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Discussion Starter #1
Ive spend the WHOLE day looking at cubecart, and paypals shopping cart, amoung other free shopping carts and ones offered for a price by designers.

I have originally designed my own site and planned (just for now) to design a store using just paypal as the shopping cart.

When I mentioned this in the forums, ALOT of people (rightly so I guess) suggested using paypal only was a bad idea. Various reasons were given...

`no means to discount things'
`no way to offer coupons'
`limited shipping charge flexibility'
`no stored customer accounts where customers can come back'
and so forth

Now I dont mean to toot my horn, but I'm actually pretty damn good at html website design. And the store I have designed so far for the purpose of using the paypal shopping cart isnt bad at all, in fact its pretty good.

Starting out in the business, I am litterally starting things out on a shoe-string budget, so having a merchant account and payment gateway isnt an option, so its really down to either the customer paying via paypal or credit card using the paypal shopping cart, or contacting me via email to place the order with a money order or cheque.

I have heard of some people starting out this way and later on down the track managing to focus on other things like 'superior customer service' and making a clear profit step by small step until they had enough revenue to justify buying a shopping cart system that actually looks nice and easy to navigate and doesnt look cheap and nasty AND has a direct merchant gateway to pay via credit card, money order or however they like.

Would it be so bad to start using this very professional, sleek, simple and good looking html website with the paypal shopping cart just for now until I get on my feet to justify spending money on more fancy stuff? :confused:
 

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Try it and see, that would be the best answer to your solution. I think the key that everyone makes here, is that you have to somehow convince your customer that you are a reputable company selling a great product, and at the same convince that customer when they do spend their money, they will receive the product.
I currently use the paypal method of payment, and I do sell shirts, but would I sell more if I had a better cart?

Thanks,
 

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ShadowDragon said:
Would it be so bad to start using this very professional, sleek, simple and good looking html website with the paypal shopping cart just for now until I get on my feet to justify spending money on more fancy stuff? :confused:
No, it absolutely wouldn't be so bad. You will lose a few sales to people who hate PayPal, but we're not talking about people running away in droves. Plenty of large successful websites have started with PayPal shopping carts, and there's no reason you can't do it too.

That said, the main thing people are criticising isn't using PayPal as the payment gateway (it's not preferred, but realistically it's often the best option), but using PayPal's shopping cart system. PayPal can be integrated into a free shopping cart system, so that you use the cart (like CubeCart) for the shopping end, but use PayPal to pay (instead of hooking it up to a more expensive credit card gateway).

Now that said, if you've designed a website you're happy with there's no reason not to use that.
 

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The major reason isn't any of the above, the biggie is that the shopping cart plays the largest part in you converting the sale.

Using any shopping cart that you have zero control over is going to hurt sales. I'm not talking about the entire CMS system some shopping carts get bundled with, I'm talking about the view cart page.

You would be amazed how many people bomb out of these just because they don't install customer confidence. Why? because they open a new window, because there is no call to action, and so on.

Having complete control over this stage of the transaction is to your advantage and means you can increase conversion rates by 5% one day and maybe 10% another just by changing the colour of the button. Try doing that with PayPal cart.

That's my argument, all the others are bonuses. You can still store customer details with the callback functionality, you can still discount things on your side if you choose to use the PayPal cart but the FACT is you won't convert as much.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Adam said:
You would be amazed how many people bomb out of these just because they don't install customer confidence. Why? because they open a new window, because there is no call to action, and so on.
So with a limited budget.... I know I can use cubecart, its free!.. and theres no ugly pop up window... when its pay time, it would just take the customer straight to paypal to pay. But in doing so, I loose the control over the design asthetics done so wonderfully with my own html site.

If I opt to go for my own html design, I keep the professional insprining invoke confidence in me look, but I loose the streamlined process cubecarts shopping cart gives me....

I really am in two minds...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
...and P.S

Where on the cubecart website can you download said free cart for free? I cant find anywhere where I can register as a user and download it without having to pay the liscence fee? :(
 

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But in doing so, I loose the control over the design asthetics done so wonderfully with my own html site.
You can template the checkout a little to look like your store with a header but to be honest you should limit the distractions at this point so a header works well.

Making the checkout look pretty and looking like your wonderful html site is not the purpose. The purpose is to have control over things like, limiting the steps it takes to checkout, making sure they feel comfortable to pay, providing easy links to return policy, shipping fees, privacy policy, and displaying shipping cost. The purpose of a good converting cart is to do this quickly, with limited distractions, no hassle, no confusion, leave no unanswered questions, and to make the customer feel confident.

I have no idea about cubecart I'm afraid. If it doesn't allow you to do the things I've talked about above don't use it, trial some out and find one that does. Oscommerce, Zencart might be worth a look.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hrm... having said that has anyone here have or has set up in the past a paypal shopping cart site and made reasonably okayish sales before moving onto a more sophisticated shopping cart?
 

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ShadowDragon said:
...and P.S

Where on the cubecart website can you download said free cart for free? I cant find anywhere where I can register as a user and download it without having to pay the liscence fee? :(
When you go to their main page, there is a menu bar at the top that says, "Home, Features, Demo, Downloads, Support, Purchase".

Click "Downloads"

Choose which version you want, 2 or 3 (I would go with 3!). Click version 3 and it will take you to a page with zip files for you to download version 3.
 

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The way I see it, having a site up and running and making some sales using just paypal is better than not having any site up and not using paypal. Get your site up and use paypal for now. Its gonna take some time to start getting traffic coming to your site anyway, so you might as well get it out there.
I used only paypal for over three years and had good sales going. I even had a sale for 3500.00 using just paypal. So you dont want to cut yourself out of money. Put your site up and start getting traffic and when some sales come in, use that money to set yourself up withone of the really good shopping cart systems.
 

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Would it be so bad to start using this very professional, sleek, simple and good looking html website with the paypal shopping cart
One of the biggest reasons for not having a paypal only shopping cart isn't the customer signup, it's the POP UP windows that happen when a customer adds a shirt to their shopping cart.

That can annoy/confuse/disarm a shopper. So no matter how pretty your HTML page is, a popup window sort of throws that out the door (in my opinion).

I'm all for starting out the best way possible to begin with. That way you give yourself the best chance to succeed.

If you design the prettiest website and have the best customer service, you might not ever know if your profits are what they COULD BE if customers are turned off from buying by the popup window.

There's a reason why people move *from* the paypal only cart to a cart like cubecart/zencart/miva, etc.

So if both are free to startout with, then it seems to make since to start out with the best free option instead of getting settle in, marketing, and possibly wasting marketing dollars on a site that doesn't convert as well as it should.

If you have the HTML designing skills, then you should be able to make cubecart look however you want it to look. There are templates for just about everything.

If your focus is a clean design and sales, cubecart gives you both. It doesnt' matter too much if the customer is taken to paypal at the end to pay and then comes back to your site. At that point, they are giving you money and are only away for your site for a couple of minutes. Your shopping cart gives you all the chances in the world to brand the customer to your company so they remember you and not paypal.

I think if it's a choice between PayPal shopping cart and just accepting checks/money orders, then it's PayPal all the way. If it's a choice between free paypal setup and free cubecart setup, I'd say cubecart all the way, since they both accomplish the same thing and the cubecart way gives your customers a better shopping experience.

I wouldn't call it "sexy overriding paypal". I'd call it useability overriding everything :)
 

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BUt cubecart is not technically free because in order to use this you need to have a merchant account correct? Can paypal take the place of this merchant account without being seen by customers when they check out?
 

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I know I can use cubecart, its free!..But in doing so, I loose the control over the design asthetics done so wonderfully with my own html site.
Not necessarily true. Cubecart is designed so that you can control 100% of the aesthetics completely separately from the php functions. You can still use html/css to design a cubecart site, and can make it look any way you want - you just need to get used to the way the cubecart templates work. Check out my site below, it's a cubecart site that I designed with limited HTML knowledge and virtually no php knowledge. All the PHP code is in separate files, you just plug in snippits of it where you want things to appear (product options, produc pictures, etc.)
 

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Also in response to another question asked in this thread - paypal does not charge monthly merchant fees like some merchant accounts do, though you do pay a 1.5% fee on every sale that you make.
 

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paypal website payments pro DOES charge monthly fees. Website Payments Pro, however, does not take the customer away from the site when they pay, and, to a customer, it looks like they are paying with their credit card and paypal is not even involved, UNLESS the specifically chose the paypal option.

their standard isnt too bad, but i do feel that once you decide that you want to take your retail business seriously, get away from that and get a paypal pro or a real merchant account.. Think about it.. are there any sites that you consider BIG that only do a paypal checkout???
 
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