Choosing the Right Software for Your Online Storefront
When it comes to picking the right software to maintain your company’s online store and accept credit card transactions, there are literally hundreds of options to choose from. The particular software that you choose should be based on three main considerations: How much you are willing to spend, how many products you will be selling online, and ease of use.
How Much Should You Spend?
Don’t be fooled by top-of-the line e-business software packages in the thousand dollar range. When it comes to software price tags, bigger is not necessarily better. There are companies of all sizes selling their products online and bigger companies may need those expensive software packages, but a typical small business doesn’t have the same software requirements as big businesses. There is such a thing as too much software when it comes to e-business.
For most small businesses, a commerce package in the $100 to $250 range should be sufficient to handle the amount of items offered, and the number of transactions that an online storefront will generate.
How Many Products Will You Be Selling?
Be sure that the product database component of the software will support the number of items that you intend to offer on your site. If you currently have 100 items for sale, it’s important to choose software which allows you to offer more items for sale when your online business expands.
The software you choose should be compatible with other applications that you currently use to keep track of your product database or inventory. Tell the salesperson or software representative what program you use to maintain your inventory, and ask if the software they offer is compatible. This way, you will be able to directly “import” or transfer data from your existing program to your site without having to learn a new system.
How Easy Is the Software to Use?
Ease of use may be the most important consideration when choosing a software package. Choosing a program that allows you have control over adding and deleting products from your site will keep the control where it belongs: with you.
The software you choose must have a security system for accessing credit card numbers – either in the form of encryption or administrative interface. Encryption is the encoding of information so that it cannot be understood during transmission. An administrative interface is a means of secure access to this information.
But, How do you know if the Software is Good? The best way to assess the value of a software package is to speak with current users. Get a list of customers or developers who use the software from the manufacturer.
Bill Cooke, a founding partner of FitnessZone.com, swears by this rule. “I wouldn’t buy any software until I’ve talked with five or ten people who have used it,” he asserts.
Ask current users about the documentation provided with the software and how useful it is. A key question to ask is how good is the customer support for the software? Be sure to determine if customer service or tech support requires an additional fee.