How to Add Shopping Cart to Website for FREE | 2023 Web Guide
Last updated: July 17, 2023
Selling digital or physical products from your website doesn’t have to be scary or difficult. Say goodbye to the days of complicated coding and endless technicalities. Seamlessly incorporate a shopping cart into your existing website and watch as it springs to life, welcoming transactions and paving the way for lucrative new revenue streams. You can unlock the full potential of your website and transform it into a bustling online store with just a few simple steps!
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of integrating a shopping cart into your website. We will be focusing specifically on a free, user-friendly, but very powerful shopping cart tool. No coding expertise required, and no complex interfaces to navigate. It’s time to unlock the power of e-commerce with ease. Let’s get started!
Here are the topics that we’ll cover in this article:
- What is a shopping cart?
- Why do you need a shopping cart?
- Types of shopping carts you can use for your website
- How to add a shopping cart to ANY websites for FREE (step-by-step guide)
What is a Shopping Cart?
Before diving into the process, let’s briefly explain what an online shopping cart is.
An online shopping cart, in the context of e-commerce, is a virtual container or software component that allows online shoppers to select and store items they wish to purchase from an online store. It acts as a centralized hub where customers can add products, review their selections, modify quantities, and proceed to the checkout process. The shopping cart provides a convenient and user-friendly interface for managing the items chosen for purchase before finalizing the transaction.
Simply put, an online shopping cart software turns your static website into a website where you can sell stuff and customers can purchase stuff from it.
Why You Need to Add a Shopping Cart to Your Website
Adding a shopping cart to your website offers numerous benefits, with the most notable being the opportunity to generate additional income by establishing online revenue streams. By enabling direct online transactions on your website, you provide a seamless and convenient shopping experience for your customers. For instance, if you have an art-focused blog, integrating a shopping cart allows your readers to purchase items directly from your website instead of redirecting them elsewhere. This eliminates potential hurdles and significantly increases the chances of conversion, maximizing your earning potential.
If you’re new to creating websites, you might be familiar with one of the biggest burning questions that one usually asks: “I created my website with a website builder. Doesn’t it already come with a shopping cart?”
Answer: It’s not always the case. The availability of a built-in shopping cart depends on the website builder you’re using. Some platforms like Wix offer options for users to build a static website, or pay more and upgrade to their more expensive plans to enable shopping carts on your websites. You’ll need to check the features and settings of your site builder to determine if a shopping cart is already available.
In this article specifically, we’ll teach you how to add a shopping cart to any website for free so you won’t have to fall victim to those eCommerce platforms that ask you to pay hefty monthly fees for their shopping cart functionalities. And…don’t worry, no technical skills needed here – anyone can do it! 🙂
Types of Online Shopping Carts that You Can Choose From
There are various types of shopping carts available, including hosted solutions and self-hosted solutions.
Let me first start by saying that self-hosted shopping is NOT recommended for people who aren’t as tech savvy.
With self-hosted shopping carts, you have more control and responsibility. You install the shopping cart software on your own server and manage it yourself. Popular self-hosted options include WooCommerce (a plugin for WordPress), Magento, and OpenCart.
Self-hosted solutions require more technical expertise and involve installing and configuring shopping cart software on your own server.
Hosted (Most Recommended)
Hosted shopping carts are perfect for business owners who do not possess technical expertise or do not wish to deal with the technical headache of implementing a shopping cart to their websites.
This is the solution that we would recommend to most business owners, AND there are free hosted shopping cart software that you can use.
These shopping carts are provided by companies that host your online store. They handle the technical aspects, such as server management and security. Examples include platforms like Payhip, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Wix (and yes, many shopping cart software also offer website building software. All of the platforms mentioned above offer both functionalities)
Here are some of the key advantages of using a hosted shopping cart software:
- No coding skills or technical skills required
- Comprehensive package which already includes web hosting along with pre-installed eCommerce functionalities. You won’t need to download or install anything – simply access your control panel through a web browser. The shopping cart software provider takes care of software updates and other technical aspects of the platform. Instead of separately paying for web hosting and software licenses, you typically pay a monthly or annual fee for one of the provider’s plans (unless the software is free – like Payhip!)
- Robust store management interface. You’ll be able to easily and intuitively publish and make unlimited subsequent changes to your product listings without having to deal with any technical issues
Payhip is one of the most popular shopping cart software in the market, and best of all, it’s completely FREE!
Using Payhip to Add Shopping Cart to Your Website (for free)
Payhip is a powerful and user-friendly hosted shopping cart software that enables you to effortlessly incorporate shopping functionality into your current website or blog.
Here are some of the best benefits that you’ll enjoy when using Payhip as your shopping cart:
- Generous free plan: You’ll get unlimited access to the entire Payhip platform’s features for free! You’ll only a pay 5% fee for each order, capped at a maximum of $99 per month. This also means that if you’re not making any sales yet, you won’t be paying anything – perfect for business owners who are just starting out!
- Securely accept payments from all around the world and receive your earnings instantly and securely through the world’s most-trusted payment gateways, PayPal and Stripe
- Embed your shopping cart on any websites or blogs (no technical skills needed!)
- Features to sell various digital products including digital downloads, online courses, coaching services, memberships or physical products
- Automatic handling of digital UK & EU VAT
- Enable powerful marketing tools with your shopping cart and boost your sales with Payhip’s free marketing tools such as discount codes, affiliate program, referral system, cross-sell, upsell, and much more
Join over 130,000 sellers who have launched their online businesses with Payhip
How to Add A Shopping Cart to ANY Websites for FREE (5 Simple Steps)
Before delving into the step-by-step guide on integrating a shopping cart into your existing website, it’s important to highlight that Payhip offers a robust store builder that allows you to create an entire website for free. If you don’t have a website yet, Payhip provides a comprehensive guide on building a website from scratch at no cost, complete with embedded shopping cart functionality.
But for the purpose of this article, we will assume that you already have your own website or blog, and are looking for free ways to add a shopping cart to your existing website or blog. Here are the steps:
1. Sign up for a Payhip account
Visit the Payhip website and create a free account to get started. Since the platform is completely free, you won’t be asked to input any payment information. This also means that you can take your time to explore the platform and see if it’s the right option for you.
2. Set up your payment gateway and payout information
This will ensure that you can accept various payments (credit cards and Paypal) from customers around the world, as well as get paid and receive your income once orders start pouring in.
Connect your Payhip account to your preferred payment gateway, such as PayPal or Stripe or both. If you don’t have an account with PayPal or Stripe yet, don’t worry, it takes less than 10 minutes to sign up through Payhip’s dashboard (no fees involved!).
3. Add your products
Upload your products, including images, descriptions, and pricing details, using Payhip’s intuitive interface. You can offer a variety of digital or physical products, such as ebooks, courses, or merchandise. Payhip also provides a comprehensive guide on how to set up various types of products including digital downloads, courses, coaching services, memberships, and physical products.
4. Embed your products into any websites or blogs
Each one of the products that you have uploaded has a “Share/Embed” button to allow you to embed these products to any websites or blogs.
Simply make any adjustments to the embed button such as the button text, color, as well as type (direct purchase or add to cart).
Click the Get Your Embed Code button and copy and paste the provided code into your desired webpage.
And voila! Anytime your website visitor clicks this button on your website or blog, they’ll be able to purchase your product without leaving your site at all!
5. Test and launch your online store
We recommend thoroughly testing the shopping cart functionality to make sure that it’s performing exactly how you’d like it to. Make sample purchases and verify that the cart, checkout, and payment processes work flawlessly.
TIP: You can create a 100% off coupon code using Payhip’s free marketing tools. This allows you to perform test transactions on your own website without the need for actual payments.
Watch the short video below to see a preview of what your shopping cart would look like when your website visitors purchase items directly on your website.
In this example, the seller is using WordPress as their website, and embedded the “buy now” button from Payhip to enable a shopping cart on their WordPress website. Credit to https://www.victoriamarchantknits.com/ for this example.
Still need some help?
If you still have any questions about setting up your shopping cart, we recommend directing your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org who would be happy to help!
Here are some frequently asked questions about adding a shopping cart to your website:
I created my website with a site builder. Do I already have a shopping cart?
If you created your website with a site builder, having a built-in shopping cart depends on the platform. Some site builders offer built-in shopping cart functionality if you pay higher prices and some may offer it for free. Check your site builder’s features and settings to see if a shopping cart is available.
Website builders, also known as content management systems (CMS), simplify website creation without coding. However, most CMS software like WordPress lacks built-in shopping cart features. eCommerce plugins for CMS often have limited capabilities, as CMS platforms primarily focus on informational websites.
For optimal online selling, it’s advisable to use a dedicated eCommerce platform like Payhip. These platforms are purpose-built for eCommerce and offer integrated CMS options. They provide comprehensive website creation, making them ideal even if you don’t have an existing website. You can seamlessly connect your store and website for a unified online presence.
What’s the simplest and most cost-effective way to add a shopping cart to my website?
Using a hosted platform like Payhip is often the easiest way to add a shopping cart to your website. Payhip provides user-friendly interfaces, handles technical aspects, and offers powerful tools for various digital and physical products as well as robust marketing tools (coupon codes, affiliate program, upsell, etc), allowing you to focus on selling your products and growing your business.
To access powerful online selling tools and manage your business hassle-free, without programming knowledge or developer expenses, your best choice is to use Payhip as it is the solution that offers the most bang for your buck, offering a wide range of essential eCommerce features at no cost. While Payhip allows you to create a website with built-in shopping cart functionality, it also enables you to seamlessly add eCommerce capabilities to your existing website.
Final Thoughts – Adding Shopping Carts to Your Small Business Website
Integrating shopping cart functionality into your online store is an essential requirement. It not only facilitates smooth product sales but also enhances the overall shopping experience for your customers, leading to increased engagement and loyalty in the long run.
Choosing the right shopping cart software can ensure that your checkout process will be simplified and user-friendly. This will encourage repeat customers, ensuring the success and growth of your online store. Sign up for a free account on Payhip to integrate a shopping cart to your website today!