Free vs. Paid shopping cart software

Following the article on 4 ways to sell online, we are going to explore on platforms to setup your own storefront in this episode. Generally, there are two options for getting your own branded webstore: Free (a.k.a. open source, do-it-yourself) and Paid (a.k.a. hosted, managed, SaaS) e-commerce software.

Free Shopping Cart Software

Free shopping cart solutions are typically open source software. Sometimes, it is not totally free as you could be charged for upgrades or additional features. Nevertheless, all you get is the software itself. You need to source hosting packaging, install the application, apply updates and administer security yourself.

As you can see, it is quite an impossible task if you have zero knowledge on technical or specific programming language. Of course, you can hire some one reliable to do it for you. But that defeat the purpose of being “free”, isn’t it?

Therefore, open source shopping cart is only worth considering if you are well-versed in programming. In this case, you get the flexibility of open source software where you can add or tweak a feature to your liking.

It is important to pick an open source software that is established and well supported. However, support is limited to its own community in most cases. Be prepared to scramble through resources like documentation and forum to get your answer. It is really doing-it-yourself as the community is consist of volunteers who are not obligated to assist you professionally.

As a matter of fact, you wouldn’t really want to allocate much of your time worrying about applying updates, administering security and maintaining your e-commerce system, right?

Calling for HELP to maintain your open source e-commerce software?

Calling for HELP to maintain your open source software?

Paid Shopping Cart Software

Hosted e-commerce solutions provide you with everything you need, from hosting, software, updates, maintenance, support to security. You can always find the right shopping cart software package that has the features that you require.

The biggest advantage if compared to the free e-commerce software is that you don’t need to worry about applying updates or maintenance of the system. The updates are being done by the software providers usually at no additional cost. This can really save you a lot of valuable time and let you concentrate on growing your online business.

Cost wise, subscription fee charged by hosted shopping cart providers are generally inexpensive nowadays. The relative low entry barrier is extremely suitable for small and medium business to setup an own branded online store, so to speak.

There is always time for free stuff, but a little investment can save you a lot of hassle so that you can focus on your business and customers. Sign up for a reputable shopping cart software like webShaper, or talk to us if you aren’t sure which package is for you.

Image credit: On3

Related posts:

  1. E-Commerce 101: 4 ways to sell online
  2. E-Commerce 101: What skills do you need?
  3. E-Commerce 101: Understanding online payment

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