As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the shift towards online shopping continues on a remarkable scale. Businesses are now setting up platforms that make it easy for customers to purchase products online.
You may want to sell products on your website as well to complement offline sales. However, you don’t have to build an e-commerce shop from scratch. With shopping cart software integrated into your website, you can take orders, sell products, and process payments.
This shopping cart integration guide will teach you how to choose a shopping cart software and how to add a shopping cart to your site.
Before anything, you must understand what a shopping cart means for e-commerce. Besides, knowing how shopping software works makes it easy to navigate the integration process.
A shopping cart is a software tool that allows customers to shop products from a website. Customers can add products they want to buy to the virtual cart, view chosen products, and make changes to their selections.
Once the customer is done selecting products, the shopping cart provides a secure ‘payments gateway’ so the customer can pay for the product. The business owner will receive an alert concerning the just-concluded purchase, after which he has to kickstart the packaging and shipping process.
Shopping cart software comes in three types: open-source, licensed, and hosted. The difference between these three lies in their distribution, website integration process, and software updates.
As you must know, open-source software is free to use and permits editing of the source code. This means anyone can modify the software, add new features, and fix running issues.
The downside to open-source shopping cart software is that customer support isn’t readily available. No one really owns the software, so you don’t have the option of contacting an organized support centre for help when you run into problems.
Open-source shopping carts are often described as “self-hosted” solutions, since you have to host them on your web server. You also have to download and run the software yourself and perform periodic updates as well.
An example of open-source shopping cart software is the WooCommerce plug-in available in WordPress. It is free and allows you to customize the plug-in’s functions.
Licensed shopping cart software is usually a paid product. However, some may offer you a limited free-use period as an incentive.
For licensed shopping cart software, only the company that created it can modify it. But there’s usually a product Application Programming Interface (API) that allows developers to create add-ons and plugins for the shopping cart software.
Cust0mer support for licensed shopping cart software may be limited or not, depending on the company. Some companies might not include it at all while others may place a validity period on access to customer support.
A hosted shopping cart software usually requires payment before use. In some cases, a free trial is available — but your use of the solution during this period will be extremely limited.
Hosted shopping cart packages usually offer web hosting, so you don’t have it to host the software on your server. In addition, you don’t have to download and run the shopping cart software by yourself.
Unlike open-source variants, updates of the hosted shopping cart software is the responsibility of the company. Shopify and 3dCart are some of the popular hosted shopping cart software available.
Payment for a hosted shopping cart is often a monthly basis. The pricing system is a tiered one that charges more money for advanced features. You may be content with opting for the basic plan or opt for an expensive plan that offers more cutting-edge features.
In the early years of the Internet, adding a shopping cart to a site required having extensive coding knowledge. However, new-age software solutions have made turning a website into an online store a stress-free activity.
If you’re using an open-source shopping cart plug-in, you won't have much to do. Still, you will need to create the site pages and organize the products. For instance, you might need to set up the products, payment gateway, logistics, and check-out process.
In addition, you may want to add a “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button to the products. Some plug-ins have this functionality while some require basic HTML knowledge to create and modify the “Buy” button.
Things are a bit different when using hosted shopping cart software. You can just build an online store using a ready-made template, choose a payments gateway, and select a shipping method.
Once you are done building the store, it’s time to connect it to your website. The first option you have is to create a subdomain for the store on the website. Say your site address is xyz.com, you could use ‘store.xyz.com’ as your online store’s address.
But you must also link the online shop with the main website to make navigation easier for consumers. This can be done by putting the store’s address (URL) on the main website menu.
If creating a subdomain sounds too complex, then you can just add the shopping cart to existing website pages or blogs. Most e-commerce solutions allow you to add products and generate a Buy Button for them.
Think “Buy Now” sounds too pedestrian? You can edit the text for the button, maybe change it to “Add to Cart”.
When customers hit the Buy or Add to Cart button, they’ll be redirected to the online store to complete the purchase.
The market for shopping cart software is crowded with many brands. Hence, selecting the right shopping cart solution can be difficult.
To make things easier, we have compiled features a good shopping cart software must have. Here they are:
A search box that quickly takes buyers to the products they want can do wonders for sales. Customers don’t want to spend hours on a purchase, so a search box will be a welcome addition to your shopping cart.
Great shopping carts have image resize functionality that you can use to make easy to view. Image zooming is another must-have feature for online stores.
It would help if your shopping cart has a structure that makes it easy for search engines to index the pages, which will have better rankings. Search engine rankings play a huge role in e-commerce and can increase sales.
These days, everyone is looking to save on purchases, which explains the popularity of coupon services like Groupon. Having a shopping cart that can add discounts and coupons is a sure way to boost sales.
Your choice shopping cart must be simple and flexible enough to use. What’s the use of a shopping cart if it takes forever to set it up to sell products? An easy-to-use shopping cart software will cut time wasted on your site and increase sales.
Shopify is one of the most popular shopping cart software — and for good reason. Shopify has a user-friendly design, boosts conversion rates, offers multiple payment options, and provides useful sales insights and data.
For those who don’t want to create a separate store, Shopify offers a Buy Button feature that lets you add ecommerce functionality to your site. You can add an embedded shopping cart to the site and a secure checkout to make buying easier.
Here are three ways to integrate the Shopify Cart into your site so you can sell:
With the Shopify Buy Button, you can add a product for sale to your site’s sidebar. This is a great way to sell a product that’s either new or popular among customers.
Using the Shopify button, you can add products to your landing pages. You only have to copy the embed code from the store admin to sell any product — books, gadgets, etc.
The Shopify Buy button allows you to integrate a shopping cart in your blog content. Simply paste the code into the post and modify the Buy Button so its color and match the website.
Integrating a shopping cart with your site will make the buying process seamless for your customers. This will boost your sales and promote better ROI, which is why we recommend it.
While shopping cart integration is important, building your e-commerce site with the right framework is important. Daalder.io provides Laravel-based e-commerce solutions that are flexible, affordable, and provide a lot of benefits for online businesses.