You've decided that you don't really need an online store on your website, but you'd like to have full control over how your products are presented. Then maybe a hosted cart solution is what you need. In this part of our series, we'll look at what that takes.
The distinguishing characteristic of the Hosted Cart scenario is that your website is handling only the product catalog portion of the sales process. A Hosted Services Provider provides the shopping cart and handles payment card processing.
This approach allows you full control over how your products are presented to the customer, while offloading all of the actual shopping cart details.
What Is Required?
As you might expect, this approach is even simpler than those we talked about previously. The pieces of the total solution are:
- Web server
- eCommerce software (optional)
- Hosted Cart provider
- Secure connection with SSL Certificate
- Payment Gateway
- Merchant Account
- Privacy & Security Policies
eCommerce software is now optional. In this scenario, it would simply be used to manage and display your product catalog, linking to the Hosted Cart provider for all other functions. This might be useful if you have a lot of products. But if you have only a few products, it's probably simpler to develop the product pages yourself.
You don't need a Payment Gateway, as your Hosted Cart provider performs that function. Similarly, because the payment card processing is happening on the Hosted Cart provider's web server, they provide the SSL Certificate.
You also probably no longer need a Merchant Account, as most popular Hosted Cart providers handle that function themselves.
Popular Hosted Cart Plans
In this section we/ll look at a few of the best-known Hosted Cart services.
Hosted Cart Plan Pricing
The most popular Hosted Cart plans are those offered by the well-known brands. You'll notice that the pricing on all of the plans is identical.
|PayPal Website Payments Standard||Amazon Simple Pay||Google
|Per Transaction||$ 0.30||$ 0.30||$ 0.30|
|Transaction fee—% of transaction, tiers based on volume:|
How They Work
The typical approach to using a Hosted Cart service is to place "purchase" buttons on the web pages you use to describe and promote your products. These buttons link to cart or checkout pages on your Hosted Cart provider's website.
There are many options as to how these buttons are created and what exactly happens when your customer clicks one.
The key point to note about the Hosted Cart approach is that these buttons are all you need on your own website.
Choosing a Hosted Cart Plan
As you can see from the above table, there's really no cost difference between the big-name providers. There are, of course, minor differences among them that might sway the decision one way or another:
- Additional payment options. If you choose to use PayPal or Amazon, customers who have accounts with those service can take advantage of any already-stored payment information they might have. Depending on your customer base, this could be an advantage.
- Shopping cart differences. Although all three providers ultimately perform the same function, their approaches differ. You should check out each to decide which approach seems to be the best fit for your needs and preferences.
Summary and Next Steps
That ends our brief overview of the Hosted Cart scenario. As you probably noticed, the implementation is becoming simpler and simpler as you offload more functionality.
In Part 8, we'll take a look at our last scenario—Hosted Store.
Note: When you're ready, I have the skills to help you implement your online store.Get a Quote