The 7 Best Shopping Cart Software Solutions of 2019 (Self-hosted)
So you’re looking to buy a shopping cart software. It’s a tricky business finding the right one.
A particular shopping cart can work great for a small business, but fail spectacularly when you add too many products. Likewise, an enterprise might earn millions with a cart that would be a complete waste of money for smaller retailers.
Looking for the best shopping cart software can be a struggle.
To find which cart fits you particularly, I tested and compared various solutions. I found quality carts for businesses of all types and sizes.
Shopping Cart vs. Website Builder
Many online resources are liberal with calling products “a shopping cart.” They use it as an umbrella term for all ecommerce software.
Traditionally, a shopping cart program either creates a site or integrates a storefront into one.
This differs from website builders like Shopify. These create and host a website for you. However, you don’t own the actual code of the site, and you can’t host it anywhere else.
Both get called “shopping cart software.”
Now, both self-hosted and hosted solutions get the job done. Which is why many companies offer both solutions under the same product name.
That being said, the reviews that follow are about the first type—the self-hosted software. If you’re looking for a hosted platform, check out the best ecommerce website builders.
The Selection and Evaluation Process of the Best Shopping Carts
Different types of retails want different things. That’s why I broke down the evaluation process as follows:
- Features – Which cart’s features are best suited to the popular types of retailers.
- Ease of use – It is also essential. Newcomers especially need software that’s simple and straightforward.
- Terms of service – To avoid any nasty surprises down the road, we combed through each cart’s terms of service. If there’s any fine print of obscure language, you’ll know about it.
- Additional functionality – Something annoying about companies selling digital products is they rarely put all the info on the product page. We’ve contacted the sales teams and discussed any additional features, or lack thereof.
- User reviews – No testing would be complete without consulting actual users. We inspected user reviews and talked to retailers who had years of experience with the platforms.
We’ve put all of this together to make the most objective reviews possible. Without further ado, here’s our list of the best shopping cart software in 2019.
The Best Shopping Cart Software Reviews, 2019
Best for smaller businesses or selling event tickets.
Established in 2009, Square has dedicated 10 years to processing payments easily and securely.
It boasts easy payment processing for any business and offers a straightforward shopping cart to boot. I tested it out.
Square focuses on smaller businesses.
You can easily import inventory, manage taxes, shipping, get reports, customer data, and set up discounts. All in all, you get all the essentials for running an online store.
One of the key features is the point of sale. You can handle your physical and digital business with one solution. If you run, for instance, a restaurant, and want to offer takeout online, Square is the best shopping cart for you.
You can try to run a vast ecommerce operation through Square, but you’ll quickly find the features wanting. They’re only geared toward smaller businesses.
Ease of Use
As Square offers only the essentials, it’s one of the most straightforward shopping carts.
Everything is easy to set up and manage from the dashboard. Even complete beginners can find their way around by intuition.
Square is only less than ideal for adjusting shipping rates by product size or weight. It’s fastest to change the price of individual items.
It’s not really a problem for smaller stores. Changing the price of ten products takes a few minutes. If you have a thousand items, though… You get the idea.
Otherwise, Square has the best ease of use among shopping cart solutions.
Unfortunately, the design options are lacking.
You only get a few templates, and you can only customize text and images. It’s a bit of a letdown for the creative types.
You get a simple store—bells and whistles not included.
Square offers its own end-to-end payment processing system. As Square profits from the processing fee as well, it can offer the cheapest plans in the game.
Yet, this is also limiting. You can only process payments through Square and, with more expensive plans, PayPal.
Square comes with a free plan and three paid ones, priced at $12/month, $26/month, and $72/month. Also, as a payment provider, Square charges 2.9% + 30c on all ecommerce transactions. You get a special rate with the most expensive plan.
These are the costs if you use Square’s servers and connect the store to your site. Self-hosting the code costs about $5/month on top of that.
The more expensive plans come with more advanced features and shipping discounts, plus some other options.
Even with the additional $5/month, Square’s offer is as cheap as they come. If you want the best shopping cart software for a small budget, look no further.
Square customer support is excellent but not always available.
The paid accounts get phone support, which is a bit slow. The rest have to rely on emails.
This is a bit of a compromise. You might have to wait a few hours if something doesn’t work.
A redeeming feature is that Square stores require less maintenance than most other carts.
Around the Web
Square is well-loved by its community.
Users love that Square is easy to implement, use and that it offers all the essential features.
They complain that Square has an overly aggressive security policy. Namely, it withholds funds if it detects suspicious activity. Many users have had to prove their identity to get the money.
This is great for fraud prevention. Nevertheless, it can be frustrating. It’s not like you can’t choose a more lax payment processor if extreme security bothers you.
Lean and effective, Square is one of the most straightforward as well as the most affordable shopping carts. It’s the go-to solution if you want to set up a compact online shop. If you already have a brick-and-mortar business and want to expand it online, it is also for you.
- Compact and effective
- Great pricing
- Covers various types of businesses
- Can’t switch payment processors
- Support not always available
- Limited design options
2. 3dcart Review
Best for growing small and medium businesses.
3dcart has a remarkable record over its 20+ years in the ecommerce world.
The ecommerce software by 3dcart has gone through eight different versions with the ninth in the making. It’s safe to say this platform is here to stay.
Let’s see if it lives up to its reputation.
With 200+ built-in features, 3dcart has a comprehensive offer.
Features that catch the eye include unlimited product variations, one-page checkout, coupon management, digital downloads, automatic tax and shipping calculation, abandoned cart saver, and much more.
3dcart puts focus on growing your business. Which is why it comes with in-depth marketing tools.
Its claim to be the best ecommerce software for SEO is solid too. The SEO prompts and pop-ups make it a great learning experience for beginners.
It offers over 200 apps, and the partnership with Zappier adds over a thousand more integrations. Whatever you need, you’re covered.
3dcart is among the best shopping carts for building and growing a business, though it might be overkill if you only have one or two products.
Ease of Use
One drawback of having so many features is reduced user-friendliness.
The admin layout is straightforward as can be. However, the sheer amount of options makes navigation difficult.
It’s a bit like riding a bicycle, really. It takes a few days of practice to get the hang of it. Once you learn what is what, though, you’ll manage your store with ease.
3dcart offers 41 free themes and 43 paid ones, priced between $149 and $199.
The templates are responsive, and the design is decent. However, customization is stiff without digging into HTML and CSS. If no template fits your needs, you might need to get a developer to tinker with the design.
3dcart has more default payment processors than any software—over 160. If you want variety, you’re covered. Chances are you’ll find your favorite processor here.
The plans cost $19/month, $29/month, $79/month, and $229/month with a 10% discount if you pay annually and a 50%-off promo period.
The plans differ in their features and the number of staff accounts.
You can discuss adding extra features to your plan. This comes at a higher cost, but it can pay off.
Plans have a revenue cap. Unlike with most carts, though, exceeding the suggested revenue does not bump you to a more expensive bracket automatically. Instead, a company representative contacts you to discuss the plan upgrade in time.
Admittedly, some standard functions are only available as paid apps. It’s worth taking a closer look at the features before getting a plan.
All in all, the pricing is in the low-end of online shopping cart services, though a few carts have cheaper plans.
3dcart has a comprehensive knowledge base and forum, though a few articles are slightly outdated. You’ll find answers for most problems there.
It also offers 24/7 support via email ticket. Phone support is available with the $29/month plan.
Sales support is supposedly available 24/7 through live chat, but they do not seem to be there at all times.
Ultimately, the support team is good, but the wait times could be shorter. The lack of a live chat is definitely noticeable.
Around the Web
3dcart gets positive reviews from its users. The users praise the features, payment options, and plans.
The users who complain primarily want the dashboard to be a bit more straightforward.
Overall, though, the reviews lean heavily to the positive.
If you feel your business idea has a lot of potential, 3d Cart can help you see it through. A host of integrations and built-in SEO and marketing tools all help you spread the word about your business. Robust features and a low-end price only back up the offer.
3d Cart is an all-round excellent choice for small to medium-sized businesses
- Fantastic features and integrations
- The most payment gateways
- Flexible plans
- Fair pricing
- A bit of a learning curve
- Limited design options without editing HTML/CSS
- Sluggish support
Best for small and medium-sized businesses
AbanteCart might not be the oldest cart here, but the 31,000 sites that put their trust in it are nothing to scoff at. The company boasts a small, but strong client base.
Plus, it makes some bold claims about being suitable for any business. It also likes to boast about the quality of its features, so let’s put the claims to a test.
AbanteCart offers plenty of features.
The noteworthy ones include bulk import/export, multi-language and multiple currency support, SEO tools, managing discounts, managing shipping rates, are more.
The app store offers around 300 extensions. Some are free, while some can cost up to $150. A couple are a bit outdated, so be careful to check when an app got its last update.
AbanteCart advertises its features as enterprise-grade. In truth, the features are perfect for a small or medium business. Large businesses can also run on AbanteCart, with a few interventions from a developer.
Although AbanteCart is powerful, it’s suboptimal for huge operations. Once you get to a seven-figure income, be ready to switch to a different digital shopping cart.
Most businesses, though, will find the features outstanding.
Ease of Use
Even the best open-source shopping carts require frequent maintenance. However, AbanteCart is unique in this regard.
Setting the software up is simple. Many hosting providers even offer a 1-click installation through Softaculous.
AbanteCart suggests A2 Hosting as a partner that supports this. This hosting company has some of the best features for ecommerce, so it’s worth checking out—if you haven’t picked a provider already, that is.
Managing everything else is intuitive as well. Granted, the dashboard looks a little dated, but this hardly matters.
The important bit is that navigation is as straightforward as they come. You likely won’t have any trouble getting the hang of everything.
That being said, you may benefit from getting a freelance developer for certain tasks. You’ll likely find it effortless to use the shopping cart program, but a developer can help you get the most out of the software.
One way AbanteCart remains profitable is through templates. That’s why only the default theme is free. You get 16 paid ones, ranging in cost from $25 to $60. As with apps, a few have become outdated – though still functional.
The page editor makes customization fairly simple. However, the editor can only take you so far, as the themes are a bit hard on the eye.
This is one of the instances where you ought to hire a developer to edit the store CSS. AbanteCart already uses Bootstrap so a few lines of code can overhaul the entire appearance of the store.
You get a few default payment gateways and around 40 payment as integrations, 17 of which are free. Some integrations are outdated here too so you should be careful.
The offer is alright, although other carts offer a wider variety of processors.
AbanteCart is free to download and install. You just need to plan for expenses like integrations or hosting costs.
Still, AbanteCart is exceptionally user-friendly as far as shopping carts go. This means spending less on developers and customer support. In the long run, it is one of the more affordable options, making if a good fit for smaller businesses.
AbanteCart is open-source, so you get no guaranteed support.
The support team is available via email, but this is usually only for simple queries.
It usually directs users to the forums. The forum sports one of the best shopping cart software communities, though.
Even though AbanteCart might not be the most popular cart, the community is very active. The AbanteCart team participates in the discussions, and provides answers for most issues.
You can purchase support if you need it. This is fairly costly, though. There are several plans, but getting 24/7 support costs at least $99/month.
It’s not an outrageous price for an open-source shopping cart, but it’s not cheap either.
Around the Web
Plenty of users like that AbanteCart developers are active on the forums. The developers are indeed friendly, and it all adds to the feeling of a tightly knit community.
Most users would at the same time like more themes and integrations. It’s understandable AbanteCart can’t match the more popular carts here. Still, I have to admit the offer is somewhat slim.
User reviews are overwhelmingly positive, though.
Though the offer might not be the most extensive of the bunch, AbanteCart does make up for it by being among the least demanding open-source shopping carts. Open-source carts are usually too much for small businesses. Yet, AbanteCart is the top shopping cart in that category.
AbanteCart is the obvious choice if you’re in the market for an open-source solution that’s also reasonably easy to use. Even though it’s best for small and medium businesses, the cart has remarkably robust features. The support is pricy, but the core software is free, so you can take advantage of quite a bargain.
- Decent features
- Very user-friendly
- Active community
- A few outdated extensions
- Support is costly
Best for medium retailers, especially ones running multiple storefronts. (Small businesses might find it expensive.)
Powering stores in 172 countries, CS-Cart takes the title of the most international shopping cart provider. It powers 35,000+ stores, including some of the world’s most popular e-marketplaces.
With such a presence, I would be remiss if I didn’t give it a test run.
CS-Cart is in the golden middle between power and ease of use. It is robust, but it doesn’t overwhelm the user.
All plans come with the same features. These include:
- SEO tools
- Cross-selling and upselling
- Support for multiple languages and currencies
- Tax and shipping rates calculators
- Speed optimization features
… and so much more.
Plus, you get 30 free tools you can activate from the dashboard. These include non-essential functions like age verification and banner management.
For anything else, there are shopping cart apps. You can get all the most popular add-ons, though the more obscure ones might be missing.
The features are more than enough for any mid-sized business.
Ease of Use
CS-Cart hits the sweet spot between functionality and user-friendliness.
You can run a CS-Cart store without knowing the first thing about code. There is a learning curve, but it’s mild.
Most users can handle everything with just common sense and a few knowledgebase searches. CS-Cart is for you if you want a powerful software without having to deal with the technical details.
CS-Cart comes with a few free themes and a few hundred premium ones. The templates are decent if a little bland.
The visual editor makes up for it. You can easily customize any theme to your liking without touching code.
If you are an avid developer, you do get a code editor. You can change the template design or even implement custom solutions.
CS-Cart makes customization easier than any other digital shopping cart.
Operating in over 170 countries, CS-Cart has proven to be fit for international retail. Consequently, it features 70 different payment services. You’ll never have to worry about payment processing.
There are no monthly plans. CS-Cart charges a one-time payment of $385 and you can use it forever. If you want to run multiple stores from one admin, the price is $865. Both plans come with the full set of features.
However, if you wish to receive updates after one year, you can renew the license for $99/year.
This makes CS-Cart lucrative for mid-sized businesses. The annual price is lower than that of your average shopping cart monthly plan. To top it off, the feature set is among the best out there.
CS-Cart can also be a powerful solution for small businesses. However, it’s a good idea to plan out the necessary expenses. Otherwise, the charges might go beyond your budget.
CS-Cart has a top-notch support team. As it should be, since support is paid.
You get 50 support credits when you purchase the software. You can use these to purchase support services.
There is a whole payment structure you can check out. Additional credits are expensive, though, and they go pretty quickly.
It’s best to solve issues on your own if you can. A trip to the knowledge base can save you a lot of money. Only use support as a last resort.
Around the Web
CS-Cart seems to be well-loved. Most shopping cart software reviews commend the quality features, and countless users praise the support team.
As with any provider that charges extra for support, CS-Cart gets a few complaints. Support is expensive for smaller retailers, so it’s easy to see their point.
All in all, though, the reviews lean heavily to the positive.
CS-Cart is one of the few solutions that remain uncluttered while having a massive number of functions. Admittedly, the initial investment might be a bit too much if you’re on a tight budget. If you can make the one-time payment, though, you get one of the best long-term deals out there.
- Great features
- Easy design customization
- Affordable annual payments
- Expensive support
- Average default themes
Best for growing mid-sized businesses.
PinnacleCart is a shopping cart software for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs. Its mission is to help people with zero technical knowledge get better stores, more customers, and more conversions.
Let’s see how well it does.
PinnacleCart’s goals mean it focuses on expansion. It does it with an effective SEO, reporting, and marketing toolset.
On top of that, it offers features like tax and shipping calculators, multiple language and currency support, CSV import/export, inventory tracking, one-page checkout, guest checkout, and dozens more.
Thanks to the many features, PinnacleCart doesn’t need an extensive app marketplace. You get just over 50 integrations, many of which are free.
Feature-wise, PinnacleCart can go toe to toe with the top shopping cart platforms.
Ease of use
Installing software requires technical knowledge. PinnacleCart does offer cart installation for $125.
From there, everything is clear-cut. Handling essentials like adding products is effortless and navigation is intuitive.
One thing that takes time is customizing the design. Otherwise, PinnacleCart is as straightforward as they come.
PinnacleCart comes with around 30 free responsive templates. They are sleek and visually appealing.
There are three customization tools for users of different skill levels.
First, the drag-and-drop editor lets you add, remove, and reposition page elements. For more in-depth changes, you can edit the visual properties of individual items. Finally, technologically apt users can edit the HTML and CSS of each element.
Where customization tools are concerned, this is the most complete online shopping cart system. It takes a bit of clicking around to figure it all out. Still, you usually have enough time when you’re dealing with store design.
PinnacleCart remains a user-friendly solution.
PinnacleCart lists 30 payment processors. These are their partners, so they offer special rates.
If you prefer a different processor, PinnacleCart supports a bunch more. Feel free to ask the support if your favorite is in the mix.
Alright, buckle up.
The full PinnacleCart software costs $1,495.
Still here? Good. I’ll explain why the price is better than it might seem.
The initial investment gets you updates and full technical support for one year. Afterward, it costs $299 per year to extend everything.
Contrast this with carts that offer full features for $800+ a year or charge a few hundred per month for support.
That’s not all. PinnacleCart’s support handles all software-related issues as with a hosted shopping cart software. You don’t have to pay for a developer.
The initial investment is considerable, true. In the long-term, however, PinnacleCart saves you a ton of money.
Technical support provides a great experience.
They are polite, easy to work with, and, most importantly, competent. They will effortlessly resolve any issues that may come up.
PinnacleCart imposes no support restrictions. The support team handles any and all software issues you might have.
One caveat is that support is not available 24/7. Phone and chat support are available during specific hours, and email support can take a while to get back to you.
One condition for requesting immediate support is if your entire store goes down. Still, it would be nice to have 24/7 support for the minor issues as well.
Aside from technical support, PinnacleCart offers other shopping cart services like outsourcing them your support, custom theme and website design, and a complete SEO overhaul. The services are pricey, though.
Around the Web
PinnacleCart gets positive reviews overall.
The majority of users like the feature-rich platform, and most praise the smooth and useful integrations. Most have also had positive experiences with the support team.
As for the negatives, a few users would like 24/7 support and more straightforward layout customization.
All make fair points.
All things considered, though, PinnacleCart’s offer is more than tempting. It qualifies as one of the best shopping carts in 2019.
PinnacleCart is a more high-end solution that previous carts. It has fantastic features, expert support, and a pretty affordable annual price. If you’re an established store owner and want to take your business to the next level, this is what you’re looking for.
- Strong features
- Easy to use
- Professional support
- Great price long-term
- No 24/7 support in most cases
- High initial cost
Best for medium to large businesses.
PrestaShop might not be as old as a few other solutions, but it is just as influential. It supports over 250,000 websites in 60 different languages. Plus, the platform is free to download.
All this makes it a great candidate for the best shopping cart.
PrestaShop comes with over 600 features out of the box. Including that many functions shows dedication, even though more than just numbers goes into shopping cart comparisons.
The noteworthy features include an SEO tool, tax calculation, abandoned cart notifications, automated emails, support for multiple languages and currencies, and much more.
The PrestaShop marketplace has over a thousand additional apps. Thus, you can get all the functionality you might need.
If you want a feature-rich store, PrestaShop is the way to go.
Ease of Use
PrestaShop dashboard is surprisingly simple, considering the number of features. It has a bit of a learning curve, but most users get the hang of it fairly quickly.
Everything else, though, takes some experience.
Installing PrestaShop, for one, requires creating a database and using an FTP client.
The apps don’t always work with one another either. It often takes changing the code to put everything together.
PrestaShop is not the best shopping cart solution for DIY users. If you’re not comfortable dealing with code, you might need to pay for maintenance.
First for the good news—PrestaShop has over 3000 themes. You’ll never lack options.
Now the bad—only the default theme is free. The rest cost upwards of $50.
From there, the editor offers better customization than most. It’s a breeze to get the appearance you want.
You can also edit the website code. All in all, PrestaShop does splendidly in the design department.
PrestaShop has no out of the box payment processors. Customers can only pay by wire transfer or check.
250+ payment gateways are available as integrations, though. Seven payment integrations are free—this includes popular ones like Stripe, Skrill, and PayPal.
The transaction fee is what matters here, though. It might be worth it to spend a few bucks to get better rates.
PrestaShop is open-source, meaning you get the full shopping cart experience for free.
Apps, on the other hand, don’t come as cheap. Getting a couple of integrations can cost a few hundred dollars.
That’s why PrestaShop is best for medium-sized businesses. If you run a smaller business, there are cheaper options.
PrestaShop offers no support by default. You can purchase it from the company, but it costs a minimum of $399 a year. This gives you 6h of support time for the whole year—how lovely, right?
What PrestaShop lacks in support, it makes up for with an active community forum and the knowledge base. It is rich with guides and training courses.
PrestaShop counts on users doing their own research (or paying for technical help).
Around the Web
PrestaShop gets mixed reviews.
Many users like the easy customizability and the variety of features.
The lack of support and the addon incompatibility annoy some users.
Asking someone experienced for advice can help with the addons. Otherwise, you might have to pay to fix everything.
All things considered, PrestaShop offers great features. It can be the best free shopping cart, but, ironically, you need good budgeting.
PrestaShop is something like PinnacleCart for technical users. If you know your way around code, you get immense flexibility, and you can use it to run a fairly large business. An added bonus is that the solution is open source, so you don’t have to make a huge investment.
- Tons of features
- Easy design customization
- Free to download
- Takes coding experience to make everything work smoothly
- Template, addon, and support charges can add up
7. X-Cart Review
Best for large and enterprise-level businesses.
Famed as the first PHP ecommerce platform and the fastest cart software, X-Cart has quite a reputation to live up to. Plus, the base version is completely open-source.
These reviews wouldn’t be complete without it.
X-Cart has one of the best offers in the game.
The free version comes with bulk import/export, one-page checkout, XML sitemap creation, tax rate and shipping quote calculation, refunds, and a bunch of other powerful features and integrations. You can check out the full list on their website.
Features are abundant, and they showcase real quality. X-Cart gives you everything you need to design a high-level store.
Ease of Use
X-Cart might be one of the best open-source shopping carts, but open-source still means less invested developers and a somewhat quirky product.
Installing it or connecting it to your site does require technical expertise. You can do it yourself, or you can pay the X-Cart team $75 to set it up for you. The latter is probably safer.
From there, the interface is actually remarkably user-friendly. Despite the sea of features, even first-timers can navigate the dashboard easily.
Just keep in mind open-source software can get messy. You’ll probably need someone to do occasional maintenance.
This is the one area where X-Cart stumbles.
The free version offers 2 free templates and about 50 paid ones.
You can customize the themes with the drag and drop editor. This offers some customizability, but for a unique appearance, you need to edit the CSS.
You can make your store look unique, but it does take work (or money).
X-Cart offers 67 payment gateways, 36 of which come out of the box. The rest are available as paid apps. X-Cart targets international vendors so you aren’t starved for choice.
X-Cart also offers an X-Payments package, which adds 55 more gateways. It is PCI-Compliant and ensures the security of transactions and customer data.
It is costly, however, priced between $49.95/month and $199.95/month. Still, you can easily ensure PCI-compliance with it. Plus, it makes you nearly invulnerable to fraud.
X-Cart is the only shopping software that handles payments this well.
The free version is, well, free. Its features are nevertheless everything a medium-sized business can ask for. Of course, you still have to pay for a theme, apps, and other services.
If you want more advanced features like two-factor authentication, the Business plan costs $495.
You get a lifetime license and updates for a year. Afterward, updates cost $99 per year.
$495 might seem excessive, but it’s kind of fair for a one-time payment.
All things considered, X-Cart will always cost more than the average cart software. That’s because it’s meant for stores with more revenue.
It doesn’t work for small stores, but it is among the top shopping cart choices for large businesses.
X-Cart functions as an open-source solution. This means support is not included.
Luckily, you can pay for some. You get basic email support for $165/month or premium support via phone and chat for $250/month.
The price is at the high end, but the service is top-shelf. It is one of the most praised features among X-Cart users.
Just read the terms before purchasing support. The support team won’t fix all issues, but they cover the crucial bits.
Around the Web
X-Cart gets positive reviews from experienced coders and non-technical users alike. They mostly praise the great features and consistent updates. Users almost unanimously agree the software has scaled amazingly over the years.
There are astonishingly few negative reviews. The more common complaints are that X-Cart is expensive and highly demanding on the servers.
Both are true. For a free shopping cart software, X-Cart can be expensive. Seeing that X-Cart caters to larger businesses, though, higher costs are understandable.
All in all, X-Cart is a fantastic solution for those who can afford it. This usually means large retailers exclusively.
Make no mistake, X-Cart is an enterprise-grade piece of software. Running even the open-source variant can be expensive. As a tradeoff, though, you can get fantastic support and functionality on par with platforms like Magento.
If you’re in need of a powerful solution, it doesn’t get much better than X-Cart.
- Awesome features
- User-friendly interface
- Professional support team
- Tricky to install
- Can be pricey
Bonus Entry: Magento
Best for large and enterprise-level businesses.
Magento is too big and too powerful to even be compared with the average shopping cart. It is practically in a category of its own and often requires an entirely different level of hosting. Still, the software has so many fantastic features, it deserves an honorable mention.
Magento is the system powering big stores like HP Inc., Canon, Nike, and Jaguar. It’s not the most popular shopping cart, but it’s definitely up there – it handles over $150 billion in transactions each year.
One half of the ecommerce world loves it while the other loves to hate it.
But let’s see what it can do for you.
Magento Community Edition has all the features you need and more.
To mention a few, you get one-page checkout, SEO and marketing, tax and shipping, one-page checkout – plus many, many more. There’s enough to fill a whole page.
Then there are the integrations. You’ll find well over 2,000 quality ones in the app marketplace.
Need I say more? Imagine any store you want, no matter how complicated. Chances are, you can build it with Magento.
Ease of Use
The tradeoff is in user-friendliness.
The admin dashboard is straightforward enough. There are plenty of features, but it’s not impossibly convoluted. Non-technical users can handle day-to-day things like adding products pretty easily.
As for installing the software, the apps, and making sure everything works… well, you’ll want to hire a Magento developer.
It is notoriously difficult. Even if you’re proficient with PHP, you need months to learn all the Magento-specific issues and how to handle them.
Hiring a professional is unavoidable. Magento might be among the best shopping cart software, but user-friendliness is not its forte.
Magento doesn’t have any themes out of the box. A few free and thousands of paid ones are available for download. You can find a decent paid theme for between $50 and $100.
Customization tools depend on the theme. Certain apps can make it easier, though.
There’s one simple thing you can do, though—let your developer handle it.
Joking aside, it’s simple to get a unique-looking website, but getting the precise design you want isn’t as straightforward.
Magento has 80+ free payment processor integrations and about as many paid ones. The prices on some go above $500.
However, if you run a Magento store, the transaction fees are more of a factor. Look for the best rates to get the best profit margin.
Magento is open-source, meaning it’s free to download and use.
That said, it’s probably the most expensive digital shopping cart out there.
How come? Well, Magento developers are not cheap, for one.
There are also hosting costs. Magento eats server resources like they’re nothing. Plan to pay a few hundred dollars a month at least.
You also need to account for an SSL certificate, extensions, and payment processing fees.
That’s why only large businesses can usually afford to make Magento cost-efficient.
Can medium-sized businesses pull off Magento? Yes, with extremely cautious budgeting.
In fact, everyone ought to consult an expert beforehand. Even with planning, getting the most out of Magento is an uphill battle.
What about small businesses, though? Plenty of hosts offer shared Magento hosting for a few bucks a month.
Yes, such hosting exists, and yes, Magento can work with it. However, you’ll put yourself through a whole lot of heartache for nothing. A simpler shopping cart software is a safer bet.
Magento offers no support. If something goes wrong, you’re on your own.
What Magento does offer is an extensive knowledge base. Moreover, Magento has one of the most active communities in the ecommerce world.
If you have a question, look it up. All common problems have solutions either in the Magento guides or in the forums.
If not, you can always ask. Other Magento users are usually happy to help.
Around the Web
Magento is a big thing in ecommerce, so there are plenty of users for and against it.
Most like the sheer number of features and the overall flexibility. Who wouldn’t?
They don’t like that Magento is demanding and that it’s challenging to get a grip on. These are fair points too.
This is the best shopping cart software if you value quality and resources are not an issue. Still, caution is advisable before committing.
It’s safe to say Magento has unmatched functionality among ecommerce software. The tradeoff is that it often takes an immense amount of resources (read: funds) to pull off.
If you want a powerful store and will spare no expense to get it, go with Magento.
- Best features
- Awesome customizability
- Free to use
- Active community
- Not user-friendly
- Huge expenses
- No technical support
How to Choose the Best Shopping Cart
I’ve given you the top picks for 2019. Still, you’ll have to decide which one works best for you. Here’s how to choose shopping cart software.
- Plan out your features—Different stores might benefit from some features more than others. It’s wise to put together a list of essential features beforehand. You can check out a shopping cart’s feature list and compare the two.After all, you want to get all the functions you need. Likewise, the list ensures you don’t overpay. Sure, that expensive shopping cart might have brilliant analytics, but do you need it to sell a couple of t-shirts.
- Test out the software—All companies seem to get the same negative review over and over. Here’s how it goes. The software lacks a particular feature.The retailer has spent months and hundreds of dollars trying to include the feature. To their mind, the software is simply bad or broken.Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the cart. They simply want a feature that the software doesn’t have.
Don’t lose time and money like this. Use the trial period to see if the software works for you. If it does, great. If not, there are always other shopping cart options.
- Check the pricing, thoroughly—The monthly cost is not always the only price you’ll be charged. For instance, extra features are sometimes paid.A shopping cart might even charge you a transaction fee. Paying a 3% transaction fee is fine when selling a few hundred dollars worth of products.If you earn five or six figures, however, the cost becomes more significant.
- Test their support—Most clients don’t contact customer support before they really have to. Once they have a problem, they might find out they’re on their own. If a plan comes with technical support, test the support team.You’re paying for it, aren’t you? Try contacting them a few times. If they claim to be available 24/7 but take till the next workday to get back to you, you know where you stand. It’s the same deal if they can’t answer your technical questions.That said, most shopping carts do come with quality support – but you can never be too careful.
- Check user reviews and professional analyses —If you’re here, you’re on the right track. Expert reviews are the first step.Don’t forget about user reviews, though. You should check out the opinions of people, who have been with the company for a couple of years.If you find a review raises a legitimate concern, refer to the previous point. Contact the support team and discuss the matter. You’re not only checking the quality of the software, but also that of the customer support.
You now know the best shopping cart software for you. More importantly, you know how to determine which ones can work for you.
I have given you all the info you need. Feel free to go back and click on the link of the shopping cart that catches your eye the most.
Q: What is a shopping cart system?
A: An online shopping cart software lets create a full ecommerce site or add a store to an existing platform.
Shopping cart programs differ in functionality. Some only let you add a “buy now” button to your website. Others can create an entire website and handle thousands of products.
All are legitimate options, depending on your needs. Different retailers prefer different types of shopping carts.
Q: How does a shopping cart software work?
A: You typically download one and install it on your server.
From there, the software helps you manage and customize your store. It handles purchases, directs customers to payment pages, and tracks all the relevant data.
It no different from running any other ecommerce business; the software just makes it more accessible.
Q: How much does a shopping cart cost?
A: The pricing plans come in all shapes and sizes. Some software is free, and some cost tens of thousands of dollars. Some even charge a commission on transactions.
There are also other expenses to consider like hosting, SSL certificates, and app charges.
Smaller businesses can get away with paying a few hundred dollars a year in total. For larger businesses and B2B retailers, this can go up to a few thousand dollars.
Q: Does PayPal have a shopping cart?
A: Yes, PayPal offers an online shopping cart system, but it’s fairly basic. It boils down to adding a “buy now” or a “donate now” button to your website.
You have some options for calculating shipping charges, taxes, and collecting customer info.
That’s pretty much it. It’s only useful if you want to sell a couple of simple products or perhaps some online seminars.
Q: Which shopping cart is the best?
A: It’s difficult to say. A cart great for one merchant may cause ruin to another. There is no objective best.
It all depends on what you need and what your wallet can handle. Review the carts’ features and pricing. That’s why we list a rather extensive ranking here on Hosting Tribunal. Eventually, one will stand out as a better choice, compared to the rest.
A solution like Square, for instance, is excellent for small retailers and local businesses. Carts like CS-Cart and PinnacleCart are somewhere in the middle. X-Cart and Magento work better with larger stores.
When in doubt, most carts offer a trial period. Take advantage of it. It is the fastest way to find the best shopping cart software for you and your business needs.