If you’re looking for all-in-one eCommerce solutions that will allow you to build and launch an online store quickly, eCommerce shopping cart software like Shopify is definitely the best choice for you.
With an online shopping cart solution, you can quickly open up an online shop and start selling online. Even if you don’t hire a web developer, modern eCommerce platforms like Shopify make it easy to build a store with no technical skills at all.
So in this guide from Australian Internet Advertising, we’ll explain the basics of eCommerce shopping carts, discuss how you can choose the right one for your eCommerce website, and give you a few top picks for the best eCommerce shopping carts you can use to start selling online right away. Let’s get started.
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What Is An eCommerce Shopping Cart? Explaining The Basics
The term “eCommerce shopping cart” is a bit of a misnomer. Today’s eCommerce platforms do much more than just provide a shopping cart interface for customers to purchase items. Modern eCommerce shopping carts provide an all-in-one solution for building an eCommerce website, with features such as:
- Website builders
- Product catalog management
- Marketing tools
- Checkout and payment gateways
- Website hosting
Basically, this software includes all of the features you need to build, manage, and run an eCommerce website. eCommerce shopping cart software is very popular because the only other option is to build a store from scratch – which is only really an option for multimillion or multi-billion dollar companies.
By providing you with a pre-built software solution that includes all the basic tools you need to launch your eCommerce website, eCommerce shopping carts make it much easier to launch a store and sell products online.
What To Consider When Choosing eCommerce Shopping Cart Software
There are quite a few online eCommerce shopping cart software options out there, which we’ll discuss in a bit more detail in the next section of this post. First, we’ll discuss a few of the considerations that you should bear in mind when choosing an eCommerce shopping cart software.
- Free trial – If you’re just getting started in eCommerce, it’s a good idea to choose an eCommerce shopping cart with a free trial. Then, you can learn more about the platform and how it works, get a hands-on overview of its features, and see if you like it. This ensures you don’t accidentally commit to an eCommerce platform that’s not right for you.
- Scalability – Ideally, you want to choose an eCommerce shopping cart that’s scalable, meaning it can easily grow with your sales volume. If you want a truly scalable store, an SaaS (Software as a Service) option is probably your best bet. In this model, you can expand your store, get more bandwidth, add unlimited products, and get more storage for your site with just the click of a button (and paying an additional fee, in most cases).
- A PCI-compliant payment gateway – A “payment gateway” is the software that handles the processing of payments at your store. It’s important to make sure you’re using a payment gateway that meets PCI (Payment Card Industry) regulations. This helps protect you from fraud and liability if stolen cards are used on your website.
Payment gateways also ensure that your website will not save a customer’s payment information on its servers, which helps protect you from liability if a data breach affects your store. Because customer payment methods and data are only processed by the payment gateway, this information can’t be stolen if your website is compromised.
- Transaction fees – Most eCommerce shopping carts will charge a transaction fee of between 0.5% to 3%, and may also impose a flat fee. This may vary depending on the payment processors you use, though.
- Website builders – Unless you have the budget to hire a development team, or you have the time and technical skills to build a website on your own, you will want to choose an eCommerce shopping cart with a built-in website builder. These drag-and-drop tools make it easy to build your store, add products, and manage your eCommerce website.
- Flexible shipping rates & providers – Most eCommerce shopping carts allow you to partner with multiple shipping providers like UPS, FedEx, DHL, and more. As a rule, the more options you have, the better. Having lots of different shipping methods available gives your customers more options when it comes to fulfilling orders.
- Native email marketing tools or integrations – Most eCommerce platforms have some built-in email tools to do things like send order confirmations, shipping updates, and other such transactional emails.
But you should also consider whether the service has email marketing tools, or can integrate with third-party tools like MailChimp. Email marketing is extremely effective for eCommerce, so you’ll definitely want to choose a platform that makes it easy to build and send marketing emails to your customers.
- Web hosting – If you choose an SaaS (Software as a Service) platform like Shopify, you won’t have to worry about web hosting. Shopify will help you buy a domain and host your website on its own cloud servers. However, other tools like Magento and WooCommerce may require you to buy your own domain, purchase your own web hosting, and take other such steps before you can set up your eCommerce website. This gives you more control over your website, but also makes the development process more difficult.
- Sleek & mobile-friendly templates – A great eCommerce shopping cart will provide you with a wide variety of default templates, as well as additional website templates that you may be able to purchase for a one-time fee or a monthly cost. This allows you to customize your eCommerce store and choose a theme that’s appropriate for your products.
Make sure to prioritize mobile-friendliness, too. Most modern eCommerce shopping carts are mobile-friendly, but some are better than others. Mobile eCommerce is anticipated to grow by more than 22% in 2021 alone, so if you don’t focus on mobile users, you’ll miss out on sales.
Top eCommerce Shopping Carts – Understanding Your Options
Now that we’ve discussed the basics of eCommerce platforms and what to consider when choosing one, you may be wondering what the best option is for you. Let’s take a look at a few top solutions now.
- Shopify – Shopify is our specialty at Australian Internet Advertising. So we may be a little bit biased, but we think it’s really the best choice for any new eCommerce entrepreneur. It’s the “gold standard” for SaaS eCommerce shopping carts, with an incredible website builder, unbeatable features, and flexible pricing that can grow with your business.
- Magento – Magento is owned by Adobe, and it’s an open-source, free eCommerce shopping cart that’s a good option for those who have technical skills, or the budget to hire a dedicated development team. Along with the free version, it recently introduced a cloud-based solution called “Magento Commerce.” However, it’s a lot more complex and hard to build a website on this platform compared to Shopify and the others on this list.
- BigCommerce – BigCommerce is similar to Shopify. It uses a subscription-based, SaaS model that offers a low total cost of ownership and has lots of plugins and APIs to integrate third-party tools.
- Squarespace eCommerce – Squarespace is one of the most popular website builders in the world, and it offers its own eCommerce shopping cart solution. It offers a wide variety of integrations and one of the best website building experiences on the market, though it lacks the granular administration tools offered by carts like Shopify and Magento.
- WooCommerce – WooCommerce is a free plugin built for WordPress, so if you have some WordPress experience and want to use the platform as the basis for your eCommerce store. Similarly to Magento, it’s extremely customizable, but requires a lot more work when it comes to website hosting and administration. It’s not a good choice if you lack technical web skills.
Interested In Building A New eCommerce Store? Contact AIAD Today!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this overview of eCommerce shopping carts, what they do, and a few top products on the market. But if you’re ready to get started and build your own store, don’t go it alone. Australian Internet Advertising is here to help.
At AIAD, we specialise in Shopify website design. Using this leading eCommerce shopping cart, we can help you build a future-proof, sleek, and SEO-optimized website that’s sure to serve you well for years to come.
So don’t wait. Contact us online or give us a ring at 1300 304 640 to speak to one of our team members, get a free consultation, and see how Australian Internet Advertising can simplify the process of launching your eCommerce store in Australia.