Web Hosting Information’s Guide to Shopping Carts

If you’re planning on running an ecommerce website, your site will only be as good as the cart you select. Most web hosting companies will provide a number of free installations of the most popular open source carts, but which one is right for you? Here’s a quick guide to the best shopping carts.

OSCommerce ’ This cart is a little difficult to configure, especially if you’re not used to PHP and getting under the hood of an application. However, it is worth the extra effort and offers extensive features such as related item suggestion, which is great for add-on sales, and several modules are available to further extend it’s capabilities. The development community is fantastic for this cart and new modules are constantly being added. Most questions on installation can be answered in their forums.

Zen Cart ’ This cart is a bit easier to install and configure, but you will need basic HTML skills. If your hosting company offers Fantastico or a pre-installation, the process is even easier. One of the better features of this cart is that it is designed with your customers in mind, making it easier for them to shop. With shopping cart abandonment continuing to rise, this is an important consideration when selecting a shopping cart. While it is not as extensive as OSCommerce, this is still a solid shopping cart.

PHPShop ’ While this cart is not as widely used as the two above, the people who do utilize it have glowing reports on its ease of use and functionality. This cart is not often included by hosting companies, but you can download a copy from the website linked above and install it yourself. The process is straight forward, but a little knowledge of PHP is beneficial. You can even get help for your installation right on their site, which is always nice to see. This is one cart to watch as the developers on the project continue to work.

CubeCart ’ This cart is not free and carries a $69.95 price tag. The makers claim that over 1 million copies are in use and it certainly is a popular choice. Many people who prefer XHTML and CSS select this cart for its ability to merge well with an existing site design. Multiple currencies are supported and the template system makes it easy to pick a design you like, even if it doesn’t match your site. You will need to have some knowledge of PHP and MySQL to install this cart and configure it, but once it’s up and running, it’s well worth it.

MivaMerchant ’ If you’re looking to spend some serious money, MivaMerchant is very powerful. Some hosting companies do provide a free installation of this cart, valued at around $995. This cart is truly for an advanced business that needs a high powered solution. If your store has more than 100 products, or if you want advanced maintenance, customer care, and administration features, it’s definitely worth the expense. The company does offer MivaMerchantFastTrack for around $595, that has almost all of the features of the full version and this version would work well for smaller companies that don’t quite need all of the bells and whistles.

Related Posts:
Selecting the Right Shopping Cart for Your Ecommerce Site
06/21/2006 Hosting Industry Briefing
Shopping Carts for Ecommerce Sites
What Do You Need for Your Ecommerce Site?
Disadvantages of Ecommerce Hosting

Posted on 05/21/06 2:26 AM

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