With more consumers turning to the web to convenience shop and compare prices, it’s easier than ever for a brick & mortar business owner, startup or entrepreneur to make money of the ecommerce revolution. The first step is securing the right hosting provider. Next is getting your website online, complete with an integrated shopping cart.
While some folks use sites like Etsy and Artfire to sell products direct to the consumer, opening a webstore with proper shopping cart software on our domain creates a more professional appearance to customers. Not to mention you have full control over it.
Here are a couple tips to help you make the choice that is best for your business so you can get the best shopping cart software.
Shopping Cart Plugins for a Content Management System
Wordpress is one of the most commonly used CMS’ for operating a website and there are a number of shopping cart plugins that are affordable, easy to setup, and offer great support.
The major pros of a CMS shopping cart plugin come in the form of easy setup. The WordPress interface couldn’t be easier to navigate. Once the site itself is online you can have an ecommerce shopping cart plugin setup, activated and ready to make your first sale in less than an hour.
Many of these plugins are also free, making it easy for you to try out multiple shopping cart plugins until you find what works for you. If you want a shopping cart with a bit more under the hood then you should opt for a premium cart system like Woocommerce from Woothemes. This is a WordPress approved plugin, as is Cart66.
Pre-built Hosted Shopping Carts
Another option for getting a shopping cart on your website is to use a hosted service. With these services you pay a monthly fee to a company that will host, operate and support your online store. Big brands like Shopify, Volusion and Big Commerce are three of the most popular hosted shopping carts.
The big pro of using these services is that all the work is done for you – you just have to plug your items into the shopping cart and customize it to match your business. You also get a ton of support, which is like having an IT guy on staff around the clock.
The only downside is that the customization of these stores is limited.
Self-hosted Shopping Cart Software
While the learning curve of hosting your own shopping cart software can be a bit steep if you don’t have programming skills or a developer on staff, there’s something to be said for never having to worry about price increases on hosting or unauthorized changes to a site design that changes the feel of your cart.
And you never have to pay monthly shopping cart hosting fees.
Bottom Line Recommendation – if you have an upstart business with a limited budget then start with a CMS (WordPress) and stick with a shopping cart like Woocommerce. As your business grows you can put more of an investment into a more robust shopping cart that is still easier to maintain.