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Introduction to Shopping Carts - Shopping Cart - Page 2

Article Index

  • Does it have broadcast e-mail capability?  Good shopping cart systems are able to manipulate your customer database instantly and send e-mails to any segment or sub-segment of your clients and handle unlimited e-mail magazines.  Again, in the old days I would have to be genius enough to pick out segments of the database, export them to a file, import them into a mail program and then an hour later send the darn e-mail.  Now this is all done in a few seconds.

  • Does it have mail merge capability?  The e-mails sent are personalized to the recipients in any number of ways.  Their names can be popped in to the subject line and in various portions of the body of the e-mail.  You can merge "what they bought," "when they bought," "where they live" or just about anything that will make them feel the e-mail was just for them.  Virtually all studies show that mail merge gets a much higher response than plain broadcast e-mail.

  • Can it handle coupons and other discounts?  You can make a deal with Joe Blow that everyone coming from his Web site gets an automatic discount -- either a percentage or dollar amount.  This makes Joe look great to his visitors and makes more sales for you.  Here's a secret: Joe is your affiliate and makes money on the sale too, so he's got a great incentive to keep your discounts and coupons in front of his visitors.  Good shopping cart systems can automate all of this and also handle any quantity discounts you offer.

  • Can it work for multiple Web sites with no extra fees?  When I first started I had to get a separate (and expensive) license for each site and a separate merchant account too.  Not only was this a great deal of expense, the hassle with installation every time you wanted a new site to go up was enormous.  Modern carts can sell bras on one site and bibles on another, and no one knows the difference.  The carts run on their own servers so there is no expensive installation and set-up is immediate.

  • Does it have unlimited and fully integrated "sequential" auto-responders?  This is one of the most powerful features when it comes to Internet marketing.  This feature follows up automatically over and over again to your clients and prospects to provide them customer care and to sell them more products and services.  You can even provide free or paid e-mail courses, and each part of the course is delivered automatically.

  • Does it have ad tracking tied into actual sales?  Simple ad tracking can be had all over the 'Net, but it is pretty much worthless unless it is tied to actual sales.  This is called the "conversion ratio."  Your cart system should be able to tell you how many people clicked on a particular promotion and how many people bought.  This is the only way you can determine if an ad paid off.  Good carts will also automatically split test one of your sales pages against another and tell you which page sells more.  You keep the page that sells more and get rid of the page that sells less.

  • Does it have a pop-up box builder?  Even though many people hate popup boxes, they work.  I use them judiciously to make all kinds of offers, and I have the sales figures to prove they get more money out of the same number of people.  If you know how to use them properly, no one gets upset.

  • Does it have a printable off-line order form?  Believe it or not, many people are still afraid to put their credit card numbers into a Web site.  I still get lots of fax orders and phone orders.  If you want to maximize your sales, your cart must take these kinds of orders easily.

  • Does it provide free training?  You'll need training in both the basic set up of using your shopping cart and determining your online sales strategy, so that you maximize the amount of money spent by each customer.

  •  You may not understand what all the above questions mean right now, but I can assure you they are important in putting more money into your bank account.


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