Today everyone is selling something on line. But there are so many choices out there that it leaves one wondering what the best method is for me?

Today we are going to be covering many of the common carts and the pluses and minuses of each.

WooCommerce– This is a free shopping cart and has been relied on for years. The issue is if you want to accept payments from someone other than PayPal, you will need to buy add on packages. Most of the common ones will cost $49 upward to $199 each. As you can see, these extensions can add up quickly. Also there is a NEW policy by PayPal that if you are a NEW PayPal customer, you will have to have all of your WooCommerce purchases confirmed by the customer before payment will be processed.  As you can imagine this could be a headache for you, and the client.

Ithemes Exchange– This is a great little plugin that is similar to WooCommerce. The plug in is free however, like WooCommerce, the add-on pack is an additional $197.00 per year. This does give you over 20 add-ons including

  • Membership Add On
  • Shipping Charts
  • Canadian Tax and US Tax Charts
  • Hook ups to your Autoresponder
  • Product Variations
  • And lots more.

This plug in is very easy to install and configure and is recommended as a great starter cart.  It also does not have the PayPal restriction as WooCommerce has.

Ecwid Shopping Cart– This cart had both a free plan with 0% transaction fees as well as paid plans up to $69 a month. Their plans are based on the number of products. You would take payments via Paypal or it supports over 40 other payment providers. It also includes a complete shipping chart so that you can ship via multiple carries.

1Shopping Cart- This is a great cart with some great features. It includes a autoresponder and a basic CRM feature in the monthly fee.  They also have no limits on the number of contacts.  They allow you to hook up your favorite merchant account to the cart. If you do not have one, you can sign up through them and get a small discount. They also will lover the percentage that they take on the sale.  In many cases this is lower than the fee PayPal takes.  The starter package runs $34 per month and the ultimate package will cost you $249 per month.  Note the starter package DOES NOT include Affiliate management, but for $34 a month, this could be a cheaper option than paying for an autoresponder program and the additional PayPal fees.

Ontraport– This cart is a nice alternative to Infusionsoft. The cost of this cart starts at $79 a month and limits your contacts to 1000. The next package will cost you $279 a month and allows you to have 25,000.  This price also include the ability to add memberships and affiliate management. Like 1shopping cart, is also includes an advanced CRM and autoresponder programs.  There is also a “If-Then” feature that will help you expand and build your sales funnels via your shopping cart.

Infusionsoft This is considered one of the best carts out there. It can be expensive and is recommend for the coach who is making at least $75K or more. The prices start at $199 a month and can cost up to $599 a month for the complete system. It is also based on the number of contacts. The starter package only allows up to 2500 contacts. For coaches that have a large email base, they would have to buy the complete package that allows 10,000 contacts. This cart allows for a full build out of sales funnels, a complete CRM and a complete Sales mismanagement feature. It is important to note here that most coaches that choose this will also have to find a VA or an Infusionsoft certified professional to manage the program and build your funnels. Support is there to help but at times this could be limited and wait times could be a little long, however if you are earning the money and making the sales, this is a great option for the higher end coach.

It is also important to note that there are other ways to accept money. Today Mailchimp, Aweber and Active Campaign allow you the option now to add PayPal buttons to their emails and allow you to accept payment via this system. Also naturally, you can use the PayPal button codes as well to accept payments. In fact, ActiveCampaign also allows you to build funnels and many of the common features of Infusionsoft for a starting price of $9 per month up to $300 a month.  Again, this is based on the number of contacts that you have on your list.

There are also other free carts such as ZenCart, OpenCart and many others that you can also choose to use. Most of these also are hooked to using the PayPal or Stripe payments.

The key to find the right cart for you is to determine what do you really need from your shopping cart. Do you want a CRM? Multiple Shipping Platforms? Affiliate Management? Sales Funnels? Multiple Payment Methods? Autoresponders? Once you know what you really want, the next step is to compare pricing and also ask for a free trial and take the time to really test them to make sure they meet your needs.

If you are needing more assistance in picking or setting up your shopping cart, we are here to help. Click here to set up your free consultation call today.

 

Every business demands growth, and double-digit growth is the dream of every dedicated business owner, even when lackluster results show up at quarter’s end.

Most entrepreneurial business owners need a guide to navigate their way toward substantial, sustainable growth.  It can be done even in a slow economy as demonstrated by such companies as Harley Davidson, Starbucks, and WalMart.  Even smaller companies such as Paychex and Oshkosh Truck have been able to make gains in revenue, gross profits and net profits.

Here are 5 disciplines of sustained growth:

  •  Retain Your Customer Base:  Keep the growth that you have already earned by coaxing customers into complex relationships that make it a hassle for them to switch to your competitor.  Tailor your products/services using data gleaned from your customers giving you an advantage.  Proactively managing customer defections will help you anticipate and pre-empt them. Bonding with customers wherever emotion is tied to an interaction is another great way to retain them.
  •  Gain Market Share at the Expense of Your Rivals: Give customers a reason to abandon a competitor’s product/service for yours.  Do what it takes to lower the switching costs.  Pulling customers away from a competitor can be difficult, so you must devote many resources to raiding their customer base.  Offering higher value and quality are crucial to this end.  Buying a competitor is another way to do this.
  • Exploit Market Position:  Show up where growth is going to happen by spotting it early.  This can be done by watching the industry for shifts in buying criteria, product or service innovations, and population trends.  You must be able to spot positioning opportunities to make the most of them by continually using a systematic approach to the process.
  • Invade Adjacent Markets: Before moving into a nearby market, decide whether it offers significant long-term growth and profitability.  Determine whether you have an advantage over a competitor, and ensure you can match its standards of quality and value.
  • Invest In New Lines of Business:  If you take this approach, never overpay for a new line.  You must find simple strategies instead of complex ones, and partner with the new business by assessing its leadership team and balance sheet

Although a successful growth portfolio might not include all five of these disciplines, it must contain more than one.  Only a balanced growth portfolio can keep an organization growing when the market shifts dramatically.

 

In closing I wish a happy and safe Memorial Day to all my entrepreneurial buddies and readers. Drive carefully!

 

Starting a business and becoming successful is often part of the American Dream. But there is a difference between starting a business and building a successful business. Many businesses fail within the first few years of existence due to the lack of planning for the long-term. There is not enough vision and there is not enough done to strengthen the business properly from the ground up.

If you want to start a business there is an easy way to get a better understanding of why some businesses fail and others don’t. When starting a business think about it similar to building a house. If done right it is protecting you against any kind of storm or danger of the outside world and will last for a long time. It offers shelter and protection. For you and your business that could be translated to that you want to have a business that is able to weather economical ups and downs (=storm) and that will provide income to pay the bills (shelter and protection).

When building a house there are several different steps you need to follow to have the house build. You know you want a house, but you got to pick a location and get an architect to plan everything out. In the business world that would be: you know you want to start a business, but you have to come up with a business idea and work out a business plan. The next thing for the house would be to build the foundation (and eventually the basement) for the house. In the business world – you got to build the initial infrastructure (example: connecting with vendors, find a manufacturer for your product, create a sales team, rent office space, get a delivery truck, etc.). Once that is in place you able to actually do business and earn some money. But you are not completely done yet. You need to build a frame, put in windows and you also need a roof on house. For your business this means that you pay off debt, improve business processes and get professional help when needed (example: find a tax accountant, select a payroll service, etc.).

Once the house is build you probably want to fill it with furniture and make it livable for the future. Nobody wants to sleep on the floor, right. Again translating this to the business world it could mean that you invest money you earned back into your business. You buy machinery instead of leasing it. Eventually you buy a building, hire more staff, develop more products, move into new markets, build up a high cash reserve, and buy other businesses and so forth. This is often the step where winners and losers separate. Re-investing money into the business is a key factor for success. If you go and spend all the money on your own salary to buy things you have nothing to go back to when the economy slips into a recession or if disaster strikes.

The successful business owner has build up a cash reserve or can borrow money from bank – securing loans with the assets of the business. Going back to building a house this pretty much matches the same efforts. You pay off your mortgage and have equity available to eventually borrow against when emergency arises. Emergencies do not include paying off credit cards to use them again or to buy a car. Financially responsible you should be looking at the long term and not finance short-term goods with long-term debt.

 

Convincing your prospects to purchase from you is a hard job, but have you ever thought that you’re making the process twice as difficult for both parties if your prospects are convinced but don’t know how to buy from you? No matter how good you are at convincing your prospects, they won’t buy if they find the process cumbersome.

First, you will want to check that people can find your order form easily and hassle-free. You can write a clear, concise paragraph to direct your prospects to your order form so that you can minimize the chances of them getting lost. You can also reduce the chances of losing prospects by putting a prominent link to your order page from every other page on your site.

Also, do you offer multiple payment options? Some people may feel comfortable paying via Paypal, some may only want to pay with their credit card and others might want to send a cheque. The more options you offer, the better your chances of covering your prospects’ desired payment method. After all, it wouldn’t make any sense to sell hard to a prospect only to find that they won’t be able to pay you when they want to.

On the other hand, you will want to prove that you are a credible merchant. Is your order form secured using encryption technology? You would want to look into SSL for this. You can also offer a money back guarantee so that people will feel confident about buying from you. How about after sales support? Who do they contact when they have problems after purchasing.

Alternatively, you can add customer testimonials, your contact information, address, and so on to boost your prospects’ confidence. Make them feel safe about buying something from you, a total stranger to them on the other end of the Internet.

As a conclusion, it would be very pitiful if you sold hard and sold well to a prospect and something goes wrong when he or she is ready to pay. Eliminate any chances of that to maximize your profits!

Anyone who has been marketing online knows that the lifeblood of a business is the traffic of a site. More visitors equal more sales. However, here are some ways that you can tweak your sites with to improve sales without the need to get more visitors.

The first method is to weave in your personal touch in your sales message. Nobody wants to be sold to by a total stranger, but many people will buy what their close friends recommend to them. If you can convince your audience that you are a personal friend who has their best interest at heart, they will be convinced to buy your products. Remember to speak to an individual in your salesletter, not to your whole audience.

The second method is to publish testimonials and comments from your customers. A good idea would be to publish both good and bad comments; that way prospects will be really convinced that these testimonials are real. When prospects see testimonials on your website, they will have the confidence to buy from you because human beings follow the herd mentality; when others have bought and proven it authentic, they will jump on the bandwagon and buy too.

Use visual representations for the problems and solutions that your product offers. Not everyone will read your text copy from the head to the tail, but most people will pay attention to images on your website.

Offer quality bonuses to accompany the product. When you offer bonuses that complement your product, your prospects will feel it’s a very good deal and it would be stupid to miss it. Be sure to state the monetary value of your bonuses so that people will be even more compelled to grab your good bargain.

Lastly, ask for the sale! Many people entice their prospects with the benefits of their product, sell to them with stories of how it has solved many problems, even offered killer bonuses but forget to ask for the sale. Give a clear instruction on how to buy your product (e.g. “click the button to buy now!”).