Monday, 15 April 2013

ECOMMERCE: Building a shopping cart for your E-Store

I think some of the greatest advantages that you get to reap from selling your stuff online are that you will not need to pay the local rates for operating a brick and mortar store, neither will you need a license. As long as you have a computer and good internet connection, you are good to go. Another one is the possibility of getting colossal returns due to the larger market you get online. Your opportunities will soar from than selling to your local town dwellers, to selling to millions of people worldwide-that is if you consider exploring the overseas market. Your success will depend on your efforts, both in marketing and most importantly, being appealing to your customers. In this post, I will help you create an appealing E-store by looking at the options you have in getting a shopping cart for your site. A shopping cart will prove vital for your E-business as it may be the difference of making profits or not selling anything at all. Think about your local supermarket, would you not be able to buy the stuff you need if they didn’t have shopping baskets and carts? Of course you would, but would be an experience you would always dread. The baskets are thus meant to make your shopping enjoyable and the same should apply to your E-store. An E-commerce shopping cart is a software that compares to the shopping baskets in a traditional store and allows shoppers to select everything they want to buy while adding them to the basket until they are ready to ‘check out’. At this point, they can then pay for a total sum of their purchase. Shopping carts vary greatly in functionality, flexibility, ease of use and cost. It is up to you to choose one that suits your needs. Before making your choice, it is important to know that;

1.A cheap shopping cart will require more input from you while the ready to use ones will require you to chuck more money. It is therefore important that you strike a balance between cost and usability.

2.It is important to choose a flexible software so that if you happen to expand your business with time, you will still be able to use it. For example, if you decide to start shipping abroad, then your software will need to have the ability to calculate differing currency rates and taxes for your overseas customers, failure to which they might end up leaving your store without making a purchase.

3.A good software needs to have an easy checkout process. Customers, in most cases, get frustrated by slow or unclear checkout processes. Make sure that your shopping cart does the following;
           •Displays meaningful error messages if shopper information is incorrectly put.
           •Makes it easy for customers to select and amend orders
           •Has the minimum possible steps required to make a purchase and clearly indicates the shopper’s progress

 4.A shopping cart’s file( eg. .php, .xml etc) should be compatible with your web host 

5.It should be able to automatically generate delivery cost, stock availability, shipping details, order confirmation and tracking.

Finally, I would advice technical beginners to start with the ready to use shopping carts or seek the services of a professional web designer for templates that need customization.

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