When someone asks what’s in your shopping cart, you probably think about buying, but what does that question look like from the seller’s perspective? From the other side of the checkout, the question takes on a whole new meaning, and doesn’t have a simple answer. Thankfully, regardless of complexity, there’s no reason to be intimidated.
If you want to open up your own online store, get familiar with the various shopping cart features you need to offer the best shopping experience. With everything from payment gateways to SSL certification, there are plenty of aspects, features and add-ons to keep in mind. Whether you go with the full package or take a more a la carte approach, the right shopping cart features assure that your customers’ experience is smooth and simple, along with keeping things running smoothly for you and your business.
Show Me the…Payment Gateway?
The most important feature of an online shopping cart on the business end of eCommerce is your payment gateway. When selecting software or shopping cart features from a package, make sure that the payment gateway you prefer is compatible with their system. Good shopping cart packages offer support from a number of different payment gateways above and beyond the norm. Industry favorite Authorize.net still ranks in the top three with a score of 8.75/10, but it’s hardly the only fish in the pond, according to the 2014 Payment Gateway Services review on TopTenReviews.com.
From Dollars to Yen
It can be difficult to calculate and set up state and country tax rates on your own. An excellent feature of a shopping cart package is a preprogrammed currency calculation system that allows you to choose your currency, tax rate, and language. Many shopping cart systems offer a limited number of currency and tax options, as well as limiting language and other checkout features. Better systems offer built-in integration of 10, 20, even 50 languages, and corresponding currencies and taxes to choose from.
The number one reason for online shopping cart abandonment is an annoyingly complex checkout process, according to SitePoint. When selecting shopping cart features, make sure a smooth, simple checkout is toward the top of the list, or you could wind up losing half your customers to aggravation at having to fill out too many forms. A good cart offers simple tickybox duplication of shipping and billing addresses, allows basic form fields to be automatically populated, and shows a running total as shipping and other services are applied to the purchase.
Not quite as important as the payment gateway—without which you can’t operate an online shopping cart at all—but still key to a successful online business, the ability to calculate shipping on the fly is a feature every shopping cart absolutely needs. A good system will let your business organize shipping rates the old fashioned way, according to flat rates, weight or location; others will allow you to integrate an automatic rate calculator with rates from FedEx, UPS and USPS. Depending on the size of your business, one option may be more appealing than the other, but the best cart systems will give you a choice between the two.
Peace of Mind
Last, but certainly not least, be sure your selected shopping cart system offers SSL certification and PCL compliance certificates. These help your customer feel secure during checkout, knowing that their information is safe and secure. It’s not a trial to achieve these two key certifications, but the better cart systems will walk you through the process and help you get off the ground fast.
No matter what shopping cart you choose, don’t forget that it needs to have all the features you need, and all the features your customers want. The best of both worlds is easy to achieve with the right system, don’t settle for anything less. Your customers won’t.