Choosing an Ecommerce Shopping Cart
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Choosing an online shopping cart is a big decision. Unlike a traditional brick and mortar business, your website is your only chance to impress potential customers.It needs to project a professional image to capture the trust of your visitors. The shopping cart is a particularly important part of your website because it deals with people's personal information and credit card numbers. People are nervous about online purchases and need to be assured that they are giving their credit card numbers to a reputable company.
There are several types of ecommerce shopping carts available. They range from merchant services, which require no programming skills, to fully integrated shopping carts that require custom programming. The three main categories of shopping carts are:
Merchant services such as eBay and 2Checkout
Hosted shopping cart services
Fully integrated shopping carts
Most shopping carts require you to have your own merchant account and gateway. A merchant account is a bank account that allows a business to conduct credit card transactions and the gateway allows the transaction to be conducted over a secure connection. It's okay if you don't have a merchant account or gateway. Merchant service shopping carts allow you to use their merchant account, gateway and shopping cart for a higher cost.
Merchant services are beneficial for very small businesses or those that are just starting and don't have a lot of orders. Merchant services provide the merchant account, gateway, hosted shopping cart and will maintain your customer's personal information. They usually require a set-up fee between 50 and 200 dollars, transaction fee between 30 and 75 cents, and 5% to 10% of each transaction. Because you are using their merchant account, your customer's credit card statement will show the merchant services business name not yours. In some cases, customers will not recognize the charge and may dispute it.
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