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Should Your Small Business Website Have a Shopping Cart?

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Imagine you own a small retail shop that sells sporting goods. You’re open from 9 to 5 every day of the week but Sunday—standard hours for many small businesses.

Unfortunately, that means that your business is only able to generate revenue 48 hours each week—unless, of course, you have a website that’s optimized for e-commerce.

In today’s digital world, it’s easier than ever for modern companies to capitalize on the explosive growth of e-commerce.

In 2017, it’s expected that companies around the world will haul in nearly $2.3 trillion from online sales alone. By 2021, that number is predicted to almost double. In order to get a slice of that enormous pie, small businesses need to add shopping cart functionality to their websites. It’s that simple.

As the name suggests, a shopping cart feature enables website visitors to add products or services to their digital cart so that they can “check out” when they’re ready—much like you do at a brick-and-mortar store.

It’s true that some businesses probably don’t need to add a shopping cart to their website; no one who needs to get their house painted is going to finalize a massive transaction online, for example.

But in many instances, there’s nothing to lose. For example, a restaurant might not get a ton of e-commerce sales. But if it offers t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and other branded accessories, chances are it will generate some steady revenue over time.

On the other end of the spectrum, retailers that wish to keep their doors open for the foreseeable future need to add e-commerce functionality to their websites. Otherwise, their customers will almost certainly buy some products on competing websites (hello, Amazon).

Shopping cart software provides small businesses with a number of benefits, including:

  • Your store is always open. By enabling your customers to buy things from you through your website, you can triple the amount of time you have to generate revenue. The store that’s open eight hours a day, for example, can all of a sudden be open 24 hours a day. Because, relatively speaking, it costs a lot less to run a website than a brick-and-mortar location, your initial website optimization investments will return dividends before you know it.
  • Your business looks modern. Customers know what a website should look like. Virtually every internet user has completed a financial transaction online before. If you’re a retailer that doesn’t have shopping cart functionality on your website, your customers will notice your old-fashioned approach. On the flipside, give your website a facelift and your customers will take note of your modernity.
  • Your shopping cart doubles as a marketing tool. When customers finalize a transaction on an e-commerce site, they often share that information on social media so that their friends can learn about the products they’ve bought. Configure your shopping cart for all your customers to share information about their purchases on social media with the click of a button. Not only will your shopping cart help you generate revenue, it can also serve as a marketing tool. What’s not to like?
  • Your SEO rankings will improve, too. The more product pages you have, the more likely your company will be to rank highly in organic searches. Add shopping cart software to your website and sit back and watch as you climb closer to #1 for the keywords you’re targeting.
  • Your customers will be happier. At the end of the day, e-commerce is all about convenience. Give your customers the power to buy what they want when they want to and they’ll be happier. There’s a reason Amazon and Jet are so successful, after all.

Keep in mind that it won’t cost a ton of money to add shopping cart functionality to your website—and over time, the investment will almost certainly pay for itself.

But in the event you don’t have enough cash sitting around to spring on a website overhaul, you can always apply for a business loan to get the money you need to cover the expenditures.

There’s no sense in confining your business’ ability to generate revenue to specific hours during the week unless you absolutely have to. Bring your online storefront into the 21st century and let your store sell for you while you sleep!

Your Website Is Your Online Storefront