By now, most businesses have realized that they can reap a lot of rewards by integrating ecommerce software into their company site or to host a different site as an online store. While the financial benefits and convenient customer experience of ecommerce software have been proven across industries, companies still need to ponder over the choice of ecommerce software they should go with.
First, there is a choice between open source ecommerce software and hosted solutions. Then, following the decision of going with either one, one would have to plan extensively on what kind of interface, features, payment options, associated facilities and integrated utilities the ecommerce software should have.
To decide whether open source ecommerce software is better or worse than hosted solutions or software as a service, one only needs to look at the key differences. Open source ecommerce software is a little expensive to develop but can be developed into exactly the kind of online shopping cart or store that you wish to have for your company. Hosted solutions or software as a service comes cheap since there is only a monthly fee and no major initial investment or the need of hiring PHP programmers or developers to create the online store. Furthermore, with hosted solutions one can see the interfaces and all the features of the cart that would be there. With open source ecommerce software one has to develop it, test it and then see for real how the cart has shaped up. The open source option is best for companies who have their own programmers or an external developer team, trusted and cost effective, to create a unique shopping portal. The hosted solution works best for those who wish to have an immediate solution and do not wish to take the hassles of developing the ecommerce software.
Whichever route a company takes, there has to be some standard elements in the ecommerce software that are expected by customers today. For instance, there should be different payment options including credit card, payment gateways like PayPal, MasterCard or a prepaid card. Some businesses opt for cash on delivery as well. There should be minimal information needed from the customer to complete the purchase. The layout of the interface of the cart should be such that it is easy to browse and latest, in stock products should be aligned at the front. There should be real time updates, auto responders, newsletters and the company should be able to make changes, add or amend details as and when necessary.
If you can get all these features from any ecommerce software and the costs are acceptable to you, then you should go with it.