Online businesses – both big and small – often need to deploy their products or services using an e-commerce platform in order to manage various online transactions. E-commerce platforms, however, vary considerably in terms of available features even when they share the same core functionalities. This often makes the process of choosing the most appropriate one for your online store somewhat complicated.
To avoid getting stuck in confused indecision, the first trick in the e-commerce textbook is to know your product really well. This is because the type of product a business sells almost always dictates the type of e-commerce platform that the business should implement. There are many free-to-download platforms that offer a more or less comprehensive range of features and you might want to test some if you are just starting out your business (or are unhappy about your current e-commerce platform). Be especially on the lookout for new or upgraded platforms since these are likely to address new and emerging user demands such as the ability to process payments from non-card facilities such as PayPal.
Having said that, you might want to check out Loaded Commerce 6.5, one of the newest e-commerce platforms to date. This open source platform was launched just a month ago by CRE Secure, one of the major providers of payment solutions for online merchants, and the first player to adopt cloud-based computing technologies in its platform.
Loaded Commerce 6.5 is designed with small- to mid-sized businesses in mind. If your business falls into this category, then the platform may be worth a try, especially if you have yet to deploy a shopping cart system on your site. Reportedly, user and community feedback helped draw up the platform’s final features set that now includes a substantially enhanced content management system. Platform security is top grade and complies with PCI (Payment Card Industry) requirements, thereby freeing merchants from the usual expenses related to PCI scans and audits. There’s also a feature called Mailbeez that automates after sale correspondence with buying customers in order to generate further leads.
One of the most interesting features of Loaded Commerce 6.5 is its ability to implement a grouping scheme. This feature enables merchants to engage different market segments without needing to deploy separate websites. For example, the merchant’s customers may be classified into four categories, each with a corresponding product and price scheme: retail, wholesale, partners, friends/families. In addition, correspondence with each group becomes easier to customize for delivering the most appropriate lead-generating messages.
Loaded Commerce also takes the competition a notch higher by integrating a fully functional content management feature into the shopping cart interface, melding creativity and commerce to greatly enrich user experience. Using this feature, media-intensive articles, FAQs, surveys and forms can be deployed to help close sales with new customers and to encourage repeat engagements with loyal followers.
Perhaps the most appealing feature of Loaded Commerce 6.5 is its enhanced usability that empowers merchants to create and manage their entire product database by themselves. Historically, in-house or contracted developers were necessary to create and maintain an online business’s e-commerce component. With Loaded Commerce 6.5, however, merchants can save on service/professional fees by adopting a more hands-on approach to their shopping cart interfaces.