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What to Look for When Choosing eCommerce Software

In the highly competitive online retail industry, no Web shop can thrive – or even merely survive – without an eCommerce software solution in place. There are many packages on the market, but not all are alike. Some provide little more that simple automation of browsing and checkout functions, while others offer a full suite of robust marketing and promotional tools. In order to derive the most value from the eCommerce software application you purchase, you’ll need to make sure it includes the most advanced features and functionality.

When evaluating an eCommerce software package, look for the following capabilities:

Support for Search Engine Optimization Initiatives
There are thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of Web-based stores for buyers to choose from. Most of today’s shoppers will use search engines like Google and Yahoo to quickly find those sites that sell the products and services they need. Therefore, you’ll need to develop a comprehensive search engine optimization strategy, to ensure that your store receives top rankings in returned search engine results.

The eCommerce software solution you choose must provide full support for all related initiatives, to help increase awareness, and make it easy for target shoppers to locate and get to your site.

Support for Advertising and Affiliate Programs
Online advertising and cross-promotion are vital to generating new business by driving additional traffic to your Internet store. Many retailers accomplish this by working closely with affiliates to promote their offerings. Banner ads, skyscrapers ads, and other announcements are placed on a variety of related websites at a fixed cost or in exchange for promotional space on the retailer’s own site. This makes the store visible to an even broader base of potential buyers.

In order to optimize the effectiveness of these kinds of sponsorship opportunities, select an eCommerce software package that will allow you to monitor and track the success of each ad you place. For example, you’ll want to see where your site referrals are coming from to determine which ads are driving the most visitors.

Fully Integrated Inventory Management
Sometimes, particularly during busy shopping seasons, the products customers want to buy are unavailable. However, if your eCommerce software does not link directly to your inventory management systems, fulfillment of buyer orders will be delayed, resulting in dissatisfaction and loss of business.

When eCommerce software and warehouse management applications are seamlessly integrated, shoppers will receive “out of stock” messages before they place their orders. Some of the more advanced eCommerce software solutions can even dynamically omit unavailable products from search results and product catalogs.

Worldwide Sales
The Internet broadens a retailer’s reach, allowing them to sell into markets around the globe that would be impossible through a traditional “brick and mortar” model. That’s why some eCommerce software packages include full support for cross-country transactions. With features such as automatic translations of product descriptions into foreign languages, dynamic currency conversions and calculations, and integration with the systems of third-party international freight and shipping carriers, eCommerce software empowers Web shops to take advantage of every single sales opportunity, regardless of where the buyer resides.