So now comes the big question – which shopping cart should you use?
As we have mentioned in our Shopping Cart section, whichever cart you choose depends on how well it fits your needs, your budget and your experience with scripts and databases.
PayPal Shopping Cart
Free shopping cart software by PayPal. With a PayPal Cart, you don’t need a SSL certificate or scripting knowledge. PayPal provides with a store HTML link that basically directs your customers to your store on the PayPal server. All SSL and scripting functionality as well as payment processing is handled by PayPal.
Downsides of the PayPal cart include its limited features and customization capability. For example, PayPal’s standard cart does not support inventory management, or direct links to USPS or UPS shipping methods.
PayPal is good for small stores that have minimal products and minimal monthly transactions.
Zen Cart is a free, open-source shopping cart. By saying that, the Zen Cart script is free to use and its source codes are open for anyone to modify or customize. This allows for the improvements and further developments of the software with other programmers and designers. Unfortunately, free and open-source also means there are chances of being hacked.
Zen Cart is acclaimed for being user-friendly, with it’s easily installation and extensive FAQ and help via forums.Because you will need to upload the scripts onto your server, you will need to make sure your hosting plan offers the required scripting and database support (PHP and MySQL). You will also need a SSL certificate, a payment gateway service, and a merchant account.
For information, including the installation guide, can be found here.
Compared with the PayPal Cart, with the Zen Cart, you will be getting more features and functionality (either built-in or through add-ons that you have to install separately). But, you will need a powerful hosting package that offers scripting and database support and you will need to install the scripts.
While many shopping carts seem to be a little too technical for the average non-technical user, the Doteasy Commerce is easy to use. We do all the installation and configuration for you.
The Doteasy Commerce has the features that you’ll see in the open-source carts, but because it is focused on sales and marketing, you will find more marketing features, such as product recommendation, promotional codes and discounts, email newsletters and product update communication, search-engine friendly meta data and tags, etc.
The Doteasy Commerce is not an open-source shopping cart. In fact, your source codes are compiled. This acts as an extra security feature. Say, if someone taps onto your store will ill intentions, they will not be able to tamper with your shopping cart’s codes. You do, however, have access to your storefront files – allowing for advanced storefront customization.
Doteasy Commerce allows you to setup real-time shipping inquiries for UPS, FedEx, USPS and Canada Post. Supported payment gateways include Authorize.net, 2Checkout, HSBC, Moneris, and more. Of course, if you want to use the PayPal gateway, you don’t need to worry about purchasing a SSL certificate.
So, considering the same basic requirements (advanced hosting plan, SSL certificate, payment gateway and merchant account) and the same basic functionality, why choose the Doteasy Commerce and not a free open-source shopping cart?
- Many of the free open-source shopping carts are often geared towards a business owner who is technically proficient. Because the average user may not be tech-savvy, they might not have implemented their shopping cart correctly. The shopping cart is your interface between you and your customers. You want to make sure they see the professional side of you and your business, and a poorly implemented cart will not do justice.
- Most free carts rely on support from other users via forums. Unfortunately, uptime means sales generated, downtime means sales lost. Support is an important issue and with a pay-shopping cart, you’re guaranteed support