The pandemic of 2020 – a worldwide virus leaving a wake of lost business revenue of unknown proportions.
Everyone seems to be affected including the big-box giants, well-known brands, and the small-town shopkeeper who only rent and repair lawnmowers. Doors are closing, income is waning, and, in some cases, inventory just sits as it becomes outdated or spoiled.
Sure, there are loans and grants to keep the cash flowing, but not everyone is eligible and not everyone wants to take the risk of owing more money out than necessary. So what can a small mom and pop shop do?
Pull out the stops, roll up their sleeves, hire a web designer and sell, sell, sell online
With an online store, the sky’s the limit when it comes to sales. To capture some of these potential buyers you need a fully functional eCommerce website.
An eCommerce website is an easy and recognized way to increase your business revenue. It adds to the website design in layout, menus, pricing, photos, and whatnot, but has back end selections that need to be configured properly.
If you are selling lawnmower parts, for example, besides the photo and description, the buyer needs an efficient way to select the item, put it in a shopping cart, pay for the item, receive a confirmation email with a shipping tracking number, and most importantly, a way to leave a review on your website
The steps I mention in the above paragraph are basic, there are many more configuration elements to add, tweak, or eliminate. In any case, an online store or eCommerce website needs a supporting program known as a shopping cart.
Selecting a shopping cart is actually one of the key decisions you will make for your online store. You want it to work well with your services and products, and you want your customer to have a great buying experience.
Most shopping cart vendors have “agreements” with web designers. In those cases, the designer may just install their favorite shopping cart, one which they are familiar with and can easily configure. Their selection may be fine, but it may not grow with your business, adding unexpected expenses and unnecessary hassle in the future.
However, there are several shopping cart vendors to consider, offering features that will help you decide what you need your shopping cart to do.
- How will you display your inventory, do you need a quick view, several photos or one. Can you change these out easily, are there product limits?
- Will you have to pay for the license to use the code (plugin) – is there a yearly fee?
- What payment gateways are supported; PayPal, Authorized net, mobile, etc.
- Is the shopping cart compatible with the WordPress theme being used?.
- How many people can use it at once, is it updated regularly?.
- Is there 24/7 technical support?
- Where is the vendor located
- Does it take all currency?
- Can your customer track shipments within the program?
- … and several more questions that you’ll think of as you get started
With so many questions and choices, I’ve listed 3 shopping cart plugin’s here for review. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of the range of cost and features available – these descriptions are brief, fuller details can be found on their perspective websites.
WooComerece is an open-source eCommerce platform aimed at small to medium-sized businesses.
Will allow you to sell tangible goods, digital goods, and services.
Instant download for digital items once the item is paid for.
Offers multiple features such as Shipping Options (shipment tracking is an additional add on fee) and supports several payment methods – some are free some you have to pay for to add on.
Safe. Easy and helps with SEO
Updates may cause incompatibles with some themes.
No support (there are user communities for help) but hey, WooComerece it’s free
Big Commerce in the cloud.
For small to medium-sized businesses
Online store builder
Point of sale
24/7 live support
One cost for all features
WP EasyCart (Premium)
Several payment gateways included
Will allow you to sell tangible goods, digital goods, and services. And with the digital items, it’s an instant download once the item is paid for.
Multiple Language Support
There are many more shopping cart plugins available offering basic features to highly customization elements. The decision to use the one that works best with your website may require some reading. Comparisons work best when you review all the:
Ease of use, can it be customized
Limitations and room to grow
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