Order Forms vs Shopping Carts: Which One to Choose for Your E-Commerce Blog?

Your business card as an e-commerce entrepreneur is the order management system you use. If customers are enticed with your products’ showcase but get turned off by a tangled order system they are most likely to leave empty-handed. The two main options for managing orders are order forms and shopping carts. Which one suits you best? Let’s analyze this in a few simple steps.


Forms are traditional means of collecting order information used since the pre-web era. An online order form placed on your page would bring to view the purchase options and direct customers to the payment gateway. Shopping carts are terminals with complex capabilities, which require more resources. Both solutions give a good range of features:
– real time price calculation
– transactions processing or integration with online payment gateways
– opt-in for product features
– product image attaching
– anti-spam facilities (CAPTCHA)
– data encryption.
Before deciding for one or the other ordering system, it’s a good idea to ask yourself the following questions:
Are you an occasional seller or you run a well-established e-commerce business?
Consider using a shopping cart if your sales activity is among the main objectives of your site or blog. An order form is a good option if you don’t have a massive flow of products to sell, otherwise you will need to update the form each time a new product appears. Forms are light tools to embed on any page, while a shopping cart is like an axis the website revolves around.
If your aim is just to keep readers engaged by offering small treats every now and then such as vintage music tapes you found in the garage, then you would certainly use an order form placed inside a post. Or say you regularly insert “offer of the week”-like posts with bargains. The best scenario is again to have a small form on each page, featuring the products that are showcased there. On the other hand, for regularly updating catalogues of products, shopping carts are the best choice.
How many products / service plans will you be selling?
Whether you are a freelancer selling photo shooting packages or the owner of a handcrafted decorations business, you should estimate the range of your offers in order to choose the best ordering system. If your catalogue includes more than maybe four or five items then you should opt for a shopping cart. Order forms tend to become too cluttered at that level, which diminishes visual impact.
Will you use fidelity coupons or discount codes?
If affirmative, it’s recommended to use a shopping cart for full automatizing the process. With forms, this feature falls in the category of workarounds for the moment (yet accomplishable).
Do you wish the visitors to be able to navigate on various pages while their order is saved?
In this case you have two options. Either go for the form and display it within a link that will open in another tab or put up a shopping cart. Order forms can limit customer’s interactivity with the products if there’s a wide range of items to display. Shopping carts, on the other hand, require a multi-step buying process, implying that the customer returns to finalize the order.
What payment options do you give at checkout?
Most order forms and shopping carts integrate with the major payment processors. The challenge is to choose a system that offers all the payment options you are considering. Of course, it’s best to integrate your online shop with all the leading gateways in order to fulfill the needs of customers all over the world.
Order forms are a time-effective solution that suits bloggers who want to build an online store without a hitch, while shopping carts are a better fit for industrial retailers. The order management system is a key usability element that will set your business working.

Laura writes on behalf of 123ContactForm, web form builder that helps users create effective forms and surveys for every web platform. From order forms to contact pages, users can create and customize fully-featured forms for any business.

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