5 Feature-packed Shopping Carts

This is a guest post by James Adams. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

The shopping cart which you choose needs to have plenty of features. It needs to be scalable to your needs, offering many categories and products. Shopping cart software is great for providing your customers with a full virtual storefront. Here are five great shopping cart solutions.

buy sell online: Shopping Cart

1. BigCommerce
BigCommerce is feature packed, stuffed with everything from premium hosting to single-click reordering. This is one of the most fully customizable shopping cart applications on the market today. This program fully supports electronic goods for direct downloads, 12 shopping methods, more than 50 payment methods, affiliate programs, and more. You can truly automate your store with email notifications when your stock is running low, a newsletter, and a complete return system. The plans are fully scalable to the size of your business.

Pricing: $49.95 setup, plans starting at $24.95 per month for 100 products

2. Volusion
Volusion prides itself on the security features that it offers to customers. It offers 128-bit SSL security, complete disaster planning, and proactive protection against hackers. Volusion can be integrated with QuickBooks and Endicia. This software fully embraces affiliate programs with a 5 tier affiliate system, discounts and coupons. You can build a socially networked store with the Social Store Builder, so you can sell your products directly to customers on MySpace and Facebook. Everything within Volusion is customizable, including the product descriptions, keywords, and website.

Pricing: $49 setup, plans starting at $29 per month for 100 products

3. Fortune3
Fortune3 makes establishing a full store simple. You do not need to have a volume of HTML knowledge under your belt to capitalize on the features of this application. You can sell downloadable products, establish custom pricing and bulk discounts. Checkout and style templates are available. Modify your cart button styles and store design with the touch of a button. Fortune3 supports multiple sales tax options, shipping costs, and shipping calculation. There is automated SEO and an automated affiliate program. If you have any problems, this shopping cart offers unlimited email and telephone support as well as live chat.

Pricing: $39.95 setup, plans starting at $29.95 per month for 30 products, transaction fees starting at .95%

4. Shopify
Set up your shopping cart quickly and easily with Shopify. You can track your inventory, receive email notifications, and receive fully integrated fulfillment through Amazon. Shopify is a simple fully featured shopping cart program. Your administration screens are managed through a single panel and the interface is streamlined for easier use. Tailor discount programs and coupon codes to your specifications. The software is PCI compliant and built on constantly improving open-source software. Shopify does not handle money or ship your packages, but it does integrate with services that can perform those functions.

Pricing: Plans start at $24 per month for 100 products. Transaction fees starting at 2%

5. SunShop
With SunShop, you receive a full service shopping cart without the monthly fee. Set up your store in very little time using their installation wizard. SunShop offers a fully customizable storefront, newsletter support, email templates and website templates. There are unlimited categories and support for multiple product images and options. You can establish on-site promotions, upselling, affiliate programs and referral programs. With SunShop, you can checkout without having an account and receive live order tracking for all of your purchases. The software is fully compliant with all standard security protocols.

Pricing: $249.99 purchases a single license and 60 days of support

If you wish to establish an online store, it is essential to have shopping cart software which can suit your needs. The program you choose needs to grow with your business.

James Adams works at Cartridge Save, a top ink supplies specialist based in the UK.

Amemeber: All In One Solution For All Your Online Selling

I have seen many plugins that cost from a range of $95 to $800 that are used for creating membership sites, or some sort of sites that allow accepting payments.

Every other software script is built to solve any one particular problem. That is good, if someone has only one problem to solve and has a lot of money to spend!

But what if you want to create a membership site and also sell your ebook on the same site. And you have multiple income streems and you don’t want to depend on a third party website service to accept payment for you and then send it to your paypal a/c.


Amember is the solution. It doesn’t cost you a whole lot,.. its a great script which costs ( $199.95 ) $179.95 – for single domain license. You will also get a license key for installing this script on your local machine(local host — wamp, mamp, xamp ).

There are various plugin’s which support integration of amember with WordPress, vBulletine, phpList etc. Below is a complete list.

aMember Pro ($179.95 for lifetime license with 6 months of free updates)
WordPress plugin (Free lifetime subscription)
“One-Time download” plugin ($30.00 for 6 months)
4Images plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
@Mail integration ($60.00 for 6 months)
CopperMine plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
Dokeos plugin ($40.00 for lifetime subscription)
DruPal plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
Expression Engine plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
FusionBB ($40.00 for lifetime subscription)
I-Rater plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
Incremental content plugin ($60.00 for lifetime subscription)
Invision Board Plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
Joomla plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
ListMail plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
MamboServer plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
OpenRealty plugin ($70.00 for 6 months)
OsCommerce ($40.00 for lifetime subscription)
PerlDesk plugin ($20.00 for lifetime subscription)
Phorum plugin ($40.00 for lifetime subscription)
PhotoPost integration ($40.00 for 6 months)
SMF plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
Serendipity plugin ($40.00 for lifetime subscription)
Vanilla Integration ($40.00 for lifetime subscription)
WowBB plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
XOOPS plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
e107 CMS plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
phpBB3 plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
phpFox plugin ($40.00 for lifetime subscription)
phpList Integration ($40.00 for lifetime subscription)
phpNuke Plugin ($40.00 for 6 months) details
phpWebSite plugin ($40.00 for lifetime subscription)
punBB plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
vBulletin3 plugin ($40.00 for 6 months)
Facebook integration gate (new)

Some of these plugin’s cost $30 or $40 and the license in for lifetime. But WordPress integration plugin is free and its licensing is also for lifetime.

If you ever decide to sell something online make sure you check out amember, you will surly love it and save a lot of money in the long run of your business. See it as a good investment.

I wanted to explained how to install the script, but I advice you not to try this yourself. If you run into problem it will be difficult to analyse the root cause for the problem and solving it may take a lot of your valuable time. The good news is, you need not spend in hiring a professional to install it for you. In fact, once you purchase amember software you will get a one time free installation service.

Some of the things to know:
1. Security: Amember is a secure software for accepting money online. But I still recommend not to use this to accept credit card payments if you are on a shared hosting. If you are serious about your business then go for a dedicated server.
2. Troubleshooting: When you run into trouble with your script, contact amember support team directly. I had a minor issuse with my php.ini and Alex from amember sorted out the problem very quickly. And with all those email exchanges I had with the staff, I feel that their support staff is technically very strong.

Amember For Membership Sites:
Recently I setup a membership site for one of my clients and used amember and wordpress alone to create a very good, simple to navigate and maintain membership site.

You can run membership sites with recurring payments and also sites where you have multiple levels of memberships like: Silver, Gold, Platinum membership etc.

Basically I had installed WordPress two times. One in the root and the other in a directory called members. The root WordPress is like anyother WordPress powered blog. Its intended to be a public blog. Another WordPress installation was protected using amember and the access was allowed only to registered members. Its so simple and easy with amember.

Affiliate System To Boost Your Sales/Bussiness:
Amember also has a built-in affiliate system, which doesn’t seem to be as powerful as the dedicated affiliate system software out there. But it does its main job properly, that is, tracking the incoming affiliate traffic, setting the cookie and assigning the commission. What I would love to see is a graphical stats(pie chart, bar chart in the stats for visual representation) and some option to convert any link on the website into a affiliate code.
For example, people should be allowed to link to news letter page instead of sales letter page using their affiliate code. There are manual ways to do that of course, but a automated tool would help.
What I like the most about amember affiliate system is, we can assign affiliate code automatically to everyone who is signed up as a member(we can enable or disable this option easily in the admin area).

On the administrator side of affiliate system, it does a lot of great job. It has option to set first month affiliate payment percentage and percentage for rest of the month etc – we can even set subsequent months payment to null. This model is very helpful where members pay monthly fees and affiliate get commission for each of the payment their referrals make in the subsequent months.

Members area of amember:
In members area, members will have the option to manage their news letter subscription, there is a news letter archieve page, and affiliate statistics(that is the number of clicks, conversion etc).

With all these nice experience with amember, at one place I was stuck-up and felt like a stupid myself! That is, when I forgot my admin panel password and there was no way to recover it 🙁
I think amember purposefully have not included a option for password recovery for admin panel(other members who have signed up for your service have option for password recovery. Its only in the login page of admin panel that doesn’t have a password recovery option.)

That’s just a lesson for rest of you, don’t forget your admin panel password – you will be in trouble!

Things I like about amember:
1. Costs less.
2. It has a super easy DB backup system.
3. Integrates with a lot of open source scripts.
4. Has a lot of payment options. Including the popular PayPal.
5. Sophisticated mailing system(You can integrate it with aweber using plugin. But it works just fine even without aweber.)
6. Simple affiliate system.
7. Free installation(very important!)
8. Report import/export option.
9. DB repair option.
10. Recurring billing.
11. Good Support.
12. Active forum.
13. Good Documentation about all the features and options.
14. Members area user interface is very simple, easy to understand and get use to.
15. 30 days free trial.(very important)

What I don’t like and want to be improved:
1. Not so pleasing user interface in admin side.
2. Would like to have visual representation of stats in affiliate system.

Server Requirement:
PHP 4.3.0 or later
MySQL 3.22 or later
Unix/Linux hosting

Before you purchase any membership software or any other software for selling your products, go ahead and download the free trial of amember and try it. Remember, you get a 30 days free trial of amember.

Update: Alex informed me that, there is a nice tool to recover admin password. Here is the link aMember CP login/password.
It can be reset using this tool: FixAdmin