Your Online Storefront
As an online merchant, you make no apologies for promoting your company’s website as an avenue for sales. You do everything possible to draw potential customers to your online storefront. You have incorporated appropriate advertising and search engine optimization feature into your website as well as promoting your online storefront through social media and other means.
Once potential customers land on your website, an online shopping car is an essential aspect of the virtual shopping experience. An online shopping cart enables your customers to leave your website with the assurance their chosen merchandise is on its way to their doors. Utilizing the strategies described below can help to ensure that you choose the right online shopping cart for your online storefront.
Check Out Online Reviews
If you are new to online retailing, you may feel anxiety about choosing an online shopping cart. Obtain guidance by reading shopping cart software reviews written by objective commentators. Check out user reviews from other online merchants, especially reviews from merchants that offer merchandise or services similar to the merchandise or services that you offer. Some features to look for in online reviews are uptime percentages, email list management, customer service and affiliate program integration.
Local Versus Third-Party Shopping Carts
One of the first decisions you must make is whether you want to install a local shopping cart onto your website or use a third-party shopping cart. Each has both advantages and disadvantages. Your choice depends largely on how much responsibility you want to have over setting up and maintaining the technical aspects of the online shopping cart. Any technical glitches could lead to shopping cart abandonment if your cart is not in perfect working order.
With a local online shopping cart, you have more control over shaping the features and functionality included in the shopping cart. On the other hand, installing a local shopping cart on your website also means that you are responsible for monitoring the uptime of the shopping cart and making any needed adjustments or repairs.
If you choose a third-party shopping cart, you need only install a link on your website that directs shoppers to a third party website to complete their purchases. In some cases you can specify settings that redirect shoppers back to your website after they complete their transactions. With a third-party shopping cart, you are freed from maintenance and other technical responsibilities. However, third-party shopping carts are somewhat more limited in how they can be modified to fit your website. You may also pay higher fees.
Compare and Contrast Available Features
Once you have decided between local and third-party online shopping carts, conduct comparisons of several online shopping carts to determine which ones offer the features you want. Don’t necessarily assume that more expensive shopping carts are better. In fact, some of the best online shopping carts are free.
Although you should not skimp on features that you really need, you should also not spend more for features that you won’t use. For instance, you don’t need an online shopping cart that offers online hosting if your website already has a hosting plan. Likewise, if you have already built out your online storefront, then your online shopping cart doesn’t need its own storefront.
Paul Tibayan is a online shopping cart consultant. He frequently writes about finding the right shopping cart for different businesses and websites on small business blogs.