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Shopping Cart Software
Ecommerce for Internet Only or Land Based Businesses

Shopping cart software can be used to turn your site into a money maker instead of a money taker. If you are currently using a point-of-sale instrument at your land based business, you have some decisions to make on top of choosing software you will use. If you are only interested an internet only business, the task is a little easier. First we will outline the options for businesses with land based hardware and or software in place, and secondly the options for internet only businesses.

Land-Based Business

The goal is to incorporate your point-of-sale tools that you currently have in place, in order to save money on unecessary duplicate machinery or software. Your first and least expensive route to take is to simply set up formail on your site with a secure certificate on your website. Formail will let your customers fill out a form, including product quantities, product identifiers, credit card number and everything else needed for a successful transaction. When they click the submit button the form will send you a copy, and if setup your customer will also receive a receipt in their mail box. This is the simplest and cheapest route to offering products for sale on your site. The next thing you might do is set up a paypal account. The rates are comparable to what a credit card processor costs, and paypal does accept credit cards, even if the customer doesn't have an account. The next and most costly solution, is to find softare and set up a merchant account with one of the popular credit card processors. The software solution is described below in the internet only business section. The merchant account can be set up with a number of companies, including but not limited to worldpay, verisign or authorize. You may find that one fits your needs better, but for the most part they offer similar services. If you are planning to go all out and spend the dollars on all three things including a secure certificate, software and a merchant account then make sure you do plenty of research on who you will do business with. Most offer some sort of trial service, and this is a good way to find what suits your company best.

Inernet Only Business

The goal is to create an efficient ecommerce solution that runs itself and at the lowest cost. You have a plethera of choices when it comes down to the architecture of your ecommerce site. Lets clear up a few things first. Yes, it is possible to run free software effectively. No, it is not possible to accept credit cards free. Yes, you will spend little time on transactions. No, you will spend a lot of time initially setting up your ecommerce solution. That said, if you still want to do everything yourself, you will need a few things. One is a secure certificate on your website. With the growing problems with credit card fraud, the last thing your customer wants is to worry about whether his/her information is secure. You will need to find a secure certificate that fits your needs. Most are 128 bit encrypted, meaning there is very little chance of someone hijacking the information. The next thing you will need is ecommerce software for your shopping cart. When customers find that a site navigation or shopping cart is hard to use, they simply leave the site and find one that is easier. You want to find a reputible software company that fits your needs. Now, you may find that the best fit is a freeware solution that brand x offers. But beware, that brand x does not support their software and or update it. Brand y might offer everything brand x does but they have a support center, and they update their software frequently. The extra dollars to spend on something that a company supports goes a long way. Find what is best for you though. If you have to try two or even three companies out before purchasing one, then do so. The extra preparation and patience always pays off in the long run.


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