Learn about Main Types of Shopping Cart Software and Their Characteristics

Learn about Main Types of Shopping Cart Software and Their Characteristics

Shopping Cart Software and Their Characteristics

These days, it is quite easy to set up an e-store and start selling goods or services extremely fast. However, if you don’t give enough time and efforts to study the main types of shopping cart software, it is possible to choose the wrong one, and it can make the operation of your e-store very problematic. There are many elements to consider when selecting shopping cart software appropriate for your company. But first of all, you need to decide between two main types – hosted and self-hosted shopping carts, considering their advantages and disadvantages.

Hosted shopping cart software

Many platforms provide hosted shopping carts solutions and charge price that may vary depending on the company size. They offer not only hosting, but also tech assistance dealing with software maintenance and taking care of security issues and updating procedures. The cost involved is reasonable, yet it exceeds the value of self-hosted solutions.

Even though hosted option is much easier for any business owner as far as a setup and maintenance, there are some significant drawbacks concerning such type of shopping cart software. Hosted option is less flexible and provides less space for customization.

Many Ecommerce platforms are offering premium plans for companies who want to have more sophisticated shopping carts. These methods provide opportunities to enhance shopping carts using ready-made custom themes, scripts or plugins. Hosted shopping cart software has reduced creative capabilities, so when the store expands, or you want to switch to the different E-commerce platform, it is more complicated to change many of the attributes. It is costly and time consuming to do it. When your online shop increases in size, the fees can start rising as well. One of the downsides of this kind of Ecommerce software is a lack of SEO instruments helping improve the rating of your e-shop. You may need to seek the help of IT expert, experienced in search engine optimization. Some of the most widespread hosted shopping cart software include Shopify, Bigcommerce, 3DCart, Volusion and some other Ecommerce platforms.

Self-hosted (open source) shopping cart software

The advantage to open source shopping cart software is more options when it comes to customization. It is better to have an open source shopping cart software when you are planning to set up and handle a complex large shop with a great variety of different products.

The code of open source shopping cart software is offered to all and can be freely copied and changed by people who know how to modify it. IT experts can alter the source code and implement many elements, allowing more creativity, better control and the luxury of adding extra functions. This kind of shopping cart software can be hosted using any hosting service provider. It means that you can find a hosting company offering better pricing, and transfer your e-shop to it.

In spite of these advantages, self-hosted shopping carts have their drawbacks, for example, it requires more efforts as far as maintenance and security. The setup process is not as easy and straightforward as in the hosted shopping carts. You will have to pick a hosting service and set up shopping cart software yourself or hire help to do this. Tech support on it is insufficient, so you will have to study all the information yourself if you are technically savvy or invite a developer for maintenance, in case online shopping cart software would experience some issues or would have errors in the code. Additionally, the cost of hosting your e-store can rise if it expands or the traffic to your site increases.

As far as self-hosted Ecommerce solutions, Magento, Woo Commerce, PrestaShop etc. are some most popular and best shopping cart software platforms in this category. Be sure also to read our related article about shopping cart software.

How to decide between the two types of shopping cart software

Modifying open source options for B2B shopping cart software catering to wholesale businesses and shopping cart software for retailers, can cost a lot of money and become a very time-consuming task. So, if ROI is important for you, and you plan to start a cost-effective online shop that brings you money right away, take a look at hosted shopping cart software options. They have many tools and attributes already included, so you don’t need to bring developers to your team or program any applications from scratch. It is unquestionably much easier to start the online shop and get it up and running with hosted shopping cart options.

Before deciding on the type of shopping cart software, study their tools and features. Also, examine the goals and capabilities of your own business. You need to determine who is your target audience and decide on the number of products you plan to sell. Decide if you can hire a skilled IT team to develop Ecommerce shopping cart solution and enhance your online store with custom design and features, or whether you are Ok with limited functionality and can take care of your e-shop features by yourself.  

Take a look at some of the most popular hosted shopping cart software: Shopify, Bigcommerce, Volusion, Pinnacle Cart, SparkPay. Also, you can study some self-hosted (open source) solutions like Magento, WooCommerce, UberCart, PrestaShop and more Ecommerce platforms. The most popular programming language used for developing shopping cart software is PHP. However, some Ecommerce solutions have been created using ASP, Ruby, Python and other languages.

As we noted earlier, when comparing two main types of shopping cart software, it is necessary to consider several main points such as customization opportunities, integration options, security, performance, and cost.  Great shopping cart software is designed to make your business journey a success, giving many opportunities to add custom attributes to your online store. It needs to meet goals of your enterprise and make your website user-friendly and easy to manage.

It is no secret that wise choice when it comes to online shopping cart software is able to ensure success or failure of your new business. Offering quality shopping experience to people is essential nowadays, and it is necessary to select best shopping cart software providing client’s satisfaction. It will help you grow your trade, expand your store and make it super profitable.

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