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Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies®, 3rd Edition by Joel Elad, Shannon Belew

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Shopping Around for the Best Hosted Solution

Naturally, marketing features and administrative tools aren't the only features that can sway your decision in selecting a cart. You can make your decision based on how the cart is delivered to you (or set up for use). For instance, one easy alternative is to use a hosted solution. The shopping cart is then stored on someone else's server and you pay to have access to it.

Hosted shopping carts have four specific advantages:

  • Cost: A hosted solution is a more affordable option, especially for a first e-commerce endeavor. For a small monthly fee (sometimes for less than ten bucks), you gain access to an extensive set of shopping cart features.
  • Simplicity: Because most shopping carts easily integrate into existing Web sites, theoretically they should be easy to get up and running.
  • Support: You get access to customer and technical support. And, because it's a hosted solution, the support hours are usually around-the-clock. When your learning curve is still steep, it's nice to know that you have a place to turn for help, at any time of the night or day!
  • Flexibility: Try it and see whether you like it. When you use a hosted solution, you don't have to make a long-term commitment. If you're on a monthly plan, you can terminate the agreement fairly easily. As long as the shopping cart has a good exporting feature, you can move your products to another solution if your current one isn't working.

Some terrific hosted shopping carts are available, ...

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