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What Online Shopping Cart Should I Use?

When you’re just starting to explore the world of ecommerce order management, you’re swimming in choices.

Shopping carts are vital to your system, but there are so many to choose between that it may be hard for you to pinpoint the one that will truly meet your needs. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all shopping cart, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many options. But, if you ask yourself these vital questions, it’ll help you thin out the herd.

How technically-savvy am I? 

A tech-savvy business owner who wants to be able to fully customize his or her order fulfillment system might prefer a self-hosted shopping cart they can install and modify on an external server. Business owners with less technical expertise or who would prefer not to spend so much time on customization would do better with a hosted cart. Hosted carts often can get you up and running faster, as well.

How many products do I intend to carry?

Once you’ve chosen a hosting option, you can further narrow your choices by how large of a product catalog they can support. If you only plan to carry a few products, most shopping carts can handle the job, but you’ll need a much more sophisticated cart to deal with the product fulfillment of an extensive catalog.

What features are important to my business?

Although you might not be looking for anything fancy, you’re going to need certain features to function best as a business. Abandoned cart recovery options are among the most important, since most eCommerce stores experience about a 70 percent cart abandonment rate, but other options should be tailored to your business. Would you like to be able to offer gift cards or accept PayPal?  Make sure your future cart can handle the job.

Are there other integrations we require?

As your business grows, you’re going to kick yourself if you chose a shopping cart that couldn’t handle email marketing or integration for eCommerce order fulfillment services when you’re ready for it. Look down the road five years and imagine where you’d like to be, then look at the packages that offer the options you need to be that business today. Upgrades and extensive site changes can be expensive and time-consuming, costing you even more in lost business.

eCommerce can be a scary pool to dive into, but if you ask the right questions, you’ll quickly narrow your shopping cart choices down to the one that’s perfect for your business and budget. Just keep an eye to the future when you’re selecting today’s shopping cart because making major system changes once your store is wildly successful is much more difficult than simply choosing the right software package in the first place.

September 16, 2014
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