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Guest Kathy Zengolewicz

Shopping Carts

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Guest Kathy Zengolewicz

I've been doing web site work for a little while now. I have a prospective client who has asked me if I did shopping carts. :o

 

I don't know anything at all about shopping carts. I thought they were used on web sites of big companies. :unsure:

 

Can anyone shed some light on this topic?

 

What is involved with putting shopping carts on a new site? I think I remember reading somewhere that you need a specific software.

 

Any advice/help is greatly appreciated.

 

Kathy Z

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Some web host provide this as part of their hosting package - you should see if his does. I also believe you can sign up to use this service, all you have to do is implement it into his website - I've never done it though so someone else may be able to shed some light on this.

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There is a huge range of shopping cart software out there, and they are used on pretty much any site that sells products online. The costs, structure and ease of implementation can vary greatly. The appropriate cart for you client will depend on:

 

a ) the nature of the products he's selling (soft goods, dropshipped, warehouse);

b ) integration with existing inventory/store management software he's using;

c ) the estimated size of his store;

d ) the designer's comfort level with scripting;

e ) your client's payment gateway;

f ) your client's preferred shipping service;

g ) restrictions of his webhosting package

 

etc, etc.

 

Some very basic cart systems are not too difficult to learn, but the learning curve with a shopping cart system can be pretty steep, and personally, I don't recommend attempting to set up an ecommerce site if you are strictly a WYSIWYG type of webdesigner. Depending on your client's needs and your comfort level, this may be a project that is better outsourced to someone with experience.

Edited by PLS

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Guest TerryGreen

Hi Kathy,

 

One of the easiest shopping carts to use is www.1ShoppingCart.com. As Leanne points out, a lot depends on what your client needs the shopping cart for. 1ShoppingCart has private labels as well, so you might find it under 1ShoppingCart, Practice Pay Solutions, or another name, but they are all the same ... just different owners.

 

I use the 1ShoppingCart system for myself and several different clients. Mine is strictly for autoresponders, broadcasts and newsletters right now, so I use the basic AR system. My other clients use the system for products and merchant accounts, autoresponders, newsletters, affiliates, etc., so they have the full system. It's very easy to use, and there are video tutorials on the site to walk you through things.

 

Setting the system up can be tricky if you don't know what you are doing. Since my SC is only for ARs and not product, it was easy to set up. If your client has product or affiliates, you might need the expertise of someone well-versed in the process. I have a contact that I refer my clients to for set-up, and then I do the maintenance and everything else. I was a little intimidated the first time I thought about working with SCs and ARs, but was amazed at how easy it is to learn and do. You can sign up for their 30 day trial period and go through the tutorials if you want to get an idea about what it is like and to see if you like it.

 

Let me know if you have any questions, or if I can help you in any way. I'd also love to share my affiliate link with you if you or your client decide to try it :) . If you would like it, just send me a PM and I'll forward it to you.

 

Warmest regards,

 

Terry

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Kathy, you've gotten some great advice and they can be tricky, but remember that if this is not something you offer or or comfortable with, align yourself with others that do. Outsourcing a portion of a project or an entire project is sometimes a necessity as long as you maintain control. You get the project, the work gets done, and the client is happy.

 

 

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Hi

 

The shopping cart on your site can really make a difference in the success of your store. You have gotten some excellent advice.

 

The shopping cart I use is Susan Schneid's Option Cart. It's very easy to install, and I was able to add LinkLoks to it so that my books are downloaded and secure. Nancy Brown is my web designer who helped me with this and it's really a cool thing.

 

Good luck!

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I'm reviving this old thread, with much appreciation for the great information included here. I have a good friend of mine who has asked for my help in researching what it will take for her organization to get online (that's right, they don't even have a web presence at all). The main function of this site is to create an online bookstore. She is the exec-director of an Interagency Association with 6 Visitor Centers and Bookstores. They really need to be selling online.

 

My review begins with the very basic steps from domains to eCommerce hosting to options for building the actual site itself (and I've included info to get her going with podcasts so she can do book reviews...very exciting!). I'm wrapping things up, and find myself needing to touch base here about the shopping cart information (it has me overwhelmed) Most eCommerce hosting companies offer OSCommerce, but it seems people are using 1ShoppingCart, ZenCart, ProductCart or any one of the dozens others out there. 1ShoppingCart can be tempermental, I hear - I'd love to hear more about it (Terry?) Selling online requires a shopping cart and a Merchant Account - does that have to be an internet based Merchant Account, or would she use her established banking accounts? Will the cart integrate with her current POS system for sales in the brick and mortars?

 

I am by no means going to be the one who DOES any of this for her, I'm just the research girl to help her make sense of what she needs to do. But, she may be looking for someone to build this site for her, so I'm open for any and all information

 

Thanks ladies, you are always so wonderful!!!!

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I had a bad experience with Oscommerce and if you decide to use it, check very carefully that there are no holes and it's installed securely. The host I was using at the time installed it but apparently Google could find all the purchases and I ended up with two of my client's clients with their credit card details exposed online - I didn't find out about it till many months later and we had to fight to get the Google references removed and I complained to Oscommerce but since it was open source or similar there was really a bunch of people handling the software but no one person who would take any responsibility. We also had to convince the clients that we had no knowledge of why it had happened and that we had believed the system set up was secure. Needless to say we dropped that service very quickly and shifted to 1shoppingcart.com after doing some quick research on secure shopping carts - we still use 1SC today.

 

If the products are ebooks only though, and nothing else, you could set up using either Clickbank or Paypal, coupled with Payloadz to create secure payment links with secure timed downloads, i.e. the links don't stay live for more than a couple of days. And there's no rental costs with either of these options.

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Selling online requires a shopping cart and a Merchant Account - does that have to be an internet based Merchant Account, or would she use her established banking accounts? Will the cart integrate with her current POS system for sales in the brick and mortars?

 

Actually, selling online can have a number of variations:

 

"True" selling online requires a shopping cart, a payment gateway, and a merchant account. In simplified terms, when a shopper enters their card information in the cart, it sends a transmission to the payment gateway. The gateway validates the card number, communicates with the issuing bank, (may or may not do address verification and CVV2* verification depending on your setup), obtains an authorization number, and passes success or failure back to the shopping cart. The order may be processed "live" -- that is, the customer's card is also charged at this time, or it may simply be authorized, and the sale captured later at the time the order is shipped. Note that many merchant account agreements require that charging the card be done within 48 hours of the product shipping, so if your customer sells items that may be backordered, it is not a good idea to capture the sale at the time of the transaction. Regardless of when the sale is captured, at the time of capture, the payment gateway then communicates with the merchant account, and instructs it to transfer the funds to the store owner's bank. Recommended gateways to look at are Payflow Pro (formerly owned by Verisign, and at that time highly reliable, but recently purchased by Paypal, and there have been some transition issues) and Authorize.net. Linkpoint is fair, but has a history of downtime, and some issues with making changes to their API without bothering to notify anyone first.

 

Selling online can also be done without a payment gateway by simply recording the credit card information and using a local POS system to process the sale manually. This has obvious security risks for the merchant, and it should be noted that Visa and Mastercard do not permit any storage of CVV2 information, so it is not permissible to collect CVV2 if you are not doing real time authorizations. Because this method requires storing the credit card numbers, it is recommended to use this sort of system only if your shopping cart allows for encrypted storage of credit card information.

 

Not all merchant accounts allow for internet sale transactions, so she will need to contact her merchant account provider to determine what is and is not permissible. Certain merchant accounts integrate only with particular payment gateways, so this will need to be taken into consideration as well. Also, internet sales tend to carry higher transaction costs than in-store sales because of the higher fraud risks.

 

Integration with her POS system may be possible depending on who her POS provider is, who her merchant account is with, and so on. Depending on her sales volume, she may want to look at some order management software such as Stone Edge Order Manager (pricey, but worth the cost if you are doing a volume of 10+ internet sales per day, and very feature rich) which should be able to both integrate with her POS and provide inventory management integration as well.

 

It is highly recommended that she purchase her own security certificate for the site. A good host will install this for her free of charge, and shared certificates can cause issues with customer confidence because of the warnings that will pop up in certain browsers.

 

As for shopping carts, the thing I don't like about most of the open source options is that they look so "ecommerce-y" to coin a phrase. You might want to take a look at Miva Merchant. It is a licensed system that can be purchased outright, or "leased" from a host that offers it (average $30-40/month, hosting included). While it's not free like the open source options out there, it has the advantage of being more secure than many. It's written using mivascript (sort of the grandfather to html, if I understand correctly) which is a less common programming language, and the source code is compiled, so it is less easy to hack. It is also highly configurable, which means you can have a very professional looking store that is not your average "cookie cutter" ecommerce site. It should be noted that it is a modular system, and certain desired features require the purchase of additional modules, which will add slightly to the overall cost. Miva Merchant, because it is a little different from most other carts, is best hosted with a host that is knowledgeable and experienced with this cart system.

 

Sorry if I rambled on here -- ecommerce is one of my favorite topics, and I tend to be a bit of a windbag ;)

 

*card verification code -- the 3 digit code on the back of a Visa or Mastercard, or the 4 digits on the front of Amex)

 

 

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Oh, Leanne, I'm thrilled that eCommerce is one of your favorite topics. I've really enjoyed this project, and can't believe the bits and pieces of the puzzle I uncover at each turn. I had JUST learned about the payment gateways, yesterday. Your post was completely informative and timely, thanks for helping to make sense of it all. The security certificate was a great piece of advice - thanks! She has the report in her inbox this morning, we'll see what questions she comes up with, surely you haven't heard the last of me :)

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Leanne,

 

Have you ever noticed 1 Shopping Cart doing odd things like giving different repsponses for the same query done two times in a row? Is the system evil and posessed or is it just me?

 

My client insists on it because it's an "all in one" solution, but at times I think the only thing it's going to take care of is the last bit of sanity I've been holding onto.

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Leanne,

 

Have you ever noticed 1 Shopping Cart doing odd things like giving different repsponses for the same query done two times in a row? Is the system evil and posessed or is it just me?

 

My client insists on it because it's an "all in one" solution, but at times I think the only thing it's going to take care of is the last bit of sanity I've been holding onto.

 

Jenny, did you mean to direct your question to Kathy? I've never worked with 1shoppingcart. But for the record, I believe that most software's main purpose is to drive the human race insane...or at the very least, expand our vocabularies. I've added many new and interesting words to mine in the last several years ;)

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Leanne,

 

Have you ever noticed 1 Shopping Cart doing odd things like giving different repsponses for the same query done two times in a row? Is the system evil and posessed or is it just me?

 

My client insists on it because it's an "all in one" solution, but at times I think the only thing it's going to take care of is the last bit of sanity I've been holding onto.

 

1SC (my client's and my nickname for it) made changes to its set up last year and ever since it doesn't seem to interpret html properly (for the broadcast messages) and does odd things here and there. It still is a good product but has its challenges and my client is loathe to transfer her 8,000+ addresses to another system simply because of the headache of getting people to approve themselves all over again because of the spam legislations so we stick with it. I use it for my coaching lesson delivery too and it has worked well for that. But I've not experienced what you outline above. I do wish though it would show when people signed up for an autoresponder, rather than when they first went onto the database - that kind of query would be useful.

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Sorry about that Leanne...when I saw you said you were an e-commerce junkie I assumed (incorrectly!) that of course you MUST be an expert in what *I* use.

 

Cause I'm a dork every once in a while and make big ol' assumptions. Sorry about that.

 

Kathie, in that one screen with the info with all the autoresponders listed at the bottom for the particular person you can see when they were added to a specific autoresponder rather than the database addition. I haven't figured out how to run a query for it yet. (It may be impossible...but hope springs eternal and all that.)

 

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Kathie, in that one screen with the info with all the autoresponders listed at the bottom for the particular person you can see when they were added to a specific autoresponder rather than the database addition. I haven't figured out how to run a query for it yet. (It may be impossible...but hope springs eternal and all that.)

 

Yes, but I don't want to have to go through each individual person to work out who signed up to what and when for my client - I have to produce stats for her on a weekly basis. And when there are hundreds of people on one autoresponder that can amount to a lot of work - at this stage I just keep a weekly total which can go up and down, depending on whether there's been people unsubscribing or not.

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