9. Does your site need a shopping cart?

For the most part this seems like a simple question. If you sell stuff, you should have a site. If you sell any kind of product it makes sense. This includes video and audio that can be downloaded. We recently finished a suite of sites that includes http://www.mythicyoga.com. From this site you can purchase real books but you can also purchase ebooks or audio downloads.

So anything that can be downloaded can also be sold.

  • Pictures? Yes, you should have a site.
  • Maps? Yes.

What if you’re a non-profit? Absolutely. Why wouldn’t you want to make it easy for donors or potential donors to contribute to your cause? In this case the beauty of the Internet is that it makes it easy for people from anywhere to help support you. If you build wells in Aftrica, you want to be able to accept donations from Texas or Tanzania or Tasmania. If you’re saving whales in Alaska, you want donors from Mississippi or Mauritania or the Maldives.

What about if you offer a service instead of stuff? There are still several reasons you should consider taking payment online through a shopping cart on your site. If you offer packages with set prices then it is a no-brainer. Yes you should. Even if you charge by the project or by the hour you can still set up your shopping cart so that you can accept payment. Depending on the cart you use and how you configure it, you can have invoices available online that the customer pays or you can have the customer enter the order total.

Virtually any kind of business, even a non-profit corporation, can benefit from a shopping cart. With the growth in very affordable merchant accounts and gateways, it doesn’t take too many payments or donations before it really begins to make sense to use a cart and accept credit cards.

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