Are you on the hunt for the best shopping cart for your e-commerce business? There are hundreds of platforms to choose from, and this enormous availability is a good thing for your business. Options mean you can find the perfect fit for your needs. The downside is that it can be hard to compare all platforms and pinpoint the most suitable one.
We developed this short guide to help you pick the right shopping cart for your e-commerce business. Whether an online startup entrepreneur or well-established, we hope to help ease the process of choosing an online shopping cart.
Establish Your Business Needs
Before you start the comparison, you need to establish your website needs. This will depend much on the nature of your business. Your business size will be a significant determining factor when picking a shopping cart. Scalability is vital, so your chosen platform grows as your online presence does.
The second most crucial aspect you need to consider is compatibility. Will the shopping cart be compatible with your e-commerce merchant account and corresponding payment gateway? If you are unsure about the answers, contact your merchant account service provider and confirm the cart requirements for your business. This will ensure a fully integrated and seamless payment experience for your customer base.
Web-Based or Self-Hosted Cart?
The third factor in helping narrow down your e-commerce shopping cart search is whether to choose a web-based or self-hosted platform. This means your business is either hosting a shopping cart locally on your webserver (self-hosted) or opting for a remotely hosted shopping cart (web-based).
Web-based solutions are easy to use and are more suitable for technology challenged merchants. A third-party vendor hosts them, and typically a monthly access fee is associated with the product. The cost is easily justified when taking into account the maintenance and security provided by the service.
Self-hosted shopping cart solutions are also an ideal option, mostly because they are free to download and use. Nonetheless, you will have to find local hosting, troubleshoot any issues internally, and keep up to date on SSL certificates.
Once you have settled on the above, the next thing to consider is additional features. Depending on business needs, there are specific features available to incorporate within your e-commerce shopping cart platform. Examples include; recurring billing, international currency acceptance, express checkout, or multiple payment options.
Design, Layout, and Ease of Use
It is surprising how many businesses task the shopping cart selection to their tech experts. Yes, these individuals are exceptionally skilled at what they do, but they may not understand your business needs and customer preferences as you do. Don’t be afraid to question the platform selection if in this situation.
Before signing off on an e-commerce shopping cart, ask yourself – do I like it? If the answer is no or you are unsure, that should be a red flag. The right shopping cart for your website should be easy to use, have an excellent design and layout, and quickly grow with your business needs.
When selecting a shopping cart, enquire about the platform’s customer support. This is a critical step many online business owners miss. Operating in a virtual environment means if your online checkout process is broken, your dead in the water and losing income by the minute. Even if you think you might not need it, select a provider offering 24/7/365 customer support. Just as the internet never closes, neither should your shopping cart’s support team. The agents you are interacting with should be knowledgeable in all matters related to cart issues.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right shopping cart for your e-commerce business website is a detailed task. It may seem complicated at first, but by using the above guidelines, it should be easy to eliminate the options ill-suited for your needs. Work through the rest by reading reviews, requesting demos, and comparing costs. Soon enough, the perfect shopping cart platform will easily outshine the rest, and you can rest assured your business in good hands.