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Choosing the Right Online Shopping Cart - PDF

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Choosing the Right Online Shopping Cart By Evan Stevens

Choosing the Right Online Shopping Cart by: Evan Stevens Are you a website owner or a web designer/developer? If either applies, I would venture to say that eventually you'll need an online shopping cart for one of your websites. In fact, almost all new websites today need some sort of ecommerce built-in, for the purpose of selling goods and services in the online marketplace. The greatest challenge is to find the perfect ecommerce shopping cart solution for yourself and/or your client. This task can be very overwhelming, considering, if you type 'shopping cart' into Google.com, this search alone returns over 14.4 million hits! Most of us don't have the time to sift through more than a few pages of a search engine to find what we're looking for. For the last 3 months, much of my time has been devoted to researching as much shopping cart technology as I could get my hands on. In general, shopping cart software ranges in price from free to over $2000 for a single license and web hosted carts range from $5 to hundreds of dollars per month. The studied carts cover the spectrum of all web programming languages (ASP, ASP.NET, Cold Fusion, Flash, Java, JavaScript & Perl shopping carts) and provide limitless features as a whole. The problem is that locating YOUR perfect cart with YOUR specific features can be a big task. But no fear, just follow this guaranteed step-by-step guide to locate it: The Top 10 Steps to Finding the Best Online Shopping Cart Cost How much money do you have to spend on an internet shopping cart? The nice advantage is that there are shopping carts with hundreds of features and they don't cost you a dime. They are generally open source products. The only problem is that these same "free shopping carts" can take hours of installation time and be fairly difficult to configure. For a monthly fee, web hosting shopping carts are made for users with little programming experience and allows them to have an online storefront presence in no time.
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Hosting vs. Software There are two options in selecting your overall shopping cart solution. Either you get shopping cart software, download it, install it on your web server, then configure the shopping cart OR you get an online storefront (aka a hosted shopping cart) where the configuration is very basic and the required setup time is minimal. If you have some programming skills, I recommend buying a script and installing it on your own. The nice thing is that you pay a one-time fee for shopping cart software and the license is good for a lifetime. It's approximately the same price to have a hosted solution for a year compared to most one time shopping cart license fees. Supported Gateways What do I mean by gateways? Gateways give shopping carts the ability to connect and securely process credit card orders in real-time. Not all shopping carts are created equal. Make sure that your client's merchant account is supported by the cart you select. I have found that almost all carts support the larger online payment processing companies, such as Authorize.net, PayPal and Verisign. Shipping Options Will you be shipping physical products? If so, there are shopping carts that have built-in real-time shipping options through DHL, UPS And USPS. Often times, the cart gives the user the ability to view tracking orders and order status all from within your secure shopping cart web interface. Also, there are shopping carts with options to ship digital goods as well (files, programs, pictures, music and others). Technical Support What kind of technical support does your shopping cart offer? If you choose to purchase a script, be sure to also subscribe to the shopping cart creator's newsletter, so that you can stay on top of future updates to the software. Be aware that technical support is generally available on a pay-per-incident basis, as a yearly fee or in the rare case, free. Be sure to know what kind of customer support guarantee the shopping cart comes with. Security Please, only buy a shopping cart if it supports SSL (secure socket layer), with 128-bit encryption. As an online storefront, remember that you are responsible for the safe transfer of sensitive information (credit card and bank account information) that is processed through your store. If any of the sensitive information is accessible (stolen) from your website, you could be liable. Be sure that you're purchasing a secure shopping cart solution. Ask the creator's of the shopping cart what they do specifically to protect the secure transfer of sensitive information. Style Compatibility Can you customize your shopping cart to look like your website? There needs to be a seamless transition between your website and your shopping storefront or your customers might get hesitant in purchasing your products. There should be similar colors and style layout to look professional and believable.

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Extra Features I just wanted to mention some of the other features that I have discovered, which might be a critical point in determining the shopping cart you want. Affiliate Program - Offer your own customized affiliate program through your shopping cart software. Quickbooks Integration - Many carts allow direct integration with Quickbooks. Newsletter & Mailing Letter Managers - The ability to stay in touch with your current customers and keep them returning to your online store. Custom Taxing Options - Create taxable or tax-free products and have the ability to add various global tax options at checkout. World Languages & Currencies - Shopping cart language translation and support for world currency might be a necessary feature for your cart. Error Free You mean shopping carts can have errors? Of course. A private UK-based web testing firm found the following, after studying a large group of UK online shopping carts for a period of one month (24/7):"The majority of UK web sites are guilty of leaving e-consumers stranded at the checkout empty handed, once they have already spent valuable time browsing and selecting goods to purchase. This is due to erratic functionality within shopping carts, at a critical step in the online purchasing process." "E-consumers are prevented from making purchases on UK web sites for 9 hours and 30 minutes a month on average, (115 hours a year)." "80 per cent of web sites perform inconsistently with widely varying response times, timeouts and errors - leaving consumers at best wondering what to do next and at worst unable to complete their purchase successfully. This is potentially costing e-retailers millions in lost sales from consumer frustrations." (http://www.scivisum.co.uk/report/ecommerce/) Be sure to see what other users are saying about a shopping cart that you might be interested in purchasing. Any shopping cart errors could cost you thousands of dollars in sales. Get a stable and secure cart. Shopping Cart Directory The following is a link containing a directory of shopping carts that are categorized according to each of the above-stated steps. Make shopping for shopping carts a breeze! Shopping Cart Directory If you have any questions or comments about this article, please contact the author.

Evan Stevens (http://www.evanstevens.com) is a professional web developer. This article reviews
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ecommerce online shopping carts.

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Shopping cart software - make your business visible! By sanjeev pandey

Shopping cart software is a software application through which one can help people buy through the Internet. It is an analogy of the shopping basket, which facilitates easy pick-and-drop of the items that you have selected to purchase. Leveraging on the potential of Internet, one can do the same, ie pick-and-drop the selected item to a virtual cart(basket) using the shopping cart software. This application of the shopping cart software makes it easier for the customers to decide on which item to buy instantaneously and then maneuverer to the next category of items to be purchased. The best part of the shopping cart software is, it gives customers the flexibility to constantly keep check on their shopping spree. The shopping cart software regularly keeps them updated about the total items in their shopping cart and the total amount. Hence, one can easily keep track of their buying and balance their budget to shop accordingly. How is shopping cart software beneficial for your business? If you have a business, you probably must be making a lot in the real world. But, then there is more potential within that real world itself. Yes, the Online world. You can connect to potential customers all across the globe and start carving a niche for your business. This would be the beginning of your online venture. With a Shopping cart software, you can probably sell your products/services to a person from the part of your nation or be it continent or any other part of the world - something you could have ever thought of. Another instance that can be identified here is - if you already have an online presence through a website that you own, you can possibly extend the benefits of the same using shopping cart software. Internet is one of the cheapest platform to advertise your products. And probably that could be the sole reason you might have started for your online venture - to advertise your products/services. Using the shopping cart software, you can easily advertise and sell your products/services all along. Thats the power of the shopping cart software and the power of it to make your business more visible. What all benefits can you reap through it? The possibilities of extending the list of benefits of using shopping cart software effectively to promote your online business is unending. Some of them can be listed as: *Shopping cart software makes the online shopping a lot easier for your customers. *Shopping cart software imparts a professional touch to your website, boosting your online presence. *You can easily integrate your shopping cart with multiple payment processors, making a lot easier for your customers to choose the payment mode. *And many more What you need to take care of : There are things that one should take care of before choosing a shopping cart software. Choosing the right software for your business is the pre-requisite. Some of the important things that can't be overlooked upon are:

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*Search engine friendly shopping cart software: Optimization of the shopping cart software can eventually boost your website ranking which can give you further more traffic. *Make use of the best content management system(CMS) effectively. This can help you arrange the contents of your shopping cart website pages accordingly and effectively. Online business success, takes in account of various factors and choosing the right shopping cart software certainly is a prominent one among them. Sanjeev Pandey is associated with Cartedge for ecommerce shopping cart solution, online shopping cart & shopping cart software related activities.

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