Secondly, as a shop owner, you save a lot of time and effort. It’s much easier to manage a virtual store than a brick-and-mortar one. In fact, a single person can successfully rule an e-store alone, you need just to find a comprehensive small business ecommerce solution. Then the website (or rather the shopping cart and its software) will sell 24h/7days, meantime you pursue something else. And, finally, once your e-shop is operating and works correctly, you can take a day off or leave to Hawaii for a week, and the sales will continue as when you’re present. Actually, your presence is no more indispensable for business operations (certainly, in short terms, but that’s a good start!). Compare it with a real store – if you want to open on Sunday, you’ll need to pay the employee at higher levels, or sell yourself. Moreover, add electricity and heating expenses for the day. Briefly, the benefits of e-commerce are clear – it’s selling without constant presence of a physical seller.
When you start, the major challenge is to choose the right solution. Many newcomers in ecommerce business would like to get a short answer to a very important question - what is shopping cart software? In fact, it’s a program that stores your product catalog with all its images, prices and product descriptions. A customer looks it through on your website, chooses the product, pays it and leaves his delivery address. There’re many additional tools for marketing, easy navigation, cross-platform selling, customer support or e-store administration, but they all serve the same purpose, just in a more definite way.
So, how to build your own online store quickly from scratches? The secret is already out – look for a comprehensive SaaS solution, that combines reliable software and high-quality services, like hosting and web security. Start-ups are often short of investments and opt for most economic solutions. But, frankly speaking, they risk to pay thrice afterwards – their software will not possess necessary features, or have plenty of bugs, or the builder won’t have customer support service. Even if you’ve got an IT geek in your team, count the time he’ll spend on resolution of all these problems and you’ll see that it’s much more reasonable to buy a ready-to-use program. Moreover, many builders offer hosted solutions with Cloud storage – a perfect choice, if only development and coding aren’t your strong points. There’s just a small inconvenience – most off-the-shelf products are packaged ones. It means that you cannot choose the features you need, and have to buy the whole pack. But – good news! – usually there’re payable add-ons with additional functionality available.
Shopping cart website builderAll shopping cart website builders offer a free trial period of 14 or 30 days. It gives potential customers a possibility to test and try the solution in order to understand, if it suits their needs and desires. Generally, it’s better to opt for full-scale software. It contains all basic and advanced features that are real must-haves for any successful online shop. Small business ecommerce solutions are a bit different from those designed for e-selling giants. Their admin and marketing tools aren’t so advanced, design templates aren’t so numerous, and the hosted solutions have a limited storage space. Nevertheless, they’re very performant and efficient for small and medium size ecommerce companies.
Once you choose an appropriate platform, tune it according to best customer expectations. One of the most serious problems, the online store entrepreneurs face to, is a high shopping cart abandonment rate. To avoid the issue, at least partially, try to analyze its possible reasons and fix them beforehand.
Here’re just several most common reasons that make customers abandon an e-store during checkout process without finishing the purchase:
- The website contains bugs and hasn’t worked correctly during checkout. Few customers are so patient to repeat the whole process. More often they close the page and search for a more resilient online store.
- No mobile-friendly version. The number of mobile users buying online via mobile devices, increases yearly. It means you cannot neglect the fact, that mobile users need an adapted website version – with fewer or smaller images, another screen size and compatible with other browsers. Try to retain these prospects, as they account for about 7% of online buyers.
- No guest checkout option. Sometimes customers don’t have time or interest to create an account, and prefer buying as guests. Just let them do this.
- Unexpected or high extra costs, like shipment and taxes, can lead prospects to abandon the cart and search cheaper variants elsewhere.
- The absence of necessary payment or shipment method inevitable brings the customer to leave your e-shop. The solution is quite simple – just add as many methods as possible.
- Due to numerous Internet frauds some customers are very concerned about payment and private information security. At a slightest doubt they close the checkout page and never come back. An appropriate SSL certificate will completely solve the issue.
Read more about how to Install CS-Cart from scratch.