Do I Need a Shopping Cart?

Do I need a shopping cart?

Many people have been asking me lately if they should get a shopping cart.
In most circumstances, when you are just starting out, I do not think you need a shopping cart. If you are only selling a few things off your website and they are not expensive (under $1000) PayPal is a very good option.
One of the major factors in choosing to use a shopping cart is that PayPal does not have any capability to track affiliates.  I use a shopping cart, as I have affiliates promoting some of my services.  I use the functionality within the shopping cart to track the affiliates, so I know how much commission to send them. If I did not work with affiliates, I would still only be using PayPal.
As a side note – a shopping cart is not the only way to track affiliates.  There are various other programs and plugins that can do that for you.
Another misconception is that the shopping cart processes the payments for you – this is not correct, you still need to link to PayPal or have a merchant account to process the payments once the products have been put into the shopping cart.
PayPal has Website Standard – a free service, and Website Pro – which is a merchant account service with varying fees, depending on the services you choose.  Regardless, of whether you go with Standard or Pro, you will still pay a percentage of the purchase amount to PayPal – approximately 3% – though it may vary country to country.
The other question that I get asked is if you want to be an affiliate and promote other people’s products and programs do you need a shopping cart.  The answer to that is no, all of that is taken care of by the person promoting the product or program.
It is very easy to start selling items on your website using PayPal.  I will take you through the steps.
Firstly, sign up for a business account, or log in if you already have one.  Click on the Merchant Services tab.  Click on Website Payments Standard link. You will then have the option of what type of button you want to add to your website.
For the purposes of this demonstration I have chosen the ‘Buy Now’ button. As you can see from the picture below, I can then add in a description and the price of the item.  You can then make any other customizations you want, for example – creating a drop down menu for different sizes or prices.  This is also where you would put in an amount for postage.  Once you have completed all of the sections click, ‘Create Button’ at the bottom of the page.
That will take you to this screen – where you will get the code, that is specific to that button and the information you added – like the price, postage, etc.  You can either copy the code into your website or click the email tab – which gives you a link you can copy straight into an email.
I have created a short video to show you how to add the code to a page in your WordPress blog.

Happy Selling!!
Stacey Myers, getting started, wordpress trainingStacey is a coach, trainer and speaker who supports people getting started with an online presence through WordPress and Social Media training. Stacey’s hands-on style, supportive nature and extensive knowledge make her the perfect go-to resource for new entrepreneurs, and small business owners, who need a one-on-one or small group approach. She will also help you to overcome your mindset barriers so you too, can feel the freedom of living your passion.

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10 responses to “Do I Need a Shopping Cart?”

  1. That’s something I hadn’t thought about before, in fact I didn’t know anything about it at all; thanks for the very useful and clearly written information. Great blog and well written.

    1. Stacey Myers Avatar
      Stacey Myers

      Richard, thank you for commenting. I am pleased you found the post useful!


  2. Hi Stacey: I agree with you to add buy now buttons you won’t require any external shopping cart solutions and your article helps the best.
    But using the shopping carts you can have more features like in-house sales tracking,inventory management,customer details on your side.

  3. Stacey: Does using the “PayPal Buy Now Button” limit the buyer to only one item per purchase? Can they buy multiple items per transaction? I am concerned about the additional shipping charges..

    1. Laurie, the buy now button is if you have having someone buy a one time item. A course for example. There are other button option, such as – add to cart, which would allowing them to add multiple items.

  4. That’s Great News! I’ll have to look at that. I was so worried that I had to add yet another expense to my website with a “shopping cart”. My hopes are high again 🙂 Love your page! Thanks for all of the Great info!!

  5. Thanks Stacey.  I'm looking a to build a portal for a small fast food store.  He wants the capability to allow visitors to order food online.  Is paypall a good option.  I'm confused about the following.                                     1. I want to maintain the list of food items on my site which can be updated by owner.  Do I need to send that list to the payment gateway such as paypal in a batch process or it can be send as part of the checkout process?

    Thanks for your insight on this.


    1. It can all be send as part of the checkout process.  They click on what it is they want to buy and then go to paypal to pay for it.

  6. Thanks for sharing the importance of having multi vendor shopping cart.Your article has so much potential to learn from.

    1. Thank you so much for saying!

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