Are you launching an online store? There are many shopping carts available out there, and it can be very difficult to compare them all. Hopefully, we gathered a little advice to help you make a better choice.
Assess your current and future needs
Generally speaking, all CMS have the same basic features. However, for more advanced CMS options like international e-commerce, multi-channel, multi-store and more, things may be quite different. The number and complexity of the products you offer can influence the price. Also, anticipate your needs for the next three years, so you will select a CMS that will evolve with your business.
Here some features you might want to look for:
- Support for your choice of credit processing gateway
- Adequate customer tracking and capacity to send out newsletters and promotional email campaigns
- Capacity to support discount coupons
- Capacity to cross-sell your products: If a customer purchased product X, recommend him product Y to complement product X
- Real-time calculation of shipping costs for all major carriers.
What do your expect from a shopping cart?
Shopping cart technologies differ a lot in terms of price, complexity and user-friendliness. The technical expertise level on which you rely can also influence your choice.
Which system will you connect your CMS to?
Do you already use ERP, CRM, POS and accounting systems? Some shopping carts are easier to integrate to technologies already in place.
Here are a few essential options to check:
- Built-in SEO features
When it comes to attracting customers, built-in SEO features are very important. If your store is not optimized for search engines, your potential clients may not be able to find it. Check for url optimization and rich snippets.
- Easy product uploading
Some shopping carts require using a web interface to upload your products into the store. If you have hundreds of products, it could take weeks to manually load every product individually.
- Capacity to add attributes to your products
Depending on what you sell, make you sure that the shopping cart you choose allows you to add options and variations to your product line. For example, there should be an easy way to customize a product through the use of pull down menus or check boxes.
- Order management and alteration from the interface
When business picks up in your store, customers will want to change their orders, return goods or modify their orders, even after checking out. It’s important to have the capacity to modify orders and provide refunds on one single page in your admin area.
To avoid most problems, settle for a paid shopping cart package like Bigcommerce, PrestaShop, Shopify or Volusion. You can always count on their technical support. If you have to call a developer every time you need a little tweak or change, the cost can quickly add up and you may waste some precious time.