E-Commerce Shopping Cart Comparison


May 15, 2012

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Design & Development

Opening an online store can seem as complicated as building a brick and mortar store from the ground up. What is the right cart to use? How hard will it be to make changes down the road? What if you have to start over from scratch? These are all valid concerns, and that’s why you need to start with the right cart for the job. This will depend on your business model, type of products, and vision for the future. Here are the pros and cons of some e-commerce shopping carts to help you make a more informed decision.

Magento is quite popular, perhaps because of its “shop by category” navigation that resembles eBay. It also integrates most shipping and payment options with customizable features, and many users like that it can run multiple shops at once.
Pros: Multiple shop functions make it great for professional, full-time e-commerce entrepreneurs.
Cons: Magento requires quite a bit of server resources, and can be slow to load. It’s a bit too heavy-duty for smaller shops.

Joomla (Virtuemart) is also quite popular, particularly among those who want a PHP shopping cart. If your CMS is Joomla, then integrating Virtuemart is easier because it is available as a Joomla component. The component comes with several shipping and payment modules already installed, so you can enable the features you need for your shop.
Pros: Many great features including a good selection of add-ons, including high-level reports.
Cons: Upgrades can be difficult to attain, and the add-ons take quite some time to catch up to Virtuemart’s latest version, leaving room for incompatibility issues.

WP e-Commerce (aka GetShopped) is a robust WordPress plugin suitable for anyone who wants to start selling products, downloads or services online. It’s easy to use, and very easy to integrate if WordPress is your CMS.
Pros: It’s great for small e-commerce shops.
Cons: If you aim to expand your operation, WP-Ecommerce can be quickly outgrown. The software is also known to be quite buggy.

ZenCart is a lightweight, flexible and totally free open source shopping cart that will work for almost any e-commerce store, from large to small. It supports a wide variety of shopping, shipping and payment options.
Pros: With an active open source community, ZenCart offers a wide variety of features to meet any online store’s needs.
Cons: Those features could be made easier to install and upgrade.

Your e-commerce shopping cart service is the tool that powers your online business, so choosing the right one is key. Now that you know the pros and cons of several e-commerce shopping carts, you can make a decision which of them is right for you. If you are interested in developing a new e-commerce site, JT Website Design can answer your questions regarding online shopping carts and their functions.

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