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Choosing the Right Shopping Cart for E-Commerce

Choosing the Right Shopping Cart for E-Commerce

A good shopping cart is an important element of any E-commerce site. With so many programs available from free to commercial solutions, knowing which shopping cart is best for your website can be a challenge. This article will offer a few tips to help you find a shopping cart that is just right.

Know What You Need

Just as you would when shopping for anything, you should first determine your personal needs when looking for a shopping cart. Some things you might want to keep in mind are features such as product thumbnails, product search capability, multiple tax support and flexible shipping options. You should also consider ease of installation and server related requirements such as what programming languages the software supports. When it comes to choosing your first shopping cart, it’s best to go after the essentials instead of what is simply desirable. Any program that doesn’t have the features you need can be eliminated.

Features

A shopping cart that offers basic features should get you by with a small e-commerce site. This type of program will allow you to display images of your products, calculate shipping costs, collect payments, send notification of sales via email and much more. If you are just getting started with e-commerce, a fully featured commercial solution will likely result in spending more time and money than you can afford. This type of shopping cart may be harder to install and customize. If you are running a large e-commerce site, a free shopping cart may not be enough to handle hundreds of products. In this scenario, spending the time and money on a commercial product might be worth it.

Learn from the Competition

So, how will you know what you need? It is never a bad idea to start by checking out the shopping carts of your competitors and seeing how they have things set up. Besides, this is what your potential customers will see if they decide to shop around for the best deal. How are they presenting their products? What features do their shopping carts have to streamline the ordering process? What features do you feel the competition is lacking? Of course you don’t want to completely mimic your competitors, but there is a lot to be gained from making observations.

Customers Know Best

When checking out shopping carts, the most important factor to consider is your customers. Think about the features that will appeal to them as well as those that may not. Does the shopping cart make it easy for your customers to add or remove products? Can the customers purchase items without having to repeatedly enter personal information? Does it look professional? Shopping cart abandonment is on the rise and you don’t want it to happen to you. If your shopping cart isn’t as comprehensive and professional as your competitors, it will.

Where to Get a Shopping Cart

The best way to get an inexpensive yet powerful shopping cart is through a web host. Many companies offer a number of free programs when signing up for a web hosting plan. LunarPages, WebHostingPad and BlueHost are just a few of many providers that give you the option of choosing from multiple shopping carts with programs like Agora, CubeCart and ZenCart. Regardless of what shopping cart you choose or where you get it from, make sure the program comes with some level of support. Even the best program can be insufficient if you don’t know how to use it.

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    1st January 2009
    Posted by Web Hosting Consultant in Best Web Hosting Tips

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