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Ebay auction manager for OSCOMMERCE

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I've read this topic with some interest because I currently have an auction site. I use a heavily modified version of "EveryAuction" and would love to be able to send my high bidders to the secure portion of my osc shop to pay for their purchases & allow them to browse the categories.

 

I'd specifically like to be able to send them to a page that includes the item purchased, the final price, the shipping amount, and the various acceptable payment methods...it would be ideal if from there they can complete the checkout...without requiring they register at my osc site to do so.

 

I also think it would be best if those who enter the cart from the front page never see the auction items...or if at least that option was available via the admin. I lot of the stuff I auction off is older merchandise that I really wouldn't want on the virtual shelves of my store, but don't want to take a complete loss on.

 

Can such a thing be set up? I personally would have no idea how to go about it, but I think there are a lot of people with small auction sites who would love to be able to do this.

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also wanted to mention that the way sold works for after auction management without api is that it logs into ebay with your id and password and then pulls all the information off of your My ebay selling page which now has all current auctions, current store items, unsold items, current prices, time left. etc. etc. So I would think there would be some way to do the same thing with any script written to work through oscommerce?

 

I have been doing some research on the web to find such a script, php, cgi, pearl whatever and have come up with nothing yet.

 

Melinda

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Actually, there is a way to do this. It is a bit limited but it does work. In my case I don't want my customers to know that I am auctioning something off (since it is cheaper) so I made a category with no name. Then, I copy the product from the original category to the 'no name' category. Then on my auctions I put the link to the product for 'express checkout'. It works very nicely and uses the same stock as the original. BUT, there is one thing that bothers me and I haven't taken the time to investigate. On the New Products mod the auction items show up. If you decide to use this method and don't mind your regular buyers buying from you on eBay (or seeing a cheaper price on your site), I would suggest first making the product under the 'no name' category then post your auctions then go back to your product page and change the title with the auction # and maybe a link to the auction in the description. It has a professional checkout and is very easy. Hope this helps someone.

 

I don't understand quite how to do this. You're saying you put a link into your ebay auction ad that says winning bidder click here or something of that sort and it takes them to the product info page and then from there they would click on it to add to their cart and pay through your webpage? or also if you could add that link to your eoa email?

 

What about creating a category in your store that is named Auctions using the above idea, how would you prevent anyone but the high bidder being ale to buy it? and not until the auction ended?

 

Melinda

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Ok, I've read the entire post and wanted to see if anyone was still looking into the ability to interface with eBay so OSC store owners could select items for listing on eBay directly from within our control panel?

 

This would be a huge adition to my store if we can make this happen...

 

Thanks.

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This is something that I would love to see OSC have in the near future. I am not good with PHP, but am learning. It would seem to me that the best place to start would be figuring out how to get data from eBay. This could be done by a PHP script and then the relevant data inserted into the database creating a product with a stock level of one, so that when the user purchase the item it is changed to a stock level of zero.

 

I did a little searching and found a script that rips data from ebay and creates variable from the data. The script doesn't currently work, but it should give some ideas as how to get data. Once you have the data, inserting it into the database is easy. You would need a way to run the script when the auction closes, I would assume via cron. I know that eBay does allow for other other online payment methods when you list an item although I have never tried this to see what the options are when listing an item.

 

Here is the script that I mentioned: http://www.aeoninteractive.net/scripts.php

 

Just thinking out loud

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According to the site the script works but you have to setup an "About Me" page and have the same fields.

Why not give that a shot, get the results and then create a file.

From that file you could create a private password protected section - like a mini site but uses same database like ebay.mysite.com

Then when someone win, the use their auction number and user name to login and checkout.


"If you rundown your shadow, you will never catch it"

Bob Marley

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Didn't check through 11 pages worth of content but easist way to list your eBay auctions on your own site is with their Merchant Kit.

You cannot get rid of the eBay banner but you can customize the fields you want to display and get it as narrow as ~ 126px wide.

 

There's also the Editor Kit which offers a bit more customization. That one is basically for people who want to get referral sales off their website but it has all functionality of Merchant Kit and then some.


It's funny how the harder I work the luckier I get.

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Has anyone looked at AuctionWorks.com?

 

They have a backend interface that is very slick that allows customers to manage thier product inventory, catalog, auction listings, results, etc.

 

I'm wondering if it might be possible to build the osC store to pull data directly from that product database. The main problem we are facing is that a store owner would conceivable have to manage inventory/product using the osCommerce web interface in addition to the eBay product listings. They are currently using Seller's Assistant Pro to manage the eBay listings but we are trying to combine them into a single product listing interface. It looks like if we make osCommerce be the master database for the storefront as well as for the eBay listings, then we would need to have the eBay developer kit and pay for API calls. The other option we are looking at is something like AuctionWorks where the customer could manage eBay product listings on the web interfaced product database. We only need to figure a way to build the storefront to use the AuctionWorks database. I think they have some options for that as well, but the osCommerce system seems to be much more flexible and provides some better reporting/CRM tools.

 

Any ideas?

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This is just an idea but what about the hidden products mod. You could create logins for customers using the auction number as the id. You could also create items that have the same auction number as the model or item number or whatever. Create the product then once the item ends you can go and enter the price and send the customer a link with login info. You can set shipping for the item using one of the per item or specified fee mods - mayb. It is not automatic but could work I think.

The biggest things is getting the info from E-Bay biut I think anyone with paypal could download that part from Paypal and then import it to a database or maybe pay the $4.95 per month to get the info in the basic seller's asst report and once again send to a database


"If you rundown your shadow, you will never catch it"

Bob Marley

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The Ebay Editor kit appears to have been discontinued. There is a button that goes no where. The Merchant kit looks helpful though.


[no external urls in signatures please, kthanks]

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I was just looking at the 'Hidden Products' code today for the same purpose. It seems as though that contribution works as sort of an 'on-off' switch - so that if a customer has a '1' flag, they can see all the products with the '1' flag, or something like that.

 

The problem with the current code in that contribution is the '1' and '0' states are hard-coded into the mod, meaning if a user has the '1' flag, they can see ALL of the products with the '1' flag.

 

In order for this to work for Ebay, this would have to be modified so that the flags are variable / definable, so there can be an unlimited number of 'flags' for the customer/user 'flag' to match with.

 

So, put more clearly, the 'customers_approved' and 'products_customers_approved' need to be changed to handle unique numbers that must equal eachother in order to see the product, rather than it being hard coded to have the need for both numbers to equal '1'.

 

I hope I'm making sense... I'm terribly sleepy right now. This doesn't seem to be too difficult a mod to make to the contribution. What is making it more difficult is that the code that is modified in the hidden products contribution is not written out in the install instructions and not clearly marked within the code. I've been poking through it with a file compare program, but if someone were to get to this first and mark the individual modifications, it would sure make enhancing it a faster task.

 

If you were to combine a modified version of 'Hidden Products' with the 'Multiple Vendor' shipping mod modified to handle the 'Shipping Cost per Product' mod, you'd be all set to do regular retail sales and handle private ebay (or other) sales simultaniously.

 

This is something that I need for my store, so I'm going to get to this eventually, but if anyone wants to lend a hand, I'd be very happy.


-D. M. 8)

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I would like to help with this. I am new to the more complex coding but I can go to the mod and mark the sections. If you will PM or e-mail me with how you want the noted changes marked, I will get to helping.


"If you rundown your shadow, you will never catch it"

Bob Marley

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Thank you bluephoenix!

 

The first step would be to figure out what were the original files that were modded by the hidden products contribution... was it MS1? Or someone's snapshot? Once I know what that is, it should be a snap to use a program like 'WinMerge' to go through and catalog all the changes.

 

Generally, I like to see any modifications marked in two ways - one inside the files that were modified with a comment, i.e.

 

// MOD - Hidden Products (summary of changes made)

(code)

// End of MOD

 

and also a text file that lists all of the changes to existing files, i.e.

 

'Open --------.php, find around line xxx-xxx

(php code before change)

 

insert below (or replace, or whatever was done)

// MOD etc...

(code)

// End of MOD

 

That would be ideal. Though I am happy for the work put into these contributions, I wish all contributions were uploaded with a standard like that. This is how I catalog all of my mods so I can easily re-install them and re-intigrate them with all the other mods if I have to completely re-install everything from scratch. If a new mod comes with instructions like this, it also makes it easier for me to 'at a glance' see exactly what it does and how I might be able to enhance it.

 

Realistically though, if this sounds like too much effort, I'd be happy just to know what the original pre-modded files for this contribution were.


-D. M. 8)

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Actually, now that I've given this a little more thought...

 

I think the 'Hidden Products' would work 'As Is' -

 

I'm going to test this later tonight on my 'default test' site and see what happens.

 

After poking through the code some more, I couldn't find any part of the product_info.php page that would keep a non-approved customer from viewing a given item. If this is really the case, this means that all the hidden products contribution does is to hide the product from showing up in certain places such as the 'what's new' categories or a keyword search... but not if you go to the product link directly.

 

This means that after the end of an ebay auction, to have someone pay through your site you'd simply have to send them the link to whatever hidden product via email, i.e.: http://www.dm-gremlin.com/sales/product_in...products_id=137 and they'd be able to add it to their cart like normal... but only people who had the 'approved' flag in their profile would be able to see the hidden product via any other means.

 

I suppose that would work. Then just make sure that you put 'buyer to pay actual shipping costs' in your ebay ad - and let your osCommerce site handle what the actual shipping charge is.

 

The only problem that I have with this is that it's not exactly hack-proof. Someone could conceivably plug any number into the 'products_id=' part and possibly find your hidden products... although not too likely, but possible.

 

I think also in order for the hidden product thing to avoid searches you'd have to put the hidden product in the top level of your categories, and be sure not to assign a manufacturer.

 

I had in mind a different, more secure solution - where you would create a product (maybe with the ebay ID# in the title) and make that product only viewable by a specific logged-in customer, after the ebay auction close create an account for that person (using their ebay email address), add the item to their shopping cart and then send them an email with their password and a link to the 'checkout' part of your site where they would be asked to 'log in' with the supplied password, then they would be taken directly to the checkout loop... slightly more secure, convenient, but maybe too much of a pain in the ass to code...?

 

Let me know what you think, bluephoenix. I liked your original idea but the hidden products mod 'as is' might also work for you.


-D. M. 8)

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eBay just launched a new, free Individual license for the eBay API. While distribution of a solution still requires a Commercial license, the Individual license offers a good way to try out the API and can be used for personal use.

 

http://developer.ebay.com

 

There was also a question about the Editor and Merchant Kits which enable eBay listing syndication and eBay Affiliate Program compensation. The Merchant Kit is being folded into the Editor Kit.

 

http://pages.ebay.com/api/editorkit.html


Patrick Breitenbach

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Gremlin,

Yes I did consider the product way you mentioned. The thing though is that I wanted it a little more automated - so say you will be out of town, you do not have to be concerned with sending the e-mails. The winner would just go,click link in auction maybe, login and proceed to checkout.

 

Hopefully we can solve it between us.


"If you rundown your shadow, you will never catch it"

Bob Marley

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Ok, I've figured out that the Hidden Products contribution files are modified from the 2.2MS1 release, and was able to use my file compare program to take a good look so I don't need to mark anything.

 

Yeah, I think the modifications that I originally had in mind would just add an unneccessary level of complexity to the process...

 

I think you could just install the 'Hidden Products' mod 'as-is'... what I suppose you would then do is set the flags so nobody can see the hidden products, then create a product for your ebay item. In the 'payment instructions', put a link to add that ebay item to the cart i.e.: http://www.dm-gremlin.com/sales/default.ph...products_id=455

 

That should put them one step away from checkout. The 'ship in cart' mod is a nice touch (you'll see it on my page) for this route - it sort of feels like you're already checking out - and you might also want to use the 'purchase without account' so that they don't have to make an account and log in... but that's up to you... then, let osCommerce handle the checkout procedure and that should just about do it.

 

I'm not sure if this is what you were looking for, but it's the closest simple solution I could think of.


-D. M. 8)

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thanks for looking into the code for that. I had posted a month or so ago asking if the hidden products could be used this way and didn't get alot of feedback, no one seemed to really know alot about that mod. I asked on an ebay message board opinions on automated checkouts of this kind and got alot of negative feedback comments along the route of buyers didn't like them so I had dropped the idea.

 

I think I will relook at setting it up the way you posted above, I don't really believe that makes the process too impersonal and should really help out the bidder.

 

Thanks for bringing this up. Maybe now that ebay has changed their api calls pricing something can be done to add a mod to oscommerce to handle auctions. Course, I'd like to be able to do some other things too like have my own gallery on my website along the lines of auctivas pro showcase instead of having to pay 5.95 a month for theirs (over half of my webhost costs), plus I'd like to have after auction management incorporated into rather than using sold! for that as I do now.

 

I know sold! doesn't use api calls but instead uses your my ebay selling page to get the info on current auctions, completed and unsold auctions. I've wondered if that script mentioned above for your about me page could be modified instead to use the my selling page.

 

I guess I'm just going to eventually have to learn php or cgi or something enough to be able to write my own or find someone who can do it for a fee. Unfortunately the only programming languages I have any experience in are fortran and pascal (probably showing my age with that last remark!).

 

Mel-

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Actually we don't really need hidden database contribution.

We can keep everything simple as possible.

We need start with adding 3 more columns in to the product description.

First colums may be either yes or no. If yes list the item else do not list

Second column Listing quantity

Third column Listing price

 

We can add cron jobs to automate the listings and on every listing the stock will be decreased.

We will need to create another cron jobs to pull sold auctions from ebay

send and winning bidder notifications to buyers. After that sold auctions will be added to a seperate mysql table.

After this point we can create a special page for buyers to enter their auction number and user name and checkout. After checkout order will be added to oscommerce orders table.


I can't type a trick like i can type.

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I think you could just install the 'Hidden Products' mod 'as-is'... what I suppose you would then do is set the flags so nobody can see the hidden products, then create a product for your ebay item.  In the 'payment instructions', put a link to add that ebay item to the cart i.e.: http://www.dm-gremlin.com/sales/default.ph...products_id=455 .

DM,

DM,

Did you get database errors with the Hidden Products? I just tried it on a store and got this error on the default page

1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax near '0' and p.products_id = s.products_id and pd.products_id = s.products_id and p' at line 1

 

select p.products_id, pd.products_name, p.products_price, p.products_tax_class_id, p.products_image, s.specials_new_products_price from products p, products_description pd, specials s where p.products_status = '1'' and p.products_customers_approved ='0' and p.products_id = s.products_id and pd.products_id = s.products_id and pd.language_id = '1' and s.status = '1' order by s.specials_date_added DESC limit 10

Any ideas on why?

 

 

Quicklyshop,

Could you write an E-Bay mod. You seem more knowledgeable than we are about it. I am willing to help with the "grunt" work part- ;-)


"If you rundown your shadow, you will never catch it"

Bob Marley

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I haven't actually installed the hidden products yet - I'm going to do that sometime today though, I'll let you know what I find out.


-D. M. 8)

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Ok, got the hidden product thing up and running, and even figured out a fairly easy way to modify it to allow only specific customers access to specific products, instead of a universal 'customer approved' flag, but it would double the amount of sql queries, which might make things twice as slow so I'm trying to figure out a better way.

 

or, it would actually be fairly simple to add the code that specifies that only a certain customer can look at a certain product only to the product_info.php page without too much hassle, and without slowing down the queries on any of the other pages... that could still achieve the desired effect as described a few pages back...

 

If anyone is interested in what I'm doing with this, let me know.

 

 

Anyways, bluephoenix, did you try to input the changes manually or did you just copy over the files? I compared the files with Beyond Compare and catalogued all the changes (in my own twisted shorthand) and then put in the mods manually and it seemed to work just fine. The one place in default.php where the modifications might be giving you an error is of course in the sql queries... like this line

// We are asked to show only a specific category

$listing_sql = "select " . $select_column_list . " p.products_id, p.manufacturers_id, p.products_price, p.products_tax_class_id, IF(s.status, s.specials_new_products_price, NULL) as specials_new_products_price, IF(s.status, s.specials_new_products_price, p.products_price) as final_price from " . TABLE_PRODUCTS . " p, " . TABLE_PRODUCTS_DESCRIPTION . " pd, " . TABLE_MANUFACTURERS . " m, " . TABLE_PRODUCTS_TO_CATEGORIES . " p2c left join " . TABLE_SPECIALS . " s on p.products_id = s.products_id where p.products_status = '1'" . $new_products_where . " and p.manufacturers_id = m.manufacturers_id and m.manufacturers_id = '" . $HTTP_GET_VARS['manufacturers_id'] . "' and p.products_id = p2c.products_id and pd.products_id = p2c.products_id and pd.language_id = '" . $languages_id . "' and p2c.categories_id = '" . $HTTP_GET_VARS['filter_id'] . "'";

 

if you misplaced a " or ' somewhere while puttng in the " . $new_products_where . " that will break your query... but adding that bit into in 6 queries (and defining the $new_products_where string right above those queries) are the only changes that the hidden products mod makes to your default.php


-D. M. 8)

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I'm glad it's working for you.

 

After a bit of struggle, I finally figured out how to modify the hidden products contribution the way I had intended, without any additional queries. The mod is actually a fairly simple one... perhaps I'll even release it as an enhancement to the original contribution if anyone wants it.

 

Basically what it does is changed the customers_approved and products_customers_approved to 3 digit integers - independent numbers that need to match up for the customer to see a given product, so that means you could have 1000 hidden products (or more if you wanted to expand the tables) with each customer seeing only the product that that individual customer is supposed to. Also, there is one number that can see all of the hidden products, and a definable range of hidden products that can't be seen in any of the searches and can only be found by direct request.

 

So to sum up, to handle my future ebay auctions I will create a hidden product that can only be seen by direct request by an individual customer, after the auction closes create an account for the auction winner that can uniquely see that product, and handle the shipping costs with my individual shipping contribution handled by a modified multi-vendor shipping so that I can continue to sell other products normally through the site.

 

That is my ebay auction handling solution.

 

A slightly simpler method would be to use the hidden products mod 'as is' but remove the part that the mod added in the file 'product_info.php' so that anyone with a direct link to the hidden product can see it without the need to be logged in.


-D. M. 8)

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DM,

You have to upload that. It sounds like a great solution. If you could send me the files I would really appreciate it.


"If you rundown your shadow, you will never catch it"

Bob Marley

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