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