them do their part. Wish I knew more and could help more. This is cerainly the best site I have ever had the chance to visit or ascribe to. You are superior and superlative. Thankd again for allowing me in. John

PS: also posted to the newbe site which I am, as deep plans needed! Help needed!