With the last two weekends each having two bank holidays attached, this week's article seems to have come round very quickly. With three day weeks, and four day weekends, it's like two articles in one working week!
I have a working test shop now, skinned to look like the rest of the site, ready to move for testing and item population on the live site. While I was hoping to have the shop live this week, I'm still waiting for some printing and some packing to be delivered, so it looks like it'll be next week before the shop opens.
I've gone with OpenCart as the e-commerce software. Thanks to Gonzalo and Andre for your suggestions, I think both osCommerce and Magento might actually be more accomplished software than OpenCart. I'll be taking another look at both in the future, but I've chosen OpenCart for now because it was the easiest for me to customise straight away.
Having spent most of today embroiled with delivery companies websites, I have a lot of respect for anyone who has set up their own shop online to ship internationally. UK delivery is fairly straight forward -- at least Royal Mail is willing to divulge their postage costs up front -- I came across a number of firms that would only quote for a single package at a time. Not great if I want to pass that information on before I take the payment!
Personally, I like to see the delivery charges before I even get to the checkout page, so I have to choose a supplier with predictable pricing. Currently, it's most likely to be Royal Mail Standard Parcel for UK delivery, with the option of Special Delivery for next day service; then Interlink for European delivery. They seem to be fairly reasonable priced for Europe, with 5 pricing tiers and transit times of 2-6 days, depending on the destination country.
At least I am set to have UK and EU shipping set up when the shop launches, though it may take me a little more time to get my head around the extra processes for exporting out of Europe. Such as: do I need to apply for an EORI number, as I'm not VAT registered? and: what good would it do me?