Shopping carts make eCommerce possible. Without a shopping cart, each customer would have to make insecure payments, buying one item at a time. A solution that is neither practical or safe. Shopping carts allow customers to store various items in a basket, and then continue browsing. The customer can then pay securely when they want.
In this article, we will look into the benefits of a shopping cart and which shopping carts are the best for each market.
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Shopping Carts & eCommerce
What is a shopping cart?
A shopping cart is software that helps to integrate your payment processing with the rest of your business, such as your shopping catalogue.
What are the benefits of a shopping cart?
The main benefit of having shopping cart software is that it makes things far easier for your customers. Without shopping cart software, the best payment solution you can hope for is something like PayPal, which is expensive and will also deter some customers due to needing to make an account. By using the software, various payment options are opened up - all of which will be within your website and therefore will be faster, safer and easier for your customers.
How does it work?
Shopping cart software works by allowing customers to add products as they browse through. The items will be added to a basket that is usually located in the top right corner of the screen. This basket keeps all the items added by the customer for a set amount of time, totalling up the price as they browse. This means a customer doesn’t have to make each purchase individually, and can remove items they change their mind about. This helps to save people a lot of time.
Depending on the software's extensiveness, you may also be able to change the size, colour or style of a product when it is already in the basket.
The features of shopping cart software
When choosing a shopping cart to use on your store, you should make a number of considerations. Things that you should take into account include:
Security - Is the shopping cart secure for payment?
Payment options - How will my customers be able to pay and are the options effective for both customer and seller?
Shipping - Is the shipping process integrated into the software? Are there any limitations on the shipping options that can be offered?
Tax calculations - Does the software keep track of taxes for you or not? Does it track taxes on just the product or shipping as well?
Extensiveness - Does the shopping cart offer extra features, such as the ability to change a product's size or color within the basket? Or does it only offer the basics?
Usability - Is the software easy to use and navigate for the customer?
Price - How expensive is the software? Compare it to competitors and check if it offers any unique features that may warrant paying more.
Existing reviews - Look for existing reviews on the software. A simple Google search can give you an idea of the brands reliability, customer service and more.
Top Shopping Cart Software For Various Locations
French brand PrestaShop offers a very thorough shopping cart software. PrestaShop allows you to select one of many professional themes to make your store look the part. It also offers a global SSL secure selling experience, with a variety of languages and currencies all at the fingertips of your customers.
When it comes to the shopping cart itself, the software is also very extensive, with summary pages, confirmation pages and a variety of payment options.
PrestaShop is a great option for any EU merchant, due to the built in tax features, which make it easy to sell and configure your taxes based on location, product and shipping.
+ Possible to navigate during the checkout process
+ Tax features build in to sell globally with ease
+ Configurable one page checkout
- Not as suited to bigger stores due to only have essentials
VersaCommerce is another European shopping cart software option. The German brand offers large amounts of customization, from fronts to colors to make your store appear professional throughout. It has a secure SSL connection for payment and even allows you to tailor your shopping cart to a number of devices, paying a variety of ways.
+ Free courses so you can improve your use of the software
+ Tailored cart depending on the device used
+ Very easy to use
- Some features only in German (eg. some training features)
German brand Shopware offers a highly scalable service that they state was developed with retailers. It is designed to be incredibly simple and easy to learn thanks to it’s design - and if you are struggling with it, Shopware even provides training to help you set up your Shopping cart.
Shopware’s best cart feature is probably its unique rule building tool, which allows you to easily create logical scenarios to customize your store in a free flowing manner.
+ Intuitive to use
+ Highly scalable service to is perfect for shops of any size
+ Rule building tool
+ Various secure payment forms (SSL secure)
- Taxes can be more challenging due to being a less developed feature
Arguably the most well known of the brands on this list, Shopify is the Canadian heavyweight of shopping cart software. Shopify lays its focus on speed, conversion and customer experience. The brand states it is 60% faster than the average checkout experience and offers a number of secure payment options.
Shopify also has a unique insight system, that allows you to see the statistics behind which discounts were used during checkout, the percentage of carts abandoned and which customers returned after previously buying.
+ Shopify insights
+ The speed of the checkout process
+ The amount of payment options
- More expensive than many competitors
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that adds a shopping cart and eCommerce functionality to your store. One of the best features of WooCommerce is that it automatically calculates sales tax for all purchases made in major countries, regardless of the currency. The brand is well known for being one of the market leaders in its sector, and claims to have 28% of the world’s stores using its plugin.
+ Simple to use, especially if you’re already familiar with WordPress
+ Multilingual functionality
+ Very easy setup
+ Substantial amount of possible extensions
+ Various free features
- Free features are limited at a certain point
BigCommerce is a shopping cart that lets you take control of your entire online shop. This makes it easy to analyse how effectively your products are doing, whilst also measuring any other data that may be useful for you.
BigCommerce also have a unique pricing structure, where you pay based on your online sales over the last 12 months. This makes the platform accessible to everyone - from the smallest to the largest shop.
+ Fair price levels based on your online sales in the last 12 months
+ Lots of details features and apps
+ In depth analytics
- Limited to English only
Magento is one of Shopify’s biggest rivals in North America. Similarly to its rival, Magento also offers secure payment in a number of forms. However, it also offers an instant purchase option. This option is ideal for returning customers as it means they can store their address and payment preferences and simply buy with a click. Magento states that this is specifically useful when it comes to mobile customers.
+ Instant purchase option
+ Plenty of payment options
+ Ideal for larger businesses
- Can be more difficult to use than competitors
Volusion is a shopping cart targeted at smaller businesses. It is currently only available in English, although does allow you to use Google Translator as an add on.
The stand out feature of Volusion is its customer service, which is available 24/7. This may not seem like much, but not many Shopping Cart software providers actually offer this. And it can be a considerable advantage to be able to get assistance with your shop at any time.
+ 24/7 customer service
+ All features are build in
+ Fast and secure
- Limited language availability - Google Translate is not the perfect solution
- Not much use for larger businesses
Hong Kong based OpenCart offers a free shopping cart option, which you can modify to suit your needs. OpenCart has multiple language functionalities, but despite that the default language used is English. The brand is ideal for smaller businesses due to the initial cost being free. However, if you plan to build a business, OpenCart can quickly become pricey, due to the need for additional features which require plugins.
+ Cheap initial setup ideal for small businesses
+ Can download language pack extension
+ Relatively simple to use, especially with some web development background knowledge
- Adding further features can be expensive
Shopping cart software is a must have for any online store. It makes browning easier for the customer, and selling more cohesive for the merchant. But when it comes to the best shopping cart, you have to weigh up both the advantages and disadvantages for your business. Your store’s location, size or requirements may all have an effect on deciding which brand of software is right for you.
Once you have decided on your shopping cart software, you can begin uploading your products and optimizing your feed. If you want to get the most out of your product feed, a feed solution such as DataFeedWatch could be ideal for you. It will not only increase your efficiency and save you time, but it will also ensure your store runs as smoothly, and profitably as possible.