As a virtual assistant that offers shopping cart set up for small business owners I often come across the question from my clients as to what is the best shopping cart to use for e-Commerce?
As more and more business owners are going into business for themselves offering products/services online so are the different services available to them that offer shopping cart solutions. It can be confusing at times to know which is the best one to use that would get them the best value for money especially if they are just starting out.
My advice is to first decide what is the absolute minimum you need for a shopping cart to do for your business and what things are your ‘would-likes’ down the road as your business grows and your needs change.
For the purposes of this article I’m going to compare three different shopping cart services as examples of what will meet basic needs and what is available for the business owner that just needs a little more from their shopping cart at the intermediate and advanced levels.
Basic Option – PayPal
Since PayPal is a payment gateway that also offers the ability to add e-commerce to your website you save the step and cost of having to sign up for a payment gateway that allows you the ability to accept credit card payments online or over the phone.
If you need to be able to accept credit card payments on your website and need an easy way to transfer those funds directly to your bank account, then PayPal is a good and inexpensive option to go with as the only fees you will have is the transaction fee that is charged by PayPal for each payment transaction you accept through your website.
It’s fairly easy to setup “Buy” buttons on your website for one-time charges or even for recurring charges if you are offering a training or coaching program that spreads out over a number of months.
Also, if you need to bill a client on the fly for one-time and don’t want to create a product for sale on your website you can create an email with PayPal and send to your client requesting the payment amount.
Intermediate Option – 1ShoppingCart
With 1ShoppingCart you can do more than just accept payments on your website. You will be able to build your mailing list through sign-up forms on your website, create auto-responders to send out a series of emails to potential clients to connect with them over a period of time or to run a e-course where you send out emails each week providing training to clients.
Unlike PayPal 1ShoppingCart is not a payment gateway so you will need to sign up with a third party company like Authorize.net to enable you to accept credit cards through 1ShoppingCart.
- one-time charges
- recurring charges for a fixed period of time of your choosing
- ability to set a sales price for a specific period and then automatically going to full price afterwards
- setup download links for clients after they have made their purchase (links expire within 24 hours after the order is placed)
- custom look and feel of shopping cart to match your website brand
- link auto-responder list to specific product so that people who purchased gets added to this list
- WordPress Signup Form plugin
- Contact list segmentation
- Affiliate Program setup and management
Advanced Option – Infusionsoft
(shopping cart combined with lead generation and comprehensive sales/marketing tools)
Infusionsoft is a fairly new-comer compared to 1shoppingcart and is the priciest of all shoppingcarts. However, if you business is at that point where you need an all-in-one solution that provides:
- Built in CRM (customer relation management) tool – attract customers through email, website and social media and manage the whole prospect/customer process
- Lead Management tool – capture valuable data on leads
- Automated Marketing – sending targeted emails automatically, segmenting your list
- Sell Online – quick and easily design your storefront, customized cart, automated fulfillment and billing
- Close Sale – tools to help you convert leads to sales and build customer relationships
For most people just starting out PayPal offers a great way to accept credit card payments if you don’t need all the bells and whistles.
If you need an integrated system for your email newsletters, contact management and also offers a shopping cart solution, then 1ShoppingCart will work well for you at a great price!
If you need a robust system that can handle everything for you from attracting customers to automating the process of nurturing your prospects, to turning them into paying customers and also automating payments, then Infusionsoft would be a great choice bearing in mind that they cost the most of the three choices I’m featuring.
Which shopping cart service is right for you? Comment below and let our readers know! I’d also love to answer any questions you might have about setting up the right shopping cart for your business.