If your product or service requires that you collect payment online there are several easy ways to do this through your website. While some of them are free, many take a percentage of the total sales or charge a monthly fee.
If you use a blog as your website, either through Blogger or Wordpress you can easily add a Paypal or Eventbrite button to your post. This is good for either static payments (on one page and they never change) or for a one time payment for service. For example, if you’re a life coach and you’re offering a course, you can add a Paypal button or Eventbrite button to that particular page. Both Paypal and Eventbrite charge a small percentage of your income.
If you have more than one product to sell, you will want to set up an online store that offers a shopping cart. This is different in that you can add multiple products to your “cart” just like you are shopping.
There are several host sites that allow you to have a range of products from 1 – 5,000 and keep track of inventory. Many of them require a monthly fee, but the beauty of these host sites is that they are ready made sites. You can pick a template which best suits your brand, add your product and off you go.
The top sites for this type of shopping cart range from person to person depending on what your needs are and your budget. Bigcommerce is one of the big players in this field with monthly fees from $24.95 for 100 products to $299 for unlimited products and 100 staff logins.
A Canadian player, Shopify, a shopping cart host allows you to pick your theme, add products starting from 1 to unlimited also for a monthly fee. The benefit for the user is that there is little need for the user to know any html or web design.
Artists and Boutique
Since the inception of online shopping carts, there are a few that have made a niche for themselves. Etsy is one of them. If you hand craft your own product, Etsy is a great to place for you to set up shop. The internet is rife with online stores and the benefit of Etsy is that they have the traffic. If a customer is online looking for something handmade chances are they’re heading to Etsy first. Etsy also has it’s own community where you can ask questions and get help for selling online. The cost? Twenty cents to add a product, and then 3.5% when you sell a product.
You don’t have to go with one of the big guns when setting up your shopping cart. There are many boutique carts like SupaDupa who have found their niche in catering to the arts, designers and small businesses.
The options are endless for shopping carts, from having it designed yourself to buying templates to add to your WordPress/Blogger account.
The important thing is to chose a shopping cart that fits your needs. Decide what features you need, whether it’s inventory control, coupon codes, or a one time fee. Chose within your budget, if it’s your first site and you’re starting out, you don’t need an expensive custom designed site, that can come as you grow.