Day 28: Handy List of eCommerce Tools and Resources

Over the past three days, we’ve been discussing about how you can start selling your product or service online.  Today’s post is a wrap up of the product sales segment of this series.  Below is a list of various eCommerce tools and resources you might need to sell your product/service and start earning an income through your online business.

1. Shopping Cart Software

If you are following Option 1 of selling products on your website (Refer Day 26), you will need a shopping cart software that can be installed on your server.  This is usually open source software that can be installed manually or by using the one-click install option provided by the server (Fantastico, SimpleScripts).

Magento – Offers merchants flexible, feature-rich solutions that address a wide range of business sizes, needs and budgets.

OSCommerce – It’s an open source software that allows you to create a fully functional online store right on your website.  Over 7000 add-ons are also available to enhance your online store.

Zen Cart – A user-friendly open source shopping cart software.

OpenCart – It’s a powerful open source shopping cart system that allows you to integrate with hundreds of payment gateways.

2. SSL Certificates

SSL Certificates - GoDaddy

Your online business needs an SSL certificate if you’re planning to have the entire sales and payment process happening right on your website (Option 1 of Day 26).  This ensures that the payment details given by the customer are handled in a secure manner.  It also gives customers the assurance that the identity of your website has been verified by a trusted authority.

Shared SSL is cheaper, but the customer will be directed to another site for payment processing.  If you are an established business and would like to keep everything on your website, it’s better you purchase a private SSL certificate.  Most of the web hosting service providers provide SSL certificates as an app, or you could buy it from an SSL certificate provider.

Here are a few sites where you can purchase an SSL certificate for your online business:

GoDaddy

Entrust

DigiCert

Thawte

GlobalSign

Symantec

3. Merchant Accounts

A merchant account is a type of bank account that allows your business to accept payments by debit or credit cards.  You will need a merchant account if you are handling the payment process entirely on your website.  Many local banks and credit card companies provide merchant account services.  Here are a few alternatives for your consideration, but they are rather expensive.

American Express

GoDaddy – Lets your business accept all major credit, debit, and gift cards on your website.  They handle the secure credit card processing, check for potential fraud, and get your funds deposited quickly.

4. External Shopping Carts + Payment Processor

E-junkie

You will need an external shopping cart and payment processor if you are going with Option 2 of selling products on your website (Refer Day 26).  These services combine the shopping cart and payment gateway, and the entire payment processing is handled by them.  It is recommended that start up businesses go with this option.

E-junkie – Provides the shopping cart and lets you sell digital downloads and physical products on your website using major payment gateways.  For digital downloads, the files or links to access the content are automatically sent to the customer.  For physical products, the shipping calculation and inventory management is automated by the system itself.

Pulley – This is a simple way to sell your digitally downloadable products such as graphics, music, videos, eBooks and software.  On successful order complete, the product is instantly delivered to customers worldwide.

Gumroad – Enables creators to sell directly to their audience by adding a simple code snippet to their website.  They also have a detailed guide on their website with tips on how to create and sell your physical and digital products.

1ShoppingCart – All in one solution for selling physical and digital goods online.

5. Payment Gateways

6 Safe and Simple Payment Gateways – This lists the major online payment gateways along with their features.

6. Hosted Online Service Providers

Etsy

Etsy – A site where you can create your own online shop and sell handmade goods, vintage items and crafting supplies.

Shopify – A complete online retail solution to help you create your own store.

Cafepress – You can upload your own designs here, get them printed on Tshirts, accessories and housewares, and sell them for a profit.

eCRATER – A site where you can create a free online store with loads of features.

Magento Go – A hosted eCommerce solution for small businesses at an affordable price.

7. WordPress Shopping Cart Plugins

Quick Shop – A shopping cart for your website’s sidebar.

eShop – An easily accessible WordPress plugin with simple controls and a variety of functionalities.

WooCommerce – This plugin is free from the developers of WooThemes.  It provides powerful eCommerce functionality with an elegant interface.

Cart66 Lite – A lite yet powerful plugin that lets you sell digital and physical products from your website.  They also have a premium version with additional features.

8. Opt-in/Sales Page Creators

Premise

When you have a product or service you want to sell, it should have it’s own page on your website.  Here are a few sites that make it easier for you to create such a page.

Premise – A highly recommended resource to easily create a variety of pages for your product or service.  Also offers the facility to create membership areas within your website.

OptimizePress – A WordPress theme for creating sales pages, launch pages, etc.

9. Membership Software

If you are planning to create a membership website, where only paid members have access to some content, you can check out the following options.

aMember Professional – The perfect membership software to sell digital products, downloads and training.

WishList Member – A powerful, yet easy to use solution to help you turn your WordPress site into a membership site.  It is a bit expensive though.

Membership – A free plugin that transforms your WordPress website into a fully functional membership site.  There is also a pro version which has more functionalities.

Kajabi – It is a hosted solution and will not be a part of your website.  When members wants to access the content, they will be sent to a private hosted site.  Prices start at $99 per month, but they are currently offering a free 30 day trial (no credit card required).

10. Shipping & Handling

For physical products that are being sold on your website, you will have to take care of the shipping and handling after an order has been placed.  Here are a few resources to help you with that.

Guide to Small Business Shipping

How To Price Shipping and Handling Fee

FedEx Small Business Center website

I hope this article gives you a complete list of everything you need to set up the product sales and payment part of your online business.  Tomorrow we’ll be moving on to the final part of setting up your online business – web analytics!

Click here to catch up on all the posts in this series.