Must-have E-Commerce Features

A great feature of LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is the section of the site that allows users to ask questions of the LinkedIn community at large.  One of the question categories of particular interest to Crescendo is the e-commerce category, of course (you can find these questions & answers in the 'Answers' section, within the Technology/E-Commerce category).

A question that is frequently asked is "What features should I look for in a shopping cart."  This particular question, or one very similar to it, is asked at least every couple of weeks.

Recently, Crescendo provided an answer to this question - fortunately, the provided answer was selected as 'Best Answer' by the LinkedIn user who asked the question.  Below is the text of the provided answer.

If you would like to contact Crescendo to discuss the features included below, your shopping cart needs in general, or how our platform can help you provide each of these important features for your e-commerce site, please contact us at sales@e-crescendo.com.



Question:

What is the one thing you would like to have on an ecommerce solution?  Many of these out of the box softwares don't provide you with everything you need.  Well, what do you need?  Is it order management or web design?  Other ideas?

Answer:
The ability to provide a custom design is fantastic, definitely. From a functional perspective, here is a quick list that would be very useful (outside of the normal ability to offer products for sale, capture credit card payments, etc.)

1. Web-based administration capability (this one is fairly obvious - the point being that you shouldn't have to change the code or related files on the server to make changes to the site)

2. Associate/affiliate program support (allowing you to track incoming links from affiliates)

3. Cross-sell and Up-sell functionality

4. Integrated email capabilities (among other things, this would include broadcast/batch email marketing capabilities, as well as automated emails such as confirmations, support requests, backorder processing emails, etc.)

5. Support for hard and soft products (this would allow the sale of physical products or downloadable products)

6. Automatic, integrated shipping and tax calculation (both in the cart and during checkout)

7. Promotion/discount functionality

8. Drop-shipper support (allow the easy utilization of drop-shippers to fulfill orders - this would include ability for drop-shippers to be notified of orders and provide shipping status)

9. Configurable Search results (which allows control over what the customer/visitor receives after performing a site search)

10. Customizable landing pages (including the ability to create new landing pages to be used for marketing efforts)

11. SEO support (providing the ability to enter search-friendly content on pages and specify page titles and URLs)

12. Easy analytics integration (ability to track usage of various shopping cart components)

13. Marketing campaign tracking (ability to track marketing campaign usage through site pages and checkout process)

14. Product feed integration with shopping comparison/consolidator sites (such as eBay, Froogle, Yahoo Shopping, MSN Shopping, Amazon, Buy.com, etc.)

15. Integration with other payment services (such as PayPal)