We purchased the domain, CarPartsMall.com in 2004 and held it in our portfolio with plans for future developement.
Since that time the domain has been sitting patiently, parked as "for sale" with no serious offers, waiting to be moved to the top of the project list.
Having had experience working with successful auto parts ecommerce sites, whether to build our own full service store, processing orders through a drop shipper (such as Doba), or to target the Amazon associate network was in question until the end of 2011.
We also have experience working with Amazon's APIs and site building automation, so the decision to develop and market our own suite or to acquire an existing package will depend on research.
OurShop projects include:
OurShop.com e-commerce resources (this site)
Private Recruiting Network (RocketRecruiter.com)
Honda Do It Yourself
Introducing the OurShop.com™ Amazon project!
Up until now, OurShop.com™ has neglected content about affiliate programs in favor of information for retailers selling their own products or drop shipping. Well, we're going to correct that with a real world experiment and we've finally decided to get our CarPartsMall.com project underway!
The following is not a review of any Amazon affilliate store software. This is a log of our experiences though the process we are outlining here may contain personal observations, recommendations, and comments.
Create a revenue stream from the CarParsMall.com domain centered around auto parts
Develop or aquire an Amazon targeted suite of scripts to manage and display Amazon auto parts related products which will be linked through our Amazon associate id and chronicle the process here as a resource for internet entrepreneurs. Basically we're looking to find or create full featured software to set up a stand alone Amazon associate store.
Associate Script Requirements
Integrate with current Amazon APIs
Operate as a full e-commerce shopping cart
Written in ether perl or PHP to take advantage of our expertise
Easy product and category selection
Include for integration custom content for search engine optimization
If 3rd Party script: must demonstrate active development
Keep on top of SEO
Keep on top of Amazon program changes
Status - Research Available Amazon Associate Scripts (Dec 2011)
Our current list of associate scripts to review (in no particular order):
- Zen Cart (with store manager)
- Fresh Store Builder
- Affiliate Niche Script
- The Easy Store
- Store Stacker
FSB is currently $147.00 and allows you to set up unlimited stores. We have our own servers but for those who don't, they point you to HostGator (fairly inexpensive... as the ad on this page shows), and they can help set things up for a fee.
- Met all requirements from above
- Offers good additional services such as inexpensive install and setup
- Saves major time for our development team
- Other status:
Status - Playing with install of Fresh Store Builder (Dec 23, 2011)
While waiting for our new dedicated server we decided to install FSB on our current machine. We needed to add the Ioncube extension (which we did with no issues). Then, though the system requirements state it will run on PHP5... it really probably needs PHP 5.1.2, because we then ran into the use of the hash() function which weren't implemented until 5.1.2. We haven't bothered to discuss this with FSB support since it won't be an issue for us shortly. They may have a work-a-round.
Status - Installed freshstorebuilder on the new server, configured store, and made it live as of 1/2/2012
Experienced numerous issues with software capabilities and our preconceptions. Not exactly issues with the software, which we actually are liking, but with the data that Amazon feeds back to us. Amazon only returns 100 products with the API on their "ItemSearch" call (such as a request for products in a specified category "node").
In order to proceed as we had originally planned... as a full parts store using Amazon products we would need some
kind of API link to the amazon parts widget. Which, of course, doesn't exist.
As a result of these category/product limitations we've changed the focus of the store toward specific car product accessorizing where we can add specialties and articles that interest us and hopefully our readers as we go. You can see the
current version at CarPartsMall.com. We've done a good deal of customization to one of the main templates. Yes, we do like "red" at OurShop.com.
We should also note that we've used the FSB customer support system to ask a few questions and have gotten replies in a reasonable time frame.
We have a few articles written but will add them incrementally.
We also found that every FSB customer is an affiliate so we updated our links on this page to include our affiliate id.
Status - CarPartsMall.com is now active (Jan 19, 2012)
We populated our categories and made some customizations to the FSB scripts (mostly display areas where CSS modifications wouldn't handle what we wanted). Most categories are auto-populated though the ones with only a few products we populated on an item by item basis and there is a lot more work to be done both in cosmetic appeal (we're programmers, not designers) and content. However, we made our first sale this week to bring in about $3.50! Ok... nothing to get too excited about... but our first week expectations didn't actually include sales so we're very happy at this point to demonstrate the associate store functionality and possibilites.
We are working to address some issues that may come to haunt us in the near future. IE... we need more relevant articles and more custom text in the products so that we don't get knocked down SEO-wise.
Note: creating this type of associate store is great for specific niches where you can really pay attention to individual products that you add and create good, helpful articles. The internet doesn't need another site that simply clones product links and Google eventually ranks these appropriately. The better bet is to find a more targeted niche than what we are currently doing here which lends itself to desirable higher ticket items and keep the store extremely focused. On the other hand, for those associates in the UK, Amazon caps the associate dollar commission per item so you may do better with products in the $100 or less range.
Also, after having been in the Fresh Store Builder forums for a few weeks we're pretty happy to see the community and FSB team involvement. And we're contributing when/where we can. We're also happy with our decision in general to go with FSB for the stand alone Amazon associate store. Every software package has its "quirks" but this one is much better and full featured than we expected.
Stay tuned for more updates!
All inquiries or comments to OurShop.com can be made to email@example.com