Review from THE CUSTOMER’S PERSPECTIVE
How does the Ecommerce engine works to create a positive shopping experience
When a visitor arrives at your store they are primarily interested in an easy and secure way to shop and purchase. The Ecommerce engine (Oscommerce) is designed with these interests in mind. It produces:
- user friendly stores with intuitive navigation,
- in a convenient Shopping Cart - Online Store/Shop - model and
- in a secure manner.
These three aspects work in harmony to provide customers with a hassle free shopping experience.
The Ecommerce engine provides highly visible and easily accessible product catalogs that allow customers to naturally and conveniently navigate towards the products that interest them. There are multiple ways provided for the customer to search and browse your catalog and find relevant products. The software can also provides suggestions about related products and can inform them automatically of new products.
osCommerce is a Shopping Cart - Online Store/Shop - model of e-commerce solution. This model makes use of the metaphor of a Shopping Cart - Online Store/Shop - which allows the customer to browse freely within the store adding and removing products at will until such time as they proceed to the check out and make final selection and payment of products. This is a popular and natural system that enhances a shoppers experience as they do not feel “locked into” purchasing a product, and are more likely to freely browse the store.
osCommerce allows secure purchasing using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to encrypt information between the customer and the vendor, this protects valuable customer information such as their credit card details, and makes them feel more comfortable purchasing from your store.
Customers also appreciate a number of tools that make the task of shopping and tracking past purchases easy.
- Purchases can be reviewed by customers so that they can track and monitor the status of their orders. Information regarding processing and shipping can be deisplayed and osCommerce can be set to email a customer whenever the status of one of their purchases changes.
- Customers can view the status of each order. The software provides the customer with detailed information regarding their order, including whether their order has been processed or shipped.
- Customers have access to their full history of purchases allowing them to track back through their past purchases.
- Customers can register to receive email notification of product updates relevant to them.
- An optional product review feature (which can be disabled by the shop owner) allows customers to review products and read the reviews of other shoppers.
Review from THE MERCHANT’S PERSPECTIVE
How osCommerce works to allows you to effectively sell online.
Ways to Effectively Sell Online
The Ecommerce Engine features a number of useful tools that allow you to more effectively sell to, and communicate with your customers. Some of these features include:
- “What's New”
The what's new feature allows the vendor to automatically display new products to customers when they enter the site. This ensures that exciting new products easily get the attention and publicity they deserve.
- Product Specials
It is possible to discount products displaying the old and new price. Product specials can be displayed randomly on every page. There is also a specials page which lists all products currently on special.
- Suggestions of related products
When viewing product information, relevant products are displayed based on previous customers' purchases. The software selects products from the catalog to display that customers who have bought the current product have also purchased.
Customers like to be reassured that the products a vendor is selling are as good as the vendor suggests they are, and a useful method to assure customers of this is the use of previous customers' reviews. Customers' reviews of a certain product can be displayed alongside the product description. This feature can be set to allow either anyone to review products, or only registered users. It is also possible to disable the review function entirely.
- Email Newsletter
Communicating with shoppers is essential, and osCommerce provides an efficient method for periodic communications with registered users of your store. The newsletter system allows for vendors to compose a newsletter regarding news related to the store, new products, discounted products, and other matters of interest. These can then be sent it out to all registered shoppers. This is highly effective as the newsletter is only sent to interested shoppers who have registered to receive such information.
While ensuring that any visitor to your online shop is met with an intuitive and easy to use environment is important, it is equally important that the system for administering and controlling the shop for you the vendor is similarly user friendly and constructive.
Administering Your Shopping Cart - Online Store/Shop -
The administration of osCommerce is simple and largely intuitive. Access to the administration area of the store is password protected and once authorised, the vendor has a free hand to setup, modify and organise the store to their liking.
Some of the capabilities osCommerce provides the vendor include:
- Full control over the addition, removal and modification of categories, products, manufacturers, customers, and product reviews.
- Full control over the shops catalog structure, organizing the products from category-to-category.
- Systems for reviewing reports on both customers and their purchases.
- Ability to add and control product attributes. Colors and sizes can be specified and the customer offered a choice as they purchase.
- Systems to cope with Tax zones, classes, and rates.
- Control over how shipping costs are calculated for each purchase. Modules that are installed by default with osCommerce allow shipping charges to be calculated based on the number of items purchased, by weight, or as a flat rate. It is also possible to specify different rates for different geographic locations. Support exists for the US postal service, UPS and Federal Express. There are currently over 60 more shipping module contributions available on the osCommerce site.
- Control over the way payments are processed. Multiple payment methods can be installed giving customers a choice of how they pay. Modules that come preinstalled with osCommerce provide support for AuthorizeNet, Paypal, Secpay, Worldpay and other major realtime credit card processors. Modules also exist to receive credit card data for offline processing and support for payment by Money Order or Check. In addition to this there are currently over 120 payment module contributions available on the osCommerce site.
- Support for multi-currency shops and the ability to update exchange rates manually or via connection to currency exchange rate servers.
- Support for multi-language sites. Language support is available for English, German, and Spanish. More languages are available from the osCommerce site.
- Backup tools to safeguard the store from computer failures.