Take Your Site to the Next
Level with Shopping Carts, Credit Cards, and Affiliate Programs
by Stephanie Chandler
If you are in the business of
selling books and you?re not selling them directly at your Web site, you may
well be losing money. The good news is that setting up to accept orders doesn?t
have to be difficult. Online shopping-cart technology and credit-card
processing are easier than ever to implement.
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> If you have a limited number of products or you
simply want to test the waters, you might use PayPal, which provides a quick
and easy way to add a shopping cart to your site. This wholly owned subsidiary
of eBay is primarily a payment-processing service. Once you sign up for a free
PayPal account at paypal.com,
you can quickly create shopping-cart buttons to insert on your site.
When a customer makes a purchase,
PayPal takes the buyer through the payment process and delivers an email
receipt for payment. As the merchant, you receive notification via email that
your product has sold, along with shipping information so you can fulfill the
Like all merchant card-processors,
PayPal charges a fee per transaction. Its rates are based on the transactions
processed each month. For up to $3,000 in sales, PayPal currently takes a $0.30
transaction fee plus 2.9 percent of the transaction value. For $3,000.01 to
$10,000, the rate is $0.30 plus 2.5 percent.
PayPal used to require shoppers to
register with the payment service before it would process an order, but this is
no longer the case. Today, the experience of ordering through PayPal is
comparable to most other online shopping experiences.
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> If you intend to sell a large volume of books,
e-books or other products, 1ShoppingCart?s comprehensive shopping-cart system
may be what you want. Depending on the level of service you choose, you can
create shopping-cart buttons; offer special discounts, sale prices, and gift
certificates; automate email delivery with autoresponders; and deliver e-books
The basic package starts at $29
per month, and the complete package with all the features is $79 a month.
You can also use 1ShoppingCart?s
merchant-account provider to process credit cards or integrate the shopping
cart with a different merchant processor. Separate transaction and monthly fees
apply, so be sure to check its site for the latest fee schedule.
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> Payloadz allows you to set up shopping-cart buttons
for electronic downloads such as e-books or MP3 files, and automates the
delivery of your electronic products. Because the service is integrated with
PayPal, payment transactions are easily processed through your PayPal account.
Payloadz offers two types of fee
schedules: a standard 15 percent transaction fee with no additional monthly
fee, or a flat monthly rate. The monthly rates are based on the amount of
storage space required to host your electronic files and the total transactions
processed in a 30-day period. Visit the Payloadz Web site for a complete chart
of fee structures.
Payloadz also hosts its own eBay
store, so you can list your electronic products for sale on eBay. And you can
set up an affiliate program and offer commissions to others who sell your
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> If you would like to create a custom online store,
Yahoo! Merchant Solutions may be the answer. For under $40 per month, Yahoo?s
starter program includes Web hosting, up to 100 email accounts, and the tools
to set up your shopping cart. It also charges a 1.5 percent transaction fee for
each sale through this package. The standard package costs about $100 per month
plus a 1 percent transaction fee and gives you the ability to offer coupons,
hold sales, and sell gift certificates.
Yahoo! stores integrate with most
merchant card-processors, or you can sign up for an account with its partner,
Incentives for signing up include
credits toward search-engine marketing services and discounts on services from
its partners. For more information, visit <span
Once your Web site shopping-cart
service is in full swing, you can generate more sales by offering your own
affiliate program. These programs allow other merchants to sell your products
on a commission basis. An affiliate program for a book might involve offering
other online merchants a 30 percent commission on each sale.
Most of the online shopping-cart
services allow you to set up affiliate links for your business partners. If
you?re using PayPal or another service that doesn?t do this, you can set up an
affiliate account through www.clickbank.com or <span
Make your affiliate program as
easy as possible for your sellers. Provide them with full product descriptions
and high-quality graphic images. And be sure to offer enough commission to make
their efforts worthwhile.
Expand Your Sales
With a shopping cart and an
affiliate program in place, your income opportunities are endless. You may want
to consider expanding your product line to include e-books, special reports,
teleseminars, and other types of information products if you don?t already
offer them. Customers who like your books are likely to return to purchase
additional products. Soon you could be reaping the rewards of your online
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Stephanie Chandler is the author of <span
class=8StoneSans>From Entrepreneur to
Infopreneur: Make Money with Books, Ebooks and Information Products
(Wiley, Dec. 2006) and The
Business Startup Checklist and Planning Guide (Aventine). Visit
her Web site, www.BusinessInfoGuide.com, to learn more about her small-business
expertise and to access hundreds of resources for entrepreneurs.