Is shopping cart software enough?Ah, the infamous question.

“Can’t we just get an ecommerce shopping cart and be done with it?”

The answer is simple:

It depends.

Whether one of the many shopping cart software packages available on the web will be enough to catapult your business into ecommerce success depends on:

  1. What kind of business you’re in.
  2. How big you expect your business to get with ecommerce.
  3. Whether you like spending time and money managing ecommerce order data in your shipping, accounting and ERP systems.

Let’s look at these considerations one-by-one.

What kind of business you’re in. The smaller and more “boutique-y” your business, the more likely that simple shopping cart software will be enough. Larger businesses are likely to need robust ecommerce functionality not presented by shopping cart software programs, like completely customizable designs, flexible user interfaces, and back-end integration.

How big you anticipate your business will be once you implement ecommerce. If you are relatively small right now, but anticipate that ecommerce will open the flood gates, it would be prudent to look at a complete ecommerce software solution, not just a shopping cart application. Starting small when you anticipate big growth is a recipe for buying twice–once for the shopping cart and a second time for a complete ecommerce offering. Ouch! That will sting any budget!

Whether you like wasting time and money. Sorry to be so blunt, but the reality is most shopping cart software programs don’t offer much in the way of back-end integration. (What’s integration and why is it important? Glad you asked.) Without integration, someone at your company is taking information from the ecommerce site that was entered by the customer and REKEYING that information into your ERP. Then into your accounting system. And then again in your shipping system. That wastes time–and we all know time is money–plus it leaves a LOT of room for human error. If you would rather not duplicate effort on every ecommerce order you receive, you probably don’t want to buy shopping cart software. You need a full-service ecommerce solution with integration.

So, is shopping cart software enough for your business?

Only you can decide for certain, but if I had to wager a guess:

Probably not.

Want to learn more about ecommerce integration? Download the white paper: Integrated Enterprise Ecommerce – The Key to Online Success for B2B and B2C.

Photo credit: dottieg2007 – Dottie Laird.