Choosing the Right Shopping Cart Software and Web Content Management Software - Part 1

2007-01-25 by Tracey simpson

Find shopping cart software and web content management software that will accommodate the smooth running of your online business and at the same time give your customers an effortless shopping environment.

Shopping cart software is ecommerce software which enables merchants to run a business online. The shopping cart software is made up of an ordering system, by which users can choose products from a list, place the product in their virtual 'basket' and then pay through credit card or other media. 
Web content management software allows webmasters to organise and handle all information that is uploaded to a website no matter where they are located.  The software provides users with all of the tools and features required to build and customise the content and appearance of their complete online store.   Web content management software often comes complete with news management features to support the complexities of publishing continuous amounts of news, articles and reviews.  Some support forums and help desk features that allow webmasters to communicate effectively with their customers, and additional features can include support for voting polls, banner management and more.
The first most important step in online selling, is choosing the right shopping cart system and content management tool.  You need to find an ecommerce system that will accommodate the smooth running of your online business and at the same time give your customers an effortless shopping environment.  It's therefore important to identify the features you think you will need from your shopping cart software and web content management software.
To identify the features you will need, it is essential that you know your product well and your future intentions.  What you intend to sell online and how you intend to expand your business will greatly determine what features you need from your shopping cart system and web content management software.
To help you evaluate some of the features you may need to run your online business, it will help to think about how important the following features are to you.  The level of demand for each of these features will depend a great deal on how experienced you are with shopping carts and web site content management.
In part 1 we will look at what shopping cart features you may want to think about:
Do you need an easy to follow web-based installation process to lead you each step of the way?  Or do you have PHP knowledge often needed to install and customise an open source code? 
Availability of Technical Support
If you do not feel confident about installing, running and managing your shopping cart software the availability of technical support will be important to you and will play a big part in helping you decide which shopping cart software is right for you.
Search Engine Friendly
Search engines drive a great amount of traffic to a website therefore it is important your product pages can be easily accessed by the search engines. 
For ecommerce websites that offer a large number of products, dynamically generated websites offer some real benefits.  However some search engines have been unable to spider dynamic websites in the past and they often do not appear high up in the search engines.  Some shopping cart solutions have overcome this problem by producing static pages, so this may be an important factor to you.  Similarly, some web content management solutions support the ability to add META data to each page and RSS feed support, an important factor in on-page search engine optimisation.
Conversion Friendly Checkout Process
The purpose of most online shops is to generate sales, therefore the less number of clicks a user has to perform to actually purchase the product, the better.  If the shopping cart takes a user through too many stages before they get what they (and you) want, it is likely they will not convert.
Product Growth
It is particularly important that your shopping cart has room for growth.  If your product line is small you may want to expand it in future if a particular line of products do well.  Some shopping carts can offer unlimited products or have an upgrade feature should you need more from your shopping cart software.  However others can limit the number of products allowed, therefore you consider this when selecting your software.
Test, test, test
The key to choosing the right shopping cart software is practical testing and this is the same for web content management software.  You should download a free version of the shopping cart and experiment with their features to see if they are right for you.
To find out more about what you should consider when choosing web content management software, you should read Choosing the Right Shopping Cart Software and Web Content Management Software - Part 2
Viart Shop offers scalable shopping cart and web content management solutions to suit everyone. 
ViArt are offering a fully hosted 30-day trial of their Shopping cart and integrated web content management software.  This means you can test out the Viart Shop without any installation or commitment from: http://www.viart.com/hosting_trial.php

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Tracey simpson

ViArt Tracey works as part of the Viart Team.Viart provide scalable ecommerce shopping cart solutions capable of performing all the functions required to run an online business.Viart also provide web design, hosting and reseller packages. View Tracey simpson`s profile for more

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