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Is a site lumped into the ecommerce basket the moment it sells something?
Features that will help you determine if a website is a true merchant include:
a view your shopping cart link that stays on the same site.
a shopping cart that updates when you add items to it.
a return policy with a physical address.
a shipping charge calculator that works.
a wish list link, or a link to postpone the purchase of an item until later.
a way to track FedEx orders.
a user forum that works.
the ability to register or login.
a gift registry that works.
Please note the following:
A page does not need to have all of these features to be considered a true merchant.
Yahoo! Stores are true merchants they are typically not thin affiliates.
Some true smaller merchants take users to another site to complete the transaction because they use a third
party to process the transaction. These merchants are not thin affiliates.