With so many online merchants searching for the best shopping cart program for their business, it can be difficult to know what separates the bad programs from the good. Every program claims that it is the best solution for your e-commerce needs, but how do you really know what’s best for your situation? The three main things to focus on are features available, the ease of use with the program, and the options and pricing available once you’ve decided on a particular product.
Features are a big consideration when buying any shopping cart program. You need to keep the parameters of your store and where you see your store going in the future when considering these options. If there’s no real difference in pricing, it’s always a good idea to look for software that gives no limit on how many items you can sell, as well as no limit on categories or subcategories. That way, if your company expands, you have however much room you need to present your new inventory. Another feature to keep a watchful eye out for is infinite bandwidth. Some programs offer unlimited bandwidth across the board, while some have a ridiculously small limit on the amount of data transfer you’re allowed to do. Again, keep in mind your particular store and the amount of traffic you get when figuring out what options you need. A few more good features to have include how many payment gateways are accepted, real-time shipping information, and a cart thumbnail option with a dynamic imaging suite, so that the color and pattern of an item’s thumbnail changes, eliminating confusion for the customer. Also, it is very important that you know your hosting and server situation. Some programs offer free hosting along with the purchase of their programs, and some do not even offer hosting as an option to a potential user. Pick a program that offers free hosting if you need it, or find a cheaper program that doesn’t offer hosting if your server needs are already taken care of.
Regarding the ease of using a certain shopping cart program, it’s not a bad idea to look for programs that offer wizards, templates, and pre-designed button packages, so that you can get your site running with minimal effort on your part, while still making your storefront look professional and inviting. It’s important not to take this too far, though. If you get a program that offers no customizable options and pages, you’ll back yourself into a designing corner, and your storefront will get stale and old. Make sure that you can change your site whenever you wish to whatever you wish, while making sure that you can get your site running as quickly as you need. Also, try to find programs that have a free trial, online demonstration, or a free skeleton system for you to try, so that you can get comfortable with the program before you make a decision to purchase it.
Look at pricing options very carefully. Some pricing variations are extremely easy to understand, while others may need to be explained; don’t be afraid to contact a shopping cart program provider and ask for clarification. Some programs have add-on modules at no extra cost, while others cost money. Just make sure you look carefully at all your pricing options before buying.
Buying a shopping cart system is a huge investment on your part, and you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Don’t be embarrassed to take your time with picking a software – your future customers will thank you for your diligence. Our shopping cart reviews should help you find the best shopping cart for your online store.
What is shopping cart software?
Say you’re in an online store, choosing an item you wish to buy. You select a color you like, and are satisfied with the style that immediately pops up in the thumbnail image. You select your quantity, then continue to checkout. You choose not to create an account, as you are in a hurry, and proceed anonymously. You observe the tax on the items, the amount of money charged for shipping, the estimated time required for shipping, and which company is going to be delivering your item. You input your credit card number and are instantly charged the designated amount through a secure server. You get a confirmation email regarding your purchase, and, a little later, you receive a confirmation email regarding shipping along with a tracking number for your package. A week later, you receive the item you asked for, in a color you wished, exactly when the carrier told you to expect it.
Shopping cart software is responsible for performing every action you requested in the scenario above. A shopping cart system designs the storefront that is displayed on the internet, and tracks the merchant’s inventory. It tracks a customer’s cart, displays a thumbnail image for every pattern and color requested, and stores the information in the customer’s cart. It allows for quick and easy anonymous shopping, and figures up the tax and shipping information, and runs your credit card information through a payment gateway chosen by the merchant. Then it’s the merchant’s turn to receive emails regarding a purchase, and when they’ve shipped it and confirmed it with the carrier, the confirmation emails are sent to the customer.
Shopping cart software is responsible for running every single internet shopping transaction through online merchants. There are a number of different shopping cart software companies, each with several versions of their programs, and all with different features and add-on modules. All these versions and brands are perused by the merchant, who chooses and pays for their choice program. Once it’s installed, the merchant designs the storefront, or the website that displays the items, which is what the customer sees. It tracks a customer’s cart and streamlines the checkout process.
What the merchant sees is quite different from what the customer sees. When the merchant logs into his password protected back room, a dashboard with all the store’s vitals is displayed. Inventory, customer statistics, bandwidth usage, and other information can be accessed instantly. In the back room, the design and layout of the storefront can be changed, inventory added or deleted, and descriptions of items edited.
As you can see, shopping cart software is responsible for a lot of the internet’s transactions, both seen and unseen. Both inexperienced and experienced online merchants can benefit from investing in shopping cart software, as it can streamline the internal and external workings of any online store. It’s a definite tool to consider when starting up an internet business, no matter what your niche may be.