Do you need an E-commerce website with shopping cart?
Shopping carts or E-commerce websites are a great way to create online sales as well as show your website visitors what they can expect when they visit your brick and mortar store. Whether you are a brick and click store or you just want to run an online store, there are several things to consider when deciding on a E-commerce website with a shopping cart.
Shopping cart websites usually are more structured and less artistic, since they need to be easy to navigate to ensure people don’t abandon the purchase during the process.
With the popularity of smart phones, more people buy products on their phones, or compare online prices, when shopping in a store. With responsive web design, your online store is accessible through the regular computer as well as on a mobile device.
How do you plan to deliver your products? Are you planning to charge a flat fee? Or automatic postage calculation for USPS, UPS or FedEx?
With an e-commerce shopping cart you can calculate postage to specific zip codes easily. All you need to know is the weight and measurements of each product and create an account with USPS, FedEx or UPS.
UPS with shipping label printing is available through some independent shipping services or payment processing companies. Be sure to mention to your web designer if that is a requirement before starting the design process.
There are a few different options for accepting online payment for your products. If you are establishing a new online presence, we recommend starting with a payment solution like PayPal or Google checkout, until your website has enough visits and sales to justify the upfront costs of an independent credit card gateway service.
PayPal, Stripe and Google Checkout:
Dependent credit card processing services like PayPal and Google Checkout do not charge anything for the set-up, so you don’t pay anything until you actually sell something. When you sell an item, you are charged the credit card fee as well as a transaction fee of approx. 2.5%- 2.9% and .30 per transaction. See PayPal fees >>.
The free standard PayPal account re-directs clients to the PayPal check-out page during the credit card transaction. Since PayPal is doing the actual processing, they take care of the security issues and PCI compliance that is needed for online credit card transactions.
Note: Most people who don’t use PayPal often are under the misconception that you need a PayPal account to pay with PayPal. The PayPal checkout allows users to use their credit card without having to have a PayPal account.
PayPal Pro: PayPal Pro is a paid version of PayPal that enables you to have the actual check-out procedure on your website. There is a monthly fee for the service but it also enables you to print shipping labels and send reports to QuickBooks.
Independent Credit Card Processing
High volume companies usually ask for independent credit card processing. The advantage is a lower credit card fee and more reporting options as well as the option to integrate with QuickBooks and some shipping modules.
Accepting credit cards on your website require you to have a merchant account and a payment gateway. These can cost as much as $800 for setup and account fees for the first year in addition to the credit card fees. Fees can be as low as 2.19%. In addition to that, you may be charged a PCI compliance fee and you will need a SSL Certificate through your hosting company to protect buyers’ card information.
What are the costs?
The costs of building a shopping cart do not include the payment processing costs. The credit card processing is handled between the merchant and the credit card processing service. We recommend comparing the companies and their fees, and reading the online reviews. Here are some of the most popular dependent and independent payment companies: PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.net, Bluepay, First Data (Linkpoint/YourPay), Sagepay, Worldpay, Moneybookers, Stripe, Amazon Payment Gateway.
Products and Product Images
A beautiful and successful e-commerce website starts with great product images. If your images are nice, your conversions and sales can dramatically increase. Professional photography can be expensive, but if you are on a tight budget, there are a few ways to get free images.
- If you are a re-seller of products, your supplier might have already taken professional photos of their product for their catalog. Ask your supplier, if they have cleaned-up images of the products you may use on your website. Make sure, the images are at least 600 x 600 pixels.
- Light-tents or light boxes are a great way to get product shots without distracting backgrounds. Photography light tents are available in various sizes online for as little as $11. Even a white wall or bed sheet as a backdrop can work.
- Your digital camera does not have to be the most expensive one. Computer monitors are at a 72 resolution, so even a 2-megapixel camera can do the trick unless your products require a macro lens for small details, like jewelry. If you need close-up shots, make sure you use the macro function on your camera and use a tripod. Daylight is the best light to use. Most photography errors can be fixed with Photoshop except blurriness. Make sure your photos are in focus.