Determining which e-commerce system is best for you involves many questions, research, and planning. Here are some things to consider.
THERE ARE FOUR TYPES OF WEBSITE E-COMMERCE SYSTEMS
1) Custom Designed E-commerce Shopping Carts
2) Prepackaged Shopping Carts
3) Off-the-shelf E-commerce Systems
4) 3rd Party E-commerce Hosting Services.
CUSTOM DESIGNED ONLINE SHOPPING CARTS
Advantages of having an open-source eCommerce shopping cart include the following.
An open-source eCommerce software is easily customized for any custom functionality you require. Moreover, you own the cart!
You can quickly move to another web hosting company. Most importantly can be highly optimized for search engines. (SEO – Search engine optimization)
Easy to integrate custom tools and 3rd party software applications. In other words, your online store has a more substantial chance of becoming a success.
Also, it allows for the integration of interactive customer tools to help ensure online success. For example, you can integrate; Newsletters, Coupons, Product Reviews, and much more.
Disadvantages in having an open-source e-commerce shopping cart
The cost is higher
Popular custom shopping cart software or systems includes Woo Commerce, Open Cart, and Virtue Mart.
PREPACKAGED SHOPPING CARTS
When a web designer or design company quotes you a cost for a custom cart, be sure to ask if they are using an off-the-shelf custom cart.
These are template cart applications from 3rd party developer websites. ‘Off-the-shelf’ means that the ‘source code’ or ‘under-the-hood programming components may not be easily customized for your purposes.
Advantages of having a prepackaged shopping cart
You own the cart and are cost-effective for e-commerce start-ups with little financial resources.
Disadvantages of having a prepackaged shopping cart
It is a 3rd party application where phone support is poor or non-existent. Moreover, they are difficult to expand, scale, or customize.
Popular prepackage shopping cart software includes Snip Cart
OFF-THE-SHELF SHOPPING CARTS
Many web hosting companies offer so type of integrated e-commerce shopping solution, a.k.a. ( One size fits all). However, they are proprietary web systems. Furthermore, they only allow limited modifications, such as adding your logo and choosing an overall color.
These shopping cart system templates are fine for starting on a tight budget.
Advantages in having a template system shopping cart
Inexpensive Costs range from 15.00 to 40.00 per month as an additional cost to your hosting package. Easy to use depending on your computer skill level.
Furthermore, these systems provide a ‘testing ground’ for you to test your online sales skills. Online and live support is usually pretty good for 3rd party carts. Moreover, they are an excellent place for e-commerce beginners having a limited budget.
Disadvantages of having an open-source shopping cart
You cannot apply custom coding for custom functionality in most cases. Most importantly, you do not own the cart. Finally, you cannot move to another web hosting company.
Popular off-the-shelf shopping cart software includes Squarespace, Wix, and Go Daddy website builder.
3RD PARTY E-COMMERCE HOSTING SERVICES
Disadvantages in 3rd party services
You cannot customize any custom functionality, and you do not own the cart. Furthermore, you cannot move to another web hosting company. In the same way, there are many more restrictions depending on the system you choose.
If you decide to test the online waters with a ‘template shopping cart solution,’ you will want to build a powerful supplemental website presence to help drive traffic to your online products or services.
Popular 3rd party shopping cart software or systems include Shopify, Big Commerce, and 3-D Cart.
CREATE AN E-COMMERCE WEBSITE PRIORITY LIST
When someone hits your home page, your site must instantly communicate your message or brand. Your homepage needs to generate enough interest for your visitors to dig more in-depth for more information.
Your website MUST be easy to use and navigate. Display all the most important information above the fold. Most importantly is not to mix your product links with your administrative links.
For example, ‘Home,’ ‘About Us,’ and ‘Our Mission’ are organizational links. And links for ‘Shop Online,’ ‘View Products’, and ‘Shipping Information’ are your product links.
SEARCH ENGINE PRESENCE
Your website MUST be visible to search engines or ‘search engine friendly.’ A custom e-commerce website optimized for search engines has optimized product pages to increase your web presence over search engines.
Related articles include:
Planning a Successful E-commerce Website
Online Shopping Carts
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