Which Shopping Cart?
by Shirley E. Kaiser, M.A., SKDesigns
Published November 1, 1998. Updated September, 1999. Updated March, 2006. Copyright © 2001-2016, Shirley E. Kaiser, M.A., SKDesigns. All rights reserved. Published at websitetips.com with permission.
If you've done a search at one of the search engines for shopping cart programs, the responses of URLs that pop up can be overwhelming.
- Where do you begin looking?
- Which one will actually work and be reliable?
- How do you know which one is the best?
- Or, most importantly, which one is the best for your particular needs?
Where To Begin?!
- I went to the search engines and to a few select Web sites that I knew to begin my research.
- I investigated numerous shopping cart programs, from the free programs to the expensive ones.
- I tried out and continued to review various programs, not just at the company's or individual's site but also in action on live sites all over the Web and for a variety of products and services.
- I asked other Web site developers for their recommendations.
- I asked Web site owners with existing shopping carts if they liked what they used and for their opinions.
Which One to Choose?
So, what were my conclusions? I was happy to learn that there are truly a wide variety of good programs available at an even wider price range. Then the much preferred dilemma is which one(s) to choose.
I am providing a list of shopping cart program Web sites below that I have personally reviewed. I have checked and tested their programs, not only at their own Web sites but also in action at a variety of Web sites. I've corresponded with a variety of Web site owners and webmasters to get their feedback regarding product satisfaction. I hope it can provide a good basis of information in your own decision-making process.
If you're in the market for a shopping cart system for your new or existing Web site, I am also happy to discuss your particular needs with you (consulting fees do apply). Contact me at any time.
Your ISP May Be An Affiliate Already
When you're considering a shopping cart program, keep in mind that various ISPs might be an affiliate for a particular brand already. Some ISPs have dedicated servers specifically for shopping cart programs.
There are also companies from which you can use their shopping cart services, such as Yahoo! ECommerce Solutions, paying a monthly usage fee rather than actually purchasing the software. Dansie offers a low-cost shopping cart that you can purchase and install on your server, and also has the option of remote hosting on their server at a reasonable price (about $100 per year).
Reliability is the Key
When visitors come to your Web site and are interested in purchasing a product or service, you don't want to risk losing their business because the shopping cart program didn't work properly. It makes good business sense to go with a company, brand, or individual that will stand by their product, that provides good customer service, that won't disappear tomorrow, that provides upgrades as the technology continues to improve.... in other words, a product and company you can rely on today and also next year.
Ask Web Site Owners with Existing Shopping Cart Programs
If you would like to investigate programs for yourself or for your clients, here are some suggestions:
- Check out the shopping cart programs at the various sites I've listed below.
- Ask your colleagues which programs they've implemented and if they're satisfied or not.
- Write notes to the Web site owners at sites that have shopping carts and find out if they work well for them. Personal referrals can be a valuable resource.
All of that takes a lot of time, however. Let SKDesigns take the time for all of that so that you can do what you do best with your own business instead.
Here Are A Few of the Good Ones!
These are not necessarily listed by any particular ranking.
Editor note March 2006: I haven't tried any of the shopping carts listed below since around 1999 (unless they were used within a Web site I visited), with the exception of Dansie Cart. I can still vouch for Dansie Cart and their helpful service, too.
Since I wrote this article in 1999 the world of ecommerce programs has changed dramatically. I've revised the list below by eliminating dead links and adding a few that have good reputations.
- Dansie Cart*
- PayPal Shopping Cart
- ShopSite via pair Networks
- Yahoo! Small Business Merchant Solutions
*Recommended in 1999. They might still be quite good, especially if they're still in business over seven years later. I suggest reading reviews and recommendations and comparing features, whether with the list above or anywhere else.
Articles For More Information
There are many good articles out there about what to look for in shopping cart programs, how to determine your needs (or your clients' needs), and much good information. Here is a sampling of sites with interesting articles and help:
- Dr. Wilson's Recommendations: E-Commerce Tools
by Dr. Ralph Wilson.
- E-Commerce: Web Marketing Today
Wilsonweb's section on E-Commerce. A goldmine of information.
- E-Commerce Guide Essentials: Shopping Cart Software Solutions to Close, Process, and Track your Online Sales
Via ECommerce- Guide.com
- Shopping Cart Software Reviews
I hope the above information provides a good beginning to learning about some of the shopping cart programs currently available.