Before you take your business online, you need to make sure you have everything setup correctly, especially your website. The most important aspect of your website will be your shopping cart. In fact, your shopping cart represents the heart and soul of an e-commerce website. To understand why this is true, consider the following functions of a shopping cart.
A shopping cart integrates with your catalog
Your catalog consists of product descriptions, technical specifications, and images and perhaps reviews. It is easy enough to display this type of catalog, but you need a shopping cart that will interface with the data, so people can add one or more items to a virtual shopping cart as they browse your online catalog. This is no different in practice than a customer would do in a supermarket or other large retail store where they have shopping baskets. Just like a retail store in your neighborhood, online shopping carts are there for the convenience of your customers.
Shopping cart software offers easy checkout
This is extremely important for your sales. Without easy checkout, your customer may simply abandon their shopping cart. This can happen either without a shopping cart, in other words, you simply make it too difficult to order, or it can happen with poor shopping cart software. A bad piece of software can make it confusing for a customer, and they will simply leave your website. It is sort of similar to having long lines for a retail store, and the customer puts their items down and walks out the store.
Shopping cart software allows for shipping options
You may decide in the beginning to offer a limited choice for shipping, but as you grow, you will want to expand shipping options because this is likely to lead to greater sales. It is important that the shopping program allows you the options to offer a wide range of shipping options, even if you are not planning to do this in the early stages of your business.
Shopping cart software allows for payment options
This is more important than shipping options when it comes to sales. There are different reasons people have for their payment preferences, but from an e-commerce business owner’s point of view, you need not understand why. You only need to know that the more options for payment that you offer, the more sales you will make.
Shopping cart software allows for inventory adjustments
After a sale is made, your inventory will automatically be adjusted. This is a huge time saver, otherwise, you will have to go into your inventory database each day and adjust for sales. In an offline world, bar code scanners are used to adjust inventory at checkout. It is true that you can have bar codes on your physical inventory and scan them before packing and shipping, but you still must integrate this with your online inventory. You don’t want inventory available when none exists. If you make a sale, you will then need to issue a refund. On top of this, you will have a dissatisfied customer.
Although there are many important things to consider before you open your virtual doors to your online retail store, at the top of the list is good shopping cart ecommerce software. Having this fully integrated into your website will start you off on the right path to success.