Setting up a website for e-commerce involves what is generally referred to as
a Shopping Cart system. The analogy here would be to a shopping cart you might
use in a grocery or department store. As you walk through the store (browse
a website) you chose from the offerings and place them in your shopping cart.
Then, when you are finished, you go the checkout counter and pay for the merchandise.
Likewise, as you browse a website, the option is always presented to place an
item or service in your virtual shopping cart. And, as with a typical brick-and-mortar
store, when you are finished shopping, you click on "Checkout Now"
and see a page that shows the entire contents of your cart. At this time, you
are presented with the opportunity to eliminate items from your cart, change
quantities, or, if you realize you have forgotten something, go back and add
it to your cart. Once you are sure everything is correct and you have all the
items you want in your cart, you move on to choose a payment method and complete
of our design prices include setting the client up with a shopping cart service
and coding each product appropriately for checkout. Because the coding process
is the most time consuming element of the shopping cart system, our basic packages
include coding for 25 products. Additional products can be added for an extra
charge per block of 25.
In the early days of the "Dot-Com Boom" the prevailing theory of commercial
success on the Web was based on advertising and creating as much traffic as
possible to view the ads. This led to literally tens of thousands of websites
that did not actually sell anything, but that offered free information or other
services to entice people into visiting. If the idea behind the site was successful
and the number of visitors high, the site could then sell advertising to other
sites, whose ads would be seen by thousands of Web surfers. Unfortunately, this
theory did not work out as well as expected, and reliance on Web advertising
as a revenue stream became one of the major causes of the "Dot-Com Bust"
that followed. Though many of these informational sites survived and now prosper,
direct e-commerce has now taken over as the most popular was of creating revenue
streams from a Web presence.
The lesson learned
through this evolution, however, remains valid; that presenting "free"
content on your website is one of the best methods of attracting visitors and
getting other sites to link to yours (a prime factor in establishing high rankings
among the search engines). For example, one of our clients, Electronixwarehouse,
offers a huge tech section, in which visitors can find the answers to almost
any question they may have concerning car stereo systems and equipment. In addition,
they also offer a free tech-advice question & answer service, and a humor
section. Though this extensive "content" does not necessarily generate
sales directly, it has enormous positive impact on the popularity of the site
and has gained Electronixwarehouse thousands of links from other sites and personal
As a promotional
ploy, offering free content can be one of the most effective marketing tools
you may have at your disposal. When planning the format and content of a website,
consideration should always be given to providing as much free content as is
possible, if the site theme and category lend themselves to doing so.