Ecommerce Spot

Free Shopping Carts – Bargain or Baloney?

Free Shopping Carts – Bargain or Baloney?

The shopping cart system that you choose for your business is affected by a number of things – including price, especially if you have a tight budget. Luckily, shopping carts come in a variety of prices, including free.

The important thing to realize about free shopping carts - or anything else that is free for that matter - is that 'free' usually comes with a price, even if that price isn't paid in dollars. Sometimes, the price is paid with advertisements that may appear on your shopping cart pages. Your customers may also pay the price for your free shopping cart, by being required to sign up for other services. Most commonly, free shopping carts either have few features, or require significant technical skills & time to get working.

'Free' usually comes with a price, even if that price isn't paid in dollars

For instance, Paypal, which is quickly becoming one of the most popular payment choices on the Internet, offers a free shopping cart for their merchants. This shopping cart displays the Paypal logo in several places, and requires your customers to become Paypal account holders. Although this is an easy process for your customers, since their sign up is integrated with the ordering and payment of your product, it is still requiring that your customer sign up for a service that they may not want. Furthermore, Paypal will be collecting a small percentage of each sale you make. So, it really isn't free at all, but it is a great option for someone just starting out in ecommerce.

Another drawback to using free shopping carts is that they are usually not nearly as full featured as paid shopping carts. Paid shopping carts will have more features in most cases. There are some noteable exceptions to this, such as Zen Cart. With paid shopping carts, technical support is usually offered as part of the package. Free carts tend to be support via a forum. If you have little or no programming skills, you should either choose a paid shopping cart where you will be able to get support if needed, or check out the forum of the free cart to see how responsive & friendly they are, particularly to less technically savvy users.

Many web hosts offer free shopping carts. This could be a problem if you want to change web hosts at the shopping cart will not move with you. Web hosts rarely offer tech support for the shopping carts. You should also note that many of the free shopping cart hosts will send your customers information to a 'shared secure server.' This might give you limited control over the design of your payment pages.

Many merchant accounts offer free shopping carts to their customers as well. Again, these may not be as full featured, or as fully integrated as paid shopping carts, although, in most cases, they are already installed for you, and quite easy to set up. As with the shopping carts that are offered with web hosting accounts, you will lose your shopping cart if you change merchant accounts.

Other free shopping carts will probably need programming skills to install and configure it. If you will need to hire a programmer for this, you should determine if you would be better off by purchasing an easier to us shopping cart.

While a free shopping cart may be the only option you have when starting up your business, make sure you do your homework and don't end up paying more in the long run.

More articles:

Copyright ©2017 PoppyWeb Pty Ltd. Registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

About us | Privacy Policy | Site Map