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Top 5 Ecommerce Shopping Carts: Pros and Cons

by Alicia Dale on 2015-11-11 10:34:37

So, you’ve built a shiny, new website for your online business and are ready to sell your products. Now what? As an online retailer, the purpose of your website is to generate income for your business, which means you need an ecommerce shopping cart solution that best fits your business model and needs. With what seems to be an endless number of shopping cart providers out there, and all of them offering different services, how do you weigh their pros and cons in order to decide which one is right for you? Make a list of everything you want your shopping cart to have in order to accomplish your goals for your online business and begin your research. Here are our top 5 ecommerce shopping cart recommendations and their pros and cons.

BigCommerce

Pros:

  • 3 easy to understand pricing packages.
    • $29.95/month - Standard
    • $79.95/month - Plus
    • Enterprise package is customizable - provides premium features and support for high-volume businesses
  • 15 day trial period.
  • Extensive third party app store.
  • No product selling limits and unlimited storage.
  • Reporting features are included.

Cons:

  • Their customer support has been spotty.
  • They don’t offer refunds.
  • As mentioned above, there is a transaction fee on their Standard package.
  • Comprehensive dashboard that is not as simple to use as some of the competitors.
  • Has free templets, but not as robust as some of the competitors in this area.

The bottom line:

BigCommerce provides small businesses with a wide selection of advanced features to set up a comprehensive online store with a flexible and powerful platform, though their support isn’t top notch.

Shopify

Pros:

  • 4 package pricing options starting at $9.
    • $9/month - Lite
    • $29/month - Basic
    • $79/month - Pro
    • $179/month - Unlimited
  • Offers everything needed to get selling right away for small businesses.
  • Simple setup process to get you up and running quickly.
  • 14 day trial period.
  • Attractive free themes.
  • Built-in email marketing tools.
  • No product selling limits or transaction fees.
  • 24/7 support.

Cons:

  • Pricing options seem reasonable, until you need advanced features only available on the higher tiers, which are very expensive.
  • No refunds.
  • Though they offer a retail package add on that would be very beneficial to a lot of ecommerce businesses, it’s $40/month in addition to each package.
  • High transaction fees on each package level which can add up quickly.

The bottom line:

Shopify offers online retailers everything they need to get started right out of the box. It has a flexible and easy to use platform that allows you to expand features as necessary with third party apps and add ons.

Volusion

Pros:

  • Pricing starts at $15.
    • $15/month - Mini
    • $35/month - Plus
    • $75/month - Pro
    • $135/month - Premium
  • They offer everything a small business needs to get started right out of the box.
  • Easy to navigate back end and very user friendly add on products.
  • In-depth analytics offered.
  • Unlimited storage
  • No transaction fees.

Cons:

  • Pricing can get expensive rather quickly, which often times make it not the right choice for some small businesses.
  • Premium themes can be expensive.
  • Many extra fees.
  • No user forum.
  • No blogging software.
  • Bandwidth restrictions.
  • Limited number of products on first three pricing packages.

The bottom line:

Volusion is another ‘start selling right out of the box’ kind of shopping cart solution, but it’s templates are dated and the extra fees make it too expensive for many online retailers.

Magento

Pros:

  • The package pricing is customizable.
    • Community Edition - free to download and use
    • Enterprise Edition – scalable solution for fast-growing and large businesses
    • Commerce Order Management Suite – cloud-based suite of tools, services and technology to manage orders, inventory and omni-channel fulfillment.
    • Retail Commerce Suite – mobile platform
    • Community Edition – develop your own flexible technology
  • Very thorough help documentation.
  • Manage multiple stores from one administrator.
  • Easy to get website up and running, though much of the administration work will need to be done internally.
  • Robust app store with plug ins and different features that can be added to your website.

Cons:

  • This is more of a DIY shopping cart.
  • Live support is not available unless you purchase the Enterprise Edition or third party partners.
  • Requires manual coding and setup.

The bottom line:

Magento is different from a lot of these other shopping cart solutions in that you install it directly on your site. You’ll need to know HTML because it requires DIY editing, but with all that power, you can set up a very unique storefront.

3dCart

Pros:

  • Pricing starts at $35.99/month. (You can pay monthly or get a discount for paying yearly.)
    • $35.99/month – Starter
    • $65.99/month – Professional
    • $99.99/month – Professional Plus
    • $129.99/month – Power Plan
  • 15 day free trial.
  • Special checkout options such as gift wrapping.
  • 30 day refund policy.
  • 24/7 tech support.
  • Bing Ads credits offered on each package level.
  • Free domain registration and hosting.
  • Wizard tool will walk you through your initial startup.

Cons:

  • Cramped and busy looking dashboard.
  • Sales volume and bandwidth limitations.
  • No built-in point-of-sale system.
  • Outdated templates.

The bottom line:

3dCart might not have the best-looking templates or the easiest to use dashboard, but it’s definitely a solid choice when it comes to shopping carts and several one-of-a-kind features that you won’t find with their competitors.

As you can see, some shopping carts are better suited for your type of business than others. Be sure to read all of the reviews on each cart you’re considering and ask as many questions in forums as possible. Thankfully, many offer a free trial period, so take advantage and test out several before you fully commit, but remember to cancel the free trial offer before it hits your credit card.

With each solution offering different features on their package levels, it’s difficult to choose one strictly based on pricing, because you’re not comparing apples-to-apples. It pretty much boils down to just how much extra work you’re willing to put into the back end as an online retail business owner. Having an easy to use shopping cart experience for your customer is your ultimate goal. Good luck in your search!

For more information on ecommerce shopping cart solutions to enhance your online retail business, Contact Us today!

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