Selling Online – Ecommerce Shopping Cart Basics

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An electronic shopping cart is simply a software program or code from a shopping cart provider that you can use on your website. This program or code allows visitors to select products and make purchases directly from you.

If you’re selling anything online, you’re considered part of the e-commerce business arena, and you absolutely need a cart.

Basic Forms

There are two basic forms of shopping carts. One form is software that is bought and used by the business itself. The other is using a service that will host your e-commerce site, kind of like buying hosting for your website.

So, you can either use a standalone piece of software on your own Web server or you can use code from an cart provider/service. Either way, you’ll be able to sell from your website.

Along with its convenience, allowing you to sell digital and tangible products from your website, research shows that using a cart increases sales.

In 2009, PayPal conducted an internal study of 79,000 small merchants. It was discovered that adding a shopping cart increased their PayPal volume an average of 19% over a two-year period.

The Simplest and One of the Cheapest Ways to Sell from Your Own Website

I’ve used PayPal for quite a while now and can attest that it’s easy and effective.

With the PayPal cart process, you create the shopping cart yourself. The instructions are simple to follow and you have a choice of using a single item Buy Button or a Drop-down Menu for multiple products or services. And, as with all services, there is a fee. PayPal charges 2.9% and .30 cents per transaction. That’s not bad for all you can do with this service.

The PayPal system also has everything you need to customize your cart:

Tax
Shipping
Discount and coupon codes
Payment options
Tracking
Invoicing
Testing before you go live
And, more

In fact, PayPal is so popular a number of e-commerce shopping cart services have partnered with PayPal for their payment process. And, you can accept payments with your mobile device through another of PayPal’s services.

Other Options

If you like the PayPal system, but would rather not have your customers sent to its site during the purchasing process, you have options.

PayPal has partnered with several shopping cart services, such as Cashie Commerce and 3D Cart. Using another service has its benefits, one of which is keeping the buyer on your site through the purchasing process, but there’s a drawback to it, an additional cost.

These services charge a monthly fee, along with a percentage of each transaction. This is on top of the PayPal fees. So, be careful when looking into this process. Be sure you’re making enough sales to warrant the additional costs involved.

Keeping it Simple

No matter which cart system you use, simple is the way to go online. You want the essential features in a shopping cart without making it too complicated to use. The process needs to be easy to use with clear instructions.

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