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Which Shopping Cart or E-commerce System
Have I Found to Be
Above All Others?

Welcome to my personal note about the e-commerce system I have found to stand out from every other system I have seen.

I started selling my first product online in August 2002. In just 18 months I was thrilled and proud to have over $144,000 a year rolling in. And my mailing list of 8,000 was up to 25,000. How great is the internet?

But when I started, I found it really confusing to pick an e-commerce system. In fact, I didn't even know I was looking for an ecommerce system! I just wanted a shopping cart - without realising how the entire package fits together.

I'm a self-taught nerd when it comes to the web and programming, so I really investigated this stuff when I got started. And seriously - in the end it was such an easy decision; once you really understand all the features, the company I went with does seem to stand head and shoulders above the rest. (At least if you want to sell more than say $1,000 a month).

Why am I writing this?

I woke up one morning, and said to myself: "David, you promote several third party products on the web. But out of all the products you promote and use, is there one you really believe in?"

And funnily enough, the answer is my e-commerce system. It's the one thing I just couldn't do with out, and the one thing I'm still in awe of. It's rare to see a product so far ahead of it's time.

So I decided to write this personal note to share my experience of the one thing I'm using online that just doesn't seem to have any peer. (Boy, I'm sounding like a Mac user now, aren't I? But I'm PC through and through!)

Free Download....Want to See the Inner Workings?

It's one thing to hear about this whole system. But what's it like to drive it?

I've created a special video showing you the inner workings of my entire ecommerce system. You'll see the individual control panels, along with my explanation of what each screen is for. (In fact I'm using the System to send this to you, so you'll get a feel for how the customised forms work.) At the moment I'm happy to give it away.

Important: We have a zero tolerance spam policy; your email address will never be rented or sold to a 3rd party.

Yes. Please share with me your video download showing me the inner workings of your ecommerce system, so I can understand how it all fits together

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OK - once you've submitted the form, let's continue....

Of course, if you're busy or just really keen to get started, I realise you may want to jump straight to the name of the company, and take advantage of their 30 day trial.

The Shopping Cart Itself

Frankly, I don't care too much about the actual cart. To me they are all very similar - what really makes a difference are the database and marketing features which I'll discuss below.

Still, I was really happy to find this cart has advanced features like:

a) 'Creating Offers' by bundling products together

b) Creating Timed and Limited Number discounts

(More? You can see how the cart works for one of my 'bundled' offers here.)

Merchant Facility

Boy did I get headaches when I was first researching this. The short version is you can use any merchant you want with the Professional Cart Solutions system. But I suggest you try out their sister company Practice Pay Solutions if you are in North America. They are just about the cheapest rates I've found, and they use Authorize.net; without getting too technical, it means you can do cool things like accept echecks, and handle recurring billing.

If you're outside North America you'll need to shop around, as PPS won't offer you the same rates. (I know!). But once you choose your merchant account (and online gateway), then you come back

Sound a little complicated? Well, for example I use WorldPay as my merchant account plus online gateway, and Professional Cart Solutions for the rest of my e-commerce system (which I'll discuss below). I could perhaps use the National Australia Bank as my merchant account, www.eway.com.au as my online gateway, and then Professional Cart Solutions for the rest of your e-commerce system. But in North Amercia just use Practice Pay Solutions as your merchant account, which means Authorize.net as your online gateway, and then Professional Cart Solutions for the rest of your e-commerce system.

Autoresponders

If you don't already know, you'll soon learn that online marketing means automated. The biggest bonus of being online is you can follow up repeatedly with your customers, over say a year, while you are asleep!

Let's start with one-off emails. They fill in your form, and an autoresponder (AR) sends them an information pack. Or the first issue of your newsletter. They buy a product and the AR sends download instructions.

But why stop at one email? If you sign up using the form above to access my screen shots, I'll use an AR to send your access instructions for the pictures. I'll then follow up in a few days to see if there are any other questions I can help with. If I could think of something else useful - I might send that a couple of weeks down the track with my compliments (all with unsubscribe links at the bottom of course).

Just imagine following up with 1000 customers, in an automated, targeted fashion for the next 12 months. That could be 12,000 emails arriving at just the right time, without you even thinking about it!

Professional Cart Solutions allows you to set up unlimited autoresponders. Further, you can say 'When they subscribe to the AR for purchasing Product A, then UNSUBSCRIBE them from the AR that encourages them to purchase Product A'. Very powerful.

Custom Forms

This is critical. Professional Cart Solutions allows you to create your own forms which talk to it's database. Not a programmer? Then your web designer can do it for you. You get to decide what fields appear on the form, what AR's to subscribe them to (5 separate ones if it's appropriate and in context - e.g. see www.solutionbox.com/freedownload.htm where they can select several different options) and how it looks.

I've created about 10 custom forms to take in the data I need from a prospect or customer, and then send it all over to Professional Cart Solutions. Example? Just see the form above for a quick example. You MUST have this feature in an e-commerce system.

Mailing Lists/Ezines/Broadcasting

The main plus with this system, is you can use merge fields. So instead of 'Dear friend, we have a special for all countries', you can write:

"Dear <$firstname$>,

Because you are in <$country$> we can offer....

We have your work number listed as <$workphone$>, is this correct?"

Starting to get the idea? It's a very powerful broadcasting system.

Another plus is a coded 'remove link' at the bottom of each email, so YOU don't have to do it. Never again will you have someone ask to unsubscribe, but not be able to work out which email address you sent it to.

Ad Tracking

I didn't even know about this when I signed up - it was a complete surprise and a big bonus. Say you have a Google ad that costs 40 cents per click that reads "Your Next Career", and another ad that costs 80 cents per click and reads "Executive Career Coaching".

Which ad is making you money? Both? Neither? Which is best?

There's practically no way to know unless you have ad tracking, which Professional Cart Solutions does. It tells you how many people clicked on each ad, how many signed up for your newsletter, how many purchased, and the VALUE PER CLICK! (Records all dollars sold for each ad, divides by number of clicks - in other words it's how many dollars you're bringing in for every click on that ad). So if Value Per Click for each of the ads above was 60 cents, you'd only keep the first one which only costs you 40 cents and gives you a profit of 20 cents for every click.

This is the only way to manage advertising; I'm constantly ditching ads and enhancing ads based on the hard numbers which show which are making a profit.

Ad Split Testing

Wow! I hadn't even though of this one, and initially thought it was just fluff.

But consider this - you have three possible headlines for a sales page - A, B and C. How do you know which to use?

Professional Cart Solutions allows you to enter all three in your control panel and will give you a specific URL to direct people to (instead of your sales page). It will then rotate your three sales pages (i.e. every third visitor will see Headline A), and record the sales results.

After three weeks you take a look, and keep the best performing headline. I haven't stopped using this feature since it was released.

Database

I used to use Outlook and record all my subscriptions and unsubscriptions by hand. Let's face it, if you want to sell products online, or even handle large newsletter subscriptions, you need to have an online, real time database. Sales are linked to it. Your autoresponders are linked to it. Your subscriptions are entered into it. Your affiliates are linked to it. And you broadcast from it.

Professional Cart Solutions has all the standard data fields, plus 10 you can customise to suit yourself.

Affiliates

When the times comes to have other people sell your products, you'll need an affiliate program. More importantly, you'll need an affiliate program which is integrated with your database. And you need one integrated with your shopping cart so the affiliate module knows when a purchase is made. (A completely separate one would be a headache).

Professional Cart Solutions is not the best affiliate module on the market, and I've had to customise a few things to get it really fancy (you're welcome to view the advanced customisation I've added on top of the PCS module. You get get a login here). But, I still use it because it's integrated seamlessly with all the other features, and that's the main thing.

Free Training

The run some free teleclasses which will be useful for the person new to internet marketing, and also trains you up quickly on how to use the shopping cart and all the modules.

Support

The support is very good. You can either call and get phone support, or they are pretty good responding via email as well. Plus - they're always releasing new features so you know this cart will keep up to date.

Price

To be honest, initially I didn't spend a lot of time comparing prices. When I found out there was a 30 day trial period, I jumped straight in. When I realised the other carts/systems didn't come close, I didn't even check what others were charging. It just seemed like a no-brainer.

However, it looks very reasonable. It's nothing for 30 days, and then $19 per month for the basic features (or $199 if you sign up for a year. I figure you may as well go for the long term option, as they will refund you if you decide to pull out later).

It took about 12 months before I upgraded my database from 10,000 to 50,000 members because I was growing so fast, which doubles the fee. (I'm quite happy with this ratio). And soon after that I upgraded again to include all the advanced features like unlimited autoresponders,the affiliate module, and ebook password delivery. (If you would like to experience their affiliate module from the affiliate side, you can sign up for my coaching affiliate program.)

Summary

I'm so into this stuff I've even looked at developing my own system from scratch. I'm always dreaming up advanced features faster than they can create them. However, when I found out it could take years, $100,000 and my sanity to even come close to this shopping cart, I realised how lucky we are to be marketers at this point in time. Five years ago we couldn't do 20% of what we can do now, and for less than $1000 a year! This shopping cart really does a good job.

How do I check them out?

I suggest starting with the free 30 day trial. At the end of 30 days you'll have learned a lot about e-commerce and can decide if you want the basic or advanced package.

Questions?

I know how confusing this area can be....I've been through it! So I'm happy to be available for questions about this system (within reason of course<smile>). And if you do sign up, please keep in touch, because we may be able to help each other with the more advanced shopping cart tips and tricks. (I'm doing some things the developers probably aren't even aware of).

You can reach me at .

And if you feel this information was helpful, and you're willing, I'd appreciate you using my affiliate link to sign up. It doesn't cost you any extra, and it gives me a little additional income:

David's Affiliate Link to Shopping Cart Web Site

 

Best of luck in your online journey!

 

David Wood
Professional Certified Coach
CEO SolutionBox.com

 

P.S. Here is the link for the free 30 day trial.

 

 



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