Shopping Cart Software
Some e-commerce ventures need shopping cart software, while others don't. If you sell only one product or service then you just need a buy now button. But if you plan to sell multiple items in your online store, you probably need a shopping cart. Here are some of the best options for free shopping cart software and commercial offerings as well...
Which Shopping Cart Software is Best?
Why use shopping cart software? There are plenty of good reasons. First, you'll get larger orders because shopping cart software makes it easier for customers to buy multiple items in one online shopping session.
Also, you'll save money by processing multiple-item orders; you'll use less packaging supplies, spend less on shipping, and save order-pulling and packaging labor. That doesn't mean you have to pass all the savings on to customers; they're perfectly happy to buy another item to get a discount on its shipping fee, it doesn't have to be free even if it costs you nothing extra.
Credit card processing fees are another savings opportunity; there will be only one base transaction fee spread over payment for multiple items.
Shopping cart software can also suggest more things for customers to buy before they close their orders and pay, based upon the software's "awareness" of what they customer just selected and what you want to push, in some cases.
So, ease of use; ability to aggregate and report orders in a way that makes processing them easy and efficient; integration with your credit card merchant account and electronic processing capability; and, ideally, "intelligence" sufficient to suggest up-sells are all traits to look for in shopping cart software.
Of course, it should also be easy to add items to the online catalog (photos, descriptions, and prices). The shopping cart software should enable volume discounts based upon quantities of a single item and/or total dollar volume of an order.
A large percentage of online shoppers "abandon the cart," never completing their purchases. Research has found that the primary reason almost-buyers walk away is the surprise of shipping charges revealed only after they have entered all of their shipping and credit card information. If at all possible, use shopping cart software that takes the shopper's Zip code up front and presents a running total of shipping costs as items are added to the cart. But don't require a user to enter his or her name and shipping address before shopping. No brick and mortar store imposes upon shoppers to that extent, and many people won't tolerate it from an online store.
Free Shopping Cart Software
You don't have to buy shopping cart software unless you plan to customize the software with features of your own, an ambitious an expensive process. Shopping cart software is often bundled with Web hosting services; ask your Web host about it. Alternatively, there are many free, open source shopping cart software packages. Here are a few of the more popular ones:
- Paypal provides a basic shopping cart that's easily integrated into your website. It has the added benefit of allowing you to accept payment via Paypal, instead of getting an expensive merchant account to process credit card transactions.
- OpenCart Open Source Shopping is a PHP-based system that will run on virtually any Web server platform. The pages it generates are search-engine optimized. Customers can write their own reviews/testimonials about products they have purchased and the service they receive.
- ZenCart also supports multiple payment and shipping options, and handles discount schedules and coupons.
Commercial Shopping Cart Solutions
If you find that the free shopping cart software offerings don't meet your needs, there are some extremely powerful and flexible commercial offerings. Check out these top-rated shopping cart software products:
- 1ShoppingCart is popular with many ecommerce sites because it includes Internet marketing tools, can handle digital downloads, and integrates with affiliate software. It also does email marketing, has analytics and reporting options, and is PCI certified.
- UltraCart offers state of the art tools to manage order processing, and other aspects of e-commerce business. Handles payment processing, marketing & affiliate management, product fulfillment, accounting and easy 1-click upsells.
- InfusionSoft is a shopping cart solution that also incorporates sophisticated email marketing, CRM (customer relationship management) tools, and an affiliate program component. Popular with many of the Internet Marketing gurus.
Do you have something to say about shopping cart software? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 9 Apr 2010
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Shopping Cart Software (Posted: 9 Apr 2010)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved