Shopping carts help people looking to open an online business to feature their products while conducting secure online transactions. More than simple selling and transaction features, most of them allow you to track and manage sales, load inventory and maintain them, ship orders, and promote your products through emails and social media.

Over the years, there have been several shopping carts making it difficult to know where to start when selecting the right one for your online business. It is crucial to take your time to select the right shopping cart as a dysfunctional one can cripple your online business making you lose existing and potential clients in the process.

Here are a few tips to consider in your search for your perfect shopping cart;

  1. Consider your online business needs

Before starting any search for a shopping cart, you should ask yourself what your goals for the business are, in order to determine the size of the platform. Small online businesses that do not plan on growing much will choose a platform that is radically different from those aiming to become overnight successes. Other business needs that will determine the type of shopping cart you choose include its features and your skills in navigating the cart.

  1. Choosing between Web-Based and Self-Hosted

Web-based platforms, also known as Software as a service (SaaS), are vendor hosted and require a monthly fee for access, hosting and security. Self-hosted, on the other hand, are downloaded for free and you may use them without having to pay a vendor. However, there are costs associated with site operations forcing you to purchase your own SSL certificate every year, find your own hosting, and pay for add-ons and themes.

While Saas solutions are easy to navigate, their functionality limits you from customizing your site as you find necessary. Conversely, self-hosted solutions are highly customizable allowing your developers accessibility to every line of code built into the software making it easier to make huge changes to the system. However, customizability comes with a cost to it. Self-hosted platforms are more difficult to operate and not recommended for beginners.

  1. Price Evaluation

The price of shopping carts widely varies depending on your storage and bandwidth needs. Web-based platforms offer options ranging from as little as $10 to as much as $200 every month, while self-hosted ones are completely free.

Conclusively, while the above tips are useful, especially for beginners, it is important to test for yourself the ease to use a shopping before purchasing it, as well as review its customer support.