Here is a part of one lesson in the continuing course created by Merri, me and our webmaster David Cross.
Do You Really Need a Shopping Cart?
By David cross
If you’re just starting out with an Internet business or developing an existing one, you may be considering which shopping cart is best to use to sell your products. But in my experience it may best if you don’t actually invest in any shopping cart.
The natural inclination may be to hire a web developer to build you a shopping cart but it takes time fully to understand the type of shopping cart your business needs. There are many more low-cost or even free options. In addition to the complexity of developing a full-blown shopping cart, there are numerous other considerations. One is payment processor integration. Another like PCI security to cover your customer’s credit card. Address security and privacy also have to be thought through.
For example, if you’re selling only a couple of products, you almost certainly don’t need a shopping cart. Paypal has its own free shopping cart. They provide this as part of having a Paypal account. It’s fairly simple to follow the step-by-step instructions. This can enable you to start selling in a few minutes. There are even options to add shipping charges if applicable. Paypal also offers help with its “add to cart” buttons.
Another option is something like 1ShoppingCart. For a small monthly fee, 1ShoppingCart allows you to either set up a shopping cart or create payment links for individual products. We’ve used 1ShoppingCart for all our products and courses for about 4 years now. This has worked quite well for our needs. Also we’ve a separate system that ties-in with 1ShoppingCart to run our membership system. The development costs have been kept to a minimum. Gary is able to add and manage products and accept orders with ease.
1ShoppingCart allows you to sell physical products or digital ones. It also has an option to offer digital product downloads. Another option for digital downloads is e-junkie with pricing starting at $5/month. This system offers good features including shipping calculations and digital downloads.
If You Really Need a Shopping Cart
If you are selling upwards of 25 products, consider a shopping cart. However, this does not mean you need to go to the expense of having a shopping cart developed. There are a number of options for services which, for a monthly fee, offer all the features you may need along with tutorials on getting started. These include Big Commerce, Volusion, Yahoo Small Business, Shopsite, Magento Go and Shopify.
All of these companies offer strong shopping cart features. These allow you to run any online business with hundreds or even thousands of products. Many of them offer free trials and compared to the cost of having a developer set up and configure basic options represent good savings.
If you need more advanced features or integration with other systems like email lists, many of these systems offer these facilities. If you’re feeling really adventurous and need a programmer to add one small tweak, then you can do a form of integration called an “API”. This is a service that allows you to connect systems.
Many people who start an Internet business make the beginning more complicated, time consuming and more expensive than need be. One of the greatest errors is getting bogged down in making a shopping cart. The options above can save you time and expense and often make the difference between a success or a business that never gets off the ground.