I recently ventured into the world of creating digital information products and selling them via my website. One of the biggest dilemmas I faced was deciding which shopping cart provider to go with.

Having worked on various shopping cart systems for clients, I knew my way around setting these up, but when it came to my own online shopping cart system I couldn’t decide the best way forward.

Ultimately I ended up making a poor choice by going a cheaper alternative route, than the service I really wanted. The reason I made this poor decision was lack of confidence on my part – I wasn’t sure how well my product would sell and didn’t want to invest heavily in a service that I may not need or use!

The reality of going the cheaper route? I had customers who weren’t able to download their product or make a payment and I lost revenue because of this!

To save you the same trouble I went through, here are my top 6 tips for ensuring that you get the right shopping cart system for YOUR business.

1. Think about your long-term goals. Having a shopping cart system that grows with your business is crucial to your long-term goals, particularly if you’re planning on launching more products and services in the future.

You'll want to ensure that the shopping cart system you choose can easily handle additional products and services.

2. How simple is the shopping cart to set up? Can you easily do the product setup yourself, or does it require you to hold a degree in computer programming! You don’t want to be spending huge amounts of your time on the phone to tech support, or getting frustrated because the shopping cart isn’t easy to set up.

If the shopping cart system provides you with HTML code that you have to add to your website, consider how comfortable you feel adding this. You may decide that this is a service to outsource to your Virtual Assistant.

3. Accepting online payments. If you’re going to be selling products/services online, whether they’re digital or physical products, you will need a system that can accept online payments. These days customers want instant gratification, which is why digital products are so popular, and you need to be able to accept payments instantly too.

Think about this situation - you go on to a website and in order to buy a product you have to print off an order form and fax it in, or call to place an order! That's not easy for your customer and you will have just lost the sale! The best solution is to get a merchant account, and ensure that your merchant provider’s services are compatible with your online shopping cart system.

4. Cost of your Online Shopping Cart System. It can be a false economy to go the cheaper route, particularly if it doesn’t offer all the features and functionality you want. Come up with a list of what you would like in an online shopping cart system, and then find a service that will meet ALL of your needs.

5. Customer Service. You want to make it as quick and easy as possible for your customers to purchase from you and get instant access to their product. An online shopping cart system that offers digital download of your products will do this for you.

And if you have a physical product ensure that your shopping cart service can calculate postage and print shipping labels too.  

Don’t make your customers jump through hoops just to make a purchase from you!

6. Autoresponders and follow-up messages. It’s much easier to sell future products to existing customers – after all they already know, like and trust you. In order to do this you need your shopping cart to be able to keep a database of your customers so that you can follow up with them. Autoresponders are a great way to do this. You can follow up with your customer several times after they’ve made a purchase and check in with them to see how they’re getting on with your product. And you can do this very easily and quickly if your shopping cart has an autoresponder feature.

Keep all of these points in mind when choosing your online shopping cart system, and you will find the perfect solution for you!

Author's Bio: 

About the author: Online Business Manager & Virtual Assistant, Tracey Lawton, supports professional speakers, coaches, and authors to operate an efficient, organized, and profitable business. Learn how to create an efficient and organized office in 7 EASY steps, and receive free how-to articles at www.VirtualSolutionsEzine.com