Good news for all e-shops and especially for ecommerce start-ups: according to analytical forecast, e-sales can reach 5 trillion dollars in 2017. New players enter the space, and it makes the existing shopping cart programs evolve constantly. From giant corporations to tiny online stores, numerous e-shop owners turn to website shopping cart solutions which provide ready-to-use programs to everyone who decide to get engaged in e-selling. The market offers two choices – commercial licensed products and open source e-commerce systems.
Commercial software is not free, and the user can’t modify its code. That means that every time you’d like to get a new feature not included in your package, you’ll have to pay for an add-on or for an extended package. Probably the feature in question won’t be available at all, if it’s specific or not very popular. Open source products are the choice of those who want to save money or get a better control over their online presence. If you’re sure to have enough developer skills to modify HTML or CSS codes and are ready to spend long hours on coder forums, perhaps you’re the right person for an open source solution. Or maybe you’ve got enough funds to hire a developer who will do this job for you, that is, to code, test and support your future web shop. Anyway, in open source solution there’s often an option of paid technical support, so count well your capabilities and budget before diving into.
If you aren’t sold on a freemium open commerce, a licensed ecommerce program is right for you. Hundreds of them are available today, each one with its specific characteristics and after-sale service pack. Take your time to look through as many products as possible to finally run against the perfect mixture of back and frontend, scalability and features. Building an online store from scratch is a tough task, and thousands of start-ups fade on this stage without even trying to move forward and start doing something. Every beginner is overwhelmed by many questions with very few answers and is afraid to take the first steps.
Here’re several major points (out of dozens) that paralyze the ecommerce newcomers from the very beginning:
- How to choose shopping cart software?
To make this decision, you need to get an idea of what kind of online shop you’d like to have. How many products (roughly speaking) you’re going to sell? Is your product unique or industrial? Are you planning to make season sales and marketing actions?
If you’re going to sell a limited number of unique goods like handmade arts or clothes, neither scalability nor marketing actions won’t be the key features of your system. Instead you’ll pay more attention to presentation – product images, previews and demonstration videos. br>
The more media content you get, the more attention you should pay to connection and image loading speed. Cloud storage may be a smart solution of the problem. It provides flash-quick loading of product pages.
- How to draw customers?
Social networks and local events are crucial marketing instruments. You can also post adverts in local newspapers or magazines, participate in selling exhibitions, distribute flyers in supermarkets and specialized brick-and-mortar stores. By-word-of-mouth information transmission gives double profit, as far as people share positive references about your e-shop and products.
- What payment and delivery systems to choose?
Here again you’ll need a more or less definite vision of your online selling business. If your first goal is the development of local selling, then cash and credit card payments are enough, in addition to customer pickup, courier and mail delivery. For international and even nation-wide sales it’s reasonable to provide a larger choice of payment and shipment methods with cheques, bank transfer and e-money like PayPal or Web Money. Most online web store builders offer at least credit card and e-money payment options.
- Don’t forget about Internet security – protect your information and transactions with a SSL certificate. Simple certificates aren’t expensive and are available for private persons. If you buy it via your hosting provider, he’ll charge himself of the necessary tuning to install the certificate correctly. Your customers will be reassured by a green padlock and the word “Secure” in the URL bar of their browser.
Website shopping cart solution
And what is more important, don’t try to sweat all the points at once. You’ll study them little by little, after launching your project. Get started right now, and the answers will come later. You can spend hours and weeks planning every single straw of your future e-shop, but you’ll never get it perfect, because nothing in the world is perfect. There will always be some bite-size details that you’ve forgotten or done wrong. Perfectionism can completely demotivate you, so get rid of it at the very beginning. Your questions, uncertainty and self-distrust are legitimate but they shouldn’t stop you from launching. After multiple free trials, opt for one of the top shopping cart solutions
. Generally they’ve got a basic package with essential features that can be extended later, at extra cost. Serious market players have a 24x7 support team with qualified coders and engineers who are able to resolve your technical problems at one click. They’ve got a lot of customers, so apparently they’ve already fixed all the bugs in their website shopping cart solutions.
Get started immediately to achieve small (but meaningful) victories that will finally drive you to success. Who knows, may be you are just within a stone cast from building another Amazon or Airbnb.