All About Shopping Carts
If you have a website that sells more than one product or service, you will need a shopping cart. A shopping cart allows the consumer to select as many items as they wish to buy and then pay for everything at once. If you only have a Buy Now button for each of your products, your customers will have to go through the payment process for each and every product they wish to purchase and you can lose a lot of sales this way.
However, having a shopping cart installed on your website can actually boost sales by encouraging visitors to keep browsing after they have decided to make a purchase. They can easily select two or more products before signing out and a shopping cart system makes it easy to pay online for all the items in the cart at once.
There is no need to program your own cart program, in fact many web hosts that are aimed at providing service to ebusiness owners already have shopping carts available for you to use. All you need to provide is a merchant account and the prices for everything you want to sell! This is a very easy way to go about setting up an e-store, but you might want more flexibility than the standard host package gives you.
While it might look tempting to pick up a free shopping cart program, there are a few things to keep in mind before you choose one. You often get what you pay for, and that could mean a system that lets you down if you go with a free one.
Services such as PayPal often include free shopping carts with their accounts and tend to be fairly reliable, although they might not have as many features as you would like. What they lack in flexibility is made up for with ease of use, however, since you simply enter some basic data like product name and price and copy the HTML that is produced onto your site for an instant shopping cart button.
A paid shopping cart may charge an initial set up fee or simply per transaction. These usually offer a wide array of options and you can fully customize them. You do need to have some form of merchant account in order to use a paid shopping cart, though. This allows you to connect your account to your new shopping cart and transactions will be done through the merchant account.
A shopping cart is something that you will most certainly need if you plan to make money online with more than just one product or service. You can start out with a free one, if you like, and upgrade later, but it is a necessary part of ebusiness.