Shopping cart software can be broken down into two primary groups. Hosting shopping carts that require a monthly subscription and standalone shopping carts that are either free or require a software license.
Many potential entrepreneurs see software listed as free or open source shopping carts and think they can save a buck over using a hosted shopping cart that requires a subscription fee. Open source shopping carts can be great products, but for the uninitiated there are hidden costs that can make hosted solutions seem more attractive.
All shopping cart software needs to be hosted
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The first thing to remember about standalone software is that it still needs to be hosted somewhere. This isn’t a problem if you can install the software on discount shared hosting like GoDaddy for five dollars a month, but this isn’t always an option. Some free shopping carts, like Magento and Virtuemart, can be very resource intensive and will run very slowly on a shared server requiring an upgrade to a VPS or Cloud server.
Hosted shopping cart software may include payment processing
One of the most difficult things about setting up shopping cart software is the payment processing. There are hoops to jump through, payment gateways to install, approvals to get, merchant account subscriptions to pay for. Hosted shopping cart subscriptions often include or streamline the payment processing, adding additional value to the hosted service.
Themes and designs for shopping carts
You want a unique look for your new online store, everyone does. Hosted shopping cart software typically includes multiple themes to select from and a support staff to help you implement the theme and upload your logo. A standalone product gives you more freedom to customize the design, but these tasks can be overwhelming to a new store proprietor.
There are many different hosted shopping cart software subscriptions available on the market today. Take a look at our list of best shopping cart software to find hosted shopping cart software that meets your needs.