Top Considerations for Selecting an Online Shopping Cart
There are so many different shopping cart providers today, how do you know what to look for when selecting one? The answer ultimately lies in knowing which software will adapt and grow with your business best. As I see it, there are four absolutely critical things that must be considered when setting up an online store and selecting an online shopping cart:
1. Cloud solution or self-hosted (downloadable) cart? In short, you need to decide which variant is better for you. A self-hosted cart is a good choice if you have an in-house technical team to customize it. However, a self-hosted model also increases your maintenance costs for hosting, developing, and implementing security updates and software upgrades. For these reasons, this solution is usually recommended for medium-sized businesses and fast-growing companies.
A cloud solution is usually better for starter and beginner merchants, since shopping cart providers do most of the heavy technical lifting themselves, leaving you to concentrate only on generating sales. It's generally paid for on a monthly/annual basis, and/or through a percentage of sales transactions.
2. Ensure there's support for the latest mobile innovations. The mobile commerce opportunity is huge, so any shopping cart under consideration should support the most cutting-edge innovations in this space. There are two common approaches to the modern challenge of designing web pages that work on small and large screens.
Adaptive design was developed to meet the diverse needs of a growing number of cell phones with different capabilities and screen sizes. Adaptive design requires organizations to create many different versions of each web page and install complex programming on web servers that detects each device and delivers a version of the site optimized for the specific size and features of that cell phone visitor.
A new, simpler approach called responsive design is quickly gaining popularity. With responsive design, organizations can create one web page and then use multiple sets of CSS rules to change the format and layout based on the size of the browser window. Responsive design responds to changes in width of a browser window by fluidly adjusting the placement of elements on a web page to best fit the available space. Thus, as users drag the side of a browser to make the web page larger or smaller, they can see the design change in real time.