How to Add a Shopping Cart to Your Website

Need help selling your products and services online? It’s all possible with a shopping cart.

We’ll show you the basics of adding a shopping cart and payment gateway to your small business website. Plus, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide of everything you need in place before you get started.

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Read the Full Discussion Below

Glyna:  All right. We’ve got some great stuff today!

Sarah:  We do have some great stuff. We’ve got a good topic and I feel like this is something that’s going to come up more and more and more as the ability to have all your products and services available online. So we’re going to get right to it. We’re talking about how to add a shopping cart to your website, and they’ve really taken over as the preferred method for how we shop. I mean, it’s pretty much exclusively how I shop.

Glyna: Online.

Sarah: Online, online baby. So if you need help selling your products and your services online, this is going to be the show for you because we’re going to show you step by step, how to set up your shopping cart and more importantly, what you need to have prepared ahead of time so that you can do it the right way. So let’s get going.

Glyna: Hey, it’s a great day in the Fusion One Lounge. Isn’t it?

Sarah: It is a great day. It’s a great day.

Glyna: Right before a long weekend. I think everybody is happy to see this. So, welcome to Marketing Mix everybody. Every week we will just try to highlight different segments of digital marketing. We like to talk about trends. We may have some Q&A, some tips, some interviews just… We mix it up. That’s what the “mix” is in Marketing Mix.

Sarah: That’s what we do. We mix it up, but here, let me show you where you can find us. Every week we go live on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, and you can catch the replay on Instagram. And we actually have a short version that we put out on LinkedIn that you’ll want to check that out. And don’t forget our podcasts, Marketing and a Mic. And as always, you’ve got our great YouTube channel to subscribe to because we are always putting out good videos and it’s just something for everybody. If you like videos, catch the videos. If you like to listen, catch our podcasts. So, a lot of options.

Glyna: There are a lot of options and a lot of resources. And I find myself sending people there when they have basic questions because there’s a lot of things that we’ve already covered there. So, all right. Today, this is something that most people have no idea where to start, but they want to be able to sell their products on the internet or on their website. So we’re going to break it down for you and help you out a little bit. And of course, we’re always here to help if it’s something you want to do. So let’s just talk about the basics of a successful e-commerce site. E-commerce means you’re going to basically be selling on your website. This is a really cool graphic that Sarah brought up. I’m going to cover a couple of things. The first thing you need is a website. I know that sounds like it’s pretty obvious, but this is a storefront for your online business and you must have this before anything else. And again, it’s carrying your brand through and all of that people are used to seeing, but will also give them the option to shop. You also need to have a payment gateway. Now, what does that mean? It’s going to handle all the mechanics of processing your transactions, but more importantly, being able to move money safely and securely from the customer’s bank account to your business bank account.

Sarah: Yes, that’s it. That’s exactly right. We’re going to talk about the order of how to do this too in a few minutes but then comes the shopping cart. This is obviously where the customers shop, where they finalize their purchases, where they provide the payment information. There’s a lot of moving parts to that, but you want to make sure you’ve got that in place. Your merchant account. What’s that? That’s the type of bank account that allows businesses to accept the payment and the various methods of payment. So you’ve got the front end, which is the payment gateway. And then you want to make sure that you set up that merchant account on the other end of it. And then of course your terms and conditions, and that’s equally as important. You need to lay it out to the customer and to help protect you against all kinds of circumstances.

Glyna: Yes, exactly. Now we’re going to really break down each piece of this and dive into it a little bit deeper because it seems like a great big taking on to be able to add this to your website, but it’s really not when you know the right steps. So first things first. You need to establish a credit card processor. How are you going to process the payments that people are giving you? You might want to get paid! So this was a huge part and really one of the first things besides setting up your websites that you’re going to want to do for your shopping cart. It’s really important to have a payment portal that is safe and secure that can process your payment and to set up payment processing you do have to go through a third-party distributor.

Sarah: Yes, this is interesting because I feel like you may not think about that. You might just go straight to the shopping cart and you really do because you’re going to need that piece when you’re setting up your shopping cart. So make sure that the first thing you do is set up your credit card processor. Our recommendation is It’s so easy and it’s safe and it’s secure. And it has the ability to do everything all the way through to authorize the funds, capture the funds and transfer the funds securely, which is really, really important because obviously if you don’t have it done securely, you are opening up your business to all kinds of problems and it can just damage your business real quick. So to us, that’s our recommendation,

Glyna:  Yes, we’ve used since we started our business and never had any problems with it. It also allows if you have any situations where you have to refund money or anything like that, it also holds all of your customers in a database. So it’s just really, I’d say, our preferred way and we don’t have to worry about everything being safe and secure. All right, number two, you’re going to want to set up your shopping cart. Now a shopping cart basically is a place where you’re going to load all of your stuff that you want to sell online. Many times, it’s what we call a plugin feature. We do WordPress websites. We always talk about that and it’s a plugin feature on our WordPress platform that allows you to sell online. It’s also very important to make sure before you try to load it on your website, that you have a compatible platform that will work with your website.

Sarah: Yeah, that’s very important too. So, in setting up your shopping cart, we’re going to cover everything, all the features that you need in it. But we do want to mention that the plugin that we use is Ecwid. We were going back and forth with how to pronounce this. They always make it so hard, but Ecwid. So this is our number one choice because it’s everything that we’re about to talk about is included or is offered. So there’s no software installation, it integrates with many website builders, which we talked about is super important. You can sell everywhere and you can manage it all in one place, so it is super great.

Glyna: Oh my gosh. It has saved us. When our customers want shopping carts, we used to have to use something really clunky. I won’t mention what it was, but with WordPress, ugh, it was just so clunky and hard to use. This is almost like plug and play for sure, and really cool thing about Ecwid is that it gives you the ability to sell through multiple channels. What does that mean? Obviously, you can sell all of your stuff from your website and that used to be the only place people could find it, but it’s really important these days to make sure that you’re selling on all the social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and even Amazon. This Ecwid product lets you plug straight into Amazon too, which is huge. I don’t know about you, but I have an Amazon box coming to my door every day. It also needs to sync to your inventory. Which is very important. You got to keep track of what you have to sell.

Sarah:  That’s really important, yes. Okay. So we’re listing these as tips, but these are things that you really want to make sure that you have on your shopping cart. The next thing is you want to make sure that you have some automated shipping payment and taxes, all that needs to be able to be incorporated into your shopping cart and it needs to integrate with major shipping carriers. These are all things that as you’re looking for what you need on your shopping cart, just look for those so you can check it off. So, it is really important that your shopping cart can automatically calculate taxes and shipping rates in various cities, states, countries, offer language detection if that’s needed, and make sure that your shopping cart offers several ways to accept payment. That’s another important thing as well. So, it needs to be real versatile when it comes to those types of features.

Glyna: Yeah, this was the boring part of it, but you have to have all this set up to make it work correctly. And then as we always preach, anything having to do with a website, you have to have a responsive mobile design. This means that your shopping cart is very easy to use because if it’s not, and most of the people shopping online are doing it from the phone, and if it’s not easy to use, they’re not going to use your site. So it has to adapt to whatever the customer is using, whether it’s a laptop, a desktop, a phone. Make it user-friendly.

Sarah: People don’t think about that. It’s one of those things that you said it’s missing like it’s boring stuff, but I promise you as a customer, the minute we see something and it’s not seamless, then we’re out of there, which kind of leads us to another tip is that you need to have a seamless customer experience. There’s a lot that you could say about this, but having that drag and drop feature, everything needs to be real click friendly, so to speak so that I can find what I want. I can do all that sort of stuff. When I say drag and drop, it’s like, “Hey, if you’re on social media, so to speak, so say you can hover over the option and you can get the product information and connect right to the shopping cart.” So that customer experience is huge. It’s one of those things where it’s like, you don’t know what’s missing until it’s not there. Do you know what I mean? And if it’s not easy… almost like, I don’t know what I’m looking for, but this isn’t easy and I don’t like it.

Glyna: Yeah, exactly. So you need to have all the bells and whistles and that’s what Ecwid comes with. Once it’s set up, these are things you don’t have to worry about. When I’m shopping, I don’t know about you, but I may not buy right then. So I want to be able to save my favorites. Have a list. Amazon has a list that you can create to save things. So you want to make sure that the product that you’re using in Ecwid has this. It allows you to save your favorite things in the shopping cart and make sure that it offers suggestions because you want to upgrade and upsell people based on their selections that they’ve already done. But also you want to make sure that you’re able to log in to their address and their info so that when they come back for future purposes, they don’t have to go through all that again.

Sarah: Yes. Oh yeah, exactly. How many times do you build your cart up and then you’re like, “Oh, I’ll come back later.” And I do, I want to go back. I want to be able to log into my account and like, “Ta-da,” all the stuff that I was thinking about that if I’m honest with myself, I’m eventually going to buy, but sometimes you just need to keep circling back to that cart.

Glyna: Or maybe I shouldn’t buy it. I’m just going to let it sit here. Think about it for a little bit.

Sarah: Yeah. It’s so funny, but I am. I’m like that shopping cart is golden to me. Oh gosh. I’m like, “You’re going to sit there in that cart and if I find something better, you’re going to be replaced.” Okay. So the number three is setting up your merchant account. So this is all that backend stuff and it’s really important. You want to make sure you have security. Security, security, it is so important. So ensure that your online store meets the security requirements of the bank that you do business with. This is really important. It has to have that certification so that there are no mishaps because it can happen. I mean, this is sensitive information that’s being transferred back and forth, so you better make sure that your shopping cart is secure.

Glyna: Yes. And if you ever get audited about how you’re handling your credit card processing, you want to make sure that you don’t leave anything to chance. You also want to make sure that your merchant account automatically updates. You don’t want your shopping cart to mess up just because you didn’t get an update. So that’s very important to make sure that it’s automatic. There are also add-on options, add-on extensions that you can put on your shopping cart, like live chat, the fulfillment services.

Sarah: So let’s talk about managing your store. Managing your store is another important piece. We’re talking about the inventory and you want to make sure that you have a lot of backend features to manage your inventory. And you want to make sure that you know the status of all your products, no matter where you’re selling, you want to make sure all syncs up. Have multiple product options. These are those drop-downs of sizes, categories, features, colors, all that kind of stuff, promotional pricing. So if you’ve got things that are sales or volume discounts or promos, whatever it is, you want to make sure that your backend inventory has those features for you.

Glyna: Number four. Ready for policies in shipping terms. More boring stuff, but stuff that you have to have on there. All right. You have to make sure that you think about your shipping rates and your methods. So are you going to pick shipping that you’re going to pass the full cost onto the customer? Are you going to give him free shipping? Are you going to have a flat rate? It’s all this stuff that you need to think about that you probably… It’s not the sexy stuff, but it’s the stuff that can really cut into your profit if you don’t think it through clearly. So tip on this is to kind of measure and weigh all of the products that you have so you have an idea of what those shipping costs would be and that’s going to help you make your decision.

Sarah: Yeah. And it’s funny that you said it’s not sexy. It’s not glamorous. It’s not like a glamorous topic, but I’ll tell you, it delays a lot of customers when they don’t think about these things ahead of time. And we’ve experienced that where they’re like, “I’ve got my product and I’m ready to go.” And it’s like, “Hang on a minute. We got to think about all these other things that haven’t buttoned up before we go.” So along with those shipping, think about your packaging. You need to have the right sizing of your packages and inventory based on the kind of stuff that you’re selling. Also, think about your locations, where are you going to be selling, what your shipping method is? This is all things to factor in, in your costs of how you’re going to determine the shipping that you’re going to charge. And once you determine all of that, make sure you communicate that, your shipping speed, at checkout, because people are going to say like, “Oh, is this shipped within one to three days?” Or it ships whatever it is, we’re looking for it because we’ve gotten so spoiled with good old Amazon where I’m like, “I order it. And I’m like, it’ll be here in less than 48 hours.”

Glyna: Yes. And it’s a bummer because you know you can count on Amazon. You know you can count on some of these places. You want to be a store that people can count on to get you the stuff quickly. We order something off some no-name site just like some pillows and that was two months ago. And they keep updating this every month saying, “It’s going to be delayed another month.” So it’s like, we should’ve known better. Anyway, all right. Terms and conditions. Do you want to make sure that you have your terms and conditions on your site? Because there are things like your right to refuse a sale to somebody. You need to have that on there. You need to talk about if you have fulfillment issues. All this stuff has to be spelled out on your website. Also payment terms. What types of payment do you take and how will you handle them? This is huge. Refunds returns. And if there is a payment dispute of some sort, you want to have that all spelled out so nobody’s surprised or you can point the customer back to it if you have a problem.

Sarah: Yes, yes. This is a cute little story. My stepdaughter is in college and she has her own sweatshirt and t-shirt business. And it’s awesome. I mean, I’m so proud of her, but in the beginning, and she just got a whole bunch of printing equipment stuff and she was out the gate. So some of her products, they would peel off and she had a couple of little issues at the beginning of it and she was just laughing because she’s printing it out and she’s putting it out there and the people are like, “Hey, so this is a little damaged or it’s peeling off.” And she’s like, “Oh my gosh, I need to start thinking about this. Like what if some of my stuff, once it gets into their hands, they have an issue within a week?” So, anyway, the point is, is that these terms and conditions are really important and to say it upfront. So whether it’s something that happens with a shipping delay or like we were saying like a liability disclaimer. So if there’s like a product failure or something goes on, what are your terms and you want to establish that upfront so that you don’t get yourself into hot water.

Glyna: All right, let’s wrap it up. If you need an online shopping cart or you have any questions, we would love to help you because you want to make sure that you’re making it the easiest and most consumer-friendly experience or the people are not going to come back, which is what you’re going to want. So make sure to reach out to us if you have any questions or if you need any help. And as always, we’ll be back next Friday at eight o’clock and I hope you have a great week.

Sarah: Bye.