One of the key decisions that every ecommerce business needs to make is which shopping cart to choose for their ecommerce platform. Open source carts such as Magento, OpenCart and ZenCart are readily available to download and can be configured with various features to enable sellers to customise.
Control every aspect of their shopping platforms, whilst hosted platforms like Shopify and Volusion can be implemented very quickly with little or no technical knowledge. Other companies prefer to use their own custom-built solutions.
The vast array of choices can be quite dizzying, so a helping hand may be useful for anyone faced with this important decision to take a look at some of the main points which need to be considered:
The whole purpose of your ecommerce website is to get customers to make purchases with their credit cards, which means that security is paramount. If anyone gets a whiff of personal data being lost or compromised in any way, it could spell the end for your business.
But don’t just assume that every ecommerce platform is the same; you MUST ensure that the one you choose conforms to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) or you could be held accountable in the event of fraud.
You should look for a shopping cart which can be easily integrated with your fulfilment company’s online fulfilment system. You don’t want to have to invest a lot of money making your system integrate with your outsourced fulfilment company’s needs, but failure to integrate means that you won’t be able to get an overall picture of the status of your orders.
If you just do a little homework in advance to find out which platforms integrate readily, you can reap all the benefits of real-time updates and intelligent reporting which a good fulfilment company can offer.
Ease of maintenance is certainly one of the most important factors to consider. Your product range is likely to change or expand as your business evolves and when that happens, you want to ensure that your shopping cart can be updated with the minimum of expense and effort.
Flexibility of design is crucial. Your website needs to look individual and appealing in its layout. Look for customisation features which will enable you to give your site its own unique look. It should also be easy for customers to use as well as being quick and reliable.
It’s no use having all of the features we’ve already mentioned if nobody can find you on Google. You should check that your chosen shopping cart is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly with the ability to select your own keywords, customise your URLs, add meta data and carry out on-page SEO in order to give you the best chance of showing up via the search engines.
Even with the best-designed systems, there are times when things can go wrong so make sure you know what support is available from your ecommerce platform provider. Online reviews from other users are a great way to find out how the company performs against its published service levels, so do your research carefully. It’s your revenue that will suffer if you make the wrong choice!