If your business has products that it can send by post having an online shop is a good way to increase your shop sales. Setting up an online shop is not always easy however. There are plenty of online hosting companies that sell all-in-one online shops, ready for you to add products to. These can be expensive with quite a high yearly/monthly premium, especially if you have more than a thousand products. So it is worth doing some research and comparing different online shop software (ecommerce software) with the features you require.
The alternative is to do it yourself, but as we talked about in a previous tip, you need to have some computer knowledge and be able to follow guides and tutorials. Zen Cart is a great online shopping cart that comes as part of a good hosting package in the fantastico script (like wordpress) for an easy install. Again, our preferred hosting company hostpapa offers Zen Cart as part of it’s cPanel fantastico script. Zen Cart is very comprehensive and has all the features you would expect from a shopping cart. However, there aren’t very many templates available, and they are looking dated now. That is it’s only downfall.
WordPress itself has some shopping cart plugins, but there is no definite one cannedSunlight can recommend at this time. It depends on the features you need for your shop, and some plugins have problems with payment facilities.
If you think you may find setting up your own shop too difficult, a web design company will be able to design and set up an online shop for you. Make sure you get a quote first, and check out the shop features that you want to make sure they are included in your package.
Here are some of the features to look for in shopping cart software:
- Options to edit the template to suit your corporate identity.
- The number of products you are allowed to add, some will have a limit and you have to pay more for a higher amount.
- You are able to manage the store yourself.
- Able to take online payments through a payment gateway such as Paypal.
- Search engine optimisation for your products.
- Hosting and domain name included.
Any other features included in the package are a bonus, and it will depend on what you want to do with your shop as to what will benefit you. E.g. special discount coupons, newsletters, collecting customer details.
This is part thirteen of a twenty four part series of tips provided by cannedSunlight Web Design Costa Blanca to celebrate the run up to Christmas. You can view the other tips here: Tips 1-11, Tip 12. Come back tomorrow for further tips and advice on how to get a great website that works for you or your business.
I have to agree with you on Zen Cart. It’s got a fantastic backend and covers almost everything you might ever want from an online shop, but it looks so dated now. If Zen Cart were to update to having extras like WordPress does then I’d be a very happy man.
Likewise, if there was an equivalent feature on WordPress with comprehensive shop features like Zen Cart I’d be there like a shot. All I’ve tried are clunky, complicated and unstable… Good tips here Enlightenment – hey I feel as if I’ve been enlightened!