Choosing a shopping cart software is one of the most crucial decisions to make when starting an e-commerce business, therefore conducting an in-depth e-commerce shopping cart comparison is necessary. A shopping cart software can assist in increasing revenue, create a competitive advantage and encourage customer retention.
Top Downloadable Shopping Cart Software as of 2010
- X-Cart: Free trial available then costs between $149 to $575.
- SunShop: Available at either $249.99 or $549.99, depending on whether the business wants 1 year or lifetime access to software updates.
- Magento: Free edition available, as well as professional and enterprise licenses for $2,995 and $12,990.
- Zen Cart: Open source software that is available for free.
- OsCommerce: Open source software that is available for free.
When conducting an e-commerce shopping cart comparison, each shopping cart should be rated on specific features and abilities. Each program has different features and abilities, which should be weighed against each other to determine the best fit for the company.
Important E-Commerce Shopping Cart Comparison Categories
- The web design should be search engine friendly, customizable, ability to have thumbnails and large image views, integrated store search, and template flexibility. The more customizable the web design is, the more the company will be able to integrate it with its site and allow for future expansion and improvements.
- Admin control should allow the business to manage its inventory, accounting, and products. Some programs have limitations on the number of products and categories, to ensure that the program selected allows for company growth. It is also beneficial to have features such as the ability to sell both physical and digital products, mobile access, and allow for backorders or partial shipments.
- Shopping cart features that could prove to be very useful are the ability to offer coupons or gift certificates, live order tracking, automated e-mail confirmations, customer admin section, and both up-selling and cross-selling abilities.
- Shopping carts are not always integrated into the top payment methods, to ensure that the ones of interest include the desired payment options. It should offer merchant account/gateway integration, PayPal payment compatibility, real-time credit card processing, customizable checkout pages and the ability to accept checks and phone orders.
- In order to assist with customer retention and marketing efforts, as well as financial reporting, the e-commerce shopping cart should have advanced reporting and marketing features. The marketing features should include an affiliate program, autoresponders, and social media connectivity.
- Security is one of the most important aspects of any e-commerce shopping cart software and should not be taken lightly. The software should include Secure Socket Layer (SSL), backups and restorations, and fraud protection settings.
E-Commerce Shopping Cart Comparison Notes
The shopping carts mentioned are all downloadable software programs since hosted shopping carts and shopping cart software should be compared separately. Each type of shopping carts offer businesses different advantages, therefore the company should first decide on which type it should use before conducting an e-commerce shopping cart comparison.
A helpful resource for selecting a shopping cart is using the Guide to E-Commerce Shopping Carts. When conducting an e-commerce shopping cart comparison, it is important to look at the web design, admin controls, shopping cart features, payment methods, reports, marketing, and security features.