Whether you’re just starting to sell products online or are expanding your online selling strategy, adding a shopping cart to your site will enable your customers to easily select and purchase items for sale in your online store. But before you dive in, consider whether a shopping cart is the best way for you to process sales from your Web site. If it is, you have a plethora of solutions to consider – among them online shopping cart services, off-the-shelf shopping cart software, and turnkey storefront providers – each of which offer a wide range of services and prices. Or, if you have the in-house talent, you can build your own shopping cart from the first byte or customize a ready-made Perl script. The choices may seem overwhelming, but if you put some thought into narrowing down your needs, you will be able to determine which solution best fits your business strategy.

Consider Shopping Cart Alternatives
You may be hearing a lot of buzz about shopping carts, but they might not be what your site needs. If you’ve got a small Web site or very few products to sell, using online forms or selling your products on auction sites may suit your business better.

Explore the Requirements for Adding a Shopping Cart to Your Web Site
Essential components needed to make a shopping cart functional include a merchant account provider (MAP), a secure server, a Web host, a product catalog, an order-fulfillment procedure, and inventory and customer database strategies. Before deciding on a shopping cart solution for your site, investigate the requirements and features of these components.

Choose Your Shopping Cart
Choices, choices, choices. Consider using downloadable Perl scripts, online shopping cart services, or complete turnkey storefront solutions.

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