Widgets can help ecommerce merchants display their products on blogs and social networking sites. Many merchants are doing this already, and at least one shopping cart vendor offers a pre-built widget to assist its merchant customers with this opportunity.
ProductCart is a California-based licensed shopping cart company. It was formed in 2001 and its basic, out-of-the-box software costs $695. In 2008 it developed a free widget for its merchants.
The widget is a time-saver for ProductCart merchants who want to display inventory items on other sites. One option to do this is through the insertion of HTML code on the other sites. This code could contain product descriptions and links back to the merchants’ sites. The other option is the widget and it is much quicker and easier.
ProductCart’s widget does not function directly with Facebook and MySpace, however. These large social networking sites work only with pre-approved widget developers. One of those developers is Widgetbox, and ProductCart has an arrangement with Widgetbox to allow its merchants to upload widgets to that platform, which is then acceptable to Facebook and MySpace.
ProductCart cannot track how many merchants use the widget or how many of the widgets are located on third-party sites. Roughly 110 ProductCart widgets have been downloaded from Widgetbox, according to a ProductCart developer.
Tools that allow merchants to easily display products on other blogs and social networking sites are growing in popularity. For example, Volusion, a hosted shopping cart platform, provides a mechanism for its merchants to show their “featured products” directly onto their Facebook and MySpace profiles. Other carts and platforms have similar functions.