Note: This post was written for participants in an ecommerce seminar. Please feel free to leave questions + comments below
To sell items online, you need:
a payment gateway (like paypal) to process payments
a good shopping cart solution
an SSL seal (if you’re processing credit cards on your website)
If you’re starting from scratch, don’t have the support of a developer, or just want an online store, consider Shopify. They have beautiful templates, and can help your online store get up and running quickly. Review pricing and take a tour of what
Shopify offers. They’re great!
Below is a “short” list of payment gateways and shopping cart solutions.
A payment gateway processes the payment for you. Paypal is by far the most popular payment gateways. Here is a list of other payment gateways.
Use Freshbooks. Get a free account on Freshbooks.
FatFree Cart (run by the ejunkie folks)
FatFreeCart is a free shopping cart developed by the team behind E-junkie shopping cart. It works inside your website, your blog and will even work from your MySpace page. It is simply a copy-paste cart and does not require you to register with us or install anything.
This is a fully supported e-commerce solution. It’s a great way to get up and running if you have lots of products and little time. From their site: “Fastcommerce.com provides business management software to small businesses, delivered on demand as a service via the web on a free or paid monthly subscription basis. We provide small businesses with a complete fully integrated package that run their entire operations, from inventory control, sales, marketing, support, online catalog, e-commerce, backend order processing and built-in UPS and Fedex shipping tools.”
Site Ground Web Hosting has a nice list of open source shopping carts
osCommerce is a free, open source online shop software. The default installation includes a large number of features that you can easily enable and configure. You can easily install osCommerce on your website with the help of the Fantastico auto-installer.
With osCommerce shopping cart you can add multiple products on your site, organize them in categories, set discounts and special promotions. osCommerce allows you to set your prices in different currencies and accept all popular payment methods: PayPal, credit cards, cheques. osCommerce has a built-in shipping and tax functionalities.
CREloaded project is built on the source code of osCommerce but it has extra contributions installed. It offers powerful shopping cart solutions in Standard, Pro and Pro B2B editions. With CREloaded you have the ability to distribute coupon codes, the template system is better, and you have an affiliate manager.
Zen cart is being developed by a group of like-minded shop owners, programmers, designers, and consultants who have first-hand experience in e-commerce. Zen Cart is the outcome of their continuous mutual work. It is a free and user-friendly shopping cart, and is distributed as an open source software.
CS-Cart is paid shopping cart software written in PHP & MySQL (The license is a one-time fee of $265 and includes 1 month of free technical assistance at CS-Cart). The CS Shopping Cart is easy to install, has an intuitive template management system (compared to osCommerce) and user-friendly admin area. By default, CS-Cart is integrated with more than 35 popular payment systems such as PayPal, 2CheckOut, GoogleCheckOut, WorldPay, etc. It includes 5 professional templates and their 20 color schemes in all. CS-Cart is a fully multilingual software with multicurrency feature. It has also an advanced Order management tool, Affilate add-on, Product configurator, Feature comparison and Gift Registry modules.
CubeCart is an eCommerce script written in PHP & MySQL. With CubeCart you can setup a powerful online store as long as you have hosting supporting PHP and one MySQL database. CubeCart is very powerful and easy to connect to various payment gateways.
Magento is the latest open source eCommerce platform on the web. It offers professional features, flexibility and control over the look, content, and functionality of the online shop. With Magento you can establish an e-business with convenient product and catalog browser options, extended customer management, advanced analytics, reporting and marketing promotions tools, and much more. Magento has an intuitive administration interface, it is completely scalable and backed by an extensive support network.
If you don’t want to bother with setting up your own site, or want to extend the reach of your products, consider looking for online marketplaces. There are different marketplaces for different kinds of products. Here is a shortlist of some of the more popular ones.
Etsy.com (a place to buy and sell handmade items)
CD Baby (sell your music + CD’s online)
Amazon (one of the largest ready-made marketplaces)
Craigslist (If you want to deal locally, craigslist works well)
If you’re looking to track traffic on your site and monitor how your shopping cart is doing, use google analytics. Below is short video from Google that gives you a simple overview:
Do you use any of these services and have feedback? Or Have I missed a resource? Leave a comment below and let me know… Thanks!