You might think that all shopping cart software is made equal, but you’d be wrong. There are many considerations to ponder when it comes to getting the right cart for your website and successfully implementing it.
Here we run through a few of the things to look for when picking a shopping cart.
For any reliable shopping cart, their ability to integrate different payment gateways and payment processors is where the rubber meets the road. If they can only hook into PayPal to bring up the digital payment processor with the user’s account details presented on the screen, then you’re going to be in trouble.
These days, a useful shopping cart can integrate with pay systems like PayPal and Google Pay, and processors like 2Checkout. Website and in-app payments through Stripe is another option that provides modern features beyond what old school payment providers like PayPal offer.
For companies dealing with larger volumes, using a full-blown payment processor like 2Checkout or Stripe usually works better than relying on PayPal. The latter sometimes gets overly concerned with sudden payment volume surges and freezes accounts for longer durations. Therefore, a shopping cart should have other integration options besides PayPal.
Ease of Installation
Depending on whether the cart will integrate with a content management system like WordPress, Magento or Drupal, or is designed to operate on a HTML-based standard website, making it easy to set up is important to less technically savvy users.
Carts are complicated pieces of software. However, most users require the use of software wizards to help them through the steps to complete installation while removing the technical parts. Sensible default selections during installation make complex software appear simple. This is a major selling point when you want to get your site e-commerce ready in a hurry.
Usability that Feels Intuitive
When fully installed and operational, the shopping cart needs to feel like a natural fit within the website. For website users still not used to a different user experience on every website when attempting to make a purchase, a cart that doesn’t work the way they expect is going to hurt sales conversation rates.
As evidenced by Amazon’s continued refinement of their shopping cart experience, simplifying the cart to only show the necessary features and options the customer will need and hiding navigational elements avoids visitor confusion.
When considering conversion rate optimisation, you cannot have it fall apart when hitting the shopping cart page. The switch from the main site to the shopping cart system must appear seamless to be convincing and not jarring to the site visitor.
Ability to Customise Functionality
While some carts are fairly user friendly, others are not. They may offer the most features but sadly lack user friendliness in their dashboard. Site developers or webmasters directly employed by the company wrestle with the dashboard to get the shopping cart to behave how they want it to do.
The company may wish to disable or hide some features, such as a discount voucher code entry field being hidden from the first cart screen. It’s well known that showing customers too many options causes major confusion and an increased rate of cart abandonment. With shopping carts, less is more. The software needs to be heavily customisable to remove redundant features that hurt conversion rates that the cart developers are seemingly unaware of.
Special Offers and Coupon Functionality
A cart must be able to handle multiple discount coupons. This way, the business can offer seasonal discounts to drum up new business, issue coupons to resolve customer service problems, or to clear out old stock with last minute deals.
Dealing with the intricacies of coupons is not as easy as it sounds. For instance, a coupon may only be usable by new customers. Another coupon could only apply when two specific types of products are purchased together. Along with certain coupon conditions being met, it must also not have expired. Also, in the case of unique discount coupon codes being issued, the system must know when a coupon has already been used either because it’s only usable once by each customer or it’s assigned to a single customer only.
Some shopping carts are just too basic to accommodate these types of complexities. If your company regularly offers discount coupons, this should be a strong area of focus when deciding between cart software packages.
Along with the website, it’s necessary for a shopping cart to make use of a secure SSL certificate – usually the website’s own or the developer’s – to encrypt all data sent and received. This protects customer information, credit/debit card details and other private information from prying eyes.
Also, verify whether the shopping cart has experienced any security breaches through websites using its software. Check their news pages and also Google to see if anything pops up. Your cheap web hosting firm will also be able to advise on which shopping cart is the most secure and best suited for the task at hand. It is also them who will be responsible for securing your shop for the most part so in my opinion it is best to involve them.
Strong Technical Support Team
When struggling to install or make necessary changes to an active installation, having a strong technical support team on the developer’s side is vitally important. Otherwise, users of the shopping cart must seek out help from other users often suffering with the same difficulties. This leads to a headless chicken scenario with users posting on various forums to find an answer where the level of knowledge is roughly the same.
Support can be provided through a ticketing system, a public support forum operated from the developer’s site, direct email, live chat and/or a phone line. With any type of software, technical support staff must be proficient with use of the software, installation, integration and troubleshooting common issues.
A knowledge base that’s accessible on the developer’s site helps customers find the answers without having to contact the company directly. Ultimately, you want to know that should you run into difficulties, you won’t be left flailing helplessly. When business sales are at stake, that’s simply not acceptable.
Choosing which shopping cart software to adopt is no easy decision. It’s one that shouldn’t be taken lightly either. Take your time to pick the right one taking these points into consideration.