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Blog > What’s the Difference Between an Online Store, PayPal Buy Now and Add to Cart Buttons?

Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.


What’s the Difference Between an Online Store, PayPal Buy Now and Add to Cart Buttons?

November 21st, 2012

Many small business owners want to take advantage of eCommerce and  sell items online or collect money for services provided. What are their options? This article reviews the difference between three methods: Online Stores, PayPal Buy Now Buttons and PayPal Add to Cart Buttons.

Online Stores

Online stores (or online shopping carts or eCommerce) are very sophisticated applications that are installed on a small business website and are database driven. Typically they require work to customize the look and feel of the online store that customers see, and they also need to be configured to a particular business owner’s way of doing business. An online store will have a control panel or administration area that the store owner logs into to adjust stock, prices, shipping, etc. Most online stores will process credit card transactions on the website, and this requires purchase and installation of a SSL certificate, to process credit card info securely. Online stores are good for businesses that have a lot of different products to sell (think hundreds) or for businesses who want their customers to stay on their websites for the entire transaction for marketing/branding reasons.

PayPal Buy Now Buttons

These are good for services (like Website Design!) that have amounts that vary for each customer. They are also good for business owners who want to sell a few products one at a time, and don’t mind having people checkout on PayPal’s website.
PayPal Add To Cart Buttons
These buttons are a hybrid between having a full blown online store and buy now buttons. These are added to products and allow customers to continually add more products from your website to your PayPal shopping cart. All transactions are done on PayPal’s website.
Which Is Best?
First decide what your budget is. If you want customers to stay on your website throughout the checkout process and can afford to spend $1000 on a full blown online store, then that’s your solution. If you are ok with people checkout out on PayPal, then you just need to determine whether selling one at a time (or collecting a different amount for each customer) fits your business – pick Buy Now Buttons. If you want the ease and affordability of Buy Now buttons but want customers to be able to purchase multiple products, give PayPal Add to Cart buttons a try. All button code is generated by logging into your PayPal account and creating them and then adding the code to your website.
If you need assistance adding PayPal buttons or an online store to your small business website, please contact me.
J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.

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