In a simple Friday update, Google's Web Elements team rolled out a number of new options for Web site owners to integrate the company's tools in their content. Among the updates was a new offering for Google Checkout, which, when used in combination with Google Docs, presents a very easy way for people to create online stores - for everything from physical goods to eBooks and services, depending on what you offer.
While Google Checkout has not enjoyed the market awareness and penetration of its competition, PayPal, the new offering lets users create their own marketplace on their own Web site, instead of resorting to other common methods, such as Yahoo! Stores or the Amazon Marketplace.
To create a store, one needs to make a new spreadsheet in Google Docs, with corresponding SKUs for the products, enter a price, and the total number of products available. Other features, including graphics and varieties of products are optional.
Web Elements comes into play when you link this database to the new Checkout gadget. As you can see below, I made a quick one to offer eBooks, product reviews or even one-day consulting. Depending on the store, you could of course sell specific goods, and draw down from your inventory - including the option of presenting a standard price for shipping and handling.
Once the gadget is created, you can post it to your blog, add it as a sidebar for your Web site, or just grab the HTML and post it elsewhere. All told, it's a solid way for individuals and small businesses to get into simple E-commerce without too many headaches.
Of note, while the offerings and prices for my demo are clearly examples only, if you hit the buy button and send cash my way, I am sure we can figure out something. So go for it.
My Demo Google Checkout Gadget from Web Elements: