What You Should Know About Shopping Cart Software

shopping cart software

Shopping Cart Software

Shopping cart software can be defined as a software application used in ecommerce that enables interaction to take place between sellers and buyers online. The software acts as the interface between the website of a company and its infrastructure, thus allowing the customers of the company to select various products, modify options and add more goods, make reviews of these products, and eventually, once satisfied make a purchase of these products. The shopping cart software basically allows customers shopping online to accumulate items that they are buying online from a particular seller and place these items into a virtual shopping cart. Once the customer has selected items they would like to purchase, the shopping cart software then generally calculates of the total amount of the order made. This will include the handling and shipping charges (such as the packing and postage) and any other monies due, such as taxes. When looking for shopping cart software as a seller, you will need to decide if you prefer subscribing for this service or owning the software yourself.

The options available are:

(a) An open source or licensed shopping cart software

This is shopping cart software that is open source and free or you buy and get to host yourself. The software charges or costs include the license fee, and update plans and yearly support in some cases. The website in this case is on a web hosting account that is new or it will be hosted.

Benefits of this type of shopping cart software include:

  • You will have access to the source code of the software.
  • You will have much lower long term and medium costs to pay.
  • Your shopping cart system can be customized to work and look any way that you would like.
  • You own the software, you have the freedom to do with it as you please, for example, you may choose to change the hosting company.

The downside to choosing the licensed shopping cart is that the start-up time may take longer and the initial costs will be higher.

(b) Hosted shopping cart software

Any buyer opting for or subscribing to the hosted shopping cart software is charged a variety of fees that include monthly fees, set up fees and in other cases, commissions on sales made.

Some of the benefits enjoyed by users of the hosted shopping cart software include:

  • The user will enjoy quicker start up time.
  • The user will pay lower initial costs than then licensed shopping cart software.

Disadvantages of hosted shopping cart software include:

  • The user of this shopping software will be restricted from moving the shopping cart anywhere else if he or she is not happy with the services offered, thus they will be ‘locked in’.
  • The software costs will be higher in the medium and in the long run.
  • The source code is not accessible, which means custom functionality is either very expensive to implement or not permitted on their servers.
  • Monthly fees and bandwidth restrictions.

Basically what it comes down to is, if you can operate your online store within the restrictions imposed by a hosted shopping cart software platform, won’t need any significant modifications to the functionality, or 3rd party integration, don’t mind the included free themes or paying monthly usage fees, don’t care about owning the application, then hosted shopping cart software could be a quick and easy way to get started with ecommerce.

What we have found is that many customers of hosted shopping cart software feel frustrated and locked in to a long term monthly commitment with the inability to make modifications that would be trivial in owned or open source shopping cart software due to the fact that they are not allowed access to the source code.

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