I'm stumped. I'm not so sure what is the answer. I'll do some investigation and get back to you if I find an useful answer. You should email the people at iPage as they probably could give you help..
Ooh - I can tell you what immediately sprung to my mind..
With a few changes to text and installing the contrib that changes 0.00 price to text you could make it so customers could add the properties they wanted written details for into their basket and then you could have them as free downloadable products - ie a pdf file of the details that they could print off on their computer. Then you know what has been downloaded, the customers gets writen details as they would coming into your office, but you don't have to pay the cost of the paper and the customer doesn't have to go anywhere..
You would also need to install the buy without account contrib so they don't have to go through the hassle of creating an account..
Might even be possible to merge osc with some kind of appointments scheduling software so that a customer could make an on-line appointment to view the properties they wanted - all from home..
Of course, you would need to keep this up to date so any appointments made in your office would also need to be added or you get double booked..
I have always been frustrated by the limitations of most estate agents' websites, when they could use the internet for so much more!.
But, yes it's possible...
Wow, thanks Julie, I hadn't even thought that far ahead. I only found out about osCommerce yesterday as the estate agent I work for in Spain wants to expand on-line to cope with the 1000's of British coming over. The package sounds better suited for the job than I first imagined. Saying that, this will take me some time as I'm starting from the bottom with this and have no experience in php either, could be a while before I see any results..
Has anyone else tried a similar business out with any success and ease of use?..
I've always wondered why estate agents do not use a camcorder to film the properties they are trying to sell and then load that onto the iPage site for a virtual tour...
^Possibly because it would take up vast amounts of memory..
Was just having my lunch and had a rethink of my initial thoughts..
Instead of getting rid of the price, you keep the price and set it as the price of the actual property, because then the price can be seen in the product listing..
But you would need to disable the totalling functions in the shopping cart so the customer doesn't think they are actually buying the properties!!.
Also install the download controller with free ship/pay (link below) as this automatically detects if a product is a download or is free and bypasses the shipping and payment pages, which would be unnecessary for you..
It's a nice idea with a camcorder but then there are a lot of properties on the books, it might be feasible for a select few properties but with time and space restraints I don't see it being practical yet. and btw what sort of volume is the system capable of supporting? Is it realistic to maintain a iPage site with 100's maybe 1000's of products (in this case "properties") all unique and constantly changing?..
Another thing, could I change the 'manufacturers' categorisation to make.
Select by region instead? So people can search for properties by area, along with price bracket, size etc.
A couple more things while I've got them in my head. Can I use Dreamweaver to alter the look of the iPage site while leaving the PHP untouched and I heard something about someone having a GUI editor for OScommerce too. When can this be found?..
Forget trying to use Oscommerce for property listings. It won't work without a major recode, unless you are willing to have a iPage website that will be a pain in the ass everytime you want to upgrade..
Look at www.open-realty.org (open source and made specifically for realtors/estate agents). I've used this software (going back some time and found it very good)...
OK thanks I'm checking that out now and first impressions is that is it specifically aimed at what I'm looking for. Cheers...
Hi, I'm new to osCommerce and was wondering if this package would be suitable for setting up and running an estate agents site. I'm impressed with the available functions but would not require any purchasing facilities, only the ability to check the stock e.g houses, flats, chalets etc and search..
Does this sound resonable or is it soley built for on-line commerce?.
I would appreciate any feed back, thanks..
Oscommerce is fully customisable(is that a word?) - if you have the time...