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Custom Checkout Process & Recurring Payments?

I'm a few months away from launching my own skin care product and I'm pretty inexperienced when it comes to payment processing so I'm having a hard time figuring out the best method to do what I'd like to do.  I thought if I came here with some examples you guys might be able to point me in the right direction.


I've already signed up for a merchant account at Merchant Warehouse which also included my account.  I'll have a few products on the website so I was planning to use Ultracart for the standard shopping experience, but I'm also planning on doing some landing pages with a custom checkout process and I don't think Ultracart will be flexible enough to handle it.  


I found a really nice checkout process that I'd like to use in some form but I'm not sure where to start.  I have a PHP developer that I can use to help me set it up, but his time is limited so I need to give him a direction.  Here is the example:


Page 1:  Entering personal info




Page 2:  Upsell Page (Not sure if I'll use something like this right away)




Page 3: Final Checkout.  It has passed the name fields through, and stored the address information.  There's also more upsells on the side to add to the "cart".




The initial purchase will probably be about $25, and then there will be a recurring payment of $50 or so on my product which means I'll probably have to utilize ARB.


I've thought about pointing my PHP developer to the AIM pages to see if he can utilize that information to build a custom checkout, but I'm not sure if there is an easier pre-built option out there for this type of thing, and I'm not sure if it will be as secure as it needs to be.


Thanks for any help, this is driving me crazy!




Depends. If you have a relatively small volume of orders, you could theoretically make do with AIM for the initial charge, then use your account control panel to create a subscription based off that. If not, my advice would be to go with CIM instead of AIM, since it's not much harder to figure out and it's WAY easier to work with than ARB if you're a first-time developer.


For AIM and CIM code, download the PHP SDK and look in the doc folder for files called AIM.markdown and CIM.markdown. The PDF documentation is a lot more weighty and should only be used as supplementary reference.


Thanks a lot for the advice.  I'm going to do some reading about CIM today and see how it goes.


Thanks again,