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What to Look for in
Shopping Cart Software
Enhance the user experience.
Your customer’s journey doesn’t end once they reach the shopping cart, and the same expectations for ease, innovation, and efficacy still apply. You must be ready to fulfill these expectations, hold their attention, and guide them through the finishing steps of the buying funnel.
First and foremost, customers expect consistency, reliability, and speed. Most users are now accustomed to the speeds facilitated by broadband Wi-Fi and omnipresent LTE mobile networks. Your shopping cart software needs to be configured so that any pop-up menus appear nearly instantly, and that there is minimal lag time between page transitions — or you will lose the sale.
Research indicates that 78 percent of ecommerce consumers completed a purchase on their mobile device in 2016. We can likely assume that percentage has only increased. Therefore, delivering experiences that embrace mobile best practices has to be one of your primary concerns as you choose a solution.
Your buyers also want an integrated product search function that delivers accurate results; they need helpful results whether they know the exact keywords, or are simply browsing more generally. Make sure your search function features a variety of filters that customers can use to quickly refine their results.
Finally, include an easily accessible chat support system so your website visitors can quickly resolve issues that arise. Online purchasers increasingly prefer chat to other contact methods — 44 percent say that a live chat function during their purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. The absence of a chatbot may cause frustrated buyers to abandon your store and visit a competitor’s website.
Highlight your products’ benefits.
Your shopping cart software needs to represent your products as honestly and accurately as possible in order to help build lasting relationships with your customers. This means several features must be used so your customer can complete their shopping experience with an accurate expectation for what their purchase will be like in person.
Your product descriptions must be accurate and updated accordingly. This means having software that makes it easy to adjust specifications due to product changes.
Product images are one of the most important parts of the ecommerce experience. Your shopping cart solution should render high-quality images that showcase your products the way they were meant to be seen. They should be large and feature zoom functionality as well. When applicable, you should include photos of a product from multiple angles or incorporate 360-degree rotation viewing.
Another effective method for building trust and relaying experiences to prospects is to include product reviews directly in the shopping cart journey. Not only do 91 percent of online buyers read reviews when researching a purchase, but 84 percent of them trust these reviews as much as a personal recommendation, too. Reviews can help all your buyers make informed buying choices and potentially give them tips for using the product effectively.
Offer simple checkout options.
Think about the checkout experience from a brick-and-mortar retail perspective. When you go to a store, you are likely looking for the shortest checkout line that will allow you to complete your purchase and quickly move on to another task. Any delays are frustrating, but physical retail stores have an inherent defense against purchase abandonment: Customers have gone through the trouble of traveling to the store and already have the product in their hands.
This same principle applies to online shopping. As you choose your shopping cart software solution, pay close attention to the overall checkout experience. It should be as seamless as possible, from discovery to purchase, to adding items to the cart, to ultimately paying and receiving confirmation.
Additionally, consider including an express checkout option for returning users who already have their data saved in your system; you already know they find your product and pricing attractive, and the easier you make it for them to buy, the better protected you will be against shopping cart abandonment.
Ensure that your website and payment methods are secure.
Your ecommerce business may not be like the general stores of old, but building long-term relationships with your customers is still crucial, even if you never interact with them in person. Trust is obviously a huge part of establishing a valuable relationship. Your shopping cart software is an extension of your brand, and your buyers have to trust it with their personal and financial information.
It all starts with SSL encryption, which is an absolute necessity for any website that houses any sort of data transaction, be it financial or otherwise. Prominently display your security and encryption badges throughout all pages of the shopping and checkout experience so that users can see you are committed to securing their data.
As buyers turn away from direct credit card purchases in favor of potentially more secure methods, your company must be prepared to feature these other options. Customers appreciate the security and ease of mobile wallet payments, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, because they can complete purchases using a single-use virtual credit card number. Give them the ability to use these alternative payments, as well as PayPal payments, in addition to the typical major credit cards.
Invest in ongoing platform improvements.
You aren’t just buying shopping cart software for your present needs. You need to look for a platform that will grow, change, and adjust with you as your business and your customers evolve.
While shopping cart software may have started as a traditional software package, evolving technology has created additional needs. Basic software that solely processed transactions upgraded into a shopping cart solution, which helps retailers with all aspects of running their online store. What most retailers need today, however, is a shopping cart platform — a management tool that helps companies process transactions, run their stores, and do more behind the scenes. Additionally, a platform can integrate with their marketing and customer service platforms to provide a holistic customer experience.
Platforms with these kinds of advanced features rely on the cloud to run as software as a service (SaaS). This means you have all the benefits of the cloud and none of the detractions of traditional software. Updates are seamless, the vendor handles security measures, the platform is multi-tenant, and all user activity is automatically updated across the system. Everyone in your company has up-to-the-minute information, and no details are lost.
Furthermore, with SaaS shopping cart software, it’s easier to implement customer-friendly tools, such as membership discounts and gift certificates, and mobile-friendly features that help smooth conversions and reduce frustrations. SaaS platforms also make it simpler to incorporate third-party tools and apps that add more value to the user experience, as well as integrate with your other business platforms.
The latest innovation in shopping cart software is the use of artificial intelligence, and customers have come to expect the benefits AI-powered software offers. Machine learning and other AI capabilities help ecommerce retailers reach their customers with the right products at the right time. For example, a retailer that specializes in supplements sells a bottle of 30 vitamin capsules to a new customer. This retailer can rely on its shopping cart platform, which is equipped with AI, to recognize that most customers who purchase this product will re-order it 25 days later. The platform will automatically send out a pre-designed reminder email to the customer, inviting them to purchase another bottle. Back on the website, the retailer can recommend similar products, provide assistance with choosing the right vitamins for the customer’s needs, and automatically create a list of other products the customer already viewed. All of this is possible with shopping cart software that’s enhanced with AI.