How do I make a store?

I tried it and got a PayPal link, but don’t have a clue as to add a link and attach it to a file or a link. Where can I find that info?

@TyFord, have you checked out the Sparkle website documentation yet? - Payment | Sparkle Documentation

just to be sure, Sparkle is not an ecommerce platform - so about your file/link, you would need to have it stored as an item for sale, which Sparkle does not do. You can set fixed payment links with fixed value with third-party providers, but that’s it. The deliver on the good, either physical or digital, is up to you.

I’d recommend you to check out Ecwid or Shopify.

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Not really sure what you are asking @TyFord, what’s a “paypal link”?

In the context of a website you create payment buttons. Sparkle has integration with several commerce providers, and the integration depends on which you use.

While as @primo says Sparkle is not a commerce platform, it does integrate very nicely with commerce providers so you don’t need to go and learn an entirely different website builder.

For example for ecwid integration lets you enter products on their portal and then integrate them into the Sparkle page via the payment button feature, for example adding a product browser to the page. All the other integrations require you to add a single payment button for each product you sell, so they work best if you have a limited number of products.

Both ecwid, snipcart and gumroad support automatic delivery of digital goods upon purchase, and paddle also does it for software products. For physical products clearly it’s your responsibility to ship the product out yourself.

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Aha! Thanks for your help. Yes, I have looked at Sparkle Payment documentation, but as with many “documentations”, it seems to have been written from a presumptive perspective. So, if I knew what the secret handshakes were then I’d be off and running.

I was under the mistaken impression that I could “open a small shop” within Sparkle. I have a short book about audio for video that’s done well for over 10 years as a spiral bound book. After banging my head into iTunes Connect and talking to 11 different people there, I finally got registered. Now I’m working on a revision of that book for hard copy and as an ebook. I also have about a dozen or so audio tracks. The book and tracks have nothing to do with each other. I thought the book and audio tracks should at least be on different pages. I have looked and registered at ECWID, but find it’s documentation also sort of weird. Like when Adobe moved from Pagemaker to inDesign, I was left screaming WTF a lot. I hate when that happens. :slight_smile:

In the end it is about familiarisation @TyFord. Change can be frustrating but in the end that is life.

I think you have a good plan going there regarding your book (hardcover, ebook, and audio). There are a very lot of people now digesting reading material in that way challenging the print book industry! :frowning:

Ecwid is a great platform and also very reliable but there is a little bit of a learning curve.
For you needs have you checked out Gumroad? Originally it was created for non-physical goods, aka digital medium, plus the backend is far simpler. Also it has a built in email/newsletter system so you can connect with your tribe on a regular basis. Of late they have included physical goods as well, plus all is free until you make a sale and then they take a %.

I’m building out a Sparkle website at the moment for a client who is doing similar to you and Sparkle is very capable in meeting their needs. So give it a bit of time and you’ll get there! :slight_smile:

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Thanks, FF.

One thing I’d appreciate your comment on is the safety of ebooks. I have made the awkward climb up the iTunes Connect trail with Apple. At the end of it, I’d like my ebook to be as un-stealable as possible. Several folks have suggested selling my book on Amazon. At this point, I don’t know which of the two, or even another would be a more secure way to sell copies. Any thoughts there? The hard cover version has been selling modestly well for ten years at B&H Photo Video. I’ve been pleased enough to make them the exclusive seller. They too have shown interest in selling the ebook version online.
Oh, and one other thing for you or anyone following this thread. The hardcover book has been selling for $24.95 USD. I was imagining that $11.99 might be a good price for the ebook version. Any thoughts on that?

The internet is a web of information being shared hand over first so protection is not so easy a task. I think many have come accustomed to that whatever is on the web nowadays is for the taking/sharing…

There are many tricks that you can do to try and protect your digital wares.
What I always keep in mind (like attracts like) is the majority of people out there are honest human beings!

Digital selling platforms like Gumroad incorporates DRM technology to prevent theft.
You could also password protect your ebook and the password is received by the person after their purchase, so there are a few things you could do.

Pricing is subjective, and in the end you have to believe in what you have put out there!
Of course you can’t go totally ridiculous with the price, but you have to feel good about it.
I think your suggestion is very reasonable. Even taking it up to $14.99…

We have many customers who have small (and not so small) shops built with Sparkle, including our very own shop (which is larger than many brick and mortar shops). But with all the regulation revolving around credit card processing, and all the different needs from websites, we have not integrated it deeply into Sparkle yet.

I apologize for the documentation is written in a presumptive way, frankly the first time we hear this. In writing any documentation there’s inevitably a communication level that needs to be picked, assuming the reader does have some understanding of the concepts involved. And maybe we did pick the wrong level, I’ll make a note for the next revision.

Based on your description I would try using gumroad or snipcart. Because we don’t have deep integration, it’s clear you will be using an external system with its own account and learning curve, and this adds to the complexity. It’s the best we can do right now.

I’m also investigating Gumroad to link it to my website and get more out of my digital illustrations and animations. I haven’t got to that part yet (I have stopped updating the website due to some orders) but I imagine there will be some short code to include on the website and link to the shop.

Gumroad seems to me a great platform to market our digital products. Cheer up with your book, @TyFord !

Hi Duncan, Thanks for your response. I was brought in by Adobe some years ago to help in the movement of Adobe Audition to Mac-based users. I began writing about audio in trade magazines in 1987 and have had a good career doing that. When I looked at their new product and tried to operate it, I was stuck. If you look back at that chapter in dark audio history, Adobe was trying to combine two separate PC-based softwares, neither of which I had used. I has been a Mac- Pro Tools solidly for a few years back then. When I tried to get “unstuck” and brought questions to the closed forum, I was smirked at because I didn’t know what I later referred to as “secret handshakes”; ways of operation that those with pervious experience with the two softwares had already learned.
I told them that if they were really after a new Mac-based market that had little or no experience with the two PC-based softwares, they needed a manual written without presumption. They responded by saying that because the software was constantly evolving, any written word would be out of date by the time it was completed. I suspect it was more likely that they didn’t have anyone capable of writing the document, I smiled, thanked them for their offer and withdrew.
Don’t get me wrong. I am EXCEEDINGLY grateful for Sparkle! It has allowed me to evolve my site from it’s iWeb origins and I am very happy with the way it works. Yes, with the store, I am now in uncharted territory. Onward and upward!! Thanks for taking your time and energy to reach out to my sputtering. Please excuse any future sputters as I attempt to climb the mountain.


A :+1: for Ecwid.

It so happens that I am planning to implement a new mini store. I remembered that I’d used Mal’s Ecommerce before Ecwid came along, so I was just revisiting it today as I’m trying to keep costs down!

The free version of Mal’s offers a surprising amount. It is simple to integrate with Sparkle as these test buttons show:

The biggest drawback with Mal’s is the lack of inventory control in the free version. This is why I suggest using it only if you have less than 20ish products that do not change much.

I am hoping the new Layout Block feature in Sparkle will help keep things nicely under control. [I wish it was possible to set an item’s visibility to “Hide on this page” being the equivalent of “display : none;” someone please let me know if you can do this and I’ve missed it]

When/if I build the new site I’ll post a link to it!

Don’t you think @FreewayFugitive that under Arrange / Show On This Device is the equivalent of “display : none” for an element on a page?

What’s the use case for hiding something on a page? Sorry but I don’t see how the context helps understanding what it would be useful for.

I ask because it seems you have settled on what would solve some problem, and are focusing only on what you think is missing (hiding something), but you might be overlooking alternate routes to a solution that are already possible, if not simpler.

@FlaminFig Yes, but only on that device. I was looking for Arrange / Show On All Devices. Of course it’s only a few clicks on each device to do this (I was just being lazy).

@duncan Sorry Duncan I’m probably missing something obvious by using antiquated thinking from my Freeway days!

What I’m proposing to do is to pilot a small store, probably 20 items (so too many for free Ecwid), in Sparkle using Mal’s Ecommerce free version (so no inventory control) to handle the shopping basket. When I last did this some years ago I was using Freeway.

Let’s assume the store is selling cakes. Some cakes sell out, so can no longer be ordered. It may be some time before they come back in stock (but they will). There are many ways to handle this situation.

For instance, overlay the Buy Now button with an Out of Stock button that does nothing. This effectively matches what Ecwid does when the stock level is zero. In Sparkle, this will cascade properly through all devices. Remove the Out of Stock overlay and hey presto it’s back!

However, this takes up browser real estate showing cakes you can’t have. Not too much of a problem on a wide screen device but you can end up having to scroll past lots of Out of Stock items on a phone, which many users won’t do (left hand column of this image).

Another option is to only show in stock items. Ecwid does this using the product Enabled/Disabled setting. In Freeway the same effect was achieved using display : none on the enclosing layout block, which applied at all device breakpoints. This produces the right hand column effect in the above image on all devices.

The point is to show what is for sale not what can’t be purchased.

I hope this give you an idea of where I am coming from and I could well be over thinking it :thinking: . Possibly trying to have my cake and eat it :rofl:?

Best wishes Steve.

The wonder of the ecommerce platforms is that they handle these things for you, but I see your case

What you can do on the mobile device is to have a layout block “Out of Stock” beneath everything that is in stock, so having each product grouped via layers you can simply drop that group inside the out of stock layout block. It won’t auto arrange perfectly on the canvas, but it will be way down below.

But ticking off the “Show on this device” only for the mobile device would be a better alternative for the “display:none” method

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Thanks @primo. That’s a couple of great suggestions.

The trouble with “Show on This Device” unchecked is that it still leaves the space that the object would have occupied behind, so you get gaps. In the example below the middle two layout blocks have “Display on this device” unchecked.


If when you unchecked “Show on This Device” Sparkle applied display : none then this would close the gap.


oh okay, I see your angle

is not that display:none fills the gap, it merely doesn’t display the element

the gap filling is result of automatic responsive technology (probably Bootstrap), which we know Sparkle uses a fixed design meaning you would have to close the gap by yourself by dragging the element up.

but as far as functionality goes, ticking off the “show on this device” has the exact same effect as display:none, but it is conditioned to that specific device.

This behaviour is nothing to do with

display : none is nothing magic just standard CSS which is supported by all browsers.

This is getting a little off topic (sorry @TyFord if this has detracted from the excellent advice from @duncan and @FlaminFig re gumroad and snipcart) and deeper into code than I’d like to go on this forum (apologies to @duncan).

Sparkle’s great strength is that you don’t need coding knowledge.

In fact, the time it would take me to make Mal’s work with Sparkle (and the time already spent explaining what I was trying to do) has made my mind up…

…I’ll go with the free Ecwid option first, because I’m familiar with it, and if the site is a moderate success then it will be well worth paying for the Venture version!!

All the best to @TyFord with your project!

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Thanks for the description commentary, it’s useful. Yeah I think that what you need @FreewayFugitive is going to best solved by a solution like ecwid that is aware of the problem. Attempting to use side effects of how Sparkle codes a page is not going to work well, until we do in fact add support for an auto-reflowing, data-driven grid component.