The Days of Expensive Ecommerce Shopping Carts Are Now Over – Prices Over $1500 Are an Overcharge

I have been actively creating ecommerce shopping cart websites for myself and clients for over 15 years now; during this time, there has been a drastic change in both the platforms and technologies used to create ecommerce websites, but precious little change in the prices that some unscrupulous ecommerce companies are willing to charge their unsuspecting clients.

Here’s what got me thinking

Just the other day I came across a company ( who shall remain nameless ), who we’re specialist in Magento ecommerce websites – charging their customers upwards of $3000 in order to have a shopping cart website built for them. As someone who works with Magento on almost a daily basis, my first thought when I came across their prices was: ‘but why?’

Why $3000 to me just seem ridiculous

You see; Magento is an open source ecommerce platform that is given away for free by most companies that offer cPanel website hosting – so where exactly does the company I mentioned get their “$3000+” figure from?… is it purely a labour charge?

I really hope this article serves as both an educator and money saver for anyone who is looking to set up their own ecommere website.

How to set up your own ecommerce shopping cart website

Setting up your own ecommerce shopping cart website really is not hard once you have the know how. There are just a few important things you will need:

  1. A Domain name (www.YourWebsiteName.com).
  2. Website hosting ( This is where your website will “live” on the internet ).
  3. A payment processor
  4. SSL certificate
  5. A nice theme & design for your store

Step by step

1. Domain Name

In order to find and register your website domain name, I recommend you use a well established domain registrar such as Godaddy.com.

On the Godaddy.com website you will be able to search for the availability of any domain name, register domains, and change the nameservers of the domain in order for it to point to your web hosting.

2. Website Hosting

Who you choose for your websites hosting will play a very important part in whether your ecommerce website set up process is troublesome or stress-free.

I recommend that you choose a web hosting provider that provides the “cPanel ” environment with their hosting – as this allows for easy installation of several free ecommerce shopping cart platforms, including: Magento, Zen Cart, Os Commerce and even WordPress.

Once you are inside cPanel, you can then look for the ecommerce software of your choice and commence the installation process.

The ecommerce platform you choose will be dependent on your needs, requirements and level of ability.

3. Merchant account / payment processor

Gone are the days when you had to have a massive budget and a perfect credit rating in order to be able to accept and process payments via your website.

You can now simply sign up for an online payment processor such as PayPal, who will handle all the payment processing and fraud checking for you. They will usually take a small per transaction fee for their troubles.

4. SSL Certificate

Although not essential to do business, it is essential to make sure your customers will feel comfortable about submitting their personal information via your website – as everyone cares about their personal information.

Installing an SSL certificate from a reputable provider encrypts your customers sensitive personal information.

Offer your customers extra peace of mind by clearly displaying that your website encrypts their personal information via SSL.

5. A nice theme and design for your store

Although not essential, having a nice theme for your ecommerce website can really help to create a good first impression.

The majority of ecommerce platforms out there will have a universal theme that everyone who installs the shopping cart will receive. For customers landing on your website first impressions count; it can be the difference between a sale or not.

I recommend that you invest in a professional theme for your ecommerce website as it should pay dividends in the long run.

I really hope you have enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it – and that if you are in the market for an ecommerce website you’ll realise there is absolutely no need to pay ridiculous prices for an ecommerce website.

The Essentials Of Web Development And Internet Design

The main focus of web development and internet style is having a setup plan and understanding the purpose of the task at hand. A good developer will have an understanding of both internet development and web design. The first thing they should take into consideration is the audience they want to attract. Then they can apply the technical side to what it takes to put those kinds of attracting components onto the site. This is known as technical communication. There is always necessary analysis and good planning involved for a developer to do their job properly.

Good developer will have a feel for just what the site users will be looking for and will be drawn to once they arrive at the site. A good strategic plan should be created before the project begins as far as implementing the technical necessities. They need to be innovative in their approach to holding the interest of the audience.

They also need to keep in mind that there can be a wider scope of visitors to the site than just ones for the specific product. If you want a site for selling computer parts, you could attract visitors from many other types of audiences. So the developer needs to careful not to alienate any other potential buyers when they develop the site.

They need to have the specific goals and objectives of the site clearly defined in their minds. They would then have to research and find the proper domain information for the site. The domain is how people will find the site once it is up and going. It should be relevant to the subject matter of the site. And the developers should develop the site around this subject matter and create a style that will make this attractive to the projected audience.

Once the design is finished, the developers need to install all the boundaries of the technical structure they have mapped out for the site. It should have specific and well established boundaries. They may take their first project prototype and use it for analysis and testing before they decide to make it available to the general public.

A net developer may utilize such technical applications as Java scripts, applets, CGI, or HTML. These would correspond with the software used for creating the hypertext structure of the site. Then once the site goes public, it can be advertised and begin the job of drawing traffic. This can be done by posting on other sites and linking to forums and blogs.

Ecommerce and Its Evolution Into Mobility

Ten years ago ecommerce was still a cool buzzword that everyone wanted to try, but at that early point it was largely limited to the Business-2-Business world. The use of personal computers, mobile phones and the internet was still experiencing its first period of growth, so the average person sitting in front of their behemoth CRT monitor hadn’t grasped the potential of the web quite yet.

It didn’t take long though. Soon dot.com companies selling anything from sock puppets to toothbrushes at unbelievably low prices were popping up all over the place. Beady eyed investors saw the potential in dot-coms: little overhead and massive profit. The credit industry chimed in with low interest rates and blanket application acceptances, knowing there was money to be made. Unfortunately and predictably, the house of cards fell. Dot-coms were collapsing by the dozens and investors saw billions of dollars seemingly evaporate into thin air within a very short period.

Since that dark period in the early history of ecommerce, there have been countless research studies conducted in an effort to answer the desperate whys and how’s being screamed from bankruptcy courts around the nation. By now we have all heard the answer explained in long winded speeches about boom and bust cycles etc. In the end the collapse of the dot.com bubble was the inevitable outcome of greed on a massive scale, more specifically, unchecked greed with few security protocols and no governing body.

The birth of the 1990’s brought a wider availability of personal computers and the internet, but the 21st century brought mobility to the internet. According to CTIA the Wireless Association, there were just over 109 million mobile phone users in the US in 2000, that’s 38% of the population. Of course at that point the smartphone was clunky and fairly unusable so few people owned one. Eight years later the number of mobile phone users more than doubled to 262 million, 85% of the population. Now the Neilson Company predicts by the end of 2011 at least 49% of Americans will have a smartphone and 51% will still be using their feature phone (out of the 96% of the population that uses a mobile device).

Between 2000 and 2011 there has been an about-face on the part of ecommerce. Security platforms have become more stable and widely used so trust has now been built. User interfaces evolved into dynamic places where visitors felt both stimulated to buy, yet secure in handing over credit information. Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley has amalgamated data from Japan that shows online commerce and paid services accounted for a whopping 32% of mobile revenue in 2008. We all know technology progresses faster than the Roadrunner, and we are equally aware that Japan and China are usually the first to set trends in technology. That begs the question, has the west fully realized the potential of ecommerce yet? Or are we still remembering the chaos of the 90’s?

The same report by Mary Meeker, dubbed the Queen of the Internet by Baron’s magazine in 1998, shows North American and European nations use of ecommerce on a mobile platform accounts for less than 14% of mobile revenue (2008). Are we still scared? No, we are being gouged. North Americans have some of the highest mobile phone bills in the world. Canada in particular generates an average of $55 revenue per user per month; the US isn’t much better sitting at $48. India is the most fortunate; making the phone companies about $5 per user per month.

Mobile ecommerce is the future; there is no doubt about it. For the average North American the ability to buy almost anything with a smartphone is far too convenient to give up simply because our data plan sucks. We may not spend as much as the Japanese, but we sure know the value of ecommerce. Then again, as humans we are cursed with the innate habit of reacting to the here and now. The bill is out of sight, and therefore out of mind. We are also experts at rationalization. The value of using an internet fax service to send a document to a client via your smartphone far outweighs the value of physically delivering it. The flexibility and potential of the smartphone and ecommerce has placed a much higher value on time. What we choose to do with that time saved is the subject of a whole other article.