Sell, sell, sell!

That's what most businesses with websites want to do.  And if you have more than one product --or a product or service that has more than 2 or 3 variations-- you'll make it easier for your website's visitors to buy, buy, buy, if you have a shopping cart.

Shopping carts come in all sizes and shapes. We're familiar with several, but if you purchase another kind that can run on a Windows server, you're welcome to use it on your website.

Impulse buying is good (when you're the seller not the buyer) and a user-friendly shopping cart increases the odds tremendously that you will make an impulse sale.


Besides selling products or a service, you can also make money with Google ads on your site or even developing sites specifically to generate income from the ads. I've done a simple one about Colorado to show you what I mean. If you have enough content on the site (I don't, because it's just an example), you may end up making enough money for your effort to have been worthwhile.

 

Recommendations  

These days I recommend PageDownTech's PDShop ASP.net Advanced version or ASPdotNetStorefront.   They differ considerably in cost and function.

You will need either a business Paypal account or a merchant account.  We recommend AuthorizeNet.

Depending on the shopping cart you choose, your costs can range from $49.95 to $2500 and up just for the license to use that particular cart.  On top of that, you will pay for modifying it to look like you want and to have your content and products in it. 

There are "free" shopping carts out there, but remember that you get what you pay for

You don't give away your product or service, do you?   Quality has a cost.  Ongoing support does, too. 

Ecommerce Tips

Some features to consider when deciding on a shopping cart:

- Does it show shipping before the customer has to buy?  That's extremely important to customers.

- Can you customize the confirmation e-mail the customer receives?

- Does it allow multiple pricing levels for a product?  For example, if you charge $2 extra for an XXL t-shirt, do you have to create a whole new product for each of your XXL t-shirts or can you assign a price to the size attribute?

- Can you edit your database online - without having to download it or learn how to do SQL queries or things you don't want to learn?

- Does it allow flexible layout?   Or do you have to use a predefined template and certain colors?

- Does it have good documentation and a helpful user's group that can answer your questions?

- What is the cost compared to the benefits you need?

The primary reason online sales aren't completed, according to a recent study, is that the customer gets frustrated in their attempt to buy.  Too many screens to go through or they couldn't tell what shipping was going to be without forking over their money (via credit card) first, etc.

Make it easy on your customer and, therefore, more profitable in the long run for yourself by investing in a shopping cart system that's going to help you make a sale - not lose one.

If the shopping cart you choose doesn't have a mail management program (cheaper ones don't) to send newsletters and promos, we highly recommend Constant Contact or, in the alternative, Express Email Marketing™. The latter is good but we like Constant Contact's pricing method better as well as some of their features.