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Hosted Cart Customer Forums

A number of the top e-commerce hosted shopping cart solutions have customer forums where you can pop in and checkout what’s going on with the solution. These are invaluable tools when researching a move or opening to new store. By digging through these forums you can gauge the cart's customer service abilities, customer sentiment and even ask pre-sales questions. There’s nothing like getting honest feedback about a cart before opening a store.

Of course you can always visit our forum for up to date info on the major hosted shopping carts by visiting: eCartReviews Forums

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We have a unique forum with e-commerce merchants that use a variety of shopping carts solutions.

Need advice on finding the right hosted shopping cart solution? Join the forum.

What to know what payment processor and gateway to use? Join the forum.

Have a specific question about a host shopping cart solution. Join the forum.

Want to discuss topical issued relating to running an online store? Join the forum.

Want to converse with merchants, e-commerce solution representatives? Join the forum.

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eWish Gift Registry Service Integration with MonsterCommerce & Yahoo Stores

eWish has partnered with Monster and Yahoo to allow their merchants tools to integrate their gift registry system. For a one- time setup fee of $599.00 and an ongoing 5% commission fee, merchants can add eWish’s to their stores. This allows merchants to have “add to registry” buttons on their product pages. eWish has a pretty robust gift registry solution that includes a customizable e-notifciation, guestbook, RSVP system, and on-line photo album.

If you have a store that caters to gift market, this add-on is worth a look. A few hosted shopping cart solution offer a Wish List feature (InstanteStore and Volusion) but they are geared more toward the individual doing the shopping. Conversely, gift registries can be distributed to a group of people (gift givers) directing them to purchase the desired items that have been preselected by the gift receiver.

Google Checkout. Viable payment method?

Google has launched its answer to Paypal.

When news of Google Checkout was announced many merchants jumped with joy. Just think; a payment method that doesn’t exploit the merchant! Google Checkout offers free processing (until December 31, 2007), $10 off coupons for first time customers, $50 AdWords coupon for merchants and robust anti-fraud tools. Google also promised seamless integration with the major hosted shopping cart solutions. To date, Volusion, 3DCart and MonsterCommerce offer Google Checkout integration for their stores.

Google Checkout promises to help merchants in three areas:

EV SSL Certificates

EV SSL Certificates
These certs go to eleven.

There is a new type of SLL certificate on the block. The Extended Validation SSL Certificate has been developed by Verisign as a way to increase consumer confidence while shopping online. The EV SSL certificates are expensive and getting one requires additional paperwork. Verisign provides a EV SSL cert for $1,299 for a year. Thawte and Geotrust offer the same cert for $899 per year. This is huge leap in cost when compared to the traditional 128-bit SSL certificates annual cost of around $150.

So what does this extra outlay of cash afford the small e-commerce business? The ability to have 256-bit encryption and more detailed store identity authentication visable to the customer (to stave off phishing). Plus, customers using IE7 will have their address bar turn green while shopping on your store. This is supposed to increase “your site visitor’s confidence.”

E-Commerce S.W.O.T. Analysis

E-Commerce Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Are you considering starting a new e-commerce business? Yes? Do a SWOT analysis of the industry and your niche within the world of electronic commerce. Below is a general e-commerce SWOT analysis that highlights some on the particulars of selling items online.

Strengths
Ability to compete with other companies global and locally
Implementing an e-commerce business solution allows companies to expand their customer base to a global level without considerable time or expense.

Search Engine Optimization and Online Stores

Search Engine Optimization 101– Marketing Keywords on the Internet

Build it and they will come. This famous line might apply to ball fields but not to web sites. Getting people to visit a web site takes a lot of work. Getting people to visit a site via a search engine when they are looking for something specific is even harder.

This paper will review the process for basic search engine optimization (SEO henceforth). Covered are the basic components of marketing a site to attract specific traffic. These components include keywords, directories, back links and content.

The first step in SEO is to define your keywords. For instance, Amazon.com’s keywords could include; books, online bookstore, etc. Careful thought should be placed in your keyword selection. This phase is the foundation to support all other SEO efforts. Fredrick Marckini in Keyword Selection - The Most Overlooked Element of Success, August 2002, Market Postion had this to say about keyword selection:

How to Switch Shopping Cart Solutions

Switching Shopping Cart Solutions Checklist

Are you considering moving from one e-commerce shopping cart solution to another? Below you will find a checklist that lays out the step-by-step instructions for making the move. Switching website shopping cart solutions isn't as hard as you may think.

Switching Shopping Cart Solutions Checklist

1. Research and select the shopping cart solution that best serves your business’ needs. This is a very important decision. Take your time and choose wisely. Questions to ask include:

A. Does your shopping cart solution integrate with my gateway?

MonsterCommerce’s SEO Catalog

Years ago ASP carts were notorious for having long garbled URLs and bloated code. Both no-no’s when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Some for the more forward thinking shopping cart solutions added a mod_rewrite to their product that translated the ASP garbled URLs and code into clean easy to read html. The result was unmistakable. The stores using these solutions rankings improved once the product pages were re-indexed by the major search engines.

MonsterCommerce took a different approach. They allowed their clients the ability to generate a separate copy of their product catalog in html. MonsterCommerce called the feature the SEO catalog. The only problem is that the SEO catalog doesn’t rewrite/convert the asp page into html; rather it makes a copy of them in html. This is a dangerous thing to do in terms of SEO as the search engines frown upon duplicate content. A few merchants reported in our forum that they were penalized for using SEO catalog when some of their pages started to be deemed supplemental by Google. Not good.

Preventing Chargebacks for Online Sales

Just about every merchant will get the dreaded chargeback notice sooner of later. Unfortunately, it’s part of ecommerce and truly hard to avoid. Bearing this in mind, merchants are forced to stay on their toes as the credit card company place all the risk upon merchant's shoulders. An important part of running a successful ecommerce website is minimizing chargebacks so as to not only avoid monetary loss but also to stay in business. If you store racks up too many chargebacks, it won’t be long until the store’s merchant account is revoked.

What is a chargeback?

A charge back occurs when a customer disputes a charge on their monthly statement. The customer calls the issuing credit card company and answers a few question on the charge in question and then the chargeback process is set in motion. A letter is then sent notifying the merchant of the chargeback or charge dispute and from this point forward, it’s up to the merchant to prove the charge is legitimate. If the merchant can’t successfully argue this case, the charge is reversed and money is automatically withdrawn from the merchant’s bank account. To make matter worse, the merchant is then charged with a chargeback fee that is typically in the $20.00 dollar range.