Doing your homework is the most important step in selecting a shopping cart provider. With so many options available, selecting the best shopping cart can be a daunting and time consuming process. It’s important to understand not all eCommerce systems are created equally. Therefore, it’s important to evaluate your options and make sure you select the right software for your business.

Here’s our list of the top 3 things to look for in a shopping cart provider:

1) Is it secure?

This is the most simple, but often overlooked, selection criteria. To avoid fines, fees and possible legal action, make sure the software you are using is both PA DSS and PCI certified and compliant. If the eCommerce company you’re looking at isn’t bragging about their certifications, odds are it’s not compliant. Compliant solutions don’t cost any more than non-compliant solutions so if you don’t see “PA-DSS / PCI Compliant” it’s best to move on.

2) Is it scalable?

When searching for an ecommerce provider, many merchants think too short term. Sure a “hosted only” solution will be able to get you started, but once the sales start rolling in do you have the ability to scale without being charged astronomical fees? Having your provider host your store does have its advantages. For example, maintenance and support is typically easier in the hosted model, but stores with high transaction volumes need dedicated and distributed solutions to ensure high accessibility. Once your store is clicking, odds are you’ll rarely need to contact your provider for issues outside of hosting. Some providers prey on successful stores knowing they have no choice but to pay them whatever “hosting” fees they ask. They also understand moving to another solution can be time consuming and difficult so they tend to charge higher rates to stores making more sales. Make sure when the sales start rolling in, you can move your store and scale to the needs of YOUR business, not the needs of theirs.

3) Do they offer support?

Most ecommerce providers offer little to no support. Even worse, some providers offer only “pay-per-incident” support. Think about this for a second…why would you trust your business to a company that has a financial incentive to provide you an inferior product? Under the “pay-per-incident” model, the more tickets and support calls they get, the more money they make. Bottom line, stay away from any company that doesn’t give you access to free support resources.

While this list is short, it’s important to keep these very important things in mind when selecting the best online shopping cart for your business.

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