There Are Many Shopping Cart Types Merchants Can Choose From
There are several different types of shopping cart options for online business owners to choose from including merchant service shopping carts, hosted shopping carts, and fully integrated shopping carts.
Merchant service shopping carts can be managed through your administration area. They provide an interface to manage product catalogue, define your prices and to change the prices. You can use “Buy” links or buttons located near the product descriptions. These links and buttons when clicked on by the customer bring the customer to the merchant’s site where they enter the personal data and credit card number to complete their transaction. This financial information is obtained off your site thus allowing you to abstain from having to have a secure site. The fact that the customer is directed away from your site may make your customer uneasy. The redirect tells your customer that you are a small business, and they may not like being taken to another site where they may not be familiar with the company that will be solicitation their credit card number.
A hosted shopping car generally needs little or no programming and allows your customer to stay on your site for the financial part of the purchase experience. Hosted shopping carts are a good deal for both the small and medium sized online businesses that do at least $1,000 USD worth of business each month. The fact is that the customer will still be redirected to the hosting site but with interfaces being able to be configured to look just like your site they probably won’t know that they are being redirected. You keep your integrity and look just like the “big corporate guys” but with out the cost of being one. Some programming may be necessary to be able to set up the hosted shopping cart and you want the ability to keep your color scheme to stay the same as your website. In the hosted shopping cart you are able to use your payment gateway and merchant account so that the customer’s credit card statement will contain your company’s name, and not the name of the merchant service. The ability to have your company’s name on the statement is that it avoids charge backs that occur when the customer sees a different name from the one they are expecting.
The fully integrated shopping carts are the best choice for online business owners who can afford them. They have the ability to configure them with extended features that are not possible with the other two options such as allowing for discounts, certificates, ratings and comments from visitors, and the ability to define product categories and subcategories, to calculate shipping costs, and tax. Fully integrated shopping carts do require some good programming skills and can also be used with your own merchant account.
The shopping cart that you choose to use on your Website will help to determine how professional you appear to your customers. The more professional your site appears the more customers will be drawn to your site. The more customers you have, the more sales you will generate. Research all your shopping cart options carefully before deciding.