When we speak of online shopping carts, one cannot help but imagine an online customer filling up an actual shopping cart with items that he or she would like the buy. While the concept is the same, an online shopping cart is actually made up of a whole series of scripts that takes note of all the products your would-be customer wants to buy. This list is recorded up till the point where your customer clicks on the “checkout” option.
Upon checking out, the shopping list is then passed on via a secure connection to a payment gateway. From that point henceforth, the rest of the billing and payment transaction is handled by a separate program that passes the requests and money transfers from and to the Internet merchant accounts. When the fee is successfully processed, the confirmation of successful transaction is then sent back to your shopping cart software.
Why Choose Premium Shopping Carts?
A decent premium (or paid) shopping cart software will cost between USD200 to USD300 and the reason why most people opt for premium shopping carts is simply because the shopping cart plays an important role in ensuring that your online customers can easily purchase the items that they want from your website. You are running a business, after all. It would also be pretty useful to have a shopping cart that could incorporate useful features such as automatically validating discount coupons and sending out newsletters to your customers.
Let’s check out 3 of the best online Premium Shopping Carts:
Interspire Shopping Cart
The Interspire Shopping Cart packs a pretty impressive resume. At this point of writing, the software has already been incorporated by over 15,000 businesses in over 65 countries. Depending on your business needs, you can either opt for the hosted version or the licensed version of the shopping cart.
Licensed Interspire Shopping Cart
The licensed version of the Interspire Shopping Cart runs on your web server, which means that you will be able to customize your shopping cart according to your own preference via PHP coding. The licensed version costs USD345 and also comes with 12 months of maintenance. The licensed version also comes with a 60 day money back guarantee.
Hosted Interspire Shopping Cart
On the other hand, the hosted edition of the Interspire Shopping Cart is managed on the Interspire secure servers. The hosted edition is suitable for the Internet marketing newbie who will be making their first few sales on the Internet. Rather than putting down USD345 immediately, hosted users pay USD24.95 for each month of hosting.
Generally, the hosting edition is great simply because it is virtually maintenance free as the folks at Interspire will be in-charge of making sure that the server is constantly up-to-date. Users are not bound to any contracts, have access to an unlimited amount of e-mail accounts and can have their own shopping cart up and running in just two minutes.
Both editions of the Interspire Shopping Cart come with plenty of benefits, including SEO optimization, refund & store credits option, inventory control and gift wrapping. Interspire is definitely one of the best shopping cart software you can find!
X-Cart Shopping Cart
The thing about businesses is that in order to excel, each and every business modal should be distinctive. Hence, the company’s shopping cart should also have features that reflect the company’s unique selling points. Since it is simply uneconomical to create a shopping cart that can fulfill every Internet marketer’s dream, the second best method is to simply customize the shopping cart through PHP coding.
X-Cart offers software developers this very opportunity to modify shopping carts at an affordable price. Besides developers, online business owners who already know what they need in an ideal shopping cart would also be suitable to use X-Cart software.
The X-Cart Shopping Cart comes in two versions known separately as the X-Cart Gold and the X-Cart Pro. Regardless of whichever version you choose, the X-Cart company guarantees an unconditional 30-day money back guarantee.
X-Cart Gold Shopping Cart
The X-Cart Gold package retails at an affordable USD149 and it is a template-based software that requires zero programming knowledge to handle. Users can place up to a maximum of 20,000 products in general, but the cart can also be optimized to run up to 500,000 products at any given time.
X-Cart Pro Shopping Cart
While the X-Cart Gold concentrates on maximizing the number of items that can fit in your shopping cart, the X-Cart Pro on the other hand focuses on integrating multi-vendors by combining all of their products for sale on one online store. Because the X-Cart Pro contains plenty of other features, it retails at a higher price of USD430.
The great thing about the X-Cart Pro is that every seller can manage their own inventory, customer’s wish lists and order history separately. They can also add in their own tax rates, discounts and coupons for their own items according to their own discretion.
CS-Cart Shopping Cart
Regardless of whether you are a budding Internet entrepreneur or if you already own a booming business on the Internet, CS-Cart is popular because it can be applied to all kinds of businesses.
The unique selling point of the CS-Cart is that it is a standalone web application scripted with PHP/MySQL, Smarty and is 100% open source which means that users have the option of customizing it to suit their style and taste.
Alternatively, the engineers at CS-Cart can also help you tweak your shopping cart settings for a small fee. You can either opt to use the CS-cart as a stand alone website or to integrate it into an existing website.
This company offers two premium editions – the CS-Cart Professional and the CS-Cart Multi Vendor.
The CS-Cart Professional is designed for mid-sized businesses and is retailing at USD345. There is a further USD60 discount off any additional CS-Cart Professional license purchased as well.
The Professional edition basically contains everything a decent premium shopping cart software should come equipped with. Store owner will enjoy a ready storefront and can upload an unlimited number of products and categories. Each product can also come in varying options and variants (such as colors and sizes) and you will never worry about losing track as the cart also comes with automatic inventory control.
CS-Cart Multi Vendor
The CS-Cart Multi Vendor is designed for an online marketplace or virtual mall that combines products from various independent sellers and is retailing at USD985. There is also a further USD140 discount off additional licenses.
This software also contains all of the features found in the Professional edition, including real-time shipping rate estimations and contains over forty professional design templates. The only difference is that the CS-Cart Multi Vendor edition comes with a separate admin panel for each supplier and that each supplier can opt for their own shipping methods.
Which Cart is Suitable for You?
Our review of the top three shopping carts available on the Internet proves that the suitable shopping cart for your website really depends on what your business really needs, rather than what is popular on the Internet.
It is also important to have foresight when choosing a shopping cart for your business as what works for you right now, may not be powerful enough six months later when your business undergoes further expansion. If your chosen shopping cart has the features that you want and is capable of growing with your business, it is also important to confirm that your shopping cart software is compatible with your payment gateway.
Remember to take these few factors in account when choosing your shopping cart as forcing to switch software mid-way can not only cost you time and money, but it can also cost you your customers!
Interspire vs X-Cart vs CS-Cart
It is really difficult to pick which one is the best online shopping cart. Each has their pros and cons, and unique features. But we slightly favors Interspire as it has a very easy-to-use store control panel, 90+ professional designs for free, and a 60 days money back guarantee should anything went wrong! Their latest version includes the ability to sell on eBay, mobile commerce, Mailchimp integration, shopping comparison export, pre-orders, and min/max order quantity!
Interspire can also host the application for you with their hosted edition. This is great as it is fully managed by their experienced team, and frees you from all the technical details.