New Site: Cart Needed If Using PayPal?

Okay, here’s the deal. My site will only be selling one item, 2 color options. These items will be personalized with a name. This is my first venture into eCommerce, and my web designer isn’t too familiar with Shopping Carts. Are there any very simple flash plugins or snippets that can be plugged into a section of the site without having to completely run the entire site on eCommerce software?

I’m not very familiar with PayPal either, so I’m not sure if just the simple “Buy Now” buttons would work since I’m selling just one item.

Basically I want something I can plug into the site where it’s supposed to be, but also something that will help with order processing. Would be nice to have something that auto-generates invoces/receipts, and something I can easily email out shipping confirmations when the item ships. Is this something that can all be done easily through PayPal? I’m just not sure I really need everything a shopping cart offers just for a single item. The price and product won’t be changing.

I need something that where I easily manage my orders. If anyone has some ideas to what my options are, I’m listening!


Side note: Maybe it would be easier to simply install Zen Cart (or other cart software), and then completely redesign that as the site? Not familiar with Zen Cart, so not sure how the customization is.

Hi CAE. Welcome to SitePoint. :slight_smile:

PayPal is by far the easiest option, and is very easy to use. You just past some simple code into your web page and presto, the user clicks it and is taken to PP and makes the purchase. The customer then gets an email from PP confirming the transaction, and you get notification of the same. Then it is up to you to fulfil the order. You are free to keep in touch with the customer by email or other contact details (if you have stipulated that they need to be included).

You could set up something like ZenCart, but it’s a steep learning curve, and for one item, I certainly wouldn’t bother. You also need things like SSL certificates, which are costly and tricky to set up right (unless you do this stuff every day).

A middle path is to sign up with a 3rd party service (like PP, but more sophisticated), of which there are many. They handle the transactions and provide some nicer reports etc than PP. There are many of them out there, but examples include BigCartel, [URL=“”]foxycart, [URL=“”]ejunkie and [URL=“”]FastSpring (for digital goods only) to name a few. These all provide you with buttons that you place on your site and which link to their own site (which you can style to look like your own) for payment purposes.

Another options again is to have your whole site hosted and managed by a 3rd party, examples of which include Shopify and [URL=“”]Goodsie. (Watch the Goodsie demo video at the bottom of the page. It’s very cool.)

Thanks for the quick reply, Ralph!

I actually just installed Zen Cart on my server and I am loving all the order tracking and customer management info that it has. While we are only selling one item, we are anticipating hundreds (most likely more) of sales per week. I’m trying to avoid having to manually manage all of that through emails only.

About the certificates: Do I still need SSL certs for Zen Cart even if I only plan to link it exclusively through PayPal. We don’t plan to manage the credit card transactions ourselves at all. Basically I don’t want to use Zen Cart to sell from our site, but only for the customer management purposes. All sales we want to direct though PayPal.

As long as you aren’t collecting credit card details, you are probably OK without a certificate. Still, any personal details a customer sends to PP can be intercepted, so it’s better to have a cert if you are passing on any customer details to PP, but the main thing is the credit card, in my view.