If you are planning on selling products online, it is imperative that you not only have shopping cart software, but that you also have good software. What constitutes good software is, to a certain extent, a matter of opinion, but there are fundamental aspects of a shopping cart program that you will need to give your eCommerce business the best chance of success.
Easy Inventory control
This is one of the most critical aspects of shopping cart software; it must integrate easily with your inventory and allow you to make inventory changes both manually and automatically. Some of the features that the program should have are the ability to subtract out inventory after orders are placed. You also should be able to set minimum reorder points, so you will know that you are running low for certain products you offer. This gives you a chance to acquire more product before you sell out. You should also be able to add large inventory files automatically using popular data file formats such as comma delimited values. Updating inventory files such as product descriptions and images should be easily done without expert website programming knowledge.
Robust payment processing capabilities
This is something you need to look at while you shop for the best payment processing service. Naturally, you will want to open a merchant account, so you can accept the most popular debit and credit cards. The problem is that many shopping carts have a limited number of payment gateways that are supported. If you first decide on shopping cart software, because you want to delay getting a merchant account, you will need to be sure that the software supports all of the most popular gateways on the market. If not, you may find yourself using a shopping cart that limits your ability to take payments because very few payment gateways interface with the shopping cart. Either get your merchant account first, or get a shopping cart with robust payment processing capabilities.
Order processing is automated
The software should be able to allow a customer to not only order the product, but easily enter their shipping information. Shipping charges and taxes should be automatically added to the order. Payment should also be automated. The program should provide the customer with notification that their order has been placed, and you should be notified that the order has been paid for. The shipping information should easily integrate with your printer and shipping carrier program, so labels are printed out as well as the proper postage. The only thing you need to be concerned with is the actual packing of the order, and dropping it off at your nearest shipping carrier facility such as the post office.
Regardless of which software you end up choosing, you should do a thorough investigation of what is available before you open your online company for business. You are bound to make mistakes with your first business, but if you start with good online shopping cart software, you will start your company on the right footing. One example of a good shopping cart program can be found at 1shoppingcart.com.