I get a lot of questions about how to go about setting up a shopping cart for websites, and how to figure out which shopping cart companies are reputable, so I thought I’d share some helpful tips.

What Are You Selling?
Are you selling a service (e.g. massage, coaching, spiritual retreat, etc) or a product (e.g. handbags, jewelry, clothing, etc.)?

If you’re selling a service, you probably have a few different pricing schemes related to your overall service. For example – you might offer a 30-minute or a 60-minute massage, so you’d want the flexibility to distinguish.

If you’re selling clothing, you probably want to offer different sizes, perhaps different designs. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea to offer perspective buyers the ability to see pictures of what you’re selling so they can get a feel for colors, styles, and quality.

Once you determine your needs, you can figure out whether you need something like a basic PayPal button, or a more established shopping cart offering multiple product lines and options and photos for each product, such as is available from Godaddy.com

Technical Expertise
Are you a whiz at programs like PHP and MySQL? If so, you can probably build your own cart from scratch, bravo!

For the rest of us – you’ll want to consider how difficult it is to set up the cart. PayPal offers a simple setup process, and the choice to embed buttons next to products, or create an actual cart experience. Godaddy takes a little more time as there are many, many options, and versatility.

Price and Hidden Fees
What’s the real cost of your shopping cart?

Read the fine print carefully. There may be both a setup AND a monthly fee to pay. On top of that, you’ll have a credit card transaction fee, usually 1 – 3% depending on whether it’s AmEx, Visa, MasterCard, etc. There may also be a per transaction fee on TOP of the credit card fee, so pay close attention!

PayPal offers different levels of accounts, some with no monthly or setup fees, some with more features do require a monthly fee.

Who Can You Trust?
Now that you’re ready to begin researching companies, here’s a few that I’ve either used, or heard good things about:

www.godaddy.com – Quick Shopping Cart

Author's Bio: 

Heather Markel is President of Spice Up Work Coaching, based in New York City. She specializes in helping people find joy in the workplace by tapping into their unique skills and passions. She has over 16 years of sales and marketing experience. Want to know more? Visit www.spiceupwork.com