An Open Source Shopping Cart Can Boost Your Online Commerce Efforts
Whether you’re an individual focused on launching an ecommerce effort online or an organization prepared to sell and do transactions online or in the cloud, a high-quality and secure shopping cart system is essential. It may come as a surprise to learn that there are so many open source packages to choose from, it's hard to know where to start. Here are some of your options, and some things to consider before making a choice.
Fox News recently did an evaluation of issues to consider when choosing an online shopping cart solution, and noted that open source options are available.
As it reported:
“How easy will it be to customize the cart for your website? Don’t assume that opting for self-hosted/open source carts will make the customization that much easier…nopCommerce is [a] great option for customization, on a smaller budget. A devoted following is already growing around this free, open source cart option. If you have some basic coding skills, you can follow free online tutorials -- like the fantastic options available on Arixe -- and fully customize the nopCommerce cart to meet your website's needs.”
“The right online cart will streamline your relationship with customers. Shopping carts handle multiple payments, collect the tax, offer shipping options (and shipping estimates, before purchase) and ensure a seamless transaction process.”
Lisa Hoover previously covered some excellent open source cart solutions in this post. She highlighted the following strong choices:
OpenCart - This PHP-based shopping cart system is perfect for people who want to build an online business from the ground up. It features unlimited categories and products, and supports multiple currencies and languages. There are more than 20 payment options and 8 shipping methods to choose from, and OpenCart also has a handful of helpful extras like image resizing and backup tools.
TomatoCart - Here's an Ajax-based app loaded with nice touches like an open source Web analytics program (Piwik) and a complete content management system. TomatoCart analyzes products, categories, reviews, etc. and generates keyword-rich URLs for better search engine optimization, and churns out meta-tags for products and categories automatically.
Magento - This shopping cart software is popular with big name brands like Lenovo, Vizio, and 3M, and has been downloaded over one million times. It's available in both Community (free) and Enterprise (paid) editions, but both are open source. Magento is one of the most full-featured packages on the market and includes site management tools, report generators, and mobile commerce options.
Zen Cart - If you're looking for shopping cart software with plenty of customer-oriented features, then have a look at Zen Cart. It comes will tools to create newsletters, discount coupons, gift certificates, and other customer management goodies. It can handle unlimited extra pages, multiple sales, customers, and discounts, and features a complete XHTML template system. Zen Cart's was created with the end-user in mind and "can be installed and set-up by anyone with the most basic web site building and computer skills."
AgoraCart - Use this app as a shopping cart or a complete storefront. There are plenty of templates to choose from that will have your business online quickly, or you can integrate your own Web design. It features inventory and merchandising management tools, as well as order processing, shipping, and customization options that help personalize the store exactly to your liking.