22 Questions To Ask Before You Use Any Shopping Cart System

22 Questions To Ask Before You Use Any Shopping Cart System



You can use traditional methods to​ sell products such as​ direct mail, catalogs and​ advertising. However, if​ you have a​ great online presence, the​ entire world is​ your marketplace at​ a​ fraction of​ the​ cost of​ most traditional methods. to​ easily sell to​ this worldwide marketplace, you need a​ great shopping cart system.

Choosing a​ shopping cart system is​ perhaps the​ most important single decision you'll make in​ your online marketing career.

This is​ because you will be stuck with the​ decision for​ a​ long time.

If you buy into a​ system that isn't adequate, it​ can cost you money--big money--because it​ won't maximize the​ amount of​ money spent by each visitor.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of​ off-the-shelf, free and​ alternative products out there vying for​ your money, time or​ both. and​ most of​ them are junk.

Don't suffer like I did. I learned the​ hard way. When I started on the​ Internet I couldn't find a​ decent shopping cart program, so I took one that was highly recommended by my ISP (I now know the​ only reason they suggested it​ was because it​ made them the​ most money. They didn't care if​ it​ was the​ best one for​ me or​ not). What a​ headache! the​ system wouldn't do anything but take the​ order, but you had to​ have a​ PhD in​ computer science to​ work on it.

Here are 22 questions you absolutely, unfailingly must ask anyone trying to​ sell you a​ shopping cart. if​ you don't hear positive answers to​ the​ majority of​ these questions, put your wallet back into your pocket and​ evaluate the​ next option. Don't get stuck with a​ crappy shopping cart, even if​ they give it​ to​ you free.

If you have a​ poor shopping cart, get rid of​ it. I know that hurts, because you may have spent lots of​ time and​ money getting it​ going, but a​ bad one will cost you many thousands of​ dollars by waiting to​ replace it​ later rather than sooner.

Oh, and​ one more thing: if​ you hear the​ shopping cart programmer answer one of​ the​ questions below by saying, "Well, we could make it​ do that," run away even faster, because you're going to​ get stuck with a​ big custom programming bill with no guarantees that the​ cart is​ going to​ work the​ way you expected.

Every question below is​ very important when it​ comes to​ having a​ quality shopping cart system that gets more money out of​ the​ same number of​ visitors.

1. Will it​ calculate shipping and​ tax?

2. Does it​ handle specialized shipping like FedEx and​ UPS?

3. Will it​ automatically deliver hard goods and​ soft goods (e- books and​ other digital products) in​ the​ same transaction?

4. Does it​ offer customizable "Return to​ Shopping" pages without needing custom programming? This is​ important so you can send your customers to​ the​ most likely product they will buy next. Standard carts just send customers back to​ the​ main catalog, which forces them to​ search for​ related products. This is​ both irritating and​ time-consuming. Any delays in​ finding what they want could mean a​ lost sale, when they finally throw their hands up in​ disgust and​ move on to​ your competitor's site.

5. Does it​ offer customizable "Thank You" pages based on what the​ customer just bought? These are pages where savvy marketers put affiliate links and​ other offers specifically related to​ the​ customer's interests. When a​ customer clicks on one of​ these links and​ buys something from someone else, you get a​ commission.

6. Does it​ deliver receipt and​ confirmation e-mails automatically? the​ customer wants to​ know immediately that the​ order went through. if​ he or​ she is​ unsure, you are going to​ have to​ field many wasted e-mails and​ phone calls letting the​ customer know everything is​ OK.

7. Does it​ allow multiple order and​ dropship e-mails? in​ many cases, several different people in​ your organization and/or outside your organization need notice of​ an​ order. Again, you don't want to​ have to​ do this manually.

8. Does it​ have a​ Web-based administration page so you can work on your cart from any computer that has Internet access?

9. Does it​ include encryption technology and​ a​ secure server? Many companies make a​ fortune by sucking you in​ with a​ cheap or​ free cart and​ then make money on selling you an​ overpriced secure server.

10. Does it​ deliver easy output to​ your accounting software? You want to​ be able to​ import and​ export data easily between the​ cart and​ whatever programs you have that need to​ share the​ customer and​ sales information.

11. Does it​ have its own associate/affiliate program or​ is​ it​ easily compatible with other major brands of​ associate software? an​ affiliate program lets other people promote and​ sell your products on their Web sites. You don't pay them unless they sell something. When I tried to​ get an​ associate/affiliate program to​ work with my old cart, it​ cost me six months of​ down time and​ untold amounts of​ money lost because it​ wouldn't work. the​ associate program people blamed the​ shopping cart people and​ vice versa. But ultimately I was left holding the​ bag.

12. Does it​ have integrated up-sell modules? the​ ability to​ offer more related products to​ customers making a​ purchase makes me a​ small fortune each month. We call it, "Do you want fries with that?" if​ you don't have this ability, you are leaving many thousands of​ dollars on the​ table from people who would have spent more if​ your cart just gave them the​ chance.

13. Does it​ have an​ integrated sales and​ prospect database? in​ the​ old days I would have to​ print out orders and​ then retype them into ACT or​ some other database program. a​ good shopping cart system eliminates all this hassle and​ potential for​ error and​ gives you instant access to​ your sales reports and​ clients.

14. Does it​ have broadcast e-mail capability? Good shopping cart systems are able to​ manipulate your customer database instantly and​ send e-mails to​ any segment or​ sub-segment of​ your clients and​ handle unlimited e-mail magazines. Again, in​ the​ old days I would have to​ be genius enough to​ pick out segments of​ the​ database, export them to​ a​ file, import them into a​ mail program and​ then an​ hour later send the​ darn e-mail. Now this is​ all done in​ a​ few seconds.

15. Does it​ have mail merge capability? the​ e-mails sent are personalized to​ the​ recipients in​ any number of​ ways. Their names can be popped in​ to​ the​ subject line and​ in​ various portions of​ the​ body of​ the​ e-mail. You can merge "what they bought," "when they bought," "where they live" or​ just about anything that will make them feel the​ e-mail was just for​ them. Virtually all studies show that mail merge gets a​ much higher response than plain broadcast e-mail.

16. Can it​ handle coupons and​ other discounts? You can make a​ deal with Joe Blow that everyone coming from his Web site gets an​ automatic discount -- either a​ percentage or​ dollar amount. This makes Joe look great to​ his visitors and​ makes more sales for​ you. Here's a​ secret: Joe is​ your affiliate and​ makes money on the​ sale too, so he's got a​ great incentive to​ keep your discounts and​ coupons in​ front of​ his visitors. Good shopping cart systems can automate all of​ this and​ also handle any quantity discounts you offer.

17. Can it​ work for​ multiple Web sites with no extra fees? When I first started I had to​ get a​ separate (and expensive) license for​ each site and​ a​ separate merchant account too. Not only was this a​ great deal of​ expense, the​ hassle with installation every time you wanted a​ new site to​ go up was enormous. Modern carts can sell bras on one site and​ bibles on another, and​ no one knows the​ difference. the​ carts run on their own servers so there is​ no expensive installation and​ set-up is​ immediate.

18. Does it​ have unlimited and​ fully integrated "sequential" autoresponders? This is​ one of​ the​ most powerful features when it​ comes to​ Internet marketing. This feature follows up automatically over and​ over again to​ your clients and​ prospects to​ provide them customer care and​ to​ sell them more products and​ services. You can even provide free or​ paid e-mail courses, and​ each part of​ the​ course is​ delivered automatically.

19. Does it​ have ad tracking tied into actual sales? Simple ad tracking can be had all over the​ 'Net, but it​ is​ pretty much worthless unless it​ is​ tied to​ actual sales. This is​ called the​ "conversion ratio." Your cart system should be able to​ tell you how many people clicked on a​ particular promotion and​ how many people bought. This is​ the​ only way you can determine if​ an​ ad paid off. Good carts will also automatically split test one of​ your sales pages against another and​ tell you which page sells more. You keep the​ page that sells more and​ get rid of​ the​ page that sells less.

20. Does it​ have a​ pop-up box builder? Even though many people hate popup boxes, they work. I use them judiciously to​ make all kinds of​ offers, and​ I have the​ sales figures to​ prove they get more money out of​ the​ same number of​ people. if​ you know how to​ use them properly, no one gets upset.

21. Does it​ have a​ printable off-line order form? Believe it​ or​ not, many people are still afraid to​ put their credit card numbers into a​ Web site. I still get lots of​ fax orders and​ phone orders. if​ you want to​ maximize your sales, your cart must take these kinds of​ orders easily.

22. Does it​ provide free training? You'll need training in​ both the​ basic set up of​ using your shopping cart and​ determining your online sales strategy, so that you maximize the​ amount of​ money spent by each customer.

You may not understand what all the​ above questions mean right now, but I can assure you they are important in​ putting more money into your bank account. if​ you want to​ know even more about this subject, you can download a​ free e-book, How to​ Pick a​ Shopping Cart System That Makes You Money at​ ECommerce with Shopping Carts.




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