Brian's blog

Moving from Yahoo Stores

Moving from Yahoo Stores
Free Yourself for The Revenue Sharing Price Structure.

The revenue sharing pricing model for hosted ecommerce solutions is on the way out. Why should merchants have to pay a monthly fee and a percentage of all sales to both their hosting provider and merchant account? They don’t and shouldn’t. Yahoo Stores pioneered this payment structure (while they were pioneering the hosted shopping cart industry) and over 150,000 online merchants continue to share a percentage of their revenue with Yahoo Stores.

Years ago, there wasn’t a hosted shopping cart solution that could compare to Yahoo Stores. This solution offered a low barrier of web/tech skills of launch an online store and once opened, the feature set offered was robust. The markup language used was gobbled up my search engines and Yahoo Stores could rank well with little SEO effort (still true today). The payment system is integrated into the cart so the merchant can process refunds right through the Yahoo Store admin panel. Also integrated into the admin panel was UPS shipping tools. For many years, Yahoo Stores was without rival. That has since changed.

MonsterCommerce Losing Market Share?

Hosted Shopping Cart Solution Report (Feb. 2007)
MonsterCommerce Losing Market Share?
Every time MonsterCommerce releases an update to their shopping cart solution our forum sees an increase of merchants looking for a new solution. Why this happens is best saved for its own blog entry but most tend to be moving to 3dCart because of their easy to use user interface and more robust feature list. A few of their larger stores seem to prefer Volusion. Both are great solutions (in my opinion) and offer a better product (overall) than MonsterCommerce.

I’ve found this site to be interesting:

Selecting a Merchant Account Provider

E-commerce 101: Selecting a Merchant Account Provider

In order to process sales via an online store, you need to either have a merchant account or service like Paypal of Google Checkout. While a store can get by just having a merchant account without a service like Paypal, you can’t get by without a merchant account. You need a merchant account to appear as a professional online store.

There are many different merchant account providers eager to have you as a client. These include Authoize.net, Paymentech and USAePay to name a few. Choosing a merchant account provider isn’t easy. A new merchant will find the array of services, fees and rates mind numbing. Trying to evaluate providers is major chore. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of criteria to investigate before selecting a merchant account provider. It is as follows:

AJAX and SEO

AJAX offers a huge leap in functionality for an online store. By dynamically inserting information into the page without the need to click, AJAX can make the shipping and checkout process a lot smoother from the customer perspective. This smoother transaction process can improve your store’s conversion rate and reduce load on your support line. AJAX is also great at rendering store data on the back end too (as 3dCart’s shopping cart solution proves). As with all new web technologies, a merchant must factor in any impact the technology will have on SEO (search engine optimization). Why? Any gains in an increased conversion rate can quickly be negated by loosing ranking in SERPs (search engine result pages).

ProStores Review

Prostores Review
An eBay Company...

A few years ago eBay bought ProStores in hopes of retaining business from merchants that outgrew their online auction product. ProStores was originally developed by Affinity Internet, Inc., the same company that developed the Bigstep e-commerce solution (last I heard this solution was circling the drain). The marketing money behind ProStores in impressive. The question is, does it live up to hype? Answer: no.

Prostores has two strong suits. They offer 24x7 support and a tight integration with eBay. This bodes well for the eBay merchant making their first step to a full-fledged online store. Highly available support can offer hand holding to get a new store off the ground and the eBay integration allows the merchant to continue sales on their auction channel without the need of a secondary product database.

What is a Merchant Account? E-Commerce 101

E-Commerce 101: Merchant Accounts

I’m going to start a series of blog entries that cover the beginning steps of opening an online store. This is the first of the series. Enjoy!

A Merchant Account is a relationship between an online retailer and a merchant bank that enables retailers to accept web-based credit card payments from their customers. This is the account which a Merchant Account provider deposits payments into the merchant's business checking account from the transactions that are made online. To qualify for a merchant account, retailers must meet the bank's requirements.

Avoiding the Google Sandbox Effect

A Storeowners Guide to Beating the Google Sandbox Effect
Don’t put the ecart before the horse.

Launching a new online store takes a lot of work. Merchants spend hours sourcing products, taking pictures, finding a shopping cart solution, signing up with a merchant account and then populating their webstore with products and content. The next stop is marketing the new store. Online marketing begins with gaining high rankings in search engine result pages (SERPs). This is done by having loads of unique content and quality links to your store. Sadly, for new store owners this isn’t enough. New stores will find their ranking in Google stymied by the Sandbox Effect.

eCartReviews Blog Now Listed on Technorati

I'm happy to announce that this blog can now be found in Technorati's search engine.

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Volusion Templates

Volusion gave me a Valentine’s Day present….25% off one of their paid templates. No, it’s not a steak dinner or a bouquet of roses. And they send the offer to all their customers. But saving $125 bucks is nothing to shake a stick at. The timing is good too being at the start of the new year. Maybe its time to give your Volusion online store a facelift?

Volusion offers their customers three options for selecting a design template. They are as follows:

1. Free templates of limited selection (8 of them) and update frequency.
2. Paid templates for a one-time $495 price. Volusion offers 80 of them and some are really impressive.

CubeCart Shopping Cart Review

CubeCart – Modular PHP e-Commerce Solution

Are you considering hosting your own PHP store but need a solution with commercial backing and some sort of support? Then CubeCart deserves a look. This UK based company offers their solution for $69.95. You find the hosting and install the solution. The process is very similar to setting up Zen Cart or X-cart. It modular structure reminds me of setting up this blog with Drupal (I can’t say enough good things about Drupal by the way). You install the core platform and then can pick and choose add-on modules to increase the available features.