Originally Posted by RedLetterDay
...the actual coding on your website so that people can navigate around and add things to a shopping cart, should not cost you anything. It has been around for over a decade now and writing the code is incredibly simple.
That's ridiculous and shows that you have never actually worked on a serious software project.
The last custom eCommerce project we did came in at around 50,000 lines of code and took around 6 months to develop. Even a simple CMS which offloads all the commerce functions to Paypal comes in at around 2,000 lines/1 month, with a 30-50% time overhead for testing.
Sure there's a few open source options out there that any monkey can install on a $5/mo hosting account, but even then to respectably theme them out will take you a good few weeks if you're creating a professional grade site (which many of the open source projects simply aren't capable of). And if you get enough traffic to make you any actual income, your web host will buckle under it's knees because you cheaped out on the hosting.
Real software engineering and building websites that actual viable businesses are able to use to make money is a time consuming, complex and expensive process.
OP: Asking end-users what they like about websites is like asking surgical patients what they liked best about their recent operations. Web interfaces should be transparent to the end-user and therefore the most effective/profitable shopping carts will be the ones that people barely remember because it was so damn easy for them to put their order through. I recommend the book "Web Design for ROI" for tips on designing shopping carts.