Shopping for a Shopping Cart? Make Sure you Weigh your Options

Written by Merle

If you sell more than a handful of products on your website, you'll need to add what's known as a shopping cart. This is a function that allows your customers to pick outrepparttar items they want and send them to a "cart," which holds onto them until they're ready to check out. The program then totalsrepparttar 109090 order and adds any applicable taxes and shipping charges.

So how do you add a shopping cart to your site? There are three different options you can choose from.

1) Link out to a third-party service (hosted)

2) Buy your own software and do it yourself

3) Download a script and configure it to your needs

Let's examine each option separately andrepparttar 109091 pros and cons involved with each:


Third party cart services are easy to set up; you can be running in a matter of hours. They require no software to buy or install, but usually charge a monthly fee. Most include a secured server and a merchant account option, if you don't have your own. This is a relatively inexpensive solution for small businesses.


Free to try for 30 days then you pay 90.00 for 3 months, 150.00 for 6 months or 1 year for 249.00. Supports 1 to 10,000 products- No CGI to configure and you can use your existing merchant account.

2) FreeMerchant:

Prices range from 19.99 to 40.00 per month with a 30 day free trial. Build your store using their web based interface.

3) Yahoo Store:

You can't go wrong with Yahoo's expert reputation. Easy to build your store on their servers using a point and click interface. You can even upload your own images. Cost for up to 100 items is only 100.00 a month. You can also use your existing merchant account or apply for one through them.

4) Marketers Choice:

Believe it or not, this one is free. Supplied by Marketers Choice, this cart calculates totals, taxes, shipping charges and notifies you of new orders automatically. Followrepparttar 109092 wizard for easy set up. You need your own merchant account but they supplyrepparttar 109093 secured server. So what'srepparttar 109094 catch? they try to get you to upgrade to their 150.00 a year package, which is an option. If you continue to userepparttar 109095 free onerepparttar 109096 only trade off is they will display business related ads on all of your cart pages.

Buyers Drive The Process Online But The Lowest Price Isn't All They Want

Written by B.L. Ochman

Online buyers' ability to comparison shop -- aided by a vast array of shopping bots -- has turned traditional retailing on its head. But are low prices all customers want? No way!

Some web-wise merchants have responded torepparttar Internet's new retail rules retailers by including comparison shopping on their own sites, others put their heads inrepparttar 109089 sand. Leadingrepparttar 109090 list of slow to get online retailers is Home Depot who, according torepparttar 109091 Aug 16 issue of Fortune, recently issued "a Godfather-esque" directive to its suppliers selling goods online. The gist of it was stop selling online or you won't be selling to us.

"Dear Vendor,"repparttar 109092 May 19 letter began, "It is important for you to be aware of Home Depot's current position on its'(sic) vendors competing withrepparttar 109093 company via e-commerce direct to consumer distribution. We think it is short-sighted for vendors to ignorerepparttar 109094 added value that our retail stores contribute torepparttar 109095 sale of their products....We recognize that a vendor hasrepparttar 109096 right to sell through whatever distribution channels it desires. However, we too haverepparttar 109097 right to be selective inrepparttar 109098 vendors we select and we trust that you can understand that a company may be hesitant to do business with its competitors."

What Home Depot really is worried about is its customers going straight torepparttar 109099 manufacturer and bypassing Home Depot.

Going head to head with Home Depot won't be simple for any company. Stanley Tools, for one, has scrapped its e-commerce plans inrepparttar 109100 face of Home Depot's threat. After all, Home Depot is one ofrepparttar 109101 "category killers" who put thousands of mom and pop hardware stores out of business."Who's to say," Fortune reporter Katrina Brooker muses, "that it can't dorepparttar 109102 same to pesky suppliers with dreams?" Web shoppers, that's who!

Several factors come into play: oOnline shopping does not provide instant gratification. Sometimes, all a customer wants is to buy something and use it right now oPeople are still willing to pay more for superior service, even online oFew retailers will be able (or want) long term, to sustain prices so low they cannot make a profit oAlthough low prices might bring customers to a site, discounts alone won't necessarily keep them there or convince them to return oOnline, a store that provides complete information from a variety of sources can be more valuable than a single site that provides only its own or partial information. Online comparison shopping is available at a wide range of sites. These sites promise "you'll never miss a sale again;" "40 - 60% off retail in 13 categories;" daily or weekly sales updates; and email bargain newsletters tailored to your shopping interests. Some claim to scan 50 million products. Each of these services is powered by shopping bot software. Some even provide shoppers withrepparttar 109103 ability to search, compare and buy in a secure e-commerce environment. The majority accept advertising, but a few, like Price Scan claim to be unbiased and objective because they eschew advertising. Some online shoppers, no doubt, studyrepparttar 109104 information on these price comparison sites before they make a buying decision. Then there is everyone else.

What makes a shopper decide that price isn't all that matters? Extraordinary service --repparttar 109105 very same quality that allows some stores to charge more for their items because they make shopping convenient, pleasant and reliable -- still can win over price. Superior service makes fancy cars, designer duds and luxury travel appealing. It also allows L.L. Bean, Nordstrom's, and a handful of other merchants able to charge more for their products than bargain merchandisers selling essentiallyrepparttar 109106 same goods. And great service is not going out of style any time soon.

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