- April 26, 2013
- Posted by: Vishal Shah
- Category: Online Marketing
Any small business that wants to begin selling products online needs to have an effective and reliable shopping cart system in place. A good eCommerce shopping cart will enable a business to display its products attractively and process payments quickly and securely. However, choosing the right solution is not always straightforward, especially for businesses with no experience in this area.
One of the most important decisions for any eCommerce business to make is whether to use an open-source product or a bespoke solution. This guide will look at both of these options to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Open-Source Shopping Carts
There are numerous open-source shopping cart solutions available for businesses of all sizes. Open source means that it runs on open-source code, so it is available for anyone to use and can be customised and modified by developers.
Open-source solutions are often the first option for small businesses, and this usually comes down to a question of price and convenience. Open-source solutions like Magneto, Opencart, Prestashop and Zen Cart tend to be cheaper than bespoke shopping carts because the only real costs involved are the setup and configuration costs.
The other major advantage of open-source shopping carts is that because they are so widely used, there is a lot of information and advice freely available online from other developers.
One of the main issues with these open-source shopping carts is that they offer a generic solution. To counter this, there are often numerous extra applications available to enable businesses to create the functionality that they need. However, customisation will always be limited to an extent.
Another reason to opt for open-source solutions is because web developers all over the world have experience with them. This means that if you ever decide to change your web developer in the future you will not experience any serious difficulties.
Bespoke Shopping Carts
Opting for a bespoke solution involves hiring a developer to create a completely original shopping cart for you that is unique to your eCommerce business. Many smaller businesses do not opt for this due to the higher costs involved. There is a lot more work involved in creating a new shopping cart from scratch, and as such the price is nearly always higher than an open-source solution.
However, this does not mean that it is not a suitable option for your business. Despite the extra costs involved, a bespoke shopping cart will give you complete control over the design, layout and features, allowing you to tailor the interface and presentation to your requirements. You have complete flexibility, and the customer experience can often be better as a result.
As a result, this option could be suited to you if you want a shopping cart that helps to distinguish yourself from the competition, which could be a huge advantage in your industry.
On the down side, if you ever decide to switch developers this could pose more problems. In addition, you will be dependent on them for all of the changes that you want to make, which could prove to be too restrictive.
Choose the Option that Makes Sense for Your Business
Only you can decide what you need from a shopping cart solution for your eCommerce business. Do you need more flexibility? Are you restricted by your budget? Will your products benefit from a bespoke solution? Consider all the areas above when making a decision.
However, if you can still not decide, it may be worth going with an open-source solution initially. You can use this to find out what you really need from a shopping cart and what its limitations are, and if it turns out to be unsuitable you can always hire a developer at a later date to create a bespoke solution that caters for all of your requirements.
Amy from eCommerce parcel delivery firm My Parcel Delivery