Building a website with a shopping cart is the quickest way to start ecommerce business from scratch, but not the easiest one. To begin it at the right end, take your time and prepare a list of must-have features for a successful selling startup. Take poll among your friends, offline customers and prospects to gather as much information as possible about their desires and expectations. According to statistics, more than 95% Americans shop online, and more than 70% of European Internet users buy online at least once a year. Contemporary business development is not a leap of fantasy any more, but is all about strategy, tactics and planning. A prosperous online shop can become a great tool and bring you in whole lot of money, so try your best and analyze all the information available in order to make the right choice of ecommerce solution.
The task is not that easy – to select one and only one program among dozens, if not hundreds of promising shopping cart applications offered on the market. First of all, surf the web for e-shop reviews, user opinions and admin comments about different software. All these people have already made the way that is in front of you. They’ve chosen a certain ecommerce shopping cart program, and are more or less satisfied, or completely disappointed, with it. They post their negative or positive opinions on software builder’s and developer forums, describe various technical problems and bugs, the ways to solve them. All this information can appear very useful for you during the choice step, and help you to toss out the undue variants.
Finally, you’ll have only 2 or 3 solutions left in the list. These are the possible candidates that are worth being testing yourself. It’s less of a problem as far as all e-store builders offer free trial periods for any baseline software. Usually you have from 2 weeks till 30 days for trying all its major functions. Choosing shopping cart software for business is a crucial decision that can add to or disturb the development of your e-selling project. Good news for all ordinary computer users: today most ecommerce software is ready-to-use and helps simple folks like you to get their online business going. Tech nerds and IT fans can opt for open source solutions that need relatively high coding level and programming comprehension. Such software is often less expensive but time and effort consuming. Otherwise, they can hire a coder to do all this tech job, but the final price can appear even higher than to buy a box solution.
Don’t try to save money on the ecommerce shopping cart program which is your most important selling tool. Ten to one, that a dirty cheap application will contain infinite number of bugs and faults, will never work correctly and turn your prospects off your e-store once and for all. You know, no one will come back to the shop without correct menu, picture load, payment processing or order checkout problems. Internet security is another vital point for all online businesses. Customer personal information and financial data protection is your primary duty as a e-shop owner. Look for a trusted and age-old hosting company which offers SSL certificates for websites, hosting and cloud storage services. Be sure that its Internet connection speed is high enough for rocket-fast picture upload, cloud service and checkout process. All these are key points for impatient modern web customers who appreciate their time and leave the online store in 20 seconds if they cannot look it through very quickly. Which means that you have only 20 seconds to draw their attention with eye-catching and neat product images, attractive design patterns, intuitive menu and site navigation. If you don’t want to lose prospects, consider all this beforehand. You’ll never have the second chance to make the first impression!
Surely, you can opt for self-hosting but it should be as reliable and fast as the professional one. To start online selling as quick as possible you don’t need to be a technical expert. Everything you need is some time and money for a year ecommerce solution license, initial tuning and product picture/information upload. Some customers have low-speed Internet connection and will highly appreciate image previews in addition to full-size pictures.
Mobile devices have become more and more popular among net surfers and buyers. Every year the number of mobile users shopping on the web increases 20%. Teens, young and middle-aged people shop online from their tablets and smartphones, and it’s high time to take care of them. Just build a special version of your web shop adapted for mobile devices. Different operating systems like MS Windows, iOs or Android, as well as browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari) also demand adapted site versions.
Don’t forget that your online shop will be accessible all over the world. It means that Chinese, American or European buyers will visit it daily to look through, order and pay the products. Different payment methods, like banking transfer, cash, digital money, promo codes and credit cards, should be available for all customers. Credit card type can differ from country to country, so it’s important to accept all of them, or at least the most popular: Diner’s Club and American Express for American users, MasterCard and Visa for European ones, Visa, American Express and JCB Card for China.
Don’t try to repair all the gaps and misfunction of the chosen solution at the single throw. After all, the more you postpone the start of selling activity, the more bugs you find and the more upset you’ll be about your e-shop. The best thing you can do on this stage is to launch sales as soon as possible. You’ll do with problems afterwards, when receive the feedback from customers. But this will be another story – of another successful ecommerce startup!
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