What is the purpose of an ecommerce shopping cart?
Online shopping cart software is among the most important aspects of any Internet-based business. Whether you call it an ecommerce platform, shopping cart or online store builder, it is designed to do the same thing: help you create an organized, user-friendly and successful online store. You can think of the shopping cart as being the link between the seller and the buyer. It is what you use to upload all your products/services, organize them by categories, it helps you keep inventory, deliver the merchandise, accept payments and so on. Unfortunately, not all ecommerce software is equally well developed. Some online store builders are worse than others or less functional, regardless whether we’re talking about available features, ease of use or how customizable they are.
Why do you need a good shopping cart for your online business?
A good shopping cart translates into a smoothly running website. If the foundation is flawed, and by that we mean the website supporting your online store, potential customers will just browse away to shop from somewhere else. Besides technical errors, constant crashes and other bugs, a shopping cart can also be poorly designed and not user-friendly. If the checkout process is too difficult, customers will click away. If your website doesn’t offer enough payment options, some customers will also browse away. That is why it is important to pay attention to all the aspects involved in building and administrating an online store, so choosing the right shopping cart is of paramount importance.
Here are some tips to consider when looking for a shopping cart for your online business:
- Decide between a self hosted shopping cart or a web-based one. When you make that decision, it is also important to take into account your skills. If you are not the most tech-savvy person, maybe you should go with the cloud-based solution, also called SaaS (software as a service). This way you don’t have to worry about technical aspects/issues, everything will be user-friendly and the provider will take care of everything, including security and hosting. All you have to do is pay a monthly fee. If you go with the self-hosted solution, you won’t necessarily have to pay for the software itself, there are a lot of free options you can download, but you’ll pretty much have to do all the work: look for hosting, get SSL certificates, pay for themes, add-ons, and more
- Establish a budget. Shopping cart solutions come at different prices, depending on the features they include, such as bandwidth, storage, available templates, SEO tools, available payment methods, third-party integrations, type of customer support, etc. For a cloud-based platform, prices vary from just $10 to more than $200/month. Depending on your needs, you can decide the features that are of most importance for you and choose accordingly
- User-friendliness is another important aspect to consider. It is important for the shopping cart to be user-friendly for both your customers and for you as an admin. Setting up and navigating the platform should be an easy task. The best thing to do is choose a provider that offers a free trial, so you can test the software before you purchase it
- Choose a vendor that offers reliable and high-quality customer support. You want to be able to reach the customer support staff whenever you encounter a problem and the reps should be helpful and knowledgeable enough to assist you
- Don’t neglect security. If you want your customers to feel comfortable on your platform and trust you with their personal info, you have to show them your website is secure and their data protected and kept confidential. That is why an SSL certificate is a must. In case your shopping cart doesn’t include one, you can buy it separately. Expect to pay somewhere from $80 to $200 per year.
Here are the best ecommerce shopping carts you can find in 2018:
- Shopify: is a gret shopping cart, user-friendly an mobile friendly, and offers unlimited bandwidth and storage. It has 3 plans to choose from, ranging from $29 to $299/month, which is a bit steep. Read our Shopify review here: http://www.bestreviewguide.com/en/reviews/business/best-ecommerce-shopping-cart/shopify-review/
- BigCommerce: it also offers unlimited bandwidth, products and storage. You don’t have to pay any transaction fees and they offer top-notch customer support. They have 3 plans to choose from, with prices ranging from $29.95/month to $249.95/month. Read our BigCommerce review here: http://www.bestreviewguide.com/en/reviews/business/best-ecommerce-shopping-cart/bigcommerce-review/
- 3rd Cart: their more appealing features are a free 15-day trial, no transaction fees and a free domain for life. Prices range from $35.99/month to $99.99/month. They also have Agency Plans with prices from $249/month to $799/month. Read our 3rd Cart review here: http://www.bestreviewguide.com/en/reviews/business/best-ecommerce-shopping-cart/3d-cart-review/
- Volusion: Volusion offers a free 14 day trial, great customer support and over 50 payment gateways. Prices range from $15/month to $135/month. Read our Volusion review here: http://www.bestreviewguide.com/en/reviews/business/best-ecommerce-shopping-cart/volusion-review/
- Fortune3: Offers a free 30 day trial, good mobile apps, unlimited bandwidth, storage and emails with all their plans. Prices vary from $9.95/month to $159.95/month. Read our Fortune3 review here: http://www.bestreviewguide.com/en/reviews/business/best-ecommerce-shopping-cart/fortune3-review/.