Confused About Shopping Cart Software

Are you looking for shopping cart software? Type that term in your favorite search engine, and you’ll find at least three million pages touching on the subject. So I wouldn’t be surprised if you find in a daunting task to research which software program or option to choose.

No question about it, having a dedicated digital shopping cart installed on your website can have a huge impact on your sales, and even your marketing. The eCommerce software you select will affect the way you manage your products, how you generate sales reports, how you market to your customers and even the experience your clients have when they buy your products.

One thing you need to know before you even begin to look for your online shopping cart software is what payment gateway you will use. Not all software programs are compatible with all payment gateways, so knowing this up front can rule a few out and save you some time.

The payment gateway is the processor of your customers’ payments. For example, you could use PayPal as a gateway or you could have your own merchant account as the gateway. Regardless, you need one in order to accept credit card payments. And today, accepting credit card payments can make the different between making the sale or not.

Your next consideration is budget. How much can you reasonably afford to spend on e-commerce software? Do you want to host the software on your server (paying a one-time licensing fee) or do you want to go with a hosted “software as a service” option (paying a monthly maintenance fee)? You need to be realistic and understand how your investment can generate the greatest profit in the long term.

Sometimes, paying a vendor a monthly fee to manage your software for you is the best route, because your business model requires the features offered by this type of digital shopping cart. Other business models require the more flexible and customizable options available though licensing software you host on your own server.

You’ll need to compare the pros and cons of each option and see which suits your business’ needs more.

Also, take a look at the vendor’s track record. How is their customer service? Do they update the software with new features regularly? Will you have access to these upgrades? If you run into difficulties … and you will at some point … does the vendor offer technical support?

Make a list of features you want your eCommerce solution to have and divide it into “must haves” and “nice to haves.” This list will help you rule out vendor options that don’t meet your basic criteria.