Beginnings are often hard and launching an online business is no different. From the very start online retailers are bombarded with new terms they need to understand in order to make some important decisions and improve the quality of their services. To help you make your first steps in the world of eCommerce, let’s take a look at basic terminology you will often hear in relation to your business.
Types of shopping carts
A shopping cart is a general term for software required to create an online store. There are two main types of shopping carts: hosted and self-hosted or open source shopping carts. Hosted shopping carts are provided for a monthly or an annual fee as packages of all functionalities required to run an online store. Hosted shopping carts are usually easy to use and feature drag and drop interfaces, which are simple and intuitive. They are recommended for beginners and small eCommerce businesses. Open source shopping carts can be downloaded for free, but they have to be hosted with a web hosting service, which can significantly increase the cost of using an open source shopping cart. Self-hosted platforms are usually more complex and advanced with at least minimum programming knowledge required to run the online store. As thus, open source shopping carts are most recommended as platforms for medium sized and big businesses.
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is the best and most commonly used method of encrypting sensitive data sent by customers to online retailers. Information encrypted with SSL can be read only by authorized people, which significantly increases the security of online transactions. As an online retailer, you should provide SSL encryption to your customers and put an SSL logo on your website to make it look professional and trustworthy.
Content Management System, often abbreviated as CMS, helps you manage and edit content, so you can decide what, when and where you would like to publish. As an online retailer you will need CMS software to manage your blog posts and social media profiles. You can find simple CMS software for free or for a small monthly fee, which is good for a start. Once you start growing your business, you might want to invest in professional Content Management Systems for eCommerce.
Extensions are files, which contain programming that extends the basic capabilities of a shopping cart. Extensions are often required to enable advanced eCommerce functionalities or to solve common problems with shopping carts. Some extensions are easy to use, but some are designed to be used mainly by a certified Magento developer and might require professional programming knowledge.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a collective name for a group of methods designed to increase the website’s visibility in search engines. A website is more visible, when it is featured at the top of the search engine ranking for a specific query. The top 3 search results generate the most traffic and indicate, which websites are most trustworthy and accurate. Online retailers often order Magento store development and hire SEO experts in order to ensure that their websites are featured higher on the search result page.
Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.