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Shopping Carts Solutions
Today every growing business tries to be customer centric and I am very sure that business entropy will increase if your customer retention rate goes low. In this article I will discuss all about shopping cart and shopping cart software solution. With plethora of internet, staying at the top of your field has become arduous and it takes a lot to remain or reach at the top position. Looking back at the decade of shopping, there were no online store and customers had to walk to the store, spend time there browsing through the catalogue, deciding products, and then the product was passed into the shopping cart (trolley), order was placed and finally checkout and payment processes were carried. Then everything was manual, all entries were made manually and pricing were calculated on hands. In present scenario - With online shopping cart you can shop from your home or your office; just need internet connection and all yours processing finalized in a minute. This online storefront with integrated shopping solution provides a platform for selecting and purchasing your favorite products.
Shopping Carts is selecting products online for purchasing. Ecommerce is complete online store for shopping where from placing orders, tracking orders and managing account all are maintained.
The interface of online stores are designed for users and it is really easy to browse, collect, place orders and make payment but behind the curtain the scene is sophisticated, it needs round the clock maintenance for smooth functioning of your ecommerce store. The current study says that abandonment rate of shopping cart ranges from 25% to 75%. Being a SEO executive and strategist I have analyzed lots of ecommerce websites, studied its web analytics funnel visualization report, it shows that most of the visitors exit at the initial step (after Login or Registration), these visitors drop out at proceeding steps, and very small percentage reach the final checkout. I would say that funnel conversion rate is very low for these ecommerce websites / shopping carts if the funnel steps are not properly set.
I would like to share what all I have inculcated through my experience, reasons for shopping cart abandonment are:
High Shipping Cost: This can be inversely managed by increasing product cost and reducing shipping cost.
Security and Privacy Problem: Providing very transparent privacy statement and high level security for payment gateway.
Lot of essentialities and billing formalities: Non essential information should be not be made mandatory, other formalities can be filled at the after checkout.
Poor Navigation: Your shopping store should respond quickly, check that your site does not take enough loading time. Search should be simple and checkout process should not be very lengthy. Clients should be notified after payment is done and visitors who wish can easily navigate back to make more shopping without time wastage.
Remember, your ecommerce website should be simple so that it entices your customers to come again for shopping. All the shopping cart segments should be integrated and should be streamlined for its smooth running. Elements of consideration are: a ecommerce shopping cart (storefront with shopping cart), a merchant account, a database server (this stores all information about customer and all your storefront products and services), a web server (hosts your website and provides all information about your product at the web browser's request), a catalogue, legacy system, control inventory, reporting tool and secure payment gateway. Hosting of your online storefront or ecommerce website is of first consideration. Depending on your storefront hosting you choose shopping cart software, all depends on the software and your website hosting compatibility.
There are different shopping cart software available for your storefront from which you can choose. Either you can Buy a shopping cart software product, or join a service (template service build your store).
Choosing shopping cart software is the key business requirement for online shopping business solutions.
Every ecommerce site has its shopping cart and thus needs a merchant account and payment gateway. I believe these two are basic necessities of any online store for allowing credit card payment. Let be brief the main points that you should know before proceeding to shopping carts.
Merchant Account: This allows to process credit card information. Different types of merchant accounts are available to suit your business needs. Most popular merchant accounts include wireless, telecheck, mail order or phone, e-commerce. Ecommerce is the fastest growing transaction segment.
Payment Gateway: payment gateway processes this credit card and shipping information and real time information over a secure network connection.
A company that validates your credit card information in real time is electronic gateway or payment gateway. Few most widely accepted gateways are: Paypal (Globally), Verisign (Globally), 2Checkout (Globally), WorldPay (Gloablly), Authorize.Net (US), CyberSource (US), Moneris (CA), Protx (UK), EWay (AU); some others are Chronopay, Westpac, BluePay, viaKLIX, eMatters, plugnpay, eway, goemerchant.com, skipjack, MiraPay, netaxept, DirectOne, nab, NETBANX, Network Merchants, Nochex, DeltaPAY, eProcessing Network, protx, egateway, SECPay, paymate, Gotmerchant, ANZ, beanstream, Payjunction, TECHNOCASH, MiraPay, GoDaddy.
Payment gateway main motive is to provide secure channel for credit card information transfer. Basically the credit card information is encrypted and sent to respective bank for verification, these are of highest priority, no detail is stored in between.
You may be having now in mind how to create your merchant account and have your payment gateway??? Not mandatory to have one's own, you may use merchant service providers' shopping cart solutions for your ecommerce websites.
Type of Gateways:
Currently there are 3 main gateway interfaces available:
COM based gateway interface: Most of the COM based gateway company requires installing the DLL software on your hosting server, and also checks for your SSL certificate.
XML Transport gateway interface: XML Transport gateway companies do not require DLL installation but checks for you SLL certification instead uses Windows server installed facilities.
Form based gateway interface: This is most common gateway as does not require any software installation, very few companies ask for SSL certification.
The main advantage is that COM and XML gateways are integrated with your store and thus no redirection to external server but the drawback also lies that since the transfer is over the internet to payment gateway makes this less reliable.
Types of Shopping Cart
Merchant Service Shopping Carts
Have you set up a new business, do not have merchant account and payment gateway??? Still looking.... There are merchant services shopping carts available for new businesses with very less queries at the initial stage. Once you start your business at the initial stage there are very less orders that increases gradually, so merchant will get you licensed . It proceeds somewhat like this: it collects and stores your client's information and takes you to its payment gateway and merchant account.
The main problem is the fee that gateway company charges. Apart from the set up fee, transaction cost is also high making the over all gateway an expensive one. Another major drawback is that client's credit card statements will contain merchant service not your company name. There is admin login section for all sort of updation – add, delete, edit, and manage products and other information. The HTML code generated by the cart is inserted in the respected pages, once the visitor clicks on the link (button), visitor is redirected to merchant site where visitor needs to enter card detail and personal details.
Hosted Shopping Carts
Small and medium sized businesses need not worry!! Yes, they can have hosted shopping cart for those not having enough resource to go with integrated shopping cart solutions for their ecommerce websites. The hosted shopping cart solution has an administration area for entering product information. The generated HTML information code is inserted into the product page. The website visitor is redirected to another site to fill a form with information that is CC to the website. There are certain carts that provide configurable user interface so that it looks as corporate website.
The most important point to be noted is that in hosted shopping cart solutions the website owner uses ones own payment gateway and merchant account; this provides your client with credit card detail with your company title not the title of merchant service. For increasing sale this shopping cart service becomes cheaper, this may be fixed transaction charge for higher sales compared to per transaction.
Fully Integrated Shopping Carts
Fully integrated (Trunkey - a comprehensive shopping cart solution provided by one provider) shopping cart provides completely configurable user interface and other interesting features. This needs some programming knowledge so that you can better manage and handle its modules and use the extra features provided. Provider of On the ecommerce provider server the software data and web pages are hosted. Examples: Yahoo Store, Bigstep, Merchandizer, etc. these include form based built in payment gateway.
Which shopping cart to go with?? Points to ponder – Costing: The investment you put in, hosting
Shopping cart software is the common online storefront business solution. There are myriad e-commerce solutions available with varying features, design, security so that you can customize based on your requirements and specifications. With open source software solutions, osCommerce shopping cart solution there are slew of customizable shopping cart solutions available. The open source ecommerce software products are available that are very easy to setup, configure, administration. So before going with a particular solution Payment gateway or shopping cart just be clear about your requirements. There is another storefront solution, Watson shopping cart system (developed in Switzerland) is a new shopping cart or trolley that has unique database and uses audio advertising system of the internet for online shopping.