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It sounds like your focus should be on the back-end business logic tier.
Flex is still a great way to create the UI. If it does not need to be fancy, then Flex's strength can give you a simple UI that will work dependably on all browsers and give it to you fast (cheap).
But Flex won't help any with the commerce side. If you have limited resources (monetary, technical, time), you might consider an off-the-shelf eCommerce solution. Such a solution would not be sexy, but the "rich" in RIA is for those for whom a "simple UI" is no longer sufficient. Think of your business first.
Sorry to bring this one from the dead, but I have created a simple Flex client app that has most of the information I want and I think will add value for my customers. It just allows a user to create(form) and track deliveries(data grid) with email update alerts from contacts lists.
If I am understand things I now need a Web Service to supply the data the client consumes and don't really need the Ajax, just load on call (click or at load).
It would involve a DB with business logic(not sure yet how involved). But I think I will outsource it. If I demonstrate what I want done to a developer will he/she be able to come up with an estimate?
BTW: I can't find a usable off-the-shelf eCommerce solution.
I strongly advise HTTPService. Web services have a significant complexity and subsequent performance degredation in order to support consumption by third parties (uddi, etc).
If you have control over both the client and the server, and do not plan on publishing your server-side functionality to external users, Use HTTPService. It is much simpler to code and maintain, and is a bit faster than a web service.
If you can clearly define your requirements, I will look at quoting the project for you. Contact me off-list if you wish.