If you’re a smart business, there’s probably no need to explain the benefits of selling online. Creating an online store is like opening a new beach that is easily accessible for your prospects from all over the world. So what can you expect? Of course, more sales, more income and more profits!
There are many ways to start selling online, but shopping carts are essentially the most convenient and promising. However, simply setting up a shopping cart does not guarantee a sudden flurry of new sales as you hoped. This is largely because merchants often overlook some of the very important factors that determine the success of a shopping cart.
The very first factor in this aspect is the convenience and satisfaction it provides to the customers. We’ve already covered some of the main features that make your shopping cart more user-friendly for your customers. We discussed how you can create the perfect shopping environment for your customers. Although user satisfaction is extremely important, it’s not the only thing you should consider.
Your own personal experience with the shopping cart also plays an important role in determining the performance of your online business in the long run. You need to look for a shopping cart that is not only very merchant-friendly but also comes with features that make it specifically ideal for your business. It must have the ability to adapt to your marketing plan and evolve as your business grows.
Shopping carts can be free or paid, but just because you’re paying hundreds of dollars doesn’t mean you’re investing in the best option. There are nearly hundreds of shopping cart platforms available for each category. Finding the one with the features mentioned above isn’t entirely possible without a proper side-by-side comparison of your best options. So, do you really know your best options? Here are a few to consider.
Magento (free and paid)
Why use it – Magento is a very popular open source shopping cart platform that offers a plethora of free features. Magento is a winner when it comes to customization and flexibility. That’s why it’s a great option for almost any type of business. One of the main advantages is its huge and helpful community which guarantees that you will find any type of extension and theme you need. And finally, if SEO is your primary concern, there really isn’t any other option.
Why not – When you choose an option as popular as Magento, you will clearly see the disadvantages of open source. Development is not an easy task with Magento and programmers charge a high amount to do the job. Moreover, Magento also consumes a valuable amount of resources. So unless you’re a tech guru yourself, it’s not really an optional solution for startups and small businesses on a budget.
Presta Shop (Free)
Why not – Although it is easy to find almost any type of addon/extension you need, you will have to pay a slightly higher price even for the basic addon like social media extension. For this reason, it will not be the best option for small businesses with higher needs.
Zen Cart (Free)
Why use it – Zen Cart is another simple to use shopping cart available with a large number of features that could eliminate the need for add-ons for most small businesses. Installation and customization are easy, and you won’t need high-level technical knowledge. Another major advantage is the fact that it is based on OsCommerce, a mature and stable platform.
Why not – If attraction marketing is your concern, Zen Cart may not offer the type of aesthetic you want. While general usage is straightforward, integration and installation of add-ons can be complicated. Additionally, it is not suitable for handling large volumes and can slow down if too much product is added.
CS Trolley (paying)
Why use it – One of the best things about Cs-Cart is that it allows customization and modification without excessive interference with existing source code. Therefore, it is quite easy to use compared to Magento, with which it has many similarities. Due to its features, it is extremely feasible for large businesses with high-end needs.
Why not – CS cart is a paid e-commerce solution which makes it immediately unsuitable for small and medium businesses. This is also the reason why you will need a good amount of resources, preferably a remote server, to dedicate to the system.
Why use it – Shopify is relatively a newer name in this area. However, it is becoming extremely popular due to the ease and convenience it provides to both the merchant and the end users. It gives the admin complete control over how items are displayed. As a newcomer, he definitely wins the race in terms of speed and safety. Moreover, it offers many marketing opportunities such as easy and quick creation of sales pages, etc.
Why not – the first reason would be the price which can leave a visible dent in the budget of small businesses. Second, setup and installation aren’t as straightforward as overall usage itself. This might be possible due to the specific jargons which are a bit different from what is generally used in the industry. Unless you’re familiar with the new terms, you’ll find Shopify a bit confusing.
Why use it – WordPress is a popular CMS that offers e-commerce functionality. It’s the closest you can call a basic shopping cart with a great amount of functionality. You can add more functionality by using plugins for WordPress. And thanks to the huge community, you’ll never run out of useful plugins. With WordPress, you can create a visually appealing store without spending a lot of effort and time. Yet, the crown jewel of this platform is the content marketing opportunities it offers with its built-in blogging feature.
Why not – Again, the simplicity of this platform makes it unsuitable for large enterprises with high-end needs. It’s good for startups, but if you expect a rapid growth rate that will lead to frequent expansion, WordPress might not be the best option. It lacks third-party integration and upgrades can lead to serious issues.