Whether it's a service or a product - advertising and selling on the internet can substantially increase your revenue. But the advantages of a full service shopping cart should be measured by ease of use for the customer and the administrative back end.
FOR THE CUSTOMER
Your customers should not need a map, a compass, and a supply of food before they undertake a shopping experience on your site. They should be able to come to your site, find what they want easily and purchase without batting an eye. This is what they are used to. This is what they should get.
FOR THE MERCHANT
You shouldn't have to be a programmer or a web developer to add a product to your inventory, track your orders or administer to your customer's needs. You want easy to use, browser-based administrative tools to take care of everything related to your online store after the store is built, uploaded and running.
PAYPAL (and other 3rd party processors)
Using PayPal buttons can be an economical way to add limited eCommerce functionality to your website. For an existing site or a brand new site, PayPal can give you the freedom of selling on the net without the expense of a full service shopping cart with an administrative back end. If you have a limited number of items to sell, this may be an excellent option to investigate. PayPal (and other 3rd party payment processors) also gives you a layer of protection with regard to PCI compliance. (As an example, using PayPal's Website Payments Standard, no credit card data ever touches your site or servers and therefore relieves you of many compliance requirements.) PayPal and a few other 3rd party options can also act as your payment processor in addition to a full cart with an administrative back end. There are many options to choose from.
A fully hosted platform for your store is often the best choice - there are many to choose from. Squarespace or Shopify - all ecommerce in these platforms is baked right in; no need for additional integration.
Due to the complexities of PCI Compliance and the intricacies of shopping cart setup as it relates to this requirement with the credit card industry, please be aware that we will advise you of the basics of these requirements and you are responsible for implementing and maintaining them in order to keep you, your customers and your site safe and secure. Often, 3rd party processors such as PayPal can be added as a payment method in a full service shopping cart.
A full service, eCommerce enabled site requires third party services which vary in price and are not regulated through Monterey Bay Design. These services may include an internet merchant account, payment gateway, and payment card industry services. There are a number of solutions that offer an easier hike through the dark forest of PCI compliance that will allow you a shopping cart with a full front end and administrative backend. Some of these solutions offer near seamless integration even while credit card data never touches your network or servers. Please inquire and please view our article about PCI compliance.