BlueHost is great web hosting company that you can rely on to host your online business website. A mere $6.95 per month gives you unlimited disk storage, unlimited domain, unlimited add-on and parked domains, and unlimited email accounts. BlueHost is also great because a free domain name is thrown in as well as a free Drag-and-Drop Site Builder. Anyone without any technical knowledge is able to build their own website easily and quickly with this tool.
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BlueHost is also recommended for their ease of use. Its cPanel is very user friendly (yet powerful) even for first-time users and there is a wide range of e-commerce features such as an SSL secure server and password protected directories. Users are also protected by BlueHost’s own proprietary solution that keeps abusive users at bay. Therefore, you will not encounter users who deliberately or unintentionally cause website problems.
CS-Cart is the Best Shopping Cart
With the hosting of your website taken care of, the next thing you need to move your business one step ahead is to get a shopping cart software. While some web hosting providers do provide shopping carts, these are usually very basic ones which do not include features that are sufficient to support your e-commerce needs. That is why you need to go for a professional shopping cart software, such as CS-Cart.
CS-Cart is developed by Simbirsk Technologies Ltd. based in Russia. The first version of CS-Cart was released in 2005 and there are now more than 15,000 websites worldwide that are powered by CS-Cart. CS-Cart has three editions to cater to different e-commerce businesses, namely:
- Community – absolutely free for e-commerce rookies
- Professional – features packed and mostly widely used shopping cart software
- Multi Vendor – to build a virtual web mall
CS-Cart Core Features
All three editions come with the following core features:
- Ready-to-use store front with 40+ Free E-commerce Templates
- Built-in website content management system that allows you to publish products, static pages, contact forms, customer reviews, newsletters and survey
- No limit on the number of products and categories
- Search engine optimized (SEO friendly pages)
- Ability to sell downloadable and digital products
- Online and offline payment gateways with up to 50 integrated payment systems for credit cards
- Automatic inventory control that notifies you of low stock and sets a minimum order amount
- Real-time shipping rate and tax estimation for FedEx, USPS and DHL etc.
A great thing is that the Community, as its name suggests, is for the community – it’s free!
Despite being available for free, the Community edition still has the main functions of a shopping cart and is absolutely good enough to go if you are just starting up with a web store. All you need to “give” to use this free version is to keep a link that says “Powered by CS-Cart” to CS-Cart’s website at the footer of the storefront and administration panel pages. This is absolutely nothing as the link at the footer is non-obstructive and will not in any way hinder any function of the website.
You could have the link removed by paying $65 as a Link Removal License fee. This fee applies for each website, so if you use the Community edition for three websites, multiply $65 by three.
Of course, the CS-Cart Professional and CS-Cart Multi Vendor editions let you do more. Both editions come with the following great features:
Marketing and promotional features
These features help you sell your products. These include gift certificates, product reviews and ratings, affiliates, “send to friend” tool and polls.
Built-in design templates
Select the look and feel of your website from any of the 40 built-in templates. Choose one that represents your product the best. Don’t worry, changing between them is easy too. You can also easily customize the design if you wish.
Customer loyalty rewards and programs
With this feature, you are able to have a loyalty program for your customers and allocate reward points to your customers. They can then use the reward points to redeem products from your E-commerce store or to get discounts. Tools like these will certainly increase your sales! Customers like reward points and discounts!
Return merchandise authorization (RMA)
The RMA feature will simplify the process when customers choose to return products to the seller to have a replacement or a refund. This tool will make the “returning” process much easier and “automated”.
Multi-currency and languages
This feature enables CS-Cart to be implemented in most regions. Translations into 8 languages are available and new languages can even be added to the cart. Various configurations can be made to the software to make it suitable for local use, namely currency symbols, measurement units, time and date formats and the list of states and provinces.
CS-Cart Professional costs $345 only. Click here to check out more details.
CS-Cart Multi Vendor
For a mere $985, CS-Cart Multi-Vendor Edition is the perfect software for an E-commerce website with multiple independent vendors and virtual shopping malls with many separate departments.
CS-Cart Multi-Vendor Edition incorporates all the features of CS-Cart Professional and, additionally provides advanced multi-vendor functionality allowing them to sell and manage their products in a single web store with a common storefront and product catalog. Each vendor gets a separate administration panel and also have the option of using their own shipping method.
In Case You Need Help…
CS-Cart Professional Support
CS-Cart is an easy-to-use software which users can set up on their own and never really need any form of customer support, unless you make some tweaks to the advanced features. For this, you can get in touch with the support team by logging onto their Customer Help Desk system. You might notice that credits are required to request for support. This is because CS-Cart’s support team consists of the developers and designers themselves in order to provide excellent and professional technical support. However, fret not as the Professional and Multi Vendor plans come with 40 and 100 free credits respectively. These are more than enough even if you were to request for advanced customization to the design and functionality.
CS-Cart Community Forum
Customers also have access to the community forum created specifically for CS-Cart users. Here, meet other e-commerce website owners who are willing to discuss and offer assistance to one another for free. There is also a list of detailed instructions provided to help users understand the operation and the configuration of the system. These are sufficient in enabling rookies to set up and subsequently use CS-Cart software without much hassle.
CS-Cart is designed with the concrete knowledge and understanding of the needs of an e-commerce entrepreneur. The shopping cart is packed with an extensive list of powerful tools, all for an affordable price. It is the little but useful features that CS-Cart has, such as the customer loyalty rewards program and the ability to localize, which makes it stand out from the other shopping cart software.
A website hosted by BlueHost and powered by CS-Cart would be the ideal combination for a successful e-commerce website! We have tested and have dozens of successful websites running on this combination (BlueHost + CS-Cart), so we know for sure, this works very well!