Open Source vs Commercial Shopping Carts

Open Source and Commercial Shopping Carts

Nowadays, there is an increase in the number of online shoppers as the Internet has expanded its reach and as technology makes access to the Internet easier. Instead of traveling to a department store, people find it more convenient to purchase their basic necessities or their desires over the Internet. This is why several businessmen or companies engage in online business, bringing about the development of e-Commerce platforms.

e-Commerce pertains to engaging on business transactions over the Internet. This can include buying, selling, advertising, marketing, and any business deals regarding different products and services. [1]

When customers choose to view the online store of a company, they are recommended to get a shopping cart program. This software can help them implement online shopping easier. Shopping carts can be categorized as either the open source or the commercial type. Each class has its own unique functions including its advantages and disadvantages. [2]

Open Source Shopping Carts

Advantages

Perhaps the main reason as to why individuals prefer an open source shopping cart is because majority of these programs can be acquired without spending a penny. However, knowing that this program is free of charge is not the only justification on why they are pursued by many companies.

Open source shopping carts are known to be flexible. This is related to how you want to customize your webpage. You can choose its theme or any kinds of modifications as long as you have some designing skills. This is the reason why these types of programs are suitable to big companies or to those businessmen who have a background in computer programming.

Open source shopping carts can also be upgraded. In fact, most e-Commerce platforms develop newer versions after a few months, and some of these upgrades are still free to use.

Disadvantages

Although open source shopping carts can grant benefits to a lot of users, there are drawbacks to these systems as well. Since the program can be downloaded without a cost, it’s unwise to anticipate that support to technical or other problems is free of charge. Although commercial support is easily accessible, it typically asks for a payment.

As mentioned earlier, open source systems are customizable which is why they are recommended for people with programming skills. However, this feature is not suitable for individuals without any knowledge in web designing.

Another downside to these programs is the manual monitoring of newer versions and security updates. Furthermore, most of these updates both on versions and
security may require extra charges which can be bothersome to the user.

The user may also experience some delays in his or her transactions when using an open source program. With so many companies using free open sources to save money, overloading in the platform is always possible.

Commercial Shopping Carts

Advantages

Unlike open source shopping carts which are downloadable, this usually does not apply to commercial shopping carts since these programs have hosted service providers. This means that, if for some instance you encounter any technical problems or other issues, support is readily available. This advantage is not always present with open source systems.

You don’t need to monitor for newer versions as well. Unlike open source shopping carts, upgrades on either system versions or security are automatically provided. Moreover, the host will also give you a complete set of tools in maintaining and managing your site.

But the best benefit you will get with commercial shopping carts is that these systems are suitable for starters on an online business. Programs like these have their own ready-made templates, so users won’t have a difficult time in choosing a design for their site. Even someone without any knowledge in programming can use commercial shopping carts.

Disadvantages

Commercial shopping carts have better features compared to open source programs and have readily available technical support on standby; thus these systems are used for a fee. Charges may be required on a monthly or annual basis, and some programs can be expensive.

Individuals with excellent designing skills may not be able to utilize their talents since platforms offering commercial shopping carts do not allow any customizations. Although some permit their users to personalize their sites, this feature is usually limited.

Which one should you choose?

When it comes to choosing a program that you think is suitable for you, it is strongly suggested to consider numerous factors before making a decision.

First of all, choose a program that can meet your expectations. You must always consider major factors like the system’s performance, capacity, availability of technical support, and even the payment method that most customers will prefer.

If you are an elite programmer and you prefer to have your own designs, an open source program may be best for you. But if you are still a newbie in having a business online, then
you should opt for commercial shopping carts.

It is always important to assess yourself in terms of your expertise in the business field and your knowledge in marketing. Once you do, you can determine the type of shopping cart that will be a surefire way in attracting many customers and achieving success.

References:

1. Details about Ecommerce Platforms - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_commerce

2. Pros and Cons of Open Source and Commercial Shopping Carts (types of commercial shopping carts included) - http://www.mybusinessassistant.com/Shopping-cart.html

Magento for Australian business

What and who are Magento?

Magento's is currently the worlds most popular shopping cart system, whether paid or open source. Today it still enjoys the fastest growth of any shopping cart system in the world due largely to its solid code foundation and feature sets but more importantly its large base of users and developers. Its open source nature has fostered a community of dedicated shop owners and developers, creating a perfect environment for feature development, optimization and 'extensions' that help customize and improve on the base system.

In 2011, Magento was recently bought out by eBay in an investment that further strengthens its core development and status as the top online selling platform.

Magento for Australian business

Magento has been setup and developed since the beginning to be a platform that can be rolled out on a global basis. While it does not neccessarily have features and configurations setup to instantly run an Australian eCommerce store, there are plenty of well developed extensions, guides and setup configuratoins created by other Australian store owners and developers help setup times for Australian stores.

GST is handled by Magento easily through their tax class systems. For a fantastic guide on how to setup GST you can review this Magento forum thread for Australian users. The 'Australian' sub forum on the official Magento boards is another great resource for Australian shop owners to communicate, post and share issues

Shipping methods are also convered either using the Fontis Australian Extensions (which helps intergrate with Australia Post) or by setting up your your shipping rules. The Fontis extension also helps in creating a autoocomplete of Australian suburbs and postcodes in the checkout.

Payment gateways and methods are abundent with Magento. From a basic Direct Deposit option to Paypal. Paypal by default is already supported (thanks to eBay's involvement) and all you need is a Paypal account. Most Australian ecommerce stores with a Merchant facility will be able to integrate and link wth their payment gateways. A common gateway is eWay.com.au and there are several extensions available to help intergrate with this popular payment gateway.

How do I get started?


It's simple. Most news stores can start with the community version of Magento. Simply visit magento.com to download the latest release or get your web hosting to help install it for you. Magento also has the option of a 'hosted' solution via their 'Magento go' platform, which will host and manage your cart for you. This is a great option for those who are less technically inclined and just wanting to quickly setup a store and start uploading their products. However the downside is less flexibility and control over your own store, since it is managed largely by Magento itself.

Australia's guide to Shopping Cart software!

eCommerce and Shopping Cart Platforms for Australia

Welcome to ShoppingCart Australia! Your definitely source of information for all things related to ecommerce and shopping cart platforms. Whether you are a small business starting their first website or a large company looking for a true enterprise solution, we have the reviews and guides for you written and submitted by some of Australia's top online retailers and technology specialist.


Online retailing in Australia has taken off in the past few years. The Global financial crisis, increase in wages and broadband internet connections has meant more and more Australian's are now shopping online. Everything from online groceries to electronics, online shopping in Australia is really taking off. With the news of the National Broadband Network set to roll out across mainland Australia, you can be sure that online retailing is the future.


How big is it?

Tradtional retial sales have generally been stagnant or growing at no more then 1% per quarter. Compare this to online retailing which now gros at 10-15% per annum and is predicted to do so for the next 10 years! Online and mobile (smartphone) shopping will soon play an important part of Australia's total retail spending.

Should I go online?

The question is not whether I should, it's why you haven't already! With todays selection of eCommerce platforms there really is no technical barrier for getting online. It comes down to commitment and a little bit of resources to get your store online. When you do, the pay-off will be immense!

If you are finding your bricks and mortar retail sales reaching its peak then there is no better time to chase that extra revenue stream. The earlier you get into online retailer the better!

So what do I need to do?

Shoppingcart.com.au will be a resource for all things eCommerce. Our website will guide you from choosing and setting up the eCommerce platform that suits you and your business, to launching and marketing your website. Stay tuned as we roll out our extensive guides and reviews of all the major and lesser known ecommerce systems for Aussie business. Everything from Zen Cart, Magento, BigCommerce to enterprise solutions like Hybris, IBM and ATG. There is sure to be a system that will suit you.

What guides will ShoppingCart.com.au have?

We guide you from your first major decision of selecting the right cart to implementing and on-going best business practices. Chosing the right cart for your store is only just the begining. In this highly competitive environment the site the best design and looks is not neccessarily the winner. It takes branding, search marketing, SEO and most importantly a good user experience in order for an online retail store to exist and grow strong through the times.