10 Things You Should Know About Shopping Carts (cont.)
Account for Credit Card Purchases
Another reason a
business wants to have a shopping cart is to sell their products or
services online by Credit Card (CC). This requires more than a shopping
cart. It also requires a merchant account, where the funds collected
are deposited, and a payment gateway which handles the transaction
between the customers Credit Card Company and your merchant account.
Each of these items has an associated cost. Three typical costs involved
with a CC transaction are per transaction fee, monthly fee (to maintain
the account) and a percentage of the sale. You may need help in
determining the best deal for these services.
Now that you have some
basic information to help you choose a shopping cart solution, what
other influences can help determine your selection? One other piece of
information that a provider may ask is how many transactions do you run
a month? They may also ask what monthly revenue your site generates.
You may wish at this
point not to answer, because this some how, seems to be private
information and not to matter in the decision. Actually the provider is
trying to determine some levels of transactions to estimate the load on
the web server. If you have a busy site certain hosting arrangements
will not work well. For instance shared hosting may not give you the
needed flexibility for peak band width needed during a spike of business
causing some customers to be dropped – causing lost sales (whenever
these circumstance occur).
8) Integration of
Shopping Cart onto a Website
You made a decision on
what shopping cart solution to use, now what? How do I get it hooked up
to work on my site? How do I get my product information into the cart
and change the shopping cart look and feel to match the front end of my
website? If you do not have HTML programming and graphical arts skills
you may need someone to provide these services for you. Some shopping
cart solutions offer template-based pages, and allow pages from the
front end to be linked without much effort. This feature will lower the
costs associated with your site integration.
Marketing Your Shopping Cart
The first objective is
to provide the right mix of marketing solutions to keep customers coming
to the website. Some solutions offer help with marketing features. Two
of the most popular marketing features are an autoresponder and an
affiliate program. The autoresponder sends customers who sign up or
purchase a product a predetermined series of e-mails (could be e-Zines
or e-newsletters). This series is designed to perform two functions.
Introduce new customers to the site, and provide existing customers
incentives to return and purchase. The affiliate feature is designed to
offer other website owners a way to receive commissions on sales to
people they send to your website. These features help drive traffic to
your site and increase traffic over time.
Converting Visitors into Buyers
Lastly but probably
one of the most important issues when deciding on a shopping cart is its
ability to convert visitors to customers. If you get all the traffic in
the world and cannot convert it, then you are spending money without
hope of making it back. This is where you need the most help, and one of
the places the rented solutions give you the least help. So if you have
a shopping cart solution that is rented, you will need to get help
increasing your conversion rate. What is your conversion rate? Divide
the number of website visitors by the number of sales and you get your
conversion rate. The first thing you need to do is determine if you can
get this information? What is a healthy conversion rate? If you are not
converting between 15 and 30 percent, then you need definite help.
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Bob is Co-Founder, President of
Web Success Team and
Speyergraphix Design Studio.
Bob and his team can handle all of your offline design and
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