A shopping cart is one of the most important aspects of an online store. Deciding which shopping cart and where to host it can be daunting unless you are armed with what you need and what to expect.
If you already have a hosting service, they probably have a shopping cart available. This does not mean that is the best solution. Often their choice is difficult to alter unless you have experience in graphics and web page creation.
If you do not have a hosting service, then your choice of shopping carts should provide a reliable and secure environment for your online business. Make sure they will provide assistance if needed and have 24/7 uptime so your store is always open.
Your choice of shopping carts will depend on how many products you wish to sell, how you will accept payments, how you charge for shipping, and what options are needed for your products.How a Shopping Cart Works
When a customer visits your web site, they view your product listings. After they find and select the item, they enter their personal information in the shopping cart order form which is on a secure server. Once the information is submitted, the secure site encrypts the data and sends it to you.
There are various components of a shopping cart that work together. These are a catalog, a web and database server, a storefront with a shopping cart and a secure payment system (which may include a Merchant Account).Key Elements of a Good Shopping Cart
Design: Your shopping cart should have the flexibility to adapt the look to the rest of your web site. Preferably you should be able to do this on your own, but you can provide a template of your web site design to the shopping cart vendor and ask them to incorporate your design. There are usually designers who offer fee-based services for this.
Adding Products: Many shopping carts allow you to upload your existing product database so that you do not have to re-create your products.
Search Engine Friendly: Search engines need to be able to read your entire product line. Unfortunately not all shopping carts can handle this. If they are unable to read your products, you may lose customers.
Multiple Languages: If you want to sell to an international market, this ability will set your store apart from others selling the same products.
Product Categories: Having different categories and sub-levels of categories will make your store easier to find products.
Multiple Images: All shopping carts allow you to use large product images and thumbnail images. Make sure you know what restrictions they have on how many images you can use for each product. Some carts only allow one thumbnail or product image. If your products require multiple images, this could cause a problem.
Cross Selling: Being able to make suggestions when your customer checks out can increase your sales. Having automatic suggestions along with prices makes additional sales easy. Customers are likely to buy these additional products and can double your sales volume.
Discounts: Discounts and a gift registry are additional benefits. Including an affiliate program and customer login will help maintain information about your sales and visitors.VSTORE.ca Shopping Cart
At VSTORE.ca we offer a free shopping cart solution. Your online store will be user-friendly for your customers and for you. At VSTORE.ca we offer the most comprehensive shopping cart solution available. Our store building tools can have your web site on-line in an hour.
Your customers will be impressed with our account maintenance and ordering tools, secure transactions, and product search capability. You will be enjoy our easy to use interface for retrieving your orders that are complete with credit card validation and real-time UPS/USPS shipping included. Click Here to see a complete list of our 100% Free E-Commerce solution features.