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June 08, 2023
by David Goodale

Tips For Picking E-commerce Shopping Cart Software

(Slightly edited from video transcript for greater readability)

Key Takeaways

Picking the platform that is right for you
Don't pay too much attention to the marketing materials. It has to be the right choice for you. That means picking something that you find easy to use, that has the functions that you need, and is organized in a way that makes sense to your team. It's usually best not to let one team member (especially a technical team member) make a unilateral decision about the shopping cart software you'll use. Get the entire team to demo it and consider the feedback.
It has to be compatible with your payment processor.
The shopping cart software that you use has to be compatible with your payment processor. It's critical that you don't select a platform until you know what payment gateway you'll be using. Speak to your payment processor to confirm the payment gateway, and the shopping cart software that is compatible with that payment gateway.
Evaluate ease of use and scalability
Choose for shopping cart software that is user-friendly, making it easier for you and your team to manage products, orders, and customer information. Consider the scalability of the software to accommodate future growth and handle increased traffic. Also consider if you have to some day leave this platform or switch to another. Will you have complete access to your data, and is it possible to migrate off this platform?
Need help with this topic? Or a rate quote?
Whether its questions about this article, or you want to see how we can lower your costs. Don't hesitate to contact us.

Hello, David here at Today it's a quick video. Tips for picking e-commerce shopping cart software. Stay tuned. We'll dig in in one second.

Shopping Cart Software

shopping cart software

By now, if you've been on following our video blogcast for a while, you know what shopping cart software is. It's the software on your website that keeps track of the information related to what the customer is purchasing. It's powering the add-to-cart buttons, it does the job of figuring out how much the order is for, it figures out how much tax is, how much shipping is, and all of that. When you're early in the process, yes, you're building an e-commerce website, but how do you do it? What are you physically doing? What shopping cart software are you going to run? That's a really important choice. It's important for a few reasons. First of all, if you pick the wrong one and it's too difficult to administrate, it's like having a car that you don't know how to drive.

Compatibility with Payment Processors

You're not going to get anything out of it. Furthermore, if it's difficult to administrate and you can't administrate it yourself, now you're paying for a third party to come in and do updates for you. E-commerce businesses need copywriting and inventory management services. The first starting point is to pick something good for you, not good on paper. Now, another point is compatibility. When you're setting up your website, you know people hit the checkout button. They have to check out. Well, it doesn't happen by magic. The shopping cart software is integrated. It's compatible with your payment processor. When you're setting up payment processing, one of the first questions should be, what shopping cart software can I use with your payment processing service?

Consider the workflow

checkout process flow chart

Think about the transaction flow. The customer's sitting on your website and then the shopping cart software communicates. It says, hey payment processor. I've got this sale here I need you to run for John Smith. The payment processor is listening. It's not talking, which means the shopping cart is sending a message to the payment gateway formatted in a way that the payment gateway expects. The payment gateway is listening. It's reactive. It means that in terms of the logical transaction flow, figure out which payment gateway you're going to be using. Find out what shopping cart software is compatible and there'll be tons for you to choose from. Very importantly, a lot of people will go and they'll set up a GoDaddy website or something and get some basic free shopping cart software. That's not an attack on GoDaddy or their shopping cart software, I don't even know if they have shopping cart software.

Selecting an Appropriate Solution for Current and Future Needs

My point is though if that platform happens to not integrate with a payment processor, that would be good for you. Particularly if the rates that you're going to get from that processor, isn't good for you. You haven't done yourself any favors. Technically figure out who your payment processor's going to be and then find out what shopping cart software platforms are compatible and make a short list of the ones that are good for you or that may be good for you. Now the last thing to consider, is how likely are you to run into problems. Is there a glass ceiling? Are there barriers? Are you going to outgrow this thing? Well, the first tip to how you'll know is how big is your business and how fast is it growing.

What is your level of expertise? Are you going to be doing all kinds of custom functionality or is this kind of like a hobby project? How do you know the answer to this question is to ask what are the five biggest problems that you have on your website today? If you don't know, don't worry about it. It means you're a young business and you're still learning and growing. You probably won't get a shopping cart software that you'll never outgrow. I don't think that'd ever be reasonable. If you did, the platform that you're starting on is too big and too complex for you. You're not trying to solve a problem for the rest of your life. You're trying to solve a problem for today and for the foreseeable future.

Summary: Key Factors in Choosing Shopping Cart Software


I'm going to wrap this up into a clean summary. When you're picking a shopping cart software, take a tour, take a demo, add a product, look at the shipping logic, and see how it works. Administratively, do you like how it works? Two, are you able to administrate it? How often will we be doing updates and are you technically capable of doing those updates? Then three, think of the problems that you're having today when you're running your software when you have a website like you'll know when you've outgrown things because you'll start getting frustrated. You know, if you'd know what your frustrations are, you're in a wonderful stage of your business, probably. Don't try and build something for the next millennium. Build something that's solving your problems today. If you are early, you really don't know what your problems are, go with something that airs a little bit on the easier side, maybe a little bit on the less expensive side.


It could be a WordPress and WooCommerce website or big commerce. There are so many good platforms out there. Now I know that this is another video in particular where it's hard to come in and just tell you exactly what you need because you could have a business doing $5,000 a month in sales, or $500,000 a month in sales. What we do though, is if you want to talk about your project, your website we are here to help. Maybe you're currently processing only in US dollars, but you want to add Canadian dollars, Euros and Sterling. How does that tie into the shopping cart software? If you are overwhelmed, reach out to us at We are happy to help. It's free and you might find it helpful. I hope this video is helpful. I hope there was some advice in there for someone, whether you're a beginner or an expert that helped you out a little bit when it comes to picking shopping cart software. Thanks for watching. Have a nice day there. Bye now.

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David Goodale About the Author

My name is David Goodale, CEO at Merchant I launched our business in 2001 and have over 20 years of expertise in the field of online payments. If you have a payments related question or project, and especially if it relates to multi-currency or international e-commerce don't hesitate to contact me. I'm always happy to help with an honest opinion, and enjoy chatting with folks from interesting businesses.

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