Social Media Commerce: Sell Products through a Web Store - dummies

Social Media Commerce: Sell Products through a Web Store

By Marsha Collier

Whether you actively sell items through social media or e-commerce or are a service business that sells just a few items, including a shopping cart on a business website opens up new opportunities.

Are you a dentist who sells a fancy electric toothbrush to your patients? A doctor with a favorite homeopathic remedy that you recommend? A travel agent who loves a particular line of travel accessories and can buy them wholesale to resell? If you have even a few products to sell, putting together a one-time small store can be worthwhile.

Selling items related to your service business can bring in unexpected revenue.

The more places your items for sale appear, the more chance you have of selling them and making additional profits — as long as you aren’t paying for an expensive shopping cart system. Unless you’re an online retailer with a large store, you don’t need to spend a monthly fee for even a basic shopping cart.

Two things are very frustrating when setting up social media commerce sites: paying for something that doesn’t give you a return on investment and turning a simple task into a big deal. Both issues are prevalent when it comes to expensive software and putting together a small online store.

There is, however, a way to include a small web store on your site, without recurring fees. You integrate your store once and don’t have to touch it again, unless you want to change your prices.

In one business website, shown below, the owner sells a few inexpensive versions of professional products that help online sellers take better pictures. She doesn’t push sales; the products simply accompany the content on the site.

A separate store page lists the items, along with PayPal Buy Now buttons. Checkout is simple, as in shown in this figure.

A single-page checkout enables a customer to pay using PayPal.
A single-page checkout enables a customer to pay using PayPal.

You need to be a merchant member of PayPal to use these buttons, but PayPal enables a simple credit or debit card checkout for your customers. The system is well worth the few minutes it takes to sign up. The most it costs you to process your PayPal orders is 2.9 percent of the total plus $0.30 per transaction.

You can install Buy Now, Add to Cart, or Subscription buttons, as shown:

  • Buy Now: For use with a single item, this button directs the buyer to immediately pay with PayPal.

  • Add to Cart: This button enables your customers to buy several items. When they finish selecting items to purchase, they go to your PayPal payment page and pay.

  • Subscription: Use this button for recurring payments.

    Setting up PayPal buttons is easy.
    Setting up PayPal buttons is easy.

To install these buttons on your website, you don’t need to have a computer science degree but you do need a rudimentary knowledge of web page HTML. This task is not for advanced users — you can do this.

To install a PayPal buttons on your website, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your PayPal Premier or Business account at

    The My Account Overview page appears.

  2. Click the My Business Setup link.

  3. On the resulting page, under the Set Up my payment solution, select PayPal Payments Standard.

  4. Click the Merchant Services tab.

    The Merchant Services page appears.

  5. Under the Tools and Settings heading, click the My Saved Buttons link.

    The My Saved Buttons page appears with the three sample PayPal buttons: Buy Now, Add to Cart, and Subscription.

  6. Select the button you’d like to use and edit appropriately.

    Enter the payment details of your item, the price, and more.

  7. Click Create Button.

    Your button code is displayed.

  8. On the Websites tab, click the Select Code button to select the generated HTML code.

  9. Copy the selected text to the clipboard.

    To copy, press Ctrl+C or right-click and select Copy.

  10. Position your cursor on your web page (in HTML edit mode) where you want the button to appear and paste the selected text.

    To paste, press Ctrl+V or right-click and select Paste.

  11. Save the web page with your new payment button installed!

After you have payment buttons set up on your site, you’ll be able to sell. For detailed instructions and more information, go to Paypal and click the Business tab at the top of the page.