Wondering if you bought a shopping cart or a B2B ecommerce toolset? This list of 10 indicators will help you identify whether you are using a shopping cart application or a full-fledged ecommerce platform.

You’re probably using an online shopping cart for ecommerce if:

  1. You have limited ability to change the look and feel of your site. Ecommerce shopping cart applications are not known for customizable design. What you see is what you get. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to upload a logo.
  2. Your site looks exactly like every other site using the same shopping cart. If your page layout and color scheme look surprisingly similar to the other sites using the same service, you’ve definitely bought a shopping cart application.
  3. You have little to no say over the functionality available on your site. If your site was given a very short range of ecommerce functionalities, regardless of whether or not they apply to your business model, you’ve just purchased a shopping cart, not a true enterprise ecommerce platform.
  4. There’s little to no on-site marketing capability. Whereas full ecommerce platforms allow you to include as much or as little marketing–think banner ads, cross-sells, up-sells, promotions–as you want, an ecommerce shopping cart won’t let you do much marketing on your site. You might not even get to do any marketing.
  5. You can’t integrate your ecommerce system with your ERP. If you can’t integrate with your enterprise resource planning system–or integrate with ANY of your back-end systems–you’re probably using a shopping cart, not an enterprise ecommerce toolset.
  6. Your site is clearly focused on the transaction of ecommerce. If your site design is heavily geared toward the checkout process rather than the online buying experience, you’ve got a shopping cart, not a true ecommerce platform.
  7. Search capability is nonexistent. No search capability? Rudimentary search capability? This is not an ecommerce platform. Intuitive search is not a luxury but a must have.
  8. No option for secure B2B log in or B2B portal. If you can’t lock down the site–including product pages and pricing–from the general public, you are not using a true B2B ecommerce platform.
  9. It was “cheap” to get started. True ecommerce functionality is a rapidly developing area of technology and while there are some lower cost platforms available, none of them could be considered truly “inexpensive” if they are providing robust functionality and total design control. “Cheap” generally indicates a shopping cart application that is missing the core interative ecommerce functions.
  10. Other users of the software seem to be selling things out of their garage. In a world filled with opportunities for the average consumer to launch a site and sell online, shopping carts are critical business tools for these entepreneurs. However, if your businss is running a software application alongside Joe’s Baseball Card Emporium, you probably aren’t using an enterprise ecommerce solution.

Is there a natural place in the ecommerce eco-system for shopping cart applications as well as enterprise ecommerce platforms? Absolutely. Just make sure the solution you choose matches the online experience that your business demands.

To learn more about how to maximize the power of your ecommerce initiative, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.