As an online retailer you need to have a great software shopping environment for your customers to use. Shopping cart software packages come in all shapes and sizes and it is important that you find out which features are essential for your business before you make a purchase. You may not need all of the features that are out there, but how do you decide what bits and pieces are essential for you. This can be hard sometimes, and I can help by listing what I believe are the 10 most essential features of any shopping cart software solution, things that no online merchant should be without.
- You need a package that can calculate the applicable shipping and tax charges for a location and make them known to the buyer as soon as possible in the transaction process.
- You also need a customisable and flexible relationship between your cart and the rest of your web site. A lot of online shoppers get fed up with shopping carts that do not interact properly with a merchant’s main browsing pages. A ‘return to’ shopping cart that continually updates itself is essential for a streamlined business.
- An automatic email confirmation feature is the third essential that I will list, as this gives a buyer a sense of confidence and automates the receipt sending procedure.
- The fourth essential is that the software must use a respected anti fraud solution to help keep you safe, and the fifth it to.
- use third party validators such as ScanAlert or Verisign to keep your safety in check and increase your credibility amongst your customer base.
- The sixth essential feature in a shopping cart application is the ability for a customer to control and modify the shipping information of their purchase. Studies have shown that many transactions are abandoned because a customer is unable to find or modify the delivery information.
- The seventh feature I will mention is to have software with the ability to use discount codes and voucher codes in the checkout process. These are an increasing promotional tool for online business and even if you are not using them now, you may be in the future.
- The eighth feature I am listing is to have a cart which a customer can print out or email in order to keep a copy of the transaction.
The last two features I will mention may seem obvious but many free and open source shopping carts do not have them included.
9&10. A shopping cart must include credit card processing, preferably in real time, and also its own integrated payment gateway. Many cheap and free solutions do not offer this and instead use services like paypal and google for their gateway, this makes you reliant on other organisations and is much less flexible for you in the long run.