The ability to have a catalogThis involves a database. Everything that you are selling has certain attributes in common. Among these attributes are product descriptions, images, ratings, reviews, manufacturer's data, and so on. All of this must be kept in a database, and then displayed in a catalog format so that Internet users can browse your products online, and do so easily. This type of database is a critical aspect of a good shopping cart.
Adding items to a virtual cartJust like a shopper in a retail store offline, they will find things they want on the shelves and then place them in a cart or basket. Customers need to be able to do this when at your website. They need to have the ability to place an item in a cart, and then continue shopping. They also need to view what they have in their cart at any time. Just as a shopper would do in a brick and mortar store.
Easy checkoutA shopper needs to be able to checkout at any time they are ready with one click of the mouse. Once this is done, they can see everything they are ordering. Any applicable sales tax must be computed at this time, and shipping charges should also be automatically added. The shopper should, at the I time, know exactly how much shipping will be and choose from any options available for shipping.
Shipping address and paymentA shopping cart will then allow the customer to enter their shipping information as well as an email. This information should be easily done on a single page. This same software should also allow you to offer one or more payment options to your customer. After payment is made, a confirmation email should automatically be sent to your customer.
This type of software should also be able to automatically adjust your inventory levels after a sale. In addition, after an order is shipped, a shipping confirmation email should be sent to your customer that contains all of the information they will want, including a tracking number.
All of this is complex, and if you were to attempt it with several programs, it is likely your online store will be clumsy and difficult for you to use as well as your customer. It is best to use one good online shopping cart software program to take care of all of these issues. If you do this from the start of your business, you will be able to process orders efficiently and quickly, allowing yourself more time for other aspects of your business.
Image courtesy of Anamwong's portfolio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net