How to Add a Shopping Cart to Your Site

How to Add a Shopping Cart to Your Site

You might think shopping carts are just for retail, but they don’t have to be. If you want to have a way for clients to pay online, a shopping cart is one of many options.

A traditional online shopping cart app provides its users with ways to add products. Each product then has a pay link. This pay link is what you put on your website. Think of your pay link as an “Add to Cart” button. On your website, you would have a normal service page describing the class. At the bottom of the page, you’d add the pay link to let them pay online for the class.

For example, let’s say you’re holding a QuickBooks class and you want people to sign up online. In your shopping cart, you’d set up your class as a product. The corresponding product link will go on your Class page.

The QuickBooks class is technically a service, not a product, but the cart doesn’t care. If you sell anything at the same price over and over again, a shopping cart can be helpful.

In order to benefit from a shopping cart, you need 3 pieces of a puzzle:

  • A merchant account that allows online purchases, which you usually pay for by transaction fees and a fixed monthly fee.
  • The shopping cart. There is usually a monthly software fee for this and I also pay recurring order fees per transaction.
  • A gateway that is compatible with both your cart and your merchant account. You don’t pay for this part and you don’t actively select this; it’s done for you via your merchant account and your cart.

The shopping cart must be connected to your gateway (Authorize.Net is the most popular one) so that the sales flow through the gateway, then through to your merchant account and then to your bank account.

If you want your cart to flow transactions into QuickBooks, look in the QuickBooks apps store for options. My cart doesn’t interface directly with my accounting system, but I do use Zapier to connect them to save me time. The carts in the QuickBooks apps store can be either way overkill (high-volume inventory-focused) or way underkill (Shopify, which doesn’t do much of anything), so be careful when you select them.

Most of you need a cart that can do recurring transactions. For example, if you charge the same for bookkeeping each month, you can set your clients up on a recurring monthly charge so long as the cart provides that functionality. Some of you already do this by ACH and avoid the credit card fees which is even better.

Download our free guide here to learn eight essential components of lead-generating websites

You can take a look at our sites as examples. Everything we offer except private coaching is automated using product links on our sites or in our emails. Many carts have a storefront you can use too (we don’t like or use ours yet; we haven’t gotten it to look the way we want to yet).

One more thing to mention is PayPal. It’s easy to add Pay Pal links to your site to collect money, and you don’t need a merchant account, shopping cart, or gateway if you use PayPal. Your clients can pay via PayPal or a credit card. PayPal is good way to start collecting money on your site; it keeps your overhead down while you build up online collections. I’ll cover that in a future article.

We’ve used 1ShoppingCart in the past which doesn’t play well with QuickBooks, and we currently use InfusionSoft. We do NOT recommend either of these for accountants unless you plan to sell a very high volume of products and recurring subscription items. Even so, Infusionsoft is very expensive with a huge learning curve that I am not sure has been worth it.

We get asked about shopping carts all the time. I hope that helps clear up the mystery of shopping carts and how they interface with your website. The cart is simply another link on your website that goes to another app, just like your portals and your social media links.

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