If you’re looking to alter or expand your business by selling products on the Internet, you’re wise to consider it. U.S. consumers spent $226 billion online in 2012 and that number is projected to grow to $327 billion by 2016.1
Two key decisions you’ll need to make when it comes to selling products will be:
- How you want your customers to pay for their purchases?
- How to build your shopping cart?
How will your customers pay? You have several companies to choose from based on your business’ needs. Here are two:
Available in 193 markets, PayPal is a global e-commerce business that allows payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. Paypal has 137 million active registered accounts and processes almost 8 million payments every day.
- Set up is quick and easy
- Name recognition
- No need for special technology to send or receive money
- Security of transaction – Seller Protection
- Account can be immediately frozen and money held until resolution
- Difficult to get customer support
This global online provider allows businesses to indirectly accept a wide variety of payments methods, including major credit cards, PayPal and debit cards. Established in 1999, Checkout now accepts up to 26 currencies from around the world.
- International payment processing
- Simple checkout experience
- Offers a three-tier defense strategy to identify fraudulent activity
- Integrates with more than 100+ 3rd party shopping carts
- Buyers must leave your site to go to 2Checkout’s which may lead to sales abandonment
- Not suitable for businesses selling lower volume due to higher per transaction fees
- Does not support payment processing for non-profit groups
- Requires technical skill to integrate
To figure out the right shopping cart for your site, you’ll need to determine the e-commerce system that best meets your overall online business needs. The three common solutions are:
- Simple (no cart): If you’re selling a single product and only need a way for customers to pay, you can simply create and paste a PayPal or Google Checkout “Buy Now” button on your website.
Hosted: If you need more than a simple payment button but don’t want to install, program and maintain an e-commerce software system (see #3 below), you can utilize the services of a hosted e-commerce site provider that will give you everything you need on the backend to build your site, then host it on their server for a monthly fee.
Like other hosted solutions, Shopify makes it easy to set up your online store by providing all the necessary tools, from customizing your storefront using pre-designed templates and organizing your products, to accepting credit card payments and tracking orders.
- Easy to set-up
- No programming or web design experience is required
- No need to install software or configure servers
- Built in fraud protection allows secure online payments
- Prices of paid-for templates can be costly
- Little customization
- Requires a monthly fee
- Responsible for third-party credit card processing fees
In-house: for a more robust shopping cart, there are many commercial or proprietary e-commerce software (what you pay for) and open source (free) products you can download and customize to your needs. When assessing any of these products though, determine if it supports your preferred payment methods and provides the support you need after purchase.
OpenCart is an example of an open source solution that can be installed on most web servers running the PHP scripting language and MySQL database. Once installed, you can enter your product details through their easy-to-use interface.
- In-house: for a more robust shopping cart, there are many commercial or proprietary e-commerce software (what you pay for) and open source (free) products you can download and customize to your needs. When assessing any of these products though, determine if it supports your preferred payment methods and provides the support you need after purchase.
- Free to use
- Offers thousands of different themes so it’s easy to customize
- Provides security updates and upgrades
- Compatible with all major payment systems
- May require dedicated resources
- Requires hosting
So whether you are just starting, or looking to refine your online store offerings, you’ll need to carefully consider all the product options that are available and pick the ones that will best work with your overall e-commerce strategy.
Keep on spending
The average yearly online spending for a consumer in 2011 was $1,207 and is projected to be $1,738 in 2016. 2