Who should be your ideal shopping cart solution provider?

------------------------------------- The market is up for a definite revival. The eerie silence that prevailed earlier is now transforming to a crescendo of positive business-talks all
across the marketplace. None other than Standard and Poors research analysts predicted that business, specifically online retailing, will come up with significant growth in 2010 boosting up sale-volumes across various market domains. So, if you are a retailer, it is the time to think beyond your brick-and-mortar store and for that, you need to acquire online retailing capabilities.
A simple Google-search will reveal a host of shopping carts with enormous lists of features and options. There are known, not-so-known and totally-unheard-of ecommerce solution providers who are ready to offer the “best shopping cart solution” instantly. Believe it or not, online retailers seldom make the mistake when they blindly go for the “best shopping cart” merely on the basis of a huge list features and add-ons!
The performance of your online store depends not on the shopping cart itself; but, it is almost entirely affected by the type, nature and the present state of business of the actual solution provider. The definition of good ecommerce application is no longer synonymous to the size or reach of the ecommerce solution provider; but, it is the quality and the commitment towards better deliverance that matter more. With a change in the business landscape, the big fishes are facing tough times to keep the stronghold in the ever changing ecommerce solutions market because of their mounting running cost and naturally, the allocated budget for actual feature enrichment in the shopping cart is far less. Also, the observers, who analyze market vulnerabilities, suggest going for proprietary-based technology-platform (such as Microsoft .NET) while choosing an online store solution. So, rather than going for any leading ecommerce service provider, it is now the time to choose your online shopping cart vendor on the following parameters:
Is the solution provider certified or with proven creditability? The online shopping cart vendor that you chose should be with authenticated expertise such as a Microsoft Certified Partner.
Will the shopping cart vendor provide references? Don’t get lured my simple one-liner comments in the vendor’s website; look for specific testimonials with existing customers’ identities. If needed, ask your vendor to give you contact details. Is the solution provider’s business stable?
Find out for how long the shopping cart provider is in business. A one or two years’ old ecommerce company may not have the required IT infrastructure to support your online store. Check out whether they have separate resources in case you want them to manage your store in future.
Is the vendor charging hefty fees to cover the running cost? Why would you pay for the vendor’s promotional campaigns? Some of the big names providing online stores cannot afford to lower the price simply because they have a big marketing budget to cover and they do it through hidden costs. Ask the vendor to provide you with detailed quotation.
Does the ecommerce service provider understand your industry? The sales and marketing team of the vendor should clearly know your market and suggest strategies for a rapid growth of your business. Talk to them and ask specific questions to find out.
Can the shopping cart vendor provide customization? What you need to excel in the market is not an off-the-shelf packaged software, but, a completely customized solution aptly equipped with specific features to serve your business needs. Never get constrained with a free-for-all and least customized shopping cart.
Doing business online will surely be the next big thing around the world. However, the real benefit will come when you will do it smartly and with the help of someone you can always trust.
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