Google is steadily becoming much more than 'just' the best search engine on the web. Amongst its arsenal of useful web tools is Google Checkout, an ecommerce solution introduced a few years ago that is now slowly gaining in popularity. Apart from solid fraud protection, low fees of 2% + 20 cents per transaction, Google Checkout aims to make online shopping as easy possible for the merchant and the customer.
Google Checkout is likely to be most effective for practices with a few products to sell online. Dr. Schlussel recently launched a web site for thy dry eye part of his practice, http://www.dryeyecare.net, and uses Google Checkout to power his sale of dry eye related products. Dr. Schlussel's Dry Eye Products page offers a dozen products, nicely formatted with product images and descriptions. "The setup process was straightforward, and relatively non-technical", comments Dr. Schlussel. "Google Checkout is perfect for my dry eye products - it's flexible enough to have the options I need, and has a big name behind it so my patients won't be concerned about security."
Google Checkout is not without its disadvantages though, particularly for the practice that is looking for a solution to sell contact lenses and eye glasses online. The main drawback is that the practice needs to have all the product information, images and pricing available to upload to Google Checkout, whereas most optometric ecommerce solutions provide you with a full array of products built-in. Granted, the cost of other ecommerce solutions are far greater, with smaller margins, but the task of uploading and managing all product related data yourself is likely to be overwhelming.
So, is Google Checkout a viable ecommerce solution for your practice? If you're looking to offer a full range of products for sale online, you should look elsewhere. But, if you have fewer than 50 products for sale, the advantages of working with Google Checkout far outweigh the additional costs of a full ecommerce solution, turning Google Checkout into a very attractive solution.