When looking for an online shopping cart, the offerings are vast and wildly confusing. Here are some tips which will help you make your decision when it’s time for you to pull the trigger on selling your products/services online:
1. User Friendly. You want the cart to be easy to order from for your customers as well as easy for you to make updates and enter products. Most online carts have a free 2 or 3 week trial so you can kick the tires and get used to the backend. I highly recommend taking advantage of this trial period before launching your cart or adding products.
2. Customization. You want the cart to be easy to customize for both yourself and your developer. Does it handle CSS? Can you move things around easily? A beautiful experience for your user is a must not only through ease of use but visually. This is going to make your store stand out among your competition. Your store design needs to delight people and entice them to go farther through beautiful design.
3. Functionality. The most important part of your shopping cart is its functionality or ability to do things you and your customers want. How does it handle credit card payments? Do you have shipping rules you need it to follow? What about tiered pricing for wholesale customers? Make sure you read through the shopping cart features very carefully to ensure they meet your and your customer’s expectations.
4. Social Selling. Does your cart easily allow your customers to share your products/services through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc? If it doesn’t integrate these services you might want to think about changing carts. These days, sharing online is the lifeblood to most ecommerce ventures. That is the easiest way to get your goods and services in front of people who may not otherwise hear about you. A good integration with social sites is very important because 85% of people buy something they’ve heard of from a friend. Make sure this is a one-click feature in your cart.
5. Search Engine Powerful. The last piece of the online sales puzzle to take very seriously is the effectiveness of the cart in the search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. Take a look at carts that are already built with the cart and do some research to see if they come up for common keywords. Also look at how the links are built for each product. Are there keywords in the URL path? Look at the address bar and you should see something like: www.mystore.com/womens-cropped-jeans
. Make sure real words are associated with each product web address. That’s important for great search engine optimization. Also look for the ability to create your own freestanding meta tags which you can control.
Putting your goods/services online is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you’re looking at free shopping carts or low-cost solutions you need to consider you get what you pay for. Most cheap carts are not built to last. They are built for thousands of people who want to put their toe in the water to see if they have a good idea before they take things seriously. Don’t get caught in that trap. If the user experience of buying your goods online is a chore, that impression will stay with your buyer who will never give you another chance to get it right.
After all, you wouldn’t sell your products/services in a dark alley caked with broken glass and garbage on a dead end street. The online experience should be looked at in the same light. Invest time and some reasonable resources in your store. If you don’t know what you’re doing, find someone who can prove they’ve done it well already who can help you. Your shopping cart should be a reflection of the high quality you strive for and your customers expect. Delight them all the way from the home page to hitting “Order Now!” and they’ll keep coming back for more.
Desiree Scales – Fairy Godmother/Online Marketing Expert – Desiree Scales from Bella Web Design from Atlanta, GA
Desiree Scales brings over 15 years of expertise in online marketing to customer projects at her award-winning company, Bella Web Design, Inc.With a background as a web designer for a major U.S. corporation, Delta Air Lines, Desiree delivers sound advice and outstanding solutions for her business customers. Her expertise and experience has evolved into a passion to educate people about online marketing and technologies that foster success. She has been a featured speaker at companies, conferences and seminars speaking on topics about web design, social media, online marketing and protecting teens on the Internet. Desiree also hosts The Bella Buzz, a weekly podcast dedicated to online marketing topics, tools and tips for business owners. Her podcast is popular among business owners around the world. Her company garnered a prestigious Webby Award Honor in 2011. Desiree has provided consulting for many companies including Microsoft, Delta Air Lines, Northside Radiology, Brand Mortgage and Marriott among others.
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