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WEB HOSTING NEWS

E-commerce Shopping Cart Review
By: Dan Wellman
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  • Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 38
    2005-04-06

    Table of Contents:
  • E-commerce Shopping Cart Review
  • Nopcart
  • Shop Script Free, Zen Shopping Cart
  • Comersus Cart Lite, osCommerce

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    E-commerce Shopping Cart Review


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Whether you're hosting your own business website or someone else's, or make a business out of hosting the websites of other businesses, you will need a way for visitors to buy your products. Usually, that involves having a shopping cart on your website. But why reinvent the wheel when there are a wide range of shopping cart options available? Dan Wellman reviews several of the better shopping cart software packages.

    Business, like time, waits for no man (or woman). The problem with having a good idea is that, if it hasnít already been thought of by someone else, it probably will be very quickly. The online business world is no different from the regular business world in this respect; in fact you have even less time to go live and start fronting your business idea. A moment of fantastic inspiration for the truly ultimate business idea means nothing if it takes you six months to develop your idea and begin taking orders. Anything that will save you time and effort will be a definite bonus to those wanting to set up an online store.

    Another golden rule of successfully running a business is to minimize your initial outlay.  If youíre already taking out a business loan with the bank to purchase your first load of stock, the last thing you want to do is lay out further capital on something like an automated shopping cart system. These are just examples of course; many businesses need do nothing more than set up an order-capable website before theyíre ready to go, but the point Iím making is that, generally, the most successful businesses require the least input and return the maximum amount.

    There are numerous different e-commerce shopping solutions, ranging widely as far as quality, style and above all, price. Most e-commerce hosting sites offer their own proprietary shopping cart building software packages and similarly, most Web design consultancy companies will build one tailored to your exact needs and specifications. The benefits to using these are that you can save time, because if youíre paying someone to do something, youíve got every right to expect a result in a timely manner. You donít need to worry about writing the complex code that sits behind these applications and makes them work correctly, as this is handled entirely by the agents on your payroll.  Basically, everything is taken care of for you, and all you do is foot the bill. 

    For existing businesses already turning a profit and just wanting to create an online presence to complement their active bricks and mortar store, this may be the ideal solution. But for first-time businesses and people without real-world shops, the minimum input, maximum output rule will probably apply.

    Fortunately, the need for low-cost, easily integrated, working e-commerce shopping cart solutions has been addressed. There are a range of open-source tried and tested shopping carts that can simply be bolted on to existing sites and customized.  The only question is, which one do you choose?

    Iíve downloaded a range of available shopping carts and tested them thoroughly. I examined issues such as ease of installation, ease of customization and general effectiveness. Iíve only looked at open source (meaning free) solutions, and have found that these products are more than up to the task of autonomously servicing your customerís needs.

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