One of my tech buddies over @ North Point Ministries is doing some research for some alternative eCommerce solutions for some of our properties. I threw him a recommendation and then thought I’d do some personal research, because I haven’t dev’d an eCommerce site in a while (although that won’t stay that way for too long).
So, here’s Part 1 of a 4 Part Series on Ministry eCommerce Solutions.
Looking for the other parts of the Series?
- Hosted Services and Carts
- Free Self-Hosted Solutions
- Self-Hosted Solutions for Purchase
- WordPress eCommerce Solutions
Hosted Services and Carts
Hosted services simply means that you pay a business to host the software for you and you simply use it. Here’s the “long” definition:
A Hosted Service Provider (xSP) is a business that delivers a combination of traditional IT functions such as infrastructure, applications (Software as a Service), security, monitoring, storage, Web development, website hosting and email, over the Internet or other wide area networks (WAN). An xSP combines the abilities of an application service provider (ASP) and an Internet service provider (ISP).
This approach enables customers to consolidate and outsource much of their IT needs for a predictable recurring fee. xSPs that integrate Web publishing give customers a central repository to rapidly and efficiently distribute information and resources among employees, customers, partners and the general public.
Hosted Service Providers benefit from economies of scale and operate on a one-to-many business model, delivering the same software and services to many customers at once. Customers are charged on a subscription basis.
So, with that in mind, here are some top tier hosted services:
- AAcart.com – Offers three levels of pricing plans that come with hosting included. Also offers customized solutions and design.
- eCrater.com – A free online store builder that also allows you to enter your products into their marketplace for free, while also entering them into the Google Product Search.
- Etsy.com – An online store builder and marketplace that restricts itself to products that you make. This include all sorts of arts & crafts, buttons, clothes and so on.
- GoEmerchant.com – GoEmerchant offers both fully hosted options and the ability to just add buttons to your already existing site.
- NetworkSolutions.com – The well-known domain registration company also offers online storefront hosting and setup.
- SmallBusiness.Yahoo.com – While Yahoo offers you the ability to use their shopping cart on a site you build yourself, their wizard powered store is by far their most popular product. It offers you pre-built templates for the look, but uses their own brand of HTML, which makes hiring a designer for a unique look almost a necessity.
- StoreFront.net – Focuses on customized solutions that vary by store size, hosting needs and so on.
- Stores.eBay.com – eBay stopped being just an auction site a long time ago and offers you the chance to set up your own storefront on their popular site.
- FlyingCart.com – A very simple and super easy to manage and setup system for a few items for free. Increase the items sold, incease the cost.
- Interspire.com – They have both a hosted as well as downloadable self-hosted system.
Stay tune for a list of Free Self Hosted Solutions next!
Did I miss any?