Shopping Cart For Beginners
Your primary reason for setting up a website and a shopping cart system is to attract customers, get them to buy something, and get them to return. But when you come to assessing whether a shopping cart is the right solution for your site, there are a number of aspects to consider. If part of your product or service is downloadable - whether it's advice, industry news or anything else - you're on to a good start. Free, valuable information on your site endears you to a customer, and is a great way to show off a confident company like yours.
But establishing your website as a point of sale is not a simple as finding a shopping cart programme and hitting the 'download' button. You need to decide whether you want to host the site yourself, or find a web host service to do it for you; you'll also need to think about the services you want your shopping cart to have to meet your commercial needs (can your products be easily cataloged?), to understand the basic security requirements of processing payments online, decide whether you want to purchase a customized programme or pay a cheaper fee and use a pre-existing shopping cart template, and whether you want to build or install the programme yourself (if you don't have the technical expertise to do this, is it worth acquiring some training?), or outsource the job to a web developer (though be aware that you should at the very least read up on the basics of shopping cart software developing so that you can manage and instruct even the most trustworthy of consultants).
These decisions will be based on your own budget and technical constraints: how much do you have to spend on the software and any consultancy help when it comes to making the cart function? And though it might save you money, do you have the technical ability to use scripts like ASP and PHP and programme a cart yourself and integrate it into your site?
Finally, a word of advice: there are hundreds of shopping cart programmes available, so if you research their features properly, and make thorough use of free demos and trials, you'll be sure to find a shopping cart that has all the functions you need.