Starting Small but Thinking Big: Shopping Carts for New Businesses
Starting any new business is like suddenly needing to learn how to juggle. How do you keep that many balls in the air? With so much to do before you open the doors on your retail site, keeping things simple and inexpensive can help you keep your sanity and budget intact. While you want to have a fully-featured, scalable, flexible online storefront, it’s the back end that’s going to make the biggest difference in your cash flow. Win the shopping cart derby with low-cost, low-drama carts that will grow with your business, and please your customers with speed and service.
Yes, UPS Cares about Your Shopping Cart
When UPS talks about taking the pulse of the online shopper, the eCommerce world sits up and takes note. In a recent study, the heavy hitter in the shipping business talked to shoppers about what constituted a positive online customer experience, and 81 percent of respondents put ease of checkout at the top of the list. Seventy-one percent of respondents wanted a variety of payment options. Sixty-one and 55 percent respectively wanted a way to check out via a tablet or smartphone. Now, think about your shopping cart, and what it needs to do for you and for your customers.
Five Shopping Carts to Consider
Free and low cost doesn’t have to mean shabby or shoddy, and in the online retail world while those terms might get a try, shabby or shoddy coding will get the boot when the cart doesn’t perform to a minimal standard. Here are some options to consider when you’re minding your budget and minding the store to get the best shopping cart possible.
Content Shelf: For tangible and soft (digital) goods, the Lite and Premium versions have over 50 features between them, including unlimited transactions, mobile integration, and sales tax support. The Lite version is free, but allows only one tangible product and one digital, has limited payment gateway options. The Premium version is low cost and allows unlimited products, unlimited payment gateway options, is PCI compliant, and real-time shipping calculations.
King Cart: It’s $10 minimum billing per month, but your cost is based on how many orders you process — 25 cents for the first hundred orders in one month, then only 10 cents per order after that. No orders during the month mean that you pay only the $10 minimum charge. You can also set up a private store along with your public one, show price breaks for larger purchases, and even set up your merchant account and payment gateway through the company — the perk being three free months of service.
OS Cart: Free shopping cart with unlimited products either tangible or digital, multiple currency support with exchange rate updates, multiple online and offline payment processing options, real time shipping quotes, and sales tax support features. Front end customer-friendly features include past order retrieval, address book for multiple shipping addresses, saveable carts for members, and order status viewing.
Prestashop: Part of the fully featured open source Prestashop eCommerce suite, Presta’s shopping cart offers one-page checkout, which will delight customers, and the options to sign in or continue checkout as a guest. Payments are accepted via credit card, check, wire transfer, and more with other payment type modules available from the add-on store. Shipping, Marketing, and Inventory control features are also included.
TomatoCart: Free, open source, and mobile friendly cart that is also user-friendly and comes with a lot of support. TomatoCart has a variety of payment options including Authorize.net, checks, and C.O.D. orders. Order management tools include abandoned cart recovery, and features front end goodies like wish lists and add to compare.
Turning It Around
According to wwwmetrics.com, Internet shopping is only going to become more popular as shoppers feel comfortable with the security of their transactions and the timely delivery of their product, with sales in the U.S. expected to hit $248.7 billion in 2014 alone. One of the most common pet peeves in retail is the abandoned shopping cart, and features to address the problem are only one part of the newer shopping cart features. Reasons vary for dropping the cart and not completing the purchase, but according to eMarketer.com one of the top reasons is simply that a customer wants to see the cost of the goods including shipping for purchase at a later date. Being able to save a cart, or send a copy of the cart to email is a highly desirable feature when it comes to closing that sale. Likewise, a follow-up email with a little incentive to come back and pick up the cart again goes a long way. Whether a discount on goods or a better shipping rate, a special offer can put the sizzle back in your sales. Turn your shopping into a sales tool, and watch your sales take off.