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Shopping Cart Software Considerations
Posted 24 September 2003 - 11:03 PM
I get the impression that search engine optimization isn't at the top of the list for many businesses evaluating shopping cart software. IMO, this is probably because people in that position probably don't have a lot of experience with online marketing.
I've decided to put together an article on the subject but thought I'd solicit some feedback from other shopping cart users before wrapping things up.
Some areas I'll touch on:
Shipping Calculation Challenges
Merchant Account Flexibility
If you have any comments on any of the above or have some ideas on other things that should be considered (based on your success or failures) please share.
Posted 25 September 2003 - 12:24 AM
Most of those were eliminated early in the process, but I ended up installing, configuring, and testing something like twenty of the top contenders, eventually narrowing my recommendation down to three carts that operated at very different levels.
All of my research, and the first few sections of related E-Commerce content, is available on a very incomplete and mish-mashed site. The college, KCC, only implemented the first E-Commerce classes two weeks ago, and really won't go full-steam until January (when they're new building is finished). I'm embarrassed to admit I haven't touched the site since last year. Heck, there's at least three different designs in various places, as I "played" with different ideas. But the checklist I developed for evaluating the shopping carts is fairly comprehensive and might give you some ideas.
The navigation is a little raw, so the link I'm going to provide will take you directly to a specific and completed review. I suspect you'll be able to find your way to the complete list from there. I'm also going to provide a link to the KCC Specifications, which obviously was the foundation for my evaluation list.
Let me know if you have any questions (and please don't laugh too hard at the site design).
Posted 25 September 2003 - 12:36 AM
Posted 25 September 2003 - 12:49 AM
Did any features really stand out as make or break features in your evaluations? It seems like Inventory Management and Membership Modules would vary as a requirement, but working on a secure server would be critical for every cart. I'd hope a database driven solution would also be a given for any site selling more than a handful of products.
Posted 25 September 2003 - 01:23 AM
In truth, I tried to talk the powers that be out of the Inventory Mgmt requirements. I think that shopping carts should be able to talk to other modules, but not be integrated (i.e., locked in). The DB Interface was a high priority, but we weren't locked into a specific platform. I spent far more time looking at the DB design, especially normalization. We concentrated on Linux/Perl because that's what their Admin team knew best.
Security is obviously, I think, the number one concern, though one of the points I emphasized was that SSL is only the beginning of that concern. Beyond what the shopping could "do," I also thought it important to explore what the shopping shouldn't do. The full reviews, for example, talk about whether the cart is "Search Engine Friendly" and "Browser Friendly," obviously reflecting a bit of my own background.
Posted 25 September 2003 - 01:12 PM
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