eCommerce Cart Recommendation

by Hyphen
19 replies
My mom currently runs a really good business online selling tanning lotion and I was just looking at some analytics for her site today and realized, as someone with a lot of experience in affiliate-based marketing and search engine optimization, that she could be doing a lot better.

Her site has been up since 2008. I noticed the Alexa on her site is nearly 1.3 million, which seems to be really bad when you consider the length her site has been around. Her PageRank is 2, which isn't terrible. I decided to run through Google to see where she ranks for these keywords:
  • buy tanning lotion
  • buy tanning lotion online
  • buy indoor tanning lotion
  • indoor tanning lotion
  • tanning lotions
  • cheap tanning lotion
  • discount tanning lotion
  • best tanning lotion
The only keyword she ranks on the first page for is "buy tanning lotion online", which is probably the worst of that bunch. Basically, I want to either do some basic SEO myself or convince her to invest some money each month and go with a professional SEO team who can help her rank better.


Other than that, she is using Zen Cart. Zen Cart is a great free shopping cart, but to me it looks and feels really unprofessional and maybe even untrustworthy to some customers? She doesn't have Google Analytics set up so I can't see her bounce rate, but that'd be interested to look at.

I really want to set her up with a cart that has add-ons that are relevant in 2011. A lot of the Zen Carts mods I see are things to change the scape of the design or to add checkout features, that's great, but that cart system needs some real power tools. I want to have her cart integrating with Twitter and/or Facebook so people know when new products are coming out, I'd like to have her a newsletter set up either internally or through AWeber, she just needs something that is more feature rich.

Zen Cart has been good for her because (other than the fact she's used to it), it's very easy to navigate. She isn't a professional designer or anything, but she manages to do her own logos and stuff so she doesn't need some $2000 design work being done, I think that overall she just needs a cart that can do me, that can integrate with social media platforms, etc. Any recommendations?
#cart #ecommerce #recommendation
  • Profile picture of the author TheBusinessNomad
    My personal favourite option is using wordpress. There is a plugin called wp ecommerce. There is a free version, but it is worth the $100 for the upgrade.

    Wordpress has a great structure for building content, which is good for seo, and personally I find it a lot easier to use.

    In seo terms, the most important bits are the common sense ones:

    If you want to rank for a keyword, make sure you use that keyword in the page and in the title etc...

    Other than that, just try to build some links on related sites - there is quite a lot to learn, but if you just stick to the basics you can do a pretty good job of SEO without huge expense.

    Hope that helps
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  • Profile picture of the author AFI
    I personally recommend CSCart. They have many templates you can use. Very easy to use and their customer service is outstanding.
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  • Profile picture of the author karenhudson
    X-cart is the best ecommerce cart and wordpress is also working effectively
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  • Profile picture of the author robert_aus
    All the features you mention should be possible to add in Zen Cart, just a matter of adding the code to the right places. For twitter and facebook you just need a follow me and like button etc. For aweber just need to place the opt-in code inside one of the modules.

    I saw there are people advertising themselves as Zen Cart developers on here, they should be able to help out.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ian Varnava
    Wordpress Shopping Cart - ShopperPress is pretty good as well, for use with WordPress, and only costs 80 bucks.

    Depending on how many items she has currently in her online store, you can outsource the data entry portion of it on eLance or odesk for less than a couple of 100 bucks. Basically you can just set up the ShopperPress theme on her domain, then give whoever you hire admin access temporarily, and have them copy/paste all product names/descriptions/images etc into the interface.

    It also offers a variety of payment gateway options... paypal, 2checkout, or whatever you want to use.

    Play around with the admin interface on their website and see if you like it, I've used it for a few websites and love it.

    Once the grunt work is done by outsourcees, you can run through it and fine tune it, improve titles/tags etc for SEO and other purposes. For $3-400 total you got a full-fledged online store on your hands.

    The other major advantage, you can also run a blog at the same time, creating even more content for your visitors and for search engines. If you want an eCommerce store that meets the standards of 2011, this is what you're looking at.

    I'm not affiliated with ShopperPress by the way. There are other similar options available as well, just Google it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Neil
      Ian Varnava

      I checked out ShopperPress - one of the great values is the 20 niche themes that are included.

      A one-time spend would be worth it just for the niche designs.
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  • Profile picture of the author Efrain Hernandez
    Have you looked into Magento commerce? That's what I use. Companies like nokia, vizio, samsung and officemax use it, and best of all it's free!
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    • Profile picture of the author BeechHill
      I've been using X-cart as well, great product, huge user base with lots of add-ons. However, probably the real contender for most users would be Interspire's Shopping Cart Software . Their hosted solution is called Big Commerce which gives you the full blown application starting at $25 a month. They have a promotion right now which saves you $50 on the setup fee.
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      • Profile picture of the author Neil
        BeechHill

        Great Tip!

        I looked into the Big Commerce site - really impressive. Pricing is competitive and they are doing really smart things like:

        - SEO
        - CSS
        - FTP or Browser based editing.
        - Smart phone compatible (this is huge)
        - Social media friendly (also huge)
        - extremely flexible
        - complete services - no need to bolt together merchant accounts and gateways, etc.

        I've been looking forever and if they perform as advertised this is more user friendly and complete than anything I've seen.

        Thanks again for the tip - just what we needed.

        Neil
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      • Profile picture of the author remodeler
        Originally Posted by BeechHill View Post

        I've been using X-cart as well, great product, huge user base with lots of add-ons. However, probably the real contender for most users would be Interspire's Shopping Cart Software . Their hosted solution is called Big Commerce which gives you the full blown application starting at $25 a month. They have a promotion right now which saves you $50 on the setup fee.
        I was just checking this option out and I agree, it has a huge number of features. The one thing I noticed though was it is priced "per store". So if you want to set up 4-5 or more smaller niche stores, you are going to pay a monthly fee for each one. Wish they had a multi-store discount or something along that line.
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  • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Hyphen View Post

    My mom currently runs a really good business online selling tanning lotion and I was just looking at some analytics for her site today and realized, as someone with a lot of experience in affiliate-based marketing and search engine optimization, that she could be doing a lot better.

    Her site has been up since 2008. I noticed the Alexa on her site is nearly 1.3 million, which seems to be really bad when you consider the length her site has been around. Her PageRank is 2, which isn't terrible. I decided to run through Google to see where she ranks for these keywords:
    • buy tanning lotion
    • buy tanning lotion online
    • buy indoor tanning lotion
    • indoor tanning lotion
    • tanning lotions
    • cheap tanning lotion
    • discount tanning lotion
    • best tanning lotion
    The only keyword she ranks on the first page for is "buy tanning lotion online", which is probably the worst of that bunch. Basically, I want to either do some basic SEO myself or convince her to invest some money each month and go with a professional SEO team who can help her rank better.

    How is she "running a really good business online selling tanning lotion" if she's not ranking for anything? Just wondering where she's getting her customers. Also, what is "really good"?
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  • Profile picture of the author Palusko
    If you already have the site and need just a shopping cart, I'd recommend FoxyCart. If you want a complete e-commerce system, I'd go with Magento.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dave Lianelli
    Hyphen,

    check the 2nd link in my signature. That file contains a whole bunch of shoppingcarts for your comparison. You can get it without an opt-in if you like, since you're a WAR Room member!

    -Dave
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  • Profile picture of the author Benhur
    Im building now an e-store and I will use Shopper Press. Thanks for the input on this thread.
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    • Profile picture of the author plainwords
      If you can afford it, Interspire shopping cart or their hosted version, Big Commerce, is the way to go. They are both very user friendly from the customer's viewpoint when purchasing and checking out, they are SEO friendly, relatively easy to customize (and have some pretty good templates to start from). They also have great statistics in the back end showing orders, conversion rate etc.

      I normally use Big Commerce unless I need to access the source code and mysql database, in which case you need to buy the Interspire shopping cart licence ($295 for the basic version with up to 100 products). Big Commerce starts from $24.95 a month.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark20
    I too recommend sticking with Zen Cart once you set up the SEO Friendly links, add your google analytics code in the appropriate section. Ensure you update the meta tags in detail ensure your titles have the correct keywords etc.

    I created my wife's site using zen cart and I am very impressed with the results lkweddingaccessories.co.uk
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  • For the top of the line ecommerce shopping cart, i suggest magento it's top of the line, feature rich platform and best is they have a very big community so help is everywhere.
    And also magento takes care of the SEO part of the site it has features like Google Site Map, Meta information, auto generated site map, reviews, etc.
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