5 Easy Hosted Shopping Carts for Entrepreneurs

Looking to start a new small business ecommerce website? Hosted shopping carts make it easy for entrepreneurs and small businesses to get started with online selling.

A shopping cart is an extremely important part of any online store. The cart is the software that works as your online product catalog and facilitates the online ordering process. Shopping cart software can be purchased independently and integrated into your website and ecommerce platform.

For any entrepreneur, smaller merchant or online seller, one benefit to using a hosted shopping cart solution is that you don’t need to worry about maintaining a server, and little to no IT knowledge is required to get you set up and running a small store on your own website or blog.  When you use a hosted shopping cart the technology, the shopping cart provider maintains the service and the server space. Usually, you will only need to customize the cart options and then copy-and-paste code onto your website pages.

There are a number of web-based shopping carts to help smaller merchants. Most web-based shopping carts are designed to integrate into your existing website or blog -- and make it easy for you to start selling online in your own space.  The following five hosted shopping carts can start you on the path to selling on your own website -- for less than $20 per month.

 5 Easy Web-Based Shopping Carts

1. Cashie is a simple way to start selling on your own website or blog if you have a PayPal account. It hosts all the code and you customize a shopping cart for your business and then copy-and-paste the resulting code to your own pages. After you register for a Cashie account you can change the default settings to customize the features, including the cart, checkout, results and product pages.

Cashie is free to play around with in trial mode, but you can’t actually sell anything in trial mode. For a live shopping cart you can upgrade to a production account and link Cashie to your PayPal account.  Standard PayPal fees apply in addition to a 1 percent monthly transaction fee charged by Cashie (e.g. $1,000 monthly sales will result in a $10 fee).

2. DesignCart lets you sell an unlimited number of products on your own website. You can customize cart check-out pages or design your own Add to Cart buttons to copy-and-paste into product pages on your site. DesignCart features 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.  Pricing starts at $18.00/month with a $25 set-up fee. DesignCart also offers a free 14-day trial.

3.  E-Commerce Express by Mercantec offers a shopping cart designed for online sellers who want to sell in a number of places and still list on eBay. E-Commerce Express generates a storefront, or you can choose to cut-and-paste cart-button code to your existing website or blog. The cart supports many standard features such as sales tax calculations and coupons, and it also supports eBay Fixed Price listings. You can create a free account on the Mercantec website.

4.  E-junkie is a Web-based shopping cart that lets you quickly integrate sales features into any website to sell digital and tangible goods online. It is quick to customize, and you simply cut-and-paste code on your site pages to have the cart functions appear for site visitors. Online sellers and merchants have access to an admin panel to manage their product inventory and cart functions. Pricing starts at a $5.00/month for 10 products (up to $265/month for 7,999 products) and a free 7-day trial is available.

5.  GoEmerchant provides you with solutions to build a full ecommerce store, or you can purchase the Buy-Me Button plan to add payment options to an existing website. The Buy-Me Button plan offers customizable button design, unlimited product database, pull-down menus for products, invoicing, shipping calculations, and inventory management functionality. Pricing for just the Buy-Me Button is not available on the GoEmerchant.com website, however pricing for a lower-end total plan is $19.95/month plus set-up and ten cents per gateway transaction fee.

 Looking for More Shopping Cart Tips?

Would you like to learn more about integrating a shopping cart on your own ecommerce website?  Try these shopping cart tips and guides for small business ecommerce sites:

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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