“Selecting the correct shopping cart for an online business is the most critical technical decision to be made for a start-up,” says Johan Dekker, COO of PayU, SA’s leading online and mobile payment
solutions provider. “When deciding on your business’s ecommerce shopping cart software, the most important aspect to consider is how well the cart software meets your commercial objectives. It also has to be customisable to fit your business and marketing needs, be flexible enough to scale as your business grows, and be secure and support industry standards.”
Dekker shares ten areas for online merchants to investigate when selecting an appropriate shopping cart:
1. Search-engine support
It is an important feature for your shopping cart to be able to provide you with control over your own title tags, meta descriptions, custom URL’s and keywords to enable you to easily optimize each individual product listing for the various search engines. Without this feature, you run the risk of your products/services not being found online, and you will need to spend additional money on online advertising to drive awareness and generate sales.
2. Integration with popular and secure payment gateways
It is fundamental to select a shopping cart that integrates with a payment solutions provider that is Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) compliant, and that is recognized as a reputable player in the industry. PCI DSS compliance ensures that the highest level and firmest security protocols for handling your clients’ sensitive banking information are followed, while the credibility of a payment service provider can be determined by looking at the profile of their customer list, and their years of experience in the industry.
3. Product review feature
In terms of product marketing and credibility, product reviews are essential. Research shows that that the inclusion of bad reviews offers greater assistance in selling product in comparison to not having any review featured. With this in mind, it is imperative that a shopping cart either includes built-in support for product reviews or has a simple way to implement third-party product reviews.
4. Site search
Many take this feature for granted, but surprisingly some e-commerce platforms do not support site search. Since customers typically expect to find what they’re looking for in one or two clicks, adding site search could be the difference between selling a product/service and losing a customer.
5. Customisable and multi-layered navigational structure
As your product range expands, it is important to consider the impact that this will have on your site navigation. In particular, the shopping cart will need to support the categories, subcategories and product filters that you plan to list (for example, customers may want search for products based on colour, size, or features).
6. Product thumbnails and image zoom
Your online store is your shop window – the better your products look and the more detail the customer can see, the more enticing it is. To ensure that your products are represented in the best possible way, ensure that your chosen shopping cart supports the display of large thumbnails.
7. Flexible pricing management
To accommodate the various retail peaks that require pricing changes (such as promotional pricing), your shopping cart should offer flexible pricing features that will allow you to set-up multiple pricing options, including the processing of discount and coupon codes.
8. Reporting functions
A good shopping cart must have built-in sales reporting and analytics capabilities, as well as easy to export sales reports. This will help you track product sales down to a significant level of detail.
9. Displaying stock availability
Even though you may disable cart buttons for out-of-stock products, many customers will “save” items in their cart and return later. It’s important to assure customers the item is still available, and notify them when items are unavailable.
10. Fast and easy checkout
The checkout process needs to be quick and uncomplicated – ideally with all the fields contained within a single page. Ensure that your selected shopping card (or payment gateway) supports this.
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