Before you take on the daunting task of figuring out which shopping cart is best for your business, it’s important to identify the key attributes of your ideal for your business needs. Below are a few features to consider as well as a few links to some online shopping cart sites. (Psssst. There are HUNDREDS of shopping cart sites, and I’m not going to list all of them here, so get it in touch with Pegleg Web Designs if you want to explore more options, or we can customize a cart just for you!)
When people dip their big toe into ecommerce waters, there are some things you absolutely MUST get:
- A domain name
- A hosting provider
- A website
- A shopping cart that can be built within the website or integrated into the website you may have already created.
- A gateway. This is the method in which you need to process payment. Most applications accept PayPal Website Payments Pro as the best option because it not only offers PayPal but also offers to pay by other credit cards as well
- A SSL certificate. This is a requirement if you want people to pay online. It’s a secured measure not only for your business, but for your web visitor. Some businesses offer the certificate as a part of their package while others provide you with links to certifications where you pay a yearly fee.
- Shipping options. If you have a product that requires shipping, make sure you do your homework and get deals with UPS, Fed Ex, etc. Also, don’t forget that you need to pack up your products. Boxes, packing tissue, bubble wrap, package tape….
Keep in mind that some online solutions may provide you with a one stop shop for all of the above. Others do not and although they may offer these services, they are separate charges, or upgrades. Do some comparison shopping to see where you end up.
The one negative about template driven CMS offerings is that there are restrictions with what you can do with the template. You can add your logo, change colors, font choices and probably move some assets or widgets around to provide a layout you like. But, if you want a slider or gallery, as an example, to showcase your product or service your particular chosen template may not be able to support it.
The other drawback is updates. If you choose a template and it has an updated version, be prepared to back up your customization since some templates, when upgraded will revert to their default settings leaving you to start all over again. This is the last thing you need while you are running a business!!!
If you’re ready for a real commitment, your shopping cart should have a feature for mobile capability.
Smart phones and tablets are on the rise, so your e-commerce site and shopping cart should be capable to be mobile friendly. Big Commerce, 3dcart, CoreCommerce and Shopatron provide merchants with the ability to create mobile optimized websites along with secure checkout functionality. Shopify and other vendors also offer a mobile app that allows merchants to check sales stats, view products, orders and customer data while on the road.
Enhancing your shopping cart once you get up and running is like going to the shopping mall and picking out accessories with that new outfit you just bought. Adding additional functionality to your shopping cart that you didn’t need at first, or possibly it’s a new function that has been added since you initially built your shopping cart allows you to enhance your platform with apps that range from creating a better customer experience to tools that track essential analytics. Magento is a shopping cart that provides a merchant the opportunity to increase sales and boost customer retention by offering rewards programs on their site.