How To Shop For a Shopping Cart
Guest Post by Patricia Redsicker
Shopping cart is simply the software on your website that allows you to manage your online store. It enables:
- Your customers to search for and select products in your catalogue;
- Customers to add product(s) to a ‘basket’;
- Customers to place an order for the product(s);
- Customers to make an electronic payment.
Some business owners are intimidated by technology and prefer not to get involved in shopping cart research. They permit their web developers to make that decision for them.
The problem with this approach is that web developers do not understand your business the way that you do. They are not familiar with your marketing strategy and they certainly are not acquainted with your customers. The only person that can make the best decision for your shopping cart service is you.
Here are some points to think about and help you to make the best decision:
- Will you have an affiliate program? If this is high on your priority list, then you need to make sure that your shopping cart can support your affiliates.
- What kind of incentives do your customers need? If your customers like to get product information and special offers through a newsletter, then your shopping cart service will need to support that and facilitate some kind of customer registration process. You will also need to figure out if your customers will respond to discounts, freebies and special shipping rates. Again, your shopping cart program must reflect and support all these features.
- The cost of the service must be justified by the volume of online sales
- If you have a sophisticated inventory system with a large volume of sales items, then you may want to consider a feature-rich shopping cart that can handle taxes, shipping information, inventory control etc.
Be sure to plan and write down your shopping cart requirements based on the following:
- Customer needs (gift certificates, product reviews, shipping rates etc.);
- Your needs (reports, automatic email notifications, secure online credit-card processing etc.);
- If you have an existing website, your shopping cart must work within your site and integrate with your ISP’s server;
- Google some well-known or suggested services (including shopping cart services offered by your internet provider);
- Narrow down your search to two or three services;
- Review your list of requirements to see which service is the best match.
A shopping cart service is a critical part of your online marketing strategy. It is important to acquire the information that will help you to make the best decision. Reviewing your requirements and researching your shopping cart options is the most significant part of your decision making process. Be sure to contact your internet marketing consultant to discuss your needs and ensure that you’re receiving professional guidance.
Patricia Redsicker is owner and principal of WordView Editing, a commercial writing business in Baltimore. Her job is to help entrepreneurs to write more compelling business documents and to sharpen their communication skills. She authors a blog called the ‘Content Cheerleader’ a platform that is highly resourceful in business writing and communication advice. Please visit her blog space for more resourceful articles.