So you’re ready to make the leap and take your business online, but you’ve already come to a fork in the road. Is an order form the way to go or do you need to invest the extra time and tech in a full-fledged shopping cart?
Shopping carts offer a great deal of flexibility and functionality compared to order forms, but they’re harder to implement and not the best answer for every company. Sometimes you’re better off with order forms even if your organization employs a crew of top-notch developers.
Before we getting into the differences between order forms and shopping carts, let’s see the similarities. According to an article on OrphicPixel, both order forms and shopping carts give a good range of features, such as:
If order forms can do all that, why get a shopping cart? Shopping carts have special capabilities that you’ll need if either of the following applies to your online business:
A shopping cart dynamically adjusts to changes in items, whereas an order form would have to be edited every time an item is added or removed.
In that case, you need a cart which enables customers to store items and continue browsing.
If you have more than about a half dozen, you better spring for the shopping cart. Displaying too many items on an order form quickly gets unwieldy and frustrates customers.
Access Payment Systems puts it this way: “If you have a large number of products that will be spread out over many pages, then a shopping cart is probably a must. If you have a smaller number of products that can be placed on one page, you may not need a shopping cart. If you decide that you need a shopping cart, choose the one that best fits your particular needs.”
If that sounds like you, a good start would be to check if your hosting provider offers any shopping carts, and then do online research to see which might suit you best.
In the past, order forms lagged behind shopping carts in terms of payment flexibility. If you wanted sales taxes calculated, multiple countries’ currencies converted, PayPal integrated, or installments billed, a shopping cart was your only hope. Thanks especially to third-party integrations, now there are order forms that can do all that and more.
Order forms are great for situations when the customer makes one purchase, perhaps with some customizations. Online concert tickets work this way. You can only buy one set of tickets and have to check out. You can’t leave tickets sitting around in a shopping cart when other people might want them. That just wouldn’t be right!
Event planning companies also prefer order forms to shopping carts. A good event planning website often includes an order form that customers use to request a booking. The order form collects the relevant data, such as the type of the event and how many people will attend, the budget, the photography package, the catering options, and more. With the click of a button, the details are submitted electronically to the event planner.
If your site is a candidate for an order form, you’re in the right place. With 123FormBuilder, you can create a reliable, customizable form without having to touch any code. And pretty sophisticated at that:
123FormBuilder has a form for everyone, from free personal use to corporate solutions. Although our team of programmers could build a good one, we don’t happen to need a shopping cart. When you sign up for any of our premium plans, the magic will happen on an order form!