Part of the topmost priority and requirement when selling online and setting up your own online store is using an e-commerce shopping cart software. This priority resides at the top of the list and is critical in making your online store an effective and successful entrepreneurship endeavor.
You might wonder – what is an e-commerce shopping cart software?
The simplest definition of an e-commerce shopping cart software is it facilitates the purchase of a product or service within your online retail store. This software accepts customer’s payments as well as organizes the distribution of all these information to the merchant, the payment processor as well as any other parties involved.
Why are shopping carts so important?
The hugest reason why e-commerce shopping cart software is important is because it gives you the ability to bridge the gap between shopping and buying. It is extremely important to have the best e-commerce shipping cart software integrated into your website.
Most newcomers in the market or in the industry of retail shopping are unfamiliar with the concept and idea of the shopping cart. In a huge number of cases, most people have shopped and bought a product or service online at one point in their lives. What they don’t realize is the need and the capability of a shopping cart besides taking them to the checkout page. Typically, a shopping cart has 3 common aspects, which are the following:
- A shopping cart stores product information
- A shopping cart is a like a gateway for catalog, order as well as customer engagement
- A shopping cart renders categories, site information and data for user display
You can also take a look at shopping cart from a different angle – it is basically like the tangible ones you can use inside a grocery or a supermarket. Only it wears so many hats than what you normally see in reality. It serves as the shelves, clearance sign, the building, cash register and even the credit card machine that is capable of relaying information from the store to the bank.
How exactly can you select e-commerce shopping cart software from the sea of available software out in the market today?
If you are seriously considering to integrate an e-commerce shopping cart software into your online store (definitely, by now you shouldn’t have to think twice!), you will need to the two basic types of e-commerce shopping cart software available nowadays:
- Hosted shopping carts – this type of e-commerce shopping cart software is hosted by a third party firm or entity. The third party entity is responsible for hosting the solution at the same time owning the responsibility of maintenance, server backups as well as upgrades. What makes this a good choice is because it is absolutely free. It won’t cost you anything in order to have a fully functional shopping cart maintained by the third party entity. The only drawback to this is that this type of hosted shopping cart solution will redirect your customers to another domain or website to perform the payment processing.
- Licensed shopping carts – this type of e-commerce shopping cart software allows more flexibility and freedom to online store and/or business owners. You will be given the capability to build your own type of cart. In addition, you will be given the ability to customize it according to your needs. The flexibility is so high that it can accommodate changing functionality and features. You can even add other third-party tools if necessary. However, you will need to keep in mind that this type of e-commerce shopping cart software solution have high upfront costs and in most cases will require more hands-on and practical expertise around the solution to enable you to troubleshoot issues as well as technical support.
Ultimately, the most recommended is the hosted shopping carts if you are a beginner. It is free and won’t require any high technical expertise from your end. As you go down the line and move forward with your business and its growth, it will make much more sense using the licensed shopping carts to accommodate the customization needs of your business. That being said, it is extremely important to evaluate your online business’ need before making a decision on what type of e-commerce shopping cart software solution to use in your online business.