14 Questions to Ask a Shopping Cart Solution

Some Questions to Ask a Shopping Cart Solution Before You Sign Up

1. Does your shopping cart solution integrate with my payment gateway?
If you are moving from one solution to another, it’s
important to make sure that your payment gateway will be compatible with your
new solution. If not, you may need to sign up with another payment gateway.
This could require additional setup fees and a curve in
learning a new virtual terminal.

2. Is your shopping cart solution PCI/CISP complaint?
Security and having a hacker-safe store is very important. The credit card
companies mandate security measures so make sure your
ecommerce shopping cart solution abides by them.

3. Can your shopping cart solution integrate with our POS and/or accounting application (e.g. QuickBooks)?
If you run a brick and mortar store that shares your online store’s inventory, you’ll need a way of drawing upon one single database. Make sure your shopping cart solution works with whatever internal systems you have in place. Most common is an accounting or bookkeeping application like QuickBooks.

4. How many sites are on the server I'd be placed on?
If you're opening a new store or do not require a dedicated server for your store, you should know how many stores share the server your site is on. The lower the number the better and be sure to check the allotted bandwidth for your stores on the server.

5. What kind of support do you offer? 24x7 phone support? Email support? Do you have a customer support forum?

Support needs may vary from one merchant to another. This is dependant upon many things like the merchants e-commerce experience level. Make sure you select a solution that meets your support needs.

6. What type of code is your shopping cart solution built on? ASP? ASP.Net? ColdFusion? PHP?

All base codes are not created equal. ASP is cumbersome and no longer supported by Microsoft. Search engines love ColdFusion and PHP. It’s important to research the code that the e-commerce shopping cart solution uses. Make certain it is search engine friendly.

7. Does your shopping cart solution allow full FTP access?

Some shopping cart solutions do not offer full FTP access to their stores. This can make file management very difficult.

8. Does your shopping cart solution allow for a XML file upload for Google SiteMap? Can a XML file for Google SiteMap be placed in the root directory? Google SiteMap is great tool and requires an XML file to be placed in the root directory of your site. If you plan on using Google SiteMap, make sure the shopping cart solution allows for this.

9. Does your shopping cart solution allow for Admin phone order entry?

If you take phone orders you’ll want an easy way to input the customer information and process orders. Inquire about how the ecommerce cart solution provides for this functionality.

10. Are the URLs rewritten with keywords?

You want a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly store to gain good organic search engine result page positioning. Having a solution that allows you to add keywords to your URLs is very beneficial.

11. Do you allow for customization of checkout text? For instance, do you allow customizable checkout questions?
You may need to customize checkout questions or text. This is great for listing store shipping policies or requiring that customers agree to your Terms of Service. Make certain that your shopping cart solution has this flexibility.

12. Do you have multiple product image capabilities?

When selling products on the Internet your product images can make or break your sales. Some shopping cart solutions limit the number of product images that can be displayed on your product page. Make sure the shopping cart solution offers robust product image displaying capabilities.

13. Do you allow customization of product page layout?

If you like to customize the look and feel of your site, make sure that the e-commerce cart solution allows you flexibility when it come to design of the entire site including the product page layout.

14. How do you handle upgrades?

Some solutions upgrade servers and stores on their time table. This can reap havoc on your store if any bugs turn up or if the QA process wasn't thorough. Other solutions allow you to upgrade the software when ever you'd like. This is preferable.