|Merchant Services, E-commerce and Credit Card Processing Information|
Shopping Carts For The Faint Of Heart
The chief criteria for judging an ecommerce shopping cart are the number of credit card processors and shipping services it supports, and the number of people that support *it*.
Why? Because credit card processors and shipping services mutate all the time. Your cart will require updating. Which service works today may go out of business tomorrow, and leave you with the orders piling up.
Other important criteria are how easy it is to set up, and add products, and how easy it is for the customer to use.
When you set up your shop test it using a wide variety of the oldest and buggiest browsers you can find. If your web store works under them you're home and dry.
Here are the cheapest, simplest, and most effective carts I've found:
1. Oscommerce (free) - http://www.oscommerce.com
A very good, full-featured, cart. Uses Php and MySQL. Not easy to set up for a 'newbie'. Cookies are used to track the order. If you have PhpMyAdmin installed in your web account, it's easier. Requires a customer to register before they can make a purchase. Supports a wide range of credit-card processors and shipping services.
Bad point: Technical support is limited to the Oscommerce forums, which are not helpful to newbies.
Also, it may be a while before an update is available to a payment module. These are done by unpaid enthusiasts.
Good point: Oscommerce is supported by thousands of unpaid enthusiasts; this means updates do eventually arrive, and it's less likely to go out of business, unlike a commercial cart.
2. X-Cart (commercial) - http://www.x-cart.com
Similar to Oscommerce. Requires a customer to register before they can make a purchase. Lots of features and add-ons. Supports a wide range of credit-card processors and shipping services. Has an affiliate program add-on, and lets others sell products though your cart.
3. Dansie Cart (commercial) - http://www.dansie.net
A well specified cart. Supports a wide range of credit-card processors and shipping services.
Bad point: Apparently the Perl code is obscured, to make it harder to copy, which is annoying if you want to customise it.
3. Interchange (free) - http://www.icdevgroup.org
A version of the old Akopia / Minivend carts. Complex product with lots of files and a lot of setting up to do. A complete solution, and includes the option of third party credit-card real-time order processing. Encrypts orders.
4. Agora (free) - http://www.agoracart.com
A Web-Store/Commerce.cgi hybrid.
5. The Commission Cart (commercial) - http://www.siteinteractive.com
A CGI-based shopping cart which also functions as an affiliate program. Other webmasters earn commissions by signing up and linking to your site.
6. ShopFactory (commercial) - http://www.shopfactory.Com
Has a nice little wizard-based set-up. If you have a lot of items in your shop, this is an option worth checking out.
This is a very valuable feature. A person who's set up CGI scripts before will get the most out of this. Supports a wide range of credit-card processors and shipping services.
7. WebGenie Shopping Cart Pro (commercial) - http://www.webgenie.com
It's for someone who hasn't set up a CGI script before. Expensive for what you get, but it works. Option to buy it on hire-purchase.
8. Actinic Catalog (commercial) - http://www.actinic.co.uk
Most suitable if you have lots of items in your store. It's a 'wizard'-based PC program; you type in your information, and the program sets up the store.
You should set up the default store as-is, then customise it later. Supports a wide range of credit-card processors and shipping services. A little complicated for an internet newbie; there's quite a lot in it.
9. Order Maven (commercial) - http://www.briggsoft.com
A clever little program. It's a standalone Windows executable, which the customer downloads. The customer starts it up, chooses the product, enters their details, and sends off their order like an email, with the credit card details encrypted. It costs $29.00 at the time of writing. No secure server or order page needed; it's all done on the customer's PC at their leisure.
You need to customise it. Make sure you write your mail server URL into the code. For the customer, the order module is a 160kb download.
Having read the above you should have eliminated quite a few programs from your shopping list. They either won't work properly with all browsers, or they won't encrypt your order, or they want to tie you into their manufacturers' secure order system at $40+ per month.
Another option is to get a bespoke system set up for you by a specialist company. These cost thousands of dollars. Aren't you glad you read this far?
About the author: T. O' Donnell (http://www.tigertom.com/web-designer-london.shtml) is an ecommerce and web site design consultant in London, UK.
Helping Your Visitors: a State of Mind
What does "helping your visitors" mean exactly?
Maximize Your Froogling for Increased Website Profits
Are you familiar with Froogle? If you are an online merchant, you certainly should be.
Selecting The Right Shopping Cart For Your Website
Shopping Cart Installation And Setup
How Measuring Key Performance Indicators Can Improve E-Commerce Strategy - Part Two
Why time spent on your site is important
Three years ago I was doing some work for a local university helping to redesign an internal website they wanted updated and made more user friendly. When the job was done the person I was doing the job for wanted to use his school issued credit card to pay for my services.
Creating Legal Framework for E-commerce Taxation; non-tax statutes
We have to make amendments in existing substantive and procedural laws to make it compactable with changing technological advancement of e-commerce?
Start doing online business using B2B Portals in Six Steps
I registered with a B2B site but what's next?
How to Start a Business on the Internet
So you want to start a business? Good for you. Really, I mean that sincerely. I think about the millions of people that let the thought pass briefly through their minds on he way to work everyday.
Select a Niche Market for Ecommerce
Choosing a carefully pinpointed niche market should be one of the first steps that an internet business owner has to take. A very common way of describing a niche market is 'a targeted group of individuals with very specific and similar needs or interests.' These people engage in similar activities and hence they would most probably demand the same goods or services to cater to their needs. Online businesses that drop ship their products to their customers would thrive by focusing on a specifically targeted niche market. In this article, I would focus on the advantages a niche market can bring to an online Drop Ship business. This article also provides you with practical steps for you to select your niche market.
Your Site is all Direct Marketing
This may not be a popular view, but I think writing a web site is very similar to writing a piece of direct mail. I'm not talking about smash-and-grab fliers. I'm talking about those large mailings with brochures, a four or eight-page letter and a reply card.
Intranet Project ? RAD or Waterfall?
Products for a Successful Web Business
There are F words in business. We have seen many small businesses on the internet flourish and fulfil their dream, but sadly we have seen some flounder and fail because they had the wrong product.
How Do You Make Money Online?
If you learn how other people make money online, I mean really study how it's done and ask a lot of questions, there is no reason in the world you cannot make money on the internet as well.
Delivering Information Products Through Paypal Automatically
Paypal is one of the wonders of the web. Never has it been easier for individuals or small business to receive payments though the web & to be able to accept payment though debit or credit cards without having to own a merchant account. You can have a paypal account setup within minutes & accept payment straight away.
Old Habits Die Hard in the Third Age Years
I spent a lifetime in retailing and I'm still at it in retirement; albeit virtually.
Saving Money On Your E-commerce Site
After building and transferring many e-commerce sites it still amazes me that owners of e-commerce businesses are still wasting money in three basic ways. For fear of stating the obvious, saving money is the same as making money $100 saved is $100 added to your profit margin. Here are three basic ways to save money on your e-commerce site and increase your profits. While they may be simple we know they are overlooked time and time again resulting in thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
The Secret Science Of Online Shopping
In theory you could create a retail web site with a limitless selection; an online store where every kind of merchandise known to man could be sold. Would people be interested in buying from such a huge enterprise?
Complementary-Relational Linking and How It Could Save Your Internet Business
The concept of linking is that sites with common interests should link to drive more traffic to each other's businesses and to increase their "popularity." Search engines, such as Google, give much higher ranking to sites with high popularity. They feel that when many sites are linking to yours, it's a sign of ranking value.
Doing Business Online ? Private B2B Exchanges
Business processes are the building blocks of an enterprise. If one of these processes fails to live up to its expectation, business starts to flounder. How to minimize the risks, get a better monitoring of the processes and, at the same time, reduce costs involved? The answer is ? business process automation.
The Origins of E-Commerce
What is the Internet?
|home | site map|