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Online Shopping Cart

Online Shopping Cart

Types of online shopping carts

When you make the decision to sell your goods over your website, you'll need to decide what type of online shopping cart suits your needs - a decision that will be based on your budget, e-commerce needs and your technological and programming skills.

Your first option - if you have good enough computer and programming skills, and an ability to work with programming scripts such as SQL, JavaScript, Perl or VB - is to buy the online shopping cart software, a lifetime license for its usage, and install the programmes yourself - essentially, an e-commerce shopping cart. This requires some technological savvy, but is best if you'd rather pay a one-off fee for a site that you can customize to your own specifications. It also means that the shopping cart expertise is brought in-house, which may prove useful when your company comes to update the site in the future. A more expensive online shopping cart option is to have the site custom-made for you - though this does allow you complete flexibility with the look and function of the site.

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If you have limited programming skills, then you can set up and purchase a simpler web-hosted 'all in one' package (you will be charged a set fee per month for the web-host's services) that will do most of the difficult installation work for you. These programmes tend to be far simpler, cheaper, 'off the peg' shopping cart packages that stick to a set template and style (and therefore their look may be difficult to integrate with the look of your own site). They may not be that flexible, but for a small company with few products, a small budget and limited technological skills, they are a great way to get e-commerce off the ground.

Research has shown that customers rate content quality and website navigability above technical wizardry when it comes to buying a product online, so, above all, make your brochure and shopping cart site efficient (in terms of loading and speed), clear (in terms of communicating your product and service to the customer) and useful (so that a customer can find out about other products and services you offer - and you can find out more about the customer).