y Evan Stevens
Part I - Cost, Hosting vs. Software, Supportrf Gateways and Shipping Options
What kind of technical support does your shopping cart offer? If you choose to purchase a script, be sure to also subscribe to the shopping cart creator's newsletter, so that you can stay on top of future updates to the software. Be aware that technical support is generally available on a pay-per-incident basis, as a yearly fee or in the rare case, free. Be sure to know what kind of customer support guarantee the shopping cart comes with.
Please, only buy a shopping cart if it supports SSL (secure socket layer), with 128-bit encryption. As an online storefront, remember that you are responsible for the safe transfer of sensitive information (credit card and bank account information) that is processed through your store. If any of the sensitive information is accessible (stolen) from your website, you could be liable. Be sure that you're purchasing a secure shopping cart solution. Ask the creator's of the shopping cart what they do specifically to protect the secure transfer of sensitive information.
Can you customize your shopping cart to look like your website? There needs to be a seamless transition between your website and your shopping storefront or your customers might get hesitant in purchasing your products. There should be similar colors and style layout to look professional and believable.
I just wanted to mention some of the other features that I have discovered, which might be a critical point in determining the shopping cart you want.
Affiliate Program - Offer your own customized affiliate program through your shopping cart software. Quickbooks Integration - Many carts allow direct integration with Quickbooks.
Newsletter & Mailing Letter Managers - The ability to stay in touch with your current customers and keep them returning to your online store.
Custom Taxing Options - Create taxable or tax-free products and have the ability to add various global tax options at checkout.
World Languages & Currencies - Shopping cart language translation and support for world currency might be a necessary feature for your cart.
You mean shopping carts can have errors? Of course. A private UK-based web testing firm found the following, after studying a large group of UK online shopping carts for a period of one month (24/7):"The majority of UK web sites are guilty of leaving e-consumers stranded at the checkout empty handed, once they have already spent valuable time browsing and selecting goods to purchase. This is due to erratic functionality within shopping carts, at a critical step in the online purchasing process."
"E-consumers are prevented from making purchases on UK web sites for 9 hours and 30 minutes a month on average, (115 hours a year)." "80 per cent of web sites perform inconsistently with widely varying response times, timeouts and errors - leaving consumers at best wondering what to do next and at worst unable to complete their purchase successfully. This is potentially costing e-retailers millions in lost sales from consumer frustrations." (http://www.scivisum.co.uk/report/ecommerce/)
Be sure to see what other users are saying about a shopping cart that you might be interested in purchasing. Any shopping cart errors could cost you thousands of dollars in sales. Get a stable and secure cart.
Shopping Cart Directory
The following is a link containing a directory of shopping carts that are categorized according to each of the above-stated steps. Make shopping for shopping carts a breeze!
Shopping Cart Directory
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please contact the author.
About The Author
Evan Stevens (http://www.evanstevens.com) is a professional web developer. This article reviews ecommerce online shopping carts.
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Choosing the Right Online Shopping Cart - Part I
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