Website eCommerse Solutions
PayPal buttons are ideal if you have a static website, a limited budget and/or only wish to sell a few products or services online. Provided you have a PayPal account, all you need to do is create the button code for each product right in the PayPal interface and have the code added to your website.
You have a choice of buy now buttons for a one-off purchase or add to cart buttons if you are selling several items and would like your customers to purchase more than one in the same transaction. PayPal also has “Donate Now” buttons if you are a charity or not-for-profit and wish to accept donations online.
PayPal is a very secure and trusted payment platform that accepts credit cards and other payment options. All transactions are done on their site, not yours, so there’s no need to pay extra for a security certificate and dedicated server as no customer information is stored on your own website.
Once the transaction is complete, you can redirect customers back to a page on your website (a thank you page, booking page or contact page, for example), and you can keep track of all transactions securely on the PayPal interface.
WordPress Shopping Cart Plug-in
A WordPress shopping cart plug-in is ideal for clients who have a WordPress website, if you have several products or services, but not so many that you need a dedicated eCommerce platform (hundreds of products and product lines, various customer groups).
There are several WordPress shopping cart plug-ins to choose from, including WooCommerce, WP eCommerce, WordPress WP Shopping Cart, WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart and Easy PayPal Shopping Cart to name a few.
Most WordPress shopping cart plug-ins are free to use and easy to install through the WordPress dashboard. They usually integrate with PayPal right out of the box and may come with one or two other payment options and shipping methods. However, they do require some setting up and you may need to pay for various options, add-ons and alternative payment and/or shipping methods.
When choosing your shopping cart plug-in, be sure to check the reviews and star rating, number of downloads, when they were last updated (it should be recent) and their support forum. (Do you need to pay for support? Do they answer questions in a timely manner?) Also look into the cost of their add-ons, particularly if what you need is not included with the free version.
Shopping Cart eCommerce Content Management System
If you plan to sell hundreds of product lines and wish to offer your customers a full shopping cart experience, then a content management system that is developed specifically as an online store is the best solution.
There are a number of eCommerce platforms (such as BigCommerce and Shopify) that offer a full shopping cart experience for customers as well as a POS solution for the store owner. Most come with a selection of themes to choose from. However, you are usually required to pay quite a hefty monthly fee to run your store. Monthly subscriptions can range from around $30 to $200, and in some cases, you may also have to pay for your chosen theme, credit card transactions fees or for other payment gateways.
Alternatively, there are several OpenSource (FREE) solutions available with most web hosting packages (including OpenCart, osCommerce, PrestaShop, ZenCart) which come pre-loaded with several payment and shipping modules and various other features and functions to help you run your store. However, they do require quite a bit of set-up and may need additional extensions to meet your specific requirements.