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6 things to consider before choosing an e-commerce shopping cart

21 February 2017 Small Business Advice

When it comes to setting up your online business, picking a shopping cart might sound like a minor detail, but it could make an enormous difference to your checkout process. As you’ll probably know, the checkout process is the final stage before a customer completes their online transaction, and depending on the experience, it can be the reason a customer completes a purchase or heads off to one of your rivals.

Needless to say, it’s very important to use the right one. But how? Read on…

Quick and simple checkout

If you’re a small or medium-sized business, your shopping cart and checkout process should be as quick and simple as possible so your customers can start spending easily and revenue can start rolling in.

There are a number of online shopping carts that provide simple setup wizards or ‘plug and play’ functionality, which reduces the need to make any major changes to your site. It’s wise to avoid shopping carts that have their own content management system (CMS) or separate domains, because these could be incompatible with your own hosting website (see our quick and easy guide for choosing the right web host).

Easy to use on the go

These days, consumers are doing most of their online shopping on tablets and mobile devices — this means for the first time, the focus on e-commerce should be on mobile devices, more so than desktop. That’s why it’s so important to make sure the shopping cart you choose is capable of responsive design and can load content quickly for a seamless customer experience no matter what screen size it’s being viewed on.

Keeping your site stable

If and when your online business becomes successful, your shopping cart will be handling a lot of transactions so there’s a chance it will be a drain on your online resources; slowing the performance of your site or using all its bandwidth.

Research has shown that even a one-second delay in page load time can lower the chance of a potential customer completing a sale by 7%, which proves how important it is to make sure your site doesn’t become slow or unstable. It’s easy to prevent this — just look for a cloud-based shopping cart provider so your own hosting setup doesn’t have to bear the brunt of the extra load.

Making yourself more competitive

In today’s competitive e-commerce landscape, it’s becoming more and more common to run multiple storefronts. For example, selling via your website but also via a Facebook store. A number of shopping carts offer a service like this, and you can manage both easily from a single backend control panel.

Using shopping carts with the ability to plug into multiple social networks and third-party sites can increase the ease and efficiency of a payment for a customer. By making payments as easy as possible, you’re more likely to see a return customer base as well as interest from new users.

Covering all ground can increase the bottom line, which all adds up in the end.

Going international

International sales are becoming more and more popular, so it’s important to make sure whichever shopping cart you select can handle multiple currencies and languages, as well as a variety of shipping options.

Even if your business is small and growth outside your current country is unlikely at the moment, it’s a good idea to make sure your shopping cart has this capability anyway. You never know when it’ll be time to open up to a lucrative foreign market, and it would be a shame if your shopping cart let you down.

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