In this installment, Jeff gives a little advice for those new to ecommerce and shopping cart software. He lists all the major points to consider when evaluating software for your online store.
Article published by Jeff Klinedinst.
Selecting a shopping cart for your store is an important decision and we're sure that you've been doing your homework and trying to make the best selection you can. Every shopping cart is going to tell you that it's the best solution for your needs... but then, you probably already know that don't you? All you know is that you want to get this thing up and running as quickly as possible and start that money stream flowing.
Here are some questions you should ask before you select a shopping cart:
How much does it cost?
Sites vary in cost, but most offer some sort of monthly fee that can range anywhere from 5-100 dollars. Surprisingly, the features don't vary that much between Mr. Cheapy and Mr. Expensive. ClickCartPro and EuropaCart are $199... once! If you move your store 50 times over the next 20 years... still, you've only paid $199 and your store remains intact. If you have your site hosted by someone and decide to move... and you'll most likely decide to move at some point... you're starting from square one with your new store. With our shopping cart software, your online store can be quickly transferred to the new host! After all... it's your shopping cart.
A PERL of Wisdom?
This is important! Most hosts are starting to disable PERL, which is a collection of tools that run on most servers. Most shopping carts access these tools when they need some task performed in the background. These tools are very old and outdated technology. Make sure you ask a prospective supplier if their cart uses PERL. If it does... run for the hills! ClickCartPro and EuropaCart are completely written in PHP... if you're not a programmer, this simply means that it is written in the most modern and efficient way possible and your store will work for a nice long time!
Is It Flexible?
Many shopping carts are pretty. They are so incredibly simple to use that even your basset hound could set up your store. Unfortunately, with that simplicity comes a rigid set of guidelines that you must follow. Say that the carts come in Red, Blue, Yellow and Orange... now that's magically delicious if you want one of those color schemes... but if you want green, sorry... thanks for playing! ClickCartPro and EuropaCart are designed to be flexible; so that you can decide how you want it to act and it will do it's best to comply. You can make your site anything you want it to be and you can be sure that our shopping cart software will not stand in your way!
Will It Promote You?
We'll prepare you just in case you decide to leave our page, not heed our advice, and sign up with some sort of flowery shopping cart. Now you've got this pretty store up and running, you ask yourself, "wouldn't it be cool if someone actually came here to buy something?" You thought that your mere presence on the web would start that money pump flowing, but now it's been 4 weeks and you haven't heard a peep from a customer. "Maybe it's broken?" So you call "tech support"... and finally wade through the 7 levels of answering machine hell and get a real human on the phone. We will correctly predict what will come next... he'll try to sell you something. Some sort of promotional package that will submit you to every site on the planet and turn your sales around. It's only 99 dollars and you'll be amazed at what it does. Most of the "tools" in his $99 package come standard with ClickCartPro and EuropaCart, which set up each product you enter into them with search engine support. That means that each product promotes you and your web site. We do even offer a few plug ins that take this process even further when you're ready, but with ClickCartPro and EuropaCart, we've designed it from the ground up to help promote you... right out of that $199 box.
Shippers and Payment Gateways Anyone?
Getting on the web is like any other business venture. After you wade into the pool a bit, you find out it's much deeper than you thought. You'll need someone to ship your products, someone to accept your customers' credit cards and you'll need some sort of security certificate (SSL) so that when a customer pays, they know that they're not sending their credit card number to Singapore. With a few clicks of a mouse to set up account numbers with UPS, Federal Express, the United States Postal Service, Royal Mail, Parcelforce and Intershipper, our software already has an infrastructure in place to give your customers realtime shipping quotes and add those fees to their orders. It also supports over 30 different payment gateways including Google Checkout, Paypal, Authorize.net, SagePay, Linkpoint and WorldPay. You just choose who you want to process your credit cards and their system is already included in ClickCartPro and EuropaCart.
SSL certificates give your customers that warm and secure feeling when they're purchasing products from you. In your web browser, a little Lock icon shows up to let the customer know that their information is safe on your store. It's important. Most of the "pretty guys" will either let you purchase your own SSL for 2-300 dollars additional, or worse yet, they'll let you "share" an SSL. What does that mean for you? Whenever your customer clicks on Buy Now, they are whisked off to another web site to plug in their credit card information. You'll either be getting a phone call from confused customers asking why they're being asked to give their credit card to a company other than yours, or worse yet, they'll bail... without ever purchasing anything.
Don't be afraid to hold their feet to the fire. You are depending on them to provide you with a safe and attractive environment to quickly and easily aid your customers in buying products from you. If they can't answer these questions... you know that Kryptronic can.
If you have any questions, feel free to call 1-800-704-4160 (US Toll Free) or 717-747-1996 (International), or email us at email@example.com and we'll help as best we can.