Category Archives: Ecommerce

Online Store Management: osCommerce vs Zen Cart

Your online business needs to be easily managed and accessible to everyone. That’s why picking the best online store management system is so important. However, just remember that what’s best for you may not be the ideal choice for someone else. That’s why we’re going to lay out the main attributes of two popular online store management systems, without telling you which one is “best” or “worst.”

This post will discuss the main features, similarities and differences of two popular shopping cart software management systems: osCommerce and Zen Cart. That way you can make an educated decision when choosing the best store management system for your online business.

Zen Cart and osCommerce: The Similarities

osCommerce and Zen Cart are both online store management software programs that are available in free versions under the GNU General Public License. osCommerce was developed first, in 2000, with Zen Cart being a spin-off of sorts, appearing in 2003. Both store management systems are PHP-based and use the MySQL database.

As far as hosting goes, the installation of osCommerce and the installation of Zen Cart are both easy. Each is usually offered for a reasonable price from a trusted hosting provider with 24/7 support.

osCommerce: Great for Beginners

oscommerce_logo

If you happen to be new to content management systems, osCommerce is a great way to start managing your online store. Its basic features and convenient set-up makes it pretty easy to use and manage. With osCommerce, after a few basic steps, your store can be up and running: just pick a template, install, submit your products list, and you’re ready to sell. Ease of use, and simplistic management is what makes osCommerce the most used open-source e-commerce engine for beginning online stores.

Zen Cart: A More Advanced Option

zencart-logo

With Zen Cart’s more advanced features, you gain more flexibility in your online store. The software will enable you to alter configurations within the intuitive admin interface, and a system of sub page management will allow you to input info about your products pretty easily. Zen Cart’s robust features mean more confusion for a beginner; however, it just means more options for those looking for a more advanced store management solution.

osCommerce and Zen Cart: The Main Differences

Zen Cart is originally derived from osCommerce, but became a separate project in 2003. Visually, the two store management systems differ; however, the main differences between the two are the template system (largely CSS-based) in Zen Cart as well as the advanced features in the core. As mentioned above: When compared to Zen Cart, osCommerce is much simpler. That’s great for new merchants looking to quickly establish an online store with ease; however, if you’re a seasoned developer, osCommerce may leave you wanting more. If you want additional options and more functionality then perhaps Zen Cart is for you.

osCommerce: The Good and the Bad

? Easy to set-up and manage

? GNU General Public Licsense distributed

? Add-ons available to download (but some technical expertise required)

? PHP and MySQL compatible

? Most popular

? Vast community of users, therefore many troubleshooting sources

? No graphic template system. Locked into design

? Not updated often, usually year by year if not longer

Zen Cart: The Good and the Bad

? GNU General Public License distributed

? Large usage community

? PHP and MySQL compatible

? Multiple add-ons

? Built-in coupon code system

? More features and more intuitive interface than the competition

? Add-ons from osCommerce cannot be used with Zen Cart

? Admin area can sometimes look cluttered

? Not as popularly used as osCommerce

osCommerce vs Zen Cart – So Which is Best? It’s Up to You to Decide

As Google trends show, osCommerce holds the top rung in popularity between the two store management systems. It’s searched more than Zen Cart almost worldwide. It’s likely that most prefer osCommerce because of its ease of use; however, Zen Cart’s flexible add-ons and range of templates may be more attractive to some online store managers.

We would like to hear from you about which online store management system you prefer. Have you switched from one to the other for any reason? Have you had a great experience with either software, or has one or the other disappointed you for some reason? Let us know about your shopping cart software experiences in the comments below.

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WordPress vs Drupal vs Joomla – CMS Popularity war

Top 3 Effective Ways to Increase Your Online Sales

Increasing online sales is a universal goal for those with an e-commerce site. There’s a lot of advice out there about how to increase online sales, but if you follow all of it, you’ll have little time to focus on other aspects of your business. There are a slew of ways to attempt to increase your e-commerce sales, but your efforts shouldn’t be all over the place. Aim to narrow your focus and work on just a few things at a time so that you can effectively bring your numbers up without devoting every minute of every day to marketing and increasing your conversion rate.

increasing online sales

This post lists the three top methods for increasing online sales, so that you can target the most successful means of raising your bottom line, without spending all of your time on the many avenues of e-commerce marketing.

1. Optimize your text for readers, not just search engines.

Real, live people are going to be reading (better yet, scanning) through your site pages, so you must cater to them to get them interested in your product and what you have to say about it. SEO is important, as your first motive is to get people to land on your page; however, perhaps even more important is the opportunity to get them to buy something while they get there. Span out your text to keep readers’ attention.

Here are a few more steps to getting your readers interested and more likely to purchase:

? Talk to your readers, not just about yourself or your business.

In your web copy, try not to go on and on about what you offer customers. Stay away from language like “we” “our” or “I, me, my.” For example, saying something like “Our business offers the complete experience” or “We give our customers quality?” doesn’t speak to your readers, it just talks about you or your company. Better connect with users by stating words like you, your, and you’re. Say things like “Your experience will be extremely productive as you apply our quality?in your everyday life.” Using such language allows readers to better imagine buying and using your product.

? Peak their interest with a good lead in or headline (try not to mention “buy” and “sell” words right away).

The first few lines of your home page count for a lot. Don’t spoil it by not engaging your reader. Use language that makes them want to read on and discover more about your site and your product. For example, if your company, Flower-Pots-R-Us, is selling a plant pot (okay not the most exciting product), don’t use a headline like, “Must-Have Flower Pot Available Through Flower-Pots- R-Us.” The implication there is obvious. Make the reader excited and spur them to want to read more on your site by incorporating an alluring headline like, “Find Out Why You’ve Been Decorating With The Wrong Flower Pots All Your Life.” This type of language is a great selling tool because users will actually want to read on and continue to explore the site.

2. Offer less products.

Dwindling down your heavy product load and giving more specialized attention to viable products is a great way to increase sales. If your e-commerce site pages are overloaded with product after product (without intriguing descriptions), customers will get turned off or disinterested a lot of the time. If you have useless products that don’t sell, get rid of them. Give your products that have a better record or chance of selling more attention with thoughtful text and images, and you’re likely to increase your sales in those fields.

If you don’t want to get rid of superfluous products, increase your count of product pages so that less products and descriptions appear on each page. Giving each product the unique attention it deserves will help convince more people to buy one.

Make sure you do two things with each and every product that you decide to offer your customers:

? Include an image or variety of images that will create hype for that specific product.

? Use descriptions and well thought out text to accompany each individual project to heighten its importance.

3. Implement user-oriented marketing tactics (and try for repeat customers).

Part of increasing your online sales should be to gain repeat customers. There are a few ways of doing this but the most effective are mentioned below:

? Encourage E-mail Sign Ups:

Have an e-mail gathering tool, or opt in, on each page of your site. Encourage users to sign up to your e-mail list or newsletter to get deals–and maybe even 10% off their next purchase. Put your e-mail gathering field at the top right or top left of each page since those are popular areas to glance at. If you entice users to add their e-mail, you’ll have more of a chance of getting repeat customers.

? Implement Hover Ads:

Hover ads are a great way to get people to sign up for your newsletter or monthly e-mail. Unlike popups, they won’t get blocked from users that have certain popup blocking software. It’s a good idea to at least test out a hover ad and see what kind of results it gets you. Just remember to implement good content and some nice deals in your e-mail or newsletter to encourage your customers to buy.

Conclusion

There are endless ways to market and try to increase sales on your e-commerce site. In order to focus on the whole of your online business, try out these top ways to increase online sales before you tackle the many other avenues of marketing available to you. After a healthy dose of SEO, target your text to readers, give your best products some needed attention and get that e-mail list bulked up.

PrestaShop VS Magento – Best Ecommerce Shopping Cart Comparison

Also check: Prestashop vs Magento vs Opencart – Detailed Comparison Infographic

The Leader: Magento

Magento logo for Magento hosting

Magento is the leader in the e-commerce shopping cart market. It is an open-source shopping cart that provides online merchants with flexibility and control over the look and feel, content and functionality of their store. Magento is extremely feature-rich software, and some of its top features include:

– Customer segmentation

– Targeting promotion and merchandising

– Product suggestion tools, with ratings and reviews

– Search Engine Optimization option

– Multiple payment and shipping options

– Plus many more features

The Challenger: PrestaShop

Prestashop210x135

Prestashop is an award-winning e-commerce shopping cart platform with a huge online community, over 125,000 online stores and an extensive features list. PrestShop is up and coming and is gaining in popularity in the US as a reliable, robust shopping cart solution. If there is any shopping cart that could challenge Magento, that shopping cart is PrestaShop. Let?s have a look at some of the top features of PrestaShop:

– Catalog management

– Site management

– Search Engine Optimization

– Analytics and reporting

– Localization/Taxes

– Shipping and payments

Google Trends: Prestashop vs Magento

Google trends showing a comparison between Prestashop and Magento

As you can see, PrestaShop is rising and slowly catching up with Magento in terms of popularity. Being a hosting provider, we have seen a tremendous increase in PrestaShop install in the last few years. Prestashop initially had very few downloads in the US. Most of the installs used to be in Europe (especially France) and Brazil; however, over the last few years, the number of requests for PrestaShop in the US has increased. On the other side, Magento has managed to be the leader and has seen a steady growth as well. All things considered: The gap between both the shopping carts is decreasing.

CHECK OUT THE INFOGRAPHIC

PRESTASHOP VS MAGENTO VS OPENCART

rsz_prestashop-vs-magento-opencart-logo

Comparison Chart: Prestashop vs Magento

PRESTASHOP MAGENTO
Release Date August 2007 March 2008
History Started by Igor Schlumberger and Bruno Leveque Started by Varien( now Magento Inc) by programmers from open source community
No. Of versions 7 15
Latest Version 1.5.3.1 (December 31st, 2012) 1.7.0.2 (July 5th, 2012)
No. of Plugins/Extension Over 1000 Over 1500
No. Of online stores 1,25,000 1,50,000
Active Community Yes, with over 400000 members Yes
Popular sites using this platform Nike AU, UK NorthFace, Behr
No. of Twitter Followers 9474 29886
No. of FB Likes 22356 5335
Type of software Open-Source Open-Source
Most Popular in Countries France, Spain, Indonesia, Czech Republic India, Netherlands, Germany, Ukraine
Avg. Monthly maintenance cost $100 – $200.00 $150 – $350
Global Monthly Google Searches (exact) 1,65,000 2,01,000
Total Searches on Google 1,67,00,000 4,31,00,000
SEO Strength 3 out of 5 3 out of 5
Ease of Installation Easy Moderate
Ease of Customization Easy Moderate
No. of Features Over 310 Over 350
Suitable Hosting solution Shared / Cloud VPS Optimized VPS/Cloud/Dedicated servers
PCI Compliance Yes Yes
Who is it for? Store Owners, Developers, Designers Enterprises, Store Owners, Developers

Conclusion:

Both shopping carts are extremely efficient and a great setup for an online store. It really depends on the site owner as to which shopping cart they feel comfortable handling for the maintenance of their e-commerce site. Each cart has a huge community, a good following and lots of knowledgebase and support articles. In my opinion, both shopping carts are great pieces of software and have their pluses and minuses; it?s hard for me to choose one over the other. I?ll leave that for you guys to decide!

Related Articles

WordPress Vs Joomla Vs Drupal : CMS Popularity War

– Prestashop vs Magento vs Opencart – Detailed Comparison Infographic

Top 20 Most Popular Ecommerce Shopping Carts

– Prestashop – The best Ecommerce Solution for your Small Business

Top 5 WordPress Shopping Cart Plugins to Create the Ultimate Online Store

The WordPress Content Management System has evolved tremendously over the years. Once known strictly as a blogging platform, developers have helped make WordPress a platform for business websites, portfolios, and even E-Commerce. Since online shopping is a billion dollar industry, taking your business online and reaching customers all over the country can significantly increase your profits and expose your brand to new markets you have never tapped.

But how do you set up an online store in WordPress? Believe it or not, it?s actually a lot easier than you might think. Using a combination of E-Commerce themes and plugins, you can have your online store up and running in no time at all. There are several benefits to using WordPress for an E-Commerce site:

? Easy to setup
? Easy to customize
? Great support
? Easy integration
? Affordable

WordPress Shopping Cart Plugins

In order to setup your online shop, you?re going to need to use a plugin to bring E-Commerce features to your WordPress. These plugins allow you to add features such as:

? Shopping carts
? Payment gateways
? Product categories
? Order forms
? Store front
? Product variations
? Shipping management
? And much more

There are both free and paid E-Commerce plugins for you to choose from. Some of the paid options come with more features, but the free solutions are definitely viable options as well.

Warning! The Importance Of A Solid Web Host

I would be doing you a terrible disservice if I didn?t mention how important it is to make sure you?re using adequate hosting for your E-Commerce store. The needs of an E-Commerce store are significantly different than just a blog or company page. You?re integrating payment solutions, managing several different customer accounts, products, generating several requests from servers constantly, and producing reports regularly. All of this creates an extra strain on servers, and Shared Hosting really isn?t optimal for this.

For this reason, I highly suggest you consider looking at our WordPress VPS Hosting. It will give you the scalability and flexibility needed to handle the complex needs of an online store. The last thing you want is for customers to have technical difficulties in the middle of making purchases.

With that said, here are some of the best E-Commerce WordPress Shopping Cart plugins.

1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is one of the most popular WordPress E-Commerce Plugins there is. The plugin integrates with the E-Commerce Woothemes for WordPress. The plugin has several benefits. One of its biggest strengths however is the reporting feature. You can get everything from sales reports, customer reports, and inventory reports all available in the dashboard.

woocommerce screenshot

The plugin was built to match the look and feel of the WordPress Admin panel so it is extremely easy to navigate and learn. One of the other features I really like about this plugin is how shipping is handled. With other E-Commerce solutions, shipping can be a messy feature. But WooCommerce allows you to set shipping cost based on individual products, charge a flat rate, or even offer free shipping. To sweeten the deal, WooCommerce has several extensions such as integrating UPS, USPS, FedEx, and other shippers to handle all of your shipping needs. Some of the other extensions available for WooCommerce are:

? Linnworks: Order and inventory management

? QR Code Generator: Allow customers to scan a QR code on their mobile device and be taken right to the
product on your site to buy it.

? Limited Deals: Add coupons/deals good for a limited time and limited quantities similar to Groupon.

? Shopdock: Add an AJAX shopping cart to any WordPress theme with WooCommerce so that customers can add products to their shopping cart without the page reloading.

? Accepted Payment Methods: This extension allows you to display the different payment options customers have.

? Twilio SMS Integration: Send order updates to customers via text message.

If you?re wondering how the customer can manage their purchases and track orders, don?t worry. WooCommerce has an excellent account management system so that each customer has their own login information and can access past orders, update billing information, and even change their own passwords.

WooCommerce allows you to use all the major Payment Gateways such as PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.net and 2Checkout as well so that you aren?t limited to any one option. Almost anything you could ever want or need from an E-Commerce store, you can do with WooCommerce.

Try WooCommerce out: Download

2. WP E-Commerce Plugin

This is the most popular E-Commerce Plugin for WordPress by far with well over 2.2 million downloads. One of the major benefits you?ll get with this plugin is that it is easy implementable into any WordPress theme that?s compliant with the WordPress API. The list of features for this plugin is quite lengthy so I?ll highlight some of the most attractive features.

You can completely customize the look of your store with this plugin with some tweaks to the HTML and CSS so you?re not ?stuck? with a look you don?t like.

As for the payment gateways, you?ll have access to 15 different options. The free version comes with 6 options, such as PayPal, Google Checkout, and Manual Payments. In order to access extra payment options such as Authorize.net and some other features, you have to use the Gold Cart Plugin ($47) along with this one. So that is a little upsetting. But if you?re just starting out your shop, the WP E-Commerce plugin alone should be enough to get you started.

Checkout screenshot - ecommerce plugin

Some other notable features are:
? Discounts based on Quantity
? Sales on specific products
? Coupons
? One-Page checkout or a step by step checkout
? Checkout as a guest or start an account
? Complete catalog management
? Supports digital products
? Taxes based on location

As I stated, the list of features for this plugin go on and on. In addition to everything I?ve already mentioned, you can even use this plugin to start a subscription site as well.

Try the WP Ecommerce Pligin: Download

3. Cart66

This plugin comes in both a free and a paid version. Cart66 Lite is the free version and Cart66 Pro ($89) is the paid version. Don?t think just because the lite version is free that it won?t supply you with a ton of features. While the Pro version definitely has some very great features, the lite version is definitely a viable option.

wp plugin - cart66

With both the free and paid version, you get features such as:
? Order management
? Tax by location
? International selling
? Choose your currency
? Send customizable receipts by email
? Different product variations
? Affiliate program*

*In order to use the affiliate program, you have to buy the WordPress Affiliate Platform for $49.95.

Although the Lite version is nice, I have to say that the Professional version of this plugin is one of the best E-Commerce plugins available. It allows you to easily place a Terms of Service option in the checkout page (which is something Google looks for), integrate Google Analytics, and even allows you to have recurring payments and subscriptions for SaaS. In addition to all of this, they integrate several different modules such as:

? Constant Contact– Email marketing

? Spreedly– Managing Payments

? Zendesk– Providing customer support

? Gravity Forms– Creating forms

? iDevAffiliate– Affiliate program

? Mailchimp– Email marketing

I highly recommend using Cart66 specifically for selling digital products or services, but it can still definitely be used for physical goods as well. Another nice benefit of this plugin is that it allows you to add your store into your existing WordPress theme instead of requiring an E-Commerce theme. Through the use of shortcodes and easy customizable CSS, you can completely customize the look of your online store within WordPress. However, if you don?t want to deal with coding at all, simply use one of their Themes specifically made to work for Cart66. Aside from the higher than average price point for the pro version, this plugin is great.

Try out Cart66: Download

4. eShop

The last E-Commerce plugin for WordPress I want to tell you about is called eShop. Here is another fairly lightweight plugin. The great thing about eShop is that it is very much community driven. Meaning a lot of the features that really help it stand out were developed by their community. In order to get the most out of this plugin, I highly suggest making use of the Community Add-ons.

Some of the great additions from the community include:

? CSV Import: This makes it very easy to import bulk products into your store

? Affiliates: Set up an affiliate program for your store

? Handling Fee Add-On: This allows you to add a cost of for Handling in addition to the shipping cost from your carriers.

The plugin includes a lot of the features that you would expect/need from an E-Commerce plugin such as sales data/reporting, product variation, allow customers to create accounts, discounts, and inventory management. One downside to this plugin is that they don?t support as many Merchant gateways as the other plugins mentioned. Currently they support PayPal and Cash/Checks. They do offer other Gateways such as Authorize.net and iDeal, but they do not offer support for them.

A cool feature of this plugin is that you can actually use it as just a product catalogue without having the shopping cart integration to make sales. So for Call To Order businesses, this plugin would be ideal.

eshop-screenshot

I have to say that while this plugin doesn?t have nearly as many features as WooCommerce or Cart66, it is extremely easy to use. Products are added through making new posts or pages, and as you can see in the image above, all you have to do is enter in the values and you?re set. It?s highly recommended that you use the Category Grid View Gallery plugin so that you can have a nice looking store front for your E-Commerce site.

Try out eShop: Download

5. E-Commerce Themes

Typically the easiest way to set up an online storefront is by using a WordPress E-Commerce theme. These are themes with online shopping features built in and are used in conjunction with plugins to set up your own online store.

As you saw with the plugins mentioned above, most of them have themes specifically designed to work with them. I recommend E-Commerce themes for people who want to jump right into selling online but don?t necessarily have the technical skill/experience to start everything from scratch. The themes compliment the plugins and give you a great place to start out. If you?re using the WooCommerce plugin, I suggest checking out the Woothemes website for themes. The Cart66 website also provides you a list of themes that integrate well with the plugin. If you don?t see anything there you like, visit Themeforest for a wide selection of E-Commerce WordPress themes.

I ll be more than happy to help you with any WordPress Hosting related issues. For creating an ultimate store using these Ecommerce WordPress Shopping Cart Plugins, I would highly recommend hosting WordPress on the Cloud. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Enjoy!

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Top 20 Most Popular Ecommerce Shopping Carts

PrestaShop ? The best Ecommerce Solution for your Small Business

Prestashop banner

For running a small business now, you need an online presence. There are many, and I mean many, Ecommerce solutions out there which you can use to setup your online store. However, the one shopping cart that is leading from the front now is PrestaShop.

So What is PrestaShop?

In layman terms, PrestaShop is a free, open-source ecommerce shopping cart platform with tons of features that can be used to build an online store. It?s that simple!

Prestashop is an open source ecommerce solution, which means the software can be used, modified, and distributed the way you need. Since 2007, it has powered over 125,000 stores online and has over 300 dynamic features to fit the needs of business owners and developers. It is headquartered in Paris and has over 100 developers & designers constantly working to improve and maintain it. All of this work has helped them maintain the status of the #1 E-Commerce solution for businesses.

A Sneak Peek at PrestaShop:

– Winner of 2011 Open Source Business Application Award
– Over 125,000 stores, 300 features and 400,000 active community members
– Available in 56 languages and global presence in over 150 countries

PrestaShop Features:

Prestashop is a feature rich solution and comes with over 300 dynamic features. The set of features is the best compared to any other shopping cart in the industry. In case you do not find the feature that you are looking for, PrestaShop comes with over 1000 modules. So there is absolutely nothing that you want and PrestaShop will fail to deliver. Some of the features of PrestaShop are:

– Catalog Management
– Product Display
– Site Management
– SEO
– Analytics and Reporting
– Marketing
– And much more!

PrestaShop as a store:

Speed: You may be wondering how PrestaShop can run with so many features and functionalities. Well, PrestaShop is built as a lightweight software program which makes it smooth and fast. If you install PrestaShop on cloud package, the store will not run, it will fly! That?s how lightweight PrestaShop is. If you ever experience problems with your PrestaShop running slowly, you can look at these helpful tips to make your PrestaShop Fast.

Security: For any online store, one of the biggest concerns is security. PrestaShop understands the importance of security and gives it utmost priority. PrestaShop supports SSL, cookie encryption, PCI Compliance and more. For more on how to secure PrestaShop, check out these great security tips

Theming: PrestaShop has many themes available, both free and paid. It is based on the famous Smart-template engine platform which lets PrestaShop handle multiple templates at one time. The themes are easy to build and maintain, and are good starting point for building the store. PrestaShop themes are pre-made and can be used to create a fully functional online store.

Hosting: PrestaShop can be hosted on shared, cloud vps, and dedicated servers. You can choose a PrestaShop hosting solution depending upon your need of server resources, store size and traffic. Shared PrestaShop hosting is good for a start, but as you store starts to grow it is highly recommended that you move your PrestaShop store to a VPS solution. With a PrestaShop Vps on the cloud, you have the flexibility to control the amount of resources you need for your store. Being lightweight software, PrestaShop literally flies when installed on cloud server.

PrestaShop Popularity:

Launched in 2007, PrestaShop has seen tremendous growth in popularity. Within 6 years, it has been used on over 125,000 stores and has a huge community of over 400,000 active members. Although it was started from Paris, it has become popular all over the world. Today, its stores are now present in over 150 countries. If you have an online store selling products, PrestaShop gives you the opportunity to go global by providing you with the option to develop stores in over 56 languages. Before 2007, the most popular shopping carts were Oscommerce and Magento. However, PrestaShop has caught on very quickly and even beat out OSCommerce.

Prestashop Comparison

Prestashop, OSCommerce, Magento — Google Trends Comparison

If we look at Google Trends, we can immediately see how PrestaShop has increased in Popularity. The Red line in the image above is PrestaShop which is catching up to the Blue line of Magento. The dotted lines at the end show forecast which indicate that PrestaShop will continue to increase in popularity.

So What Do You Do Now

If you are serious about your online business and in the market looking for a great Open Source Ecommerce Platform then your choice should be PrestaShop. Get a Free Installation of PrestaShop with your PrestaShop Hosting account and Launch your Store NOW!

CMS and Cashie Commerce Together

Joomla!, Drupal and WordPress users now have a simple yet powerful tool for selling their products online. Cashie Commerce is the easiest tool I have seen yet for the non-technical website builder market. You can easily install it into your CMS (Content Management System) site. Simply set up your Cashie Commerce account on their system and follow the easy step by step instructions to embed the Shopping into your Joomla!, Drupal or WordPress site running on a WebNet Hosting server.

All you have to do is create 5 blank pages in your CMS and copy the simple code provided for each page needed to run the shopping cart.
There are 3 levels of Cashie Commerce programs to choose from. However, it is recommended that you try the Free Demo to learn the ropes before diving into the pool of E-Commerce live on your site. The Free Demo allows you to configure your store and add products just like a live storefront.

To get the real Storefront up and running, you need to choose one of the 3 levels:

Basic($5/ month)

– 2.5% transaction fee
– Unlimited SKUs (physical goods, digital goods and services)
– Safe and Secure checkout
– Unlimited product options
– Social sharing buttons
– Real-time shipping quotes
– Promotions
– Discounts and more

Professional($19/ month)

– 1% transaction fee
– Unlimited SKUs (physical goods, digital goods and services)
– Safe and Secure checkout
– Unlimited product options
– Social sharing buttons
– Real-time shipping quotes
– Promotions
– Discounts and more
– Sell on Facebook
– Product reviews
– Export orders & customers
– Unlimited product images
– Unlimited digital good file size
– PayPal Payments Pro support

Unlimited($39/ month with 1 yr contract)

– 0% transaction fee
– Unlimited SKUs (physical goods, digital goods and services)
– Safe and Secure checkout
– Unlimited product options
– Social sharing buttons
– Real-time shipping quotes
– Promotions
– Discounts and more
– Sell on Facebook
– Product reviews
– Export orders & customers
– Unlimited product images
– Unlimited digital good file size
– PayPal Payments Pro support

Once you have selected the account type you want, you can build away. Add product categories, shipping options, images, and details directly in your administrative page on Cashie Commerce secure site. Products can have many child products and ?attributes?. For example, you can have a T-Shirt in many colors and many sizes as well as different pricing for each option. All of these options can easily be added to the product as ?attributes?.
Display multiple images of your product as thumbnails to enlarge with a click of the mouse. Details are added as Short and Long Descriptions which streamlines your products appearance on the site.
Below are some of the features offered by Cashie Commerce and WebNet Hosting CMS-ready hosting package.

Sell More With Premium Features

Every Cashie Commerce store comes equipped with everything you need to successfully sell online. If you need even more customization and tools to drive additional sales, then the premium features included in the Pro or Unlimited plans are for you. Check out these features directly from the Cashie Commerce Website to you:

facebook shop of cashie commerceFacebook Shops
You can now bring your entire store to any Facebook fan page using your existing Cashie Commerce account. Anyone can browse your product catalog and purchase right on your fan page ? shoppers don?t even need to sign in to Facebook. You get two great stores with the ease of one since you can manage both from a single Cashie Commerce account.

CashieCommerce - Product Review

Product Reviews
Studies show that the majority of shoppers only buy after reading what others have said about a product. This premium feature allows shoppers to add reviews to your products and encourage others to purchase. You can moderate these reviews to remove spam and other inappropriate comments.
 
export order cashie

Export Orders & Customers
Many of you use external services to streamline your business processes and automate certain tasks. This powerful feature allows you to export your store’s information into services like QuickBooks for accounting or Stamps.com for printing shipping labels. You can now use your valuable store data in any way you want.
 
So Much More
Unlimited product images show off your products from every angle. Unlimited digital file size lets you sell higher resolution downloadable products. Support for PayPal Payments Pro merchant accounts lets you further customize your checkout. We’re constantly adding to this list so keep an eye out for new updates.
 

Show Off Your Products

Cashie Commerce makes it easy for you to manage the products or services you want to sell. Whether you are selling 1 item or 100 items, managing your product catalog has never been easier. Add new products, change prices, add pictures, or update inventory in minutes. Best of all, there’s no limit on the number of items you can sell.

Flexible Product Photo Display
Upload product photos and display them in your store as a photo gallery. Thumbnail versions of your photos will be created for you automatically. Visitors can click a thumbnail to see the larger version so your store gets more interest and more sales.

Unlimited Options
Sell products with different options such as apparel, computers, software and more. You can create as many options as you like. Each option has its own SKU, price, weight and stock level.

Beautiful Product Pages
Cashie Commerce can automatically create great looking product pages for you. You can also create fully customized product pages that will further impress your customers.

Get Discovered, Drive Traffic & Sell More!

Cashie Commerce makes it easy to drive traffic to your store and convert that traffic into sales. You can easily manage sales and promotions to increase interest in your store. Your store will also work with your favorite web analytics package, allowing you to gain insight into customer behaviors and sales.

Search Engine Friendly
Cashie Commerce is compatible with the SEO features of every website or blog so you can easily get found on Google and Bing. You’re in total control of your content and your store will work seamlessly with any SEO strategy.

Promotions and Discounts
Easily create sales and coupons which give customers a dollar or percentage discount on their order. Coupons can be set for your entire store or a certain product; expire after a certain date or be redeemed by entering a coupon code.

External Services
Cashie Commerce is fully compatible with external services such as Google Analytics, Chartbeat, or AddThis.

Complete Control At Your Fingertips

You’re busy running your business so you need your ecommerce platform to make it easy to run your online store. Cashie Commerce combines all the features you need in a powerful, easy to use interface. We make it easy for you to manage your store so that you can focus your time on getting more customers and generating more sales.

Easy To Customize
You shouldn’t need to be a professional designer to make a professional looking store. Luckily, you won’t have that problem with Cashie Commerce. It just takes minutes to customize your store’s design to match your website or blog.

Effortless Tax & Shipping
You don’t have to be a developer to take advantage of real-time shipping rate lookups and unlimited tax rules.

Your Orders Your Way
See detailed information about your orders and how they are going to be shipped. Cashie Commerce makes keeping track of your orders as easy and fast as possible.

Safe and Secure Shopping

Cashie Commerce takes security very seriously. We utilize industry standard best practices to ensure that your store and customer data is secure. This means that your customers will have the peace of mind to complete their purchase without leaving your store.

Seamless Integration With PayPal
We have worked hard to make sure Cashie Commerce takes advantage of all of the risk management, fraud detection, and security enhancements that PayPal offers to its buyers and sellers.

Encrypted All The Time
We use 256-bit SSL encryption to securely transmit all communications with your store (including your customers’ payment information). Our site is also scanned daily by Verisign, the worldwide leader in trust and security.

PCI Compliant
Cashie Commerce helps you make your site PCI compliant by ensuring that no personally identifiable or payment information is ever processed by your site. We take care of everything for you behind the scenes.

When you have everything looking just the way you want, you can make it live with a few clicks.
No technical knowledge, no worries with this User-Friendly Cashie Commerce shopping cart application running smoothly with a Secure WebNet Hosting package. So whether you are using Joomla!, Drupal, WordPress, Blogger, TypePad or Tumblr ? You are ?Good To Go!?

Remember, all you have to do is create the 5 pages needed to run the Cashie Commerce store on your WebNet Hosting website. Then, simply copy the simple code provided to each page and your site will have the flare that is needed to be a successful E-Commerce home for your products.

Tricks on How to Maintain your Ecommerce Shopping Cart Software

We started hosting and managing e-commerce shopping carts in 2005, when we joined Miva Merchant as their premier hosting partner. Now we host over 5,000 ecommerce shopping cart softwares, ranging from open source shopping carts like PrestaShop, Magento and OpenCart, to the more popular licensed shopping carts like Pinnaclecart and Miva Merchant.

Throughout the years I?ve come across a lot of business owners: I?ve helped them make their websites easier for search engines to crawl, I?ve sped up their storefronts; and more importantly, I?ve helped my customers maintain their ecommerce shopping cart software in professional manner.

When you are operating and managing an advanced shopping cart and selling products online, as your storefront continues to grow, and shoppers continue to add and remove products to the basket, you will begin to realize your shopping cart is not as fast as it originally was.

ecommerce shopping logo

This has to do with a number of factors:
1 ? You are adding multiple products and plug-ins, and many times this will require more resources from the server that are not available because you are hosting your website in a shared hosting environment. It?s time to upgrade to either a VPS or a Dedicated Server?or better than that: a Cloud Server.

2 – You are not properly maintaining your store: Your store is growing, and you need to make sure you follow a few important steps, which are mentioned below.

Owning an e-commerce website can be a lot of work if you do not properly maintain your storefront. Here are some helpful tips that will help you correctly manage it:

Keep your Ecommerce Shopping Cart Software Updated
This is one of the most important steps when it comes to maintaining your own e-commerce website. You need to be sure to keep your shopping cart software updated to the latest version. In some cases you can easily run an update within the shopping carts web portal; but in other cases you will have to hire help for this task, as the software will require you to download the new version. Go into the backend of the file manager, and upload the files manually to either the file system or the database.

As a web host we gladly help upgrade customer?s storefronts at no charge (depending on the complexity of the storefront). This not only helps our customers out, it keeps our servers free of open holes for hackers to hack.

Delete Old Files
You will need to make sure you do not keep old, un-wanted files within your hosting account?unless they are very small. Many times large images or videos that are not used will take up a lot of space. This does not make a difference in a Cloud, VPS or Dedicated Hosting environment, but it can make a difference in shared hosting space.

Back Up Your Complete Website
It?s very important as the owner of your website that you have a copy of the site accessible to you at all times; this makes it easy for you to make changes and upload your site to the server. Additionally, if you break something on your website, you can easily upload it via your own local copy. As a web host we keep 2 copies of backups for all of our customers, but we always encourage customers to have their own local backups, just in case.

Make Sure to Compress Large Images
One of the most important rules when it comes to having your product pages load fast is to make sure you do not upload product images that are too large. Oversized product images or thumbnails will cause your webpage to download more slowly. Users do not want to wait to purchase products: they want the process to be fast, and they want all pages to load quickly.

Delete Expired Shopping Baskets
Some shopping carts allow you to delete expired baskets; this is a very important step, which should be done often. You want to do this on a daily basis to keep your shopping cart clean. This maintenance can help speed up your cart for the convenience of your customers.

Install a CDN
Installing a CDN?which we offer with all of our packages at no additional cost?will help significantly increase your website speed. A CDN will cache a local copy of large files on your website all over the world, so your website will be super fast no matter what location your customer is browsing from.

Keep Your Website Updated
Just like any other website, e-commerce websites also need to be updated often. Continue to enhance your website by updating images and product descriptions with the latest information. Search engines keep track of website changes, and they like to see updates to a website. Remember one of the factors that major search engines use to rank websites is how often they are updated, which brings me to my next point?

Install a Blog
Installing a blog is one of the easiest ways to add new content to your website easily. Establishing a blog for an e-commerce storefront is very important! It shows major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo that you are continuously updating your website with new content. Be sure to blog about your current products, upcoming products and industry news. This will make a significant change to your ranking over time. Remember you have to be patient: It doesn?t happen overnight.

Fix Dead Pages
Fixing dead 404 pages is one of the most important maintenance steps to be taken. Never remove a product and leave a dead page on your site just hanging there. Always use a 301 re-direct to redirect the link value of that page to another page. Search engines hate dead pages and you will lose link value for that page if it?s a dead 404 page. We can help locate dead links on your website by running a scan and creating 404 pages for it.

Always Upgrade
I cannot overstress the fact that shared hosting is for small websites and not CMS driven or database driven sites with shopping carts. Remember in a shared hosting environment, you are sharing resources from the server with over a few hundred other websites. The best platform to host a small to medium e-commerce website is on a VPS Hosting Package or Dedicated Hosting package (my recommendation is always a Cloud VPS Hosting package). When you purchase a hosting package on a Cloud, not only is it secure, you?re also guaranteeing growth. Tomorrow if you were featured on Oprah, on a normal non-Cloud environment, your website would crash and you would have to wait 24 hours for your host provider to move your data and upgrade you. But in a Cloud environment, you can do it right away without any downtime: you can allocate as much resources as you need to your server. Remember a cloud is a network of servers interconnected, so if 1 server were to crash, the others would offset instantly.

I hope the following steps have helped shed some light on important maintenance steps to be taken regarding your e-commerce-shopping cart. I am confident if you follow the rules above, you will not only increase your search engine ranking for your storefront, but you will also increase your conversions.

A Deeper Look Ecommerce Shopping Carts (Infographic)

There are a plethora of ecommerce shopping carts available over the internet. Have you ever wondered that underneath their out skin, all shopping carts have the same skeletal structure and offer the same set of features and functionality. Here is an infographic that dissects a shopping cart software to see what lies underneath it.


[Via: ZippyCart.com: The Best Ecommerce Software Reviewed]
Source

One Stop Shop Ecommerce – OpenCart

If you haven?t noticed, OpenCart is growing fast and gaining a lot of popularity. As far as Open Source shopping carts options go, OpenCart rates as one of the easiest ones to setup and use. We declare Opencart as a One Stop Shop Ecommerce platform ? OpenCart.

OpenCart comes setup with features and online tools that allow you to setup an ecommerce OpenCart hosting storefront in a matter of minutes, you can be up and running selling online fairly quickly.

Why OpenCart?
Why not! First off, it?s FREE! As an open source shopping cart, you have no license fees, tons of support and documentation, plus web hosts like us have a lot of experience hosting them and supporting them because we deal with a lot of customers that set it up and we get the honor of helping them resolve issues with setup, configuration and questions regarding OpenCart.

The code is very well structured and thought out, which is one for the main reasons it has come so far. It uses a nice implementation of the MVC pattern, which made things ridiculously easy to setup and walk through.

Administration Panel
The OpenCart administration panel is attractive and laid out logically. Everything is ready to go and available right away after setup, no complicated configuration or setup is required once you run setup.

OpenCart-Administration-panel

Themes & Customization
OpenCart comes with the ability to install custom themes, giving you the ability to fully customize your look and feel for your storefront. Themes are easy to install and we can also help install them for you.

OpenCart Features
OpenCart is user friendly out of the box, but also comes with some cool features. A few of the features include, unlimited categories, unlimited products, unlimited manufacturers, the ability to accept different types of currencies and have your website setup in multiple languages.

OpenCart Latest Features
OpenCart launched version 1.5.3 this past May in 2012. The new release offers some cool new features:

– Company ID & TAX ID Fields
– VAT Number Checking
– Coeditors Updated to the latest version
– JQuery Updated to the latest version
– Voucher min/max limits setup in Settings
– SQL Error in install Resolved

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of my favorite topics and one of the most important for any ecommerce owner is search engine placement. With OpenCart you are in luck, by default its very Search Engine friendly. Major search engines can easily crawl your website and internal pages, no real configuration is required.

Conclusion
In conclusion, I feel OpenCart is a great shopping cart out of the box, it can get complicated when installing modules, but fairly straight forward to setup and get your store online fairly quickly. It?s a One Stop Shop Ecommerce platform. From our customers experiences they have had great success in setting up the store fairly easily. We had some customers migrate away from other shopping carts to OpenCart and they had very good feedback as far as their experiences with OpenCart. We will recommend OpenCart to our customers looking for a One Stop Shop Ecommerce ? OpenCart.