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Find the Perfect Shopping Cart

Posted on 5.02.2012

While social commerce, mobile tools and extensions should be near the top of any merchant’s must-have feature list, they are really just the tip of the iceberg. 

There are many other attributes to consider when setting up an e-commerce store, such as tools for recommended products, search engine optimization, image manipulation, order processing and checkout, customer service and product marketing.

Find out more about these features, as well as vendors that offer these tools, below:

Product Recommendations

Incorporating recommended product features into an ecommerce site is a simple strategy that merchants can utilize to increase their conversions. This feature can be leveraged to not only recommend products that are similar to what the customer is already purchasing, but more sophisticated technology – such as Baynote’s Onsite Recommendations solution – observes the actions of shoppers and then suggests personalized and relevant products for customers to purchase. This responsive technology adapts as customer interests and product inventories change. Other vendors, such as Certona and 1ShoppingCart, also offer recommendation tools that can boost average order values and increase conversions. For example, 1ShoppingCart offers an Upsell feature, which enables merchants to engage customers with multiple post-sale offers, while Certona enables merchants to deliver targeted products to consumers with its Resonance Recommendation platform.

Search Engine Optimization

In order to maintain a successful online shopping destination, merchants must have a search engine optimization strategy set in place – because your e-commerce site can’t be successful if it can’t be found. Most shopping cart solutions include some SEO tools, however merchants should fully understand what type of search tools their platform provides. For example, solutions such as BigCartel offer basic SEO tools, while other solutions, like Fortune3, enable merchants to purchase additional custom SEO packages. Some platforms also come fully equipped with SEO tools, such as Volusion. This shopping cart solution offers store, product, category and article-specific SEO settings, as well as a search engine sitemap generator, custom Meta tag overrides, search term analysis, redirect management and more.

Image Manipulation

Pictures should not be underestimated, especially since we live in a visual society in which an interactive and high-quality photo can be the deciding factor of a sale. Merchants should look for solutions that offer image manipulation tools, such as cropping and zoom, so that their product images are engaging and displayed neatly on their site. MyCommerce enables merchants to upload as many images per product as desired, and the platform also automatically crops, resizes and optimizes the images. Other solutions, such as PinnacleCart and BigCommerce, offer zoom tools as well as automatically generated photo galleries. Merchants can also revamp their product images by integrating other platforms into their e-commerce store, such as Fluid or Magic Toolbox, which both have image tools for 360 product views.  

Checkout Tools

While all shopping cart solutions should include some type of order processing tools, merchants should be aware that not all of these tools are created equally. Retailers should search for platforms that offer ease of use and security. For example, the Amazon Webstore platform includes fraud filters as well as integrated payment processing that doesn’t require retailers to set up a merchant account. Other solutions, such as MivaMerchant, offer order management tools that enable merchants to capture payments, print shipping labels, as well as handle phone orders, returns, and refunds within their shopping cart administrator dashboard.

Customer Service

While the aforementioned features are very important aspects of a successful e-commerce site, merchants should not overlook the value of customer service tools. Both Volusion and Fortune3 enable merchants to offer live chat to their consumers, which can help resolve customer issues and be a key factor in preventing lost customers. Other solutions, such as CubeCart, offer various types of customer service extensions. For example, the Olark extension offers customizable live chat functionality to e-commerce sites, which allows merchants to chat with their current IM client, as well as save chat transcripts and view interaction reports.

Marketing Tools

Tools that will help attract and retain new customers should always be welcomed by e-commerce merchants. However, marketing tools come in many different forms, from daily deals to wish lists. Ability Commerce offers merchants many tools for retaining customers, including abandon cart emails, wish list functionality and a price matching feature. But merchants that want to entice their customers with promotions can choose from a vast list of shopping cart solutions that offer coupon code or daily deal marketing tools, including Shopify, BigCommerce, Volusion, FlyingCart, Amazon Webstore, 3dcart, CubeCart, PinnacleCart and BigCartel. Other valuable marketing tools to look for when searching for a shopping cart solution include email marketing features, customer review functionality or gift registry options.

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