A shopping cart software package is one of the most important decisions that any eCommerce company could make. Your shopping cart and everything else that comes in the package will have a huge influence on how your site and your web development efforts will turn out. Making a mistake in choosing is nothing short of disastrous. How can you help ensure that you're getting good software for your business?
Like most other components of your overhead expenses, the cost of getting shopping cart software can vary very broadly. Essentially, you can choose between two kinds of package for shopping carts: pre-made and customized. For now, suffice it to say that the latter will cost you considerably more. Later on, you'll see that that might be worth paying for.
Selling on the Internet is partly a visual marketing game, and eCommerce companies who have better looking websites almost always perform better because of it. And while the visual aspect is a necessary consideration for your main pages, it's just as important a factor for your shopping cart.
Ideally, your shopping cart should be able to present all the necessary information in as clear and concise a manner as possible. Having an organized structure and a lot of white space makes your shopping cart look professional, and that bodes well for your company.
Different shopping carts will obviously have different procedures. And while one cart's procedure might not look very different from the next, the slightest variations could mean a lot for your customers. Take a close look at the buying procedures of each software package you're considering before going ahead with the deal.
One cart, for example, could be able to get all the necessary information within two web pages, while the next one takes three pages to do the same thing. According to the needs of effective eCommerce web development, the former has a very big advantage.
Here's where different packages can diverge very much from each other. While all shopping carts obviously have identical basic functions – collecting orders and getting payments information – they can vary a lot with regard to the extra functionality.
Coupon and discount offer features, for example, are two things that not every cart package has. It would have been a big loss for you had picked a cart package without those features to run on your bargain clothing site. Whether it's for free shipping or customized items, every eCommerce company has a particular set of extra features that are more necessary than you think.
Unless you use a very common business model, this should also be important for you. Although customized shopping cart software packages are almost always costlier than those pre-made counterparts, they also offer some things that the latter can not handle.
Most shopping carts, for example, are not able to handle orders coming from two different sites owned by the same company. If that's the kind of business model you have, you'll be better off looking for a provider who could give you software that you can customize to support intra-site orders. The same goes for just about any other model that involves more than just the usual order-click-deliver routine.
Before you can make the final choice on which shopping cart package to get, you'll have to figure out every aspect of your business first. Let your site's target market, products and special needs dictate the choice of shopping cart instead of the other way around.