Imagine this: Tom and Mary came into your store earlier today and now they know buying from you is the best choice. But...they want to talk it over at home before deciding which mattress (or sofa or refrigerator) to purchase. Over dinner, they make their choice but by the time they're done enjoying their meal, your store is closed or they just don't feel like going out again.
Tom and Mary know what they want to buy, and who they want to buy it from (you of course!). Shouldn't your store make it easy for them to buy it online - from the comfort of their own home - 24/7? To Tom and Mary, it doesn't matter how big or little your business is - they just want shopping with you to be convenient and comfortable.
Maybe you think it's too complicated, too expensive or too risky. Or that e-commerce means you have to sell and ship to people everywhere in the country or the world.
Given all that, it sure seems like a no-brainer to offer Tom and Mary the option to buy from you online.
Shopping carts are not the cutting edge technological exception they once were; today consumers expect they can buy anything online and from any retailer – including their favorite local stores. And as technology and consumer expectations have evolved, your web provider should too! Read on to learn what you should expect from any reputable web provider:
1. Your retail website should come with a shopping cart – no extra fees required. Every WebFront from Retailer Web Services - even Level 1's which start at just $99/month – include a shopping cart you can use as much or as little as you want for no extra fees. Seriously – no fees: $0 to start using it, $0 per order you receive...nada! If your web provider wants to charge you extra to add on a cart, they are ten years behind the times and making you pay for it.
2. Your cart should be smart enough to know when to show itself – and when to hide.
In the complex world of durable goods, you may not want - or even be allowed - to show prices or allow online sales for every item on your website. That means you probably have some items with prices, and some without. Put yourself in your customers' shoes...would you want to add an item to your cart if you didn't know how much it costs? Neither do your customers!
That's why every WebFront has a dual shopping cart and quote request system that adjusts itself automatically, product by product. If your website doesn't do the same – without any intervention from you or your web provider – you're likely making customers uncomfortable and causing them to bounce instead of buy.
3. Your cart should accurately and automatically calculate sales tax.
This may sound like a no-brainer...but many web providers under-invest and under-deliver on this critical functionality. And many retailers never test the accuracy of their cart's sales tax calculation. You may not realize what this error can cost you until you're left financially responsible for the difference and with a disgruntled customer on your hands...or even worse, you find yourself the target of a sales tax audit.
Retailer Web Services subscribes to the industry's most widely used and respected sales tax table services. We've invested in understanding and integrating the various state, county and city taxes along with rules to control what they apply to and when.
Make sure you test your site's sales tax calculations for accuracy – use a variety of zip codes throughout the state you operate in to ensure your provider hasn't forgotten to include important county or city taxes too. Need help verifying its accuracy? We can give you the data to validate against and help you investigate.
4. Your cart should be secure. Customers completing a purchase or submitting payment information during checkout on any level WebFront always do so through a secure HTTPS link. RWS covers costs and implementation to make sure your cart is secure from day 1. This doesn't only protect you and your customers, it keeps customers feeling safe and secure as they move through the checkout process. Today, many browsers will warn consumers if the site they're on lacks the necessary Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to have an HTTPS link during sensitive activities. That warning can scare consumers away from buying from you.
5. Your cart should control what products can, and cannot, be added to it. In today's durable goods environment, rules abound about what consumers can buy online and where they can buy it from. For example: consumers can only purchase KitchenAid products from you within a 150 mile radius of your store's location. Every WebFront automatically tests and limits this for you, as well as makes it easy for you to edit, remove or add restrictions like this in seconds. If your web provider doesn't make this possible – and easy – it's time to trade up!
6. You should be able to decide whether or not you want to fulfill every order. Because fraud is always a very real possibility, your shopping cart should always allow you to exercise final judgement and control. Every WebFront accepts secure orders via the shopping cart and alerts you, the retailer, when they're received. Then you have the ability to look them over, contact the customer to answer questions and arrange delivery - or work on an upsell or add on! It's always up to you to ultimately decide whether or not you want to fulfill the order and charge their credit card. If something seems suspicious – don't fulfill!
In today's technology climate, you should have a cart without paying any extra fees and it should be heavily automated for ease of use. You shouldn't have to figure out sales tax calculation, security issues or legal protection by yourself; your web provider should take care of all this for you.
If you're not getting what you deserve from your web provider, join the 2,000 independent retailers like you that trust Retailer Web Services to get more people in your door and sales through your register.