What is Hosted Shopping Cart Software?
It is an eCommerce software that allows merchants small and big to open up an online store that has everything needed to start. As the name suggests, it is hosted on the server of the company offering the product. It is meant for people who would like to run their online business, but do not have technical knowledge nor do they want to spend a fortune on developing their own. Why build a bicycle when it is already built, just customize it for your needs, add bells and whistles and you will have a unique bicycle. The same goes here. The software is built by professionals, just get your customized theme, install your apps that you think will make your business more efficient and you are good to go.
Is Hosted Shopping Cart Software Right For Me?
If you are thinking of selling products online or if you already have been selling online through marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Etsy and others, I can say with confidence that it is an ideal solution for you. Why? The first reason is that your customers may not be shopping eBay or Amazon while you are waiting for them there. The second reason is that most hosted shopping cart softwares offer connection between your store, eBay and Amazon, so you will be able to control your inventory and sales from one convenient dashboard. The third point in favor of having a stand alone eCommerce business is that never put all your eggs in one basket, more on this point later. Besides, signing up for a hosted shopping cart software is easy and ANYONE can afford it. Plans are dirt cheap and usually come with all the features new stores need. So, yes, it is the right solution for you.
Which Companies Offer Hosted Shopping Cart Software?
Since the rise of eCommerce and as it keeps growing year over year, there are more and more softwares being offered. Choosing a shopping cart platform is like choosing a car, if you don’t do your due diligence, you might get stuck with something you are not happy about. Of course, you can switch from one platform to another, but can be a painful process. It is easy when you are small and only have 10 or 100 products. As you grow and you have 1000’s of products, customers, and images, it is difficult to make the switch. Changing name-servers, stopping your adwords campaigns, and loosing sales is the usual process of making the switch, so please do your research. I have used Volusion, Bigcommerce, Shopify, and Magento for my stores and each one has pros and cons, but I would like to speak of another Shopping Cart Software that I have ignored all these years and was surprised by their offerings, that is 3dCart. Have you heard of them? Maybe yes maybe no, but you should definitely check them out.
What Should I Be Looking At When Choosing My Platform
Watch for features that will help you increase your sales, improve your conversion rate, and make it is easier for you to run your business. Simple, but not easy to find. While your sales are affected by aspects that you have control over, many aspects of your store also have a big impact on how your customers see your business. Your shopping cart software must offer tools for you to present yourself in the best way possible to customers and search engines for you to be successful. Those tools include seo friendliness, clean and optimized theme, security, and tools for marketing to build an audience of loyal customers. I would take a look at 3dCart, because they offer all the tools you need and they want their customers to succeed. Now let’s get to the review of the One Hosted Shopping Cart Software That Woved Me, which is 3dCart.
The 3dcart platform boasts hundreds of built-in-features, free professionally-designed responsive themes, industry-renowned 24/7/365 free technical support, and competitive pricing to meet any business’s budget. And unlike the majority of their competitors, 3dcart is all about ecommerce evolution. Their development team is dedicated to rolling out frequent updates, often times at the personal request of their merchants. That’s right! 3dcart’s community helps shape the very platform they use, with developers implementing popularly requested features and improvements on a regular basis.
Tools and Features Offered By 3dCart
Their plans are created with the small business in mind. Plans start at just $9.99 and the highest plan is $100. I told you anyone can afford it. Compare those prices to Bigcommerce. The cheapest plan starts at $30 and the most expensive one is $200, not considering the Enterprise plan, which according to my phone conversation with one of the sales team can run up to tens of thousands of dollars a year. Even though Bigcommerce is the expensive one here, it doesn’t provide any more value than 3dCart. There are features that 3dCart offers that Bigcommerce doesn’t.
SSL Certificate Policy
All the shopping carts offer free shared SSL certificates, but not all offer you the freedom to choose to have your own Dedicated SSL certificate. As discussed in my previous post, other shopping cart softwares have been drifting towards limiting your options of choosing the security for your site. I would like to argue that a good SSL Certificate is on the top 10 list of must haves for small business owners if you want to succeed. Since you are not a big brand, you must convince your customer they can trust you. SSL is the answer. 3dCart offers you the freedom to choose whoever you like as your security provider, while Bigcommerce wants you to use shared SSL or the one they choose for you.
Cart Abandonment Tools
Recover sales automatically by sending out pre-defined emails to customers that started an order but didn’t finish it. Reporting tools show you just how much was recovered. This is a powerful tool and I know that by experience. I did not believe this tool would help bring more sales, but I was blown away by how much it increases conversion rates. 3dCart offers this tool for all the plans, while other platforms only for higher plans.
Implement a customer rewards point program, offer coupons and discounts, and/or start up an affiliate program to reward your brand ambassadors! This is super power feature that will give you an edge over your competitors if they are using hosted shopping cart platform other than 3dCart. Can you imagine being able to give your customers reward points right from your store? Bigcommerce merchants can not do that!
Responsive Design Themes by 3dCart
Choose from over 100 professionally designed responsive themes. Select, install, apply – design your store with just a couple mouse clicks! While some of them are premium themes that you need to pay for, many are free and beautifully designed, remember I spoke about the importance of having a clean and responsive design for your eCommerce business? Their themes are responsive so your customers browsing from their mobile or tablet device will enjoy browsing your store. Checkout the preview of one of their most recent responsive theme.
With 3dCart You can sell on Facebook, integrate with eBay and Doba. These tools will allow you to make the most out of what is available on the web. On facebook you can showcase your products and even sell them there. Do you know how powerful that is? Ultra-targeting your customers can lower your cost per acquisition while increasing your profitability. If you are selling on eBay already, integration will be very helpful and if you are not yet on eBay, this tool will help you get there.
100’s of Payment Options
With 3dCart you can choose almost whoever or whatever company you want to process your payments. Choosing the right merchant account is also very important. You can also integrate PayPal and Checkout by Amazon besides accepting regular credit cards through other merchant accounts. By having the freedom to give as many payment options as possible, you are reducing the risk of loosing a customer who prefers only one method, PayPal for example.
Other Cool Features of 3dCart
Google Trusted Stores- This is a must for all online stores, because it instills trust in your visitors, which in turn will become your customers. Bigcommerce customers will have to keep upgrading their plans to be able to easily submit their data to Google to be eligible for Google Trusted Stores Seal.
API and FTP Access- You will need this access to your store to be able to change, delete, or upload files. Usually as you grow your business, these tools will help you hire developers and designers to do custom work for you. Having so much freedom is great.
Built-in Blog- Knowing the importance of a blog for eCommerce business, I value this tool a lot. Google looks at you differently when you are writing a blog. So every online store should have and implement a blog to bring organic and free traffic from search engines. 3dCart offers this tool to you for free.
SEO Friendly- There is no way to overestimate the importance of this feature. SEO friendly means Google friendly, which means high ranking on google searches.
3dCart is one of the options among many hosted shopping cart platforms that offers value and tools to have successful merchants on their team. They understand that your success is their success, thus all the free features that usually come at a steep price. There are many other features, apps, and partners 3dCart has and I did not get into. if you are thinking about starting an online business or you are not happy with your current hosted shopping cart software, give 3dCart a try. They offer free trial, so give it a shot and see for yourself. The following image is a screen shot from their plans page:
If you think I missed something or have a different opinion on this matter, leave a comment and I will definitely get back.