How to Choose eCommerce Software
All eCommerce software should include certain elements that customers will expect. An eCommerce shopping cart system enables people to pick items and store them for later purchase, which is essential these days, as is a simple buying procedure where customers can pay by credit and debit card, as well as using other payment options such as PayPal. In addition, eCommerce software needs to be easy to use, for both the customer and the business. For the customer, navigation should be simple and making purchases should be uncomplicated and require minimal information. For the business, introducing new products and changing prices should be quick and easy, while keeping track of orders and delivery information should be streamlined and possibly integrated with your existing computer systems.
Open source eCommerce software
For most businesses looking to purchase eCommerce software, perhaps the biggest decision they need to make is whether to go for an open source of hosted solution. Both have their merits and both have their disadvantages. The great advantage of an open source solution is that it is developed uniquely for an individual website. While this can be expensive, it gives a business an eCommerce platform that is ideally suited to what they need. The big downside to open source eCommerce software is that you need a development team or company to produce it for you, as well as people to keep the site running. In addition, you have to have run a server to host the eCommerce site yourself, which can also add to the cost.
Hosted eCommerce software
The great advantage of hosted eCommerce software is that all the hard work is done for you. Hosted systems come readymade and don't require you to have a server to host the software or a development team to get it up and running. Most hosted eCommerce platforms are paid for monthly, usually under a contract. This helps you spread the cost, but the downside to this is that the subscription is continuous for as long as you use the software. In addition, hosted solutions offer less flexibility when it comes to planning your interface, shopping cart and payment options, but as you don't need programmers or a development team, you can be up and running quickly. Furthermore, if you encounter any problems, the hosted company is on hand to put things right.