What are the setup and on going costs? Is there an annual license fee? What about costs incurred by the developer to edit the content and or the structure of the store?
Is the user interface (UI) design included in the price? Or are there a variety of templates? If not… will you store just be a copycat of others in the same market segment…. competing solely on price?
MOBILE READY – RESPONSIVE DESIGN
Smartphones and tablets now account for 50% of traffic to the online stores is using XENTERO. It is not longer optional for your online store to be responsive to mobile, otherwise you are offering a poor shopping experience to at least half of your visitors!
Extent, limits, costs and access to 24/7 technical support for the shopping cart software?
Where will the store be hosted? Are there bandwidth limits? Just like your home Internet connection, bandwidth (i.e. traffic inflows to your store) is coupled to fees for excesses over certain levels.
It is possible to increase incremental sales with engaging features like… product ratings, gift vouchers, reward points, discount coupons, free shipping, “customers also bought” and package deals. Does your cart provide these tools and what are the accounting implications of these “deals”?
SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION
How will the shopping cart integrate with the major social media platforms?
Are there limits to how many products that can be added to your store? Many shopping cart vendors set limits - the more products you add to your catalogue… the more you pay.
Will the shopping cart and its host server environment allow digital / downloadable products? Some hosted shopping cart solutions do not.
This credit card encryption method can either be shared (with other online stores in a hosted cart) or individual to your store URL. There are pros/cons for both. Does your vendor know the difference?
WEB SERVICES API
Does the vendor offer an API (application programming interface) so that the store can be integrated with other database systems like CRMs (ie. SalesForce), email marketing systems (ie. MailChimp) or accounting/ERP systems (ie. Xero, MYOB and Quickbooks)?
How frequently is the shopping cart software improved or upgraded and what will this cost?
If you are selling memberships, then both the cart and your payment gateway need to support recurring billing so that customer/member credit cards can be periodically, automatically charged. Does the shopping cart provide for recurring billing?
Many shopping carts have a basic set of features that are “bolstered” by the use of third party “apps”. What (if any) are needed and what are the costs? Will they function correctly when the shopping cart software is upgraded?
CONTENT (SIZE) OPTIMIZATION
Is the site content optimized for fast download? Websites generally, and shopping carts in particular can contain unacceptably large image file sizes. With high speed Internet this is not normally a problem, but if you have hundreds of simultaneous users accessing your site, slow page load times (due to large images) can result in lost sales. Large site + lots of visitors + slow page loads = abandoned carts!
CONTENT (SEARCH) OPTIMISATION
Webstores are useless without traffic, so be sure that as a minimum, the store and its content, page names, category names, product names, product descriptions, meta tags, image names and image ALT tags are optimised for search traffic.
CART ABANDONMENT MINIMISATION
Online shoppers are a nervous bunch and will abandon their purchase if spooked! “Culprits” include; slow page load times, inadequate assurances of credit card security and privacy information, lack of an SSL, convoluted checkout processes and limited shipping information prior to purchase. Make sure your web developer and/or cart vendor has strategies and or technologies on this front.
BANKING AND PAYMENT GATEWAYS
How easily will the cart integrate with major payment gateways and banks?
CONTENT DELIVERY NETWORKS (CDN)
Highly trafficked webstores can benefit by having various components of the site spread across multiple