I just wanted to give a rundown on the shopping carts we have used or are using over the years since there seems to be a lot of questions in this area - plus I should be working but need a break.
A company we utilized for our first shopping cart on OSDS is creating a new cart IC Cart
that promises to offer more bells and whistles such as integration with quickbooks, but I haven't used it, though I did take the tour and it looks nice.Mal's
You absolutely have to have some HTML knowledge if you use this free shopping cart. You 'program' your products yourself and plug the code in on your own HTML pages. This allows for a lot of flexibility as to how you want your site to look but can be cumbersome and difficult if you are handling a lot of products with high turnover. There are some shopping carts that work WITH this cart that build your pages dynamically for you - Waterswebshops
offers one that works well and is easy to customize.Secure Net Shop
is super easy to use and has merchant account options that do not require separate gateways, hidden fees, or a secure certificate for your site. However, this shopping cart is a 'cut and paste' cart - you have to cut and paste the HTML (it builds it for you) and you insert it yourself on your web page. Less complicated than Mal's
but still a lot of work if you have a lot of products. We are currently using this on OSDS while we figure out what cart we want to use more long term and it is a pain in the butt to manage our 250+ products... BUT, the checkout process is terrific and the invoices are 'pretty' enough to print without having to re-enter them and it integrates with quickbooks beautifully. It can work dynamically with a CGI script but I have not tried this yet.OS commerce
This is a free shopping cart and is fairly easy to use but is more difficult to customize. Most OS sites 'look' like OS sites and that bugs me. It's written in php and since it is a free opensource script, the tech support comes in form of a forum.Zencart
is a spin off from Oscommerce, still free, still open source but I find it a bit easier to customize, though I still think it would be difficult for someone not well versed in HTML. It is written in php and there are some confusing elements but you can make it look less like the rest of the zencarts. They are working on a mod that will allow you to integrate with quickbooks. There is a $20 add on that you can purchase from a contributor that allows you to upload your products in bulk and maintain them in an excel file. This is very helpful if you have lots of products - but it is not the best bulk upload tool I've seen. The forum is also pretty helpful.WAHMshoppes
Okay, I know a TON of wahms use this but I think it is poorly designed. It is very confusing for a 'newbie' to figure out how to upload say, a banner, and then give the banner url to an advertiser. But it does offer options and is a fairly good shopping cart for beginners. I have customized this cart for clients and it is possible to make a 'break' from the typical framed look. It does not integrate with quickbooks or allow you to upload products in bulk and I think there are some shipping and merchant account limitations. Customer service can be sketchy since Tony has a regular day job, but I have had good responses to my questions when I email him.X-Cart
This shopping cart offers a lot of bells and whistles, and we were very interested in it for our business. It works 'right out of the box' but isn't very pretty. We paid the X-Cart people quite a bundle to customize it and design it around our existing web design. It was a long, and expensive process and then in the end I decided that while the PHP script is flawlessly written, there were a lot of user-issues I didn't like. I did not like the checkout process and changing built in languages was difficult - these problems would have been difficult to impossible to change. (By languages I mean where the cart said "log in here" and I wanted to change it to "Please log in" - this was difficult to change). While the Russian men who worked on my cart were nice and answered my questions the time zone differences made getting quick responses impossible. I had to stay up until 3am to talk in 'real time'. I think it is a good cart if you aren't picky about what it looks like - or if you use an existing X-Cart skin. They do have a helpful forum and the cart integrates with quickbooks and many shipping providers.Lite Commerce
is a smaller version of x-cart, I have not used it.Go E Cart
and Monster Commerce
we signed up for to experiment with. While both of these carts offer a lot of bells and whistles: integration with quickbooks and shipping providers, you do not have complete control over your website. This may not be an issue for most wahms, but I need access to my FTP and php admin to build scripts. If you don't need this, these carts may work nicely for you. They are not cheap BUT they come with secure certificates and easy to set up merchant accounts. Go E Cart allows you to bulk upload your products and manage them via a csv file, which is great. Monster Commerce also has a bulk management feature, but it costs extra. A lot of the features you need with Monster Commerce cost extra - a lot of people seemed upset about this on the forums. However, I know one wahm who uses this cart and is very happy with it. It came close to meeting our needs.Click Cart Pro
I use CCP on my Very Baby site and have set it up for several clients. It's a nice shopping cart for beginners and offers a lot of options - one thing I really like about it is that in addition to having different options for a product (choose blue, pink, or green) you can also change the price and weight of each option - for example, if you were offering a size choice, you could have the medium size add a dollar, and a fraction of a pound. I think wahmshoppes lets you add to the price for each option, but not the weight. The weight is important if you are calculating shipping in real time. CCP also has an easy set up for real time shipping with USPS and UPS so you don't have to figure it out or offer blanket flat rates that you can lose money on. It integrates with quickbooks and you can maintain your products with a csv file.
I hope this helps some of you!
- this is a pretty basic cart that looks like it is easily customizable, I haven't used it myself so I'm not sure what all the integrations are.VeryCommerce
- this is a cart developed by my brother helped develop. It integrates with Quickbooks but this script needs some work. Unlimited products and inventory control. It has a lot of nice features.