When you sell products on your own Web site, in addition to listing on eBay, you have something important to consider: shopping carts and how to integrate customer data from eBay sales with data from your non-eBay storefront or Web shop.
One easy and cost-effective way to handle this problem is to use a secure, EBay Compatible shopping cart. EBay-compatible carts will track and manage all your orders, no matter which site generates the sale.
EBay-compatible carts can be used as a stand-alone cart on your own site, but with eBay integration, you can direct eBay customers to use it instead of eBays own checkout simply by providing the checkout buttons in e-mails to eBay customers after they make a purchase.
Here are three eBay compatible shopping carts you can consider, each with its own options, features and pricing.
Mercantec's entry-level shopping cart is designed for online sellers who want to sell in a number of places; like blogs, their own storefront, and eBay. When you use E-Commerce Express, you can generate your own "instant" storefront or cut-and-paste cart button code to existing product pages on your own site.
E-Commerce Express is best-suited to e-tailers with fewer than 1,000 products. The cart focuses on simplicity and ease o f use, but it also supports a large number of standard features such as sales tax calculations and coupons.
E-Commerce Express only supports eBay Fixed Price listings and not Auction-Style Listings. You can also use E-Commerce Express to manage the checkout process using any of the payment options that you've set-up in your account settings. You simply need to connect your eBay account to E-Commerce Express, create the eBay listing, and then generate a "Buy Now" button that you e-mail to your eBay buyers to complete the purchase.
E-Commerce Express is free to use if you connect it with your PayPal or Google Checkout accounts for check-out. Youll pay fees if you want access to other, more professional services, such as offering customers additional payment and checkout services.
SecureNetShop offers a hosted Web cart with lots of features. Once you register on the site, you can log in and use the Web interface to configure your shopping cart. You also use the same Web-based administration dashboard to manage your cart settings, orders, reports and other customer information.
This cart supports many of the common cart functions, such as automated shipping and tax calculations, order tracking, inventory management and customizable auto respondersto name but a few.
SecureNetShop also supports a number of payment gateways including PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.Net, Moneris and others. SecureNetShop is also an eBay compatible Application, so you can use the cart to process eBay sales and payments.
SecureNetShop costs $29.95 on a monthly subscription plan or $229 for an annual service plan. Some features, such as real-time shipping rates and support for digital goods, cost extra. SecureNetShop offers a free 15-day trial and for the month of September 2009, four add-on services (Real-time Shipping Rates, Order Status Manager, unlimited tech support, and digital goods delivery) are free for life with a paid subscription.
DesignCart is a full-featured online shopping cart. The software lets you sell an unlimited number of products on your own Web site, and you can easily create "Add to Cart" buttons that you copy and paste into product pages. Checkout pages (the shopping cart order form) can be customized with your own colors and logo. This cart also links back to the last page where your customer was shopping and generates a unique invoice number for each order.
Other important features include automatic calculations for shipping, handling and sales tax, plus shipping calculators for FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service. It supports digital coupons, gift certificates, recurring billing, and more than 20 payment gateways including Authorize.Net, VeriSign and others.
If you also use eBay, DesignCart is eBay Compatible so you can use the cart to list and complete payment for your eBay auctions and fixed-price listings. When someone wins an item you have on eBay they will be sent the checkout button via e-mail. When they check-out, DesignCart updates the eBay listing status automatically.
DesignCart costs $25 for a one-time set-up fee and then $18 per month. Discounts are given on quarter, semi-annual and annual subscriptions. The Pro version, which includes extra features and options, costs an additional $10 per month (the set-up fee is waived for Pro subscriptions). DesignCart offers a fully-functional 14-day free trial.
Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.
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