As an online merchant, the software tools you use to conduct transactions are absolutely critical to your operation.
The ability to successfully process payments is obviously a must. Safety protocols such as fraud protection and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption must be built into your e-commerce system to protect both you and your customers. A user-friendly interface that makes purchasing items easy, intuitive, and seamless is mandatory, lest your customers abandon their shopping carts out of frustration.
All of these features are dictated by the order management platform—the online shopping cart—you chose as the foundation for your e-commerce site. Many cart options are available, and you need to do the research required to find the right platform for your organization.
What Customers Want
The order management platform addresses your needs as an online business. But what about your customers? What about their needs and wishes?
Not surprisingly, customers don’t care which shopping cart system you use—in fact, the management platform that powers your e-commerce site is transparent to them. Instead, customers are more concerned about features that make their online shopping experience easier and more enjoyable.
What shopping cart features matter most to customers? According to a recent study, shoppers are looking for the following from whatever online store they visit:
- It must accept multiple payment options. Most customers still pay by credit card, but with new technologies being introduced all the time, many want the freedom to use options such as PayPal, Google Checkout, or—in rare cases—even money orders. The more of these options your site can accommodate, the happier your customers will be. If you sell to a global market, your site will also have to accept foreign currencies.
- It must show real-time inventory. One thing shoppers hate is getting through the entire ordering process only to discover at checkout that the item they want is out of stock. Your system must provide inventory totals during the shopping stage so such surprises don’t drive customers to a different site.
- It must offer secure checkout. In this age of cybercrime and ID theft, secure checkouts are table stakes. Shoppers need a guarantee that you’ll treat their personal information with care and sensitivity. To that end, it helps to openly display your site’s security features on every page if possible; this will enhance your credibility and contribute to your customers’ peace of mind.
- It must provide order updates. Regular communication with your customers will prevent anxious phone calls and angry e-mails. Shoppers want—and deserve—to know the status of their orders, including when it has shipped and when they can expect delivery.
- Customer reviews help. This requirement is a bit out of your control, but it’s within your power to provide a forum that allows users to rate their experience on your site. Provided you address the previous customer requirements, chances are you’ll receive positive feedback—which leads to more business. As reported in a blog posted by eConsultancy, 63% of customers are more likely to purchase from a site that has positive user reviews.
Who’s Doing it Right?
So which order management platforms are doing it right today? Which vendors should you use to ensure success? Obviously nothing is guaranteed, but some of the more popular e-commerce shopping cart systems available to e-tailers today include:
Finding the Right Partner
Order processing is a critical part of your e-commerce site. The shopping cart system you choose is an important decision, especially when working with an order fulfillment partner. That’s why it’s critical to work with a partner that offers a sophisticated order fulfillment infrastructure and can integrate with your cart system.
OnFulfillment is available to offer guidance and share its experience with e-commerce shopping carts. Our warehouse management system works seamlessly with most shopping cart platforms and accounting systems. In fact, our development team can integrate with any system out there, not just those listed above.