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What's The Difference: Ecommerce Websites And Shopping Carts?

Aug 10, 2008
People often ask what the difference is between a website with Ecommerce, and one with a shopping cart integrated? The answer is that there isnt any real difference. So why do some people call them Ecommerce systems, and others shopping carts? The only reason for an inferred difference is that one web site may just want a very simple cart to allow customers to order from a small range of products, whereas another customer may want a content management system (CMS) built in and a load of other features.

Sometimes however it isnt so simple as that, you may buy an off the shelf shopping cart software, such as Actinic or one of the may others, believing it to be easy to install and use. Sadly in our experience is is in fact not at all easy to use, but hugely over complicated. We have had many clients who have spent their money purchasing one of these Ecommerce programmes, only to find that they practically need to take evening classes to be able to use it!

We noticed this problem (along with several others) a good few years ago, and set about studying the E Commerce software that was available on the market, and noting down the flaws that we found inherent in them. These ranged from websites that required the customer to open an account on the website before they could shop. (This simply causes the customer to leave the website and go and shop elsewhere), to badly designed shopping cart systems that don't stand a chance of being properly spidered by the search engines, (Many of these ecommerce sites, although perhaps holding hundreds or even thousands of products still only have 2 or 3 pages listed in the search engines! If it has been built properly the website should have the ability to get each items page separately listed in the search engines, likewise each category and sub-category should really have it's own individual listing in the search engines. Without this your visibility and chances of being found by the people who are searching for what you are selling, and more importantly your chance of actually making sales, will be so slim to be negligible!) to Ecommerce solutions that are just simply ridiculously difficult to use and manage.

Another trap to look out for are online shopping systems that you sign up to and pay each month or each year. These are a real rip off in our opinion. If you pay to have the website designed and built, you shouldn't be expected to pay the same amount again the following year! If you bought a dog from the local pet shop, and then the following year they sent you a bill for the same amount again for the dog you have already bought, and told you that the dog would be taken away from you unless you paid them again, you would call the police. Well in effect this is a con that many internet companies pull, and the dreadful thing is for some reason they get away with it.

Needless to say we don't do this, a decent bespoke ecommerce company will build an Ecommerce website to your specific requirement, or add a shopping cart system to your existing website. Once the website is complete and paid for you shouldn't need to pay for it again. If you use the right company a professional bespoke Ecommerce website won't cost you anymore than many off the shelf options.
About the Author
Essex & London Ecommerce web design specialists DesignsOnline.co.uk If you enjoyed this article then why not call 0800 634 92 92 for a quote or visit http://www.DesignsOnline.co.uk for more advice and FAQs on Websites and Ecommerce / Shopping Carts (or simply to view our portfolio)
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