Whether you are a seasoned offline merchant who wants to expand your business online or you are completely new to eCommerce, you’ll need to figure out which shopping cart solution to choose. Many people will Google shopping cart reviews or interact with online eCommerce communities to find the best service. Of course, there are many opinions about which one is the best.

Without a clear inclination towards one particular solution, you might be more confused about your choices than before you started researching. There are several good shopping cart services, but not all of them are ideal for every business need. Below are a few tips to help you consider which shopping cart will best suit your specific needs.

What is your budget for a shopping cart solution?

Shopping cart software ranges from free and community-designed to expensive, supported options that can cost thousands per year. The major difference between free and paid options is the amount of technical support offered. Free shopping carts feature support through a community forum or a webmaster. As the price increases, the level of support does as well – many include a dedicated team of people ready to answer your questions. If you are able to spend more time developing your shopping cart, do not be discouraged by community software platforms. Many of them are designed very well and include more functionality and options than paid solutions.

How much time are you willing to invest in learning?

There are some complex solutions such as Magento that have a steep learning curve. OpenCart is the opposite and is fairly simple for intuitive users. More complicated solutions come with increased flexibility, which might give you an advantage in the future. However, if you’re conscious of time and you can’t devote as much of it to eCommerce, then a simple solution will probably be best.

How much functionality do you need from your shopping cart?

The answer to this question will depend on your business. If you have a fairly simple product line (200 products or less), you will most likely not need as many options in a shopping cart package. You can still manage an effective solution with basic functionalities. On the other hand, if you have upwards of a thousand products, the more flexibility you have the better you can manage your eCommerce strategy.

Additional tips to keep in mind.

Look for options which have larger, active communities. This comes handy if you would like to solve issues through the community network. Try to select a shopping cart that also has extensions. You never know when your business might need to expand. Small operations based only in the U.S. can quickly expand to larger, global markets. If the shopping cart you select has extensions, you are more likely to find a pre-made solution for expansion. In the long run, you won’t be forced to hire a programmer to customize your cart when you need to expand.

No matter what solution you choose, be sure that it is updated constantly with new versions – especially those with added security features. Hackers and scammers evolve and so should your online store security. If you’re considering a shopping cart that hasn’t been updated in some time, avoid it like the plague. You’ll be happy that you did.

 

[Photo credits to Heidi Howard and Ryan Rogers]