A shopping cart can either be hosted or self-hosted and the price varies greatly between both types. A hosted shopping cart attracts a monthly fee which at times can be based as a percentage of gross sales. This may not seem to be much for those with low sales but it can be costly for those who realize high sales when business grows. A self-hosted shopping cart can appear to be costly but this is a once-off fee which does not recur. However, it is important to note that, when you opt for a self-hosted type, after installing the shopping cart program and downloading the license, (which can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars), you are on your own and no assistance is provided.
Why Should You Choose A Hosted Shopping Cart?
A hosted Shopping Cart is suitable for those who do not want to host the shopping cart on their own and those who have no expertise in this field. It is the best choice for companies that have no IT technicians to host the shopping cart for them.
When you choose the hosted shopping cart you pay a monthly fee in return for handling and management of the shopping cart by the technical team of the service provider. They also deal with any problems that arise and answer your questions providing all the assistance you need. Web hosting packages include a hosted shopping cart making it convenient for those using the services for the first time.
If you have no technical know-how or you have no time to fix problems that arise, it is better for you to go for a hosted shopping cart. You just pay the fee and things are fixed for you.
Why Go For A Self-Hosted Shopping Cart?
The self-hosted shopping cart software is usually downloadable. You will pay for the web space and then you download and install the software on your server. This is not difficult. You will learn how to do it from the content or video tutorials available on the internet. After doing this, you will be on your own so this type of shopping cart is suitable for users who have the necessary technical know-how. Websites that offer to install the software for you require that you pay installation fees. Apart from this, there are no monthly fees to be paid since it is an upfront payment which is a once-off and there are no payments made from your earnings as a percentage of your sales. This is a great relief for those who don’t like paying fees monthly.
There are people who like to do things on their own and such people enjoy the freedom, flexibility and control that come with self-hosted shopping carts. If you are such a person, then self-hosted shopping cart is the right one for you. But you need technical knowledge and the time to do it.
Free and Open Source Applications
This is a type of self-hosted shopping cart which requires you as the user to do everything on your own. Some programmers customize the software and re-distribute it but most sources do not offer assistance or guidance so you have to know what you are doing. Although these shopping carts are free and customizable, there is a lot of work that you need to do like downloading the software, configuring and setting up the online store which at times requires an understanding of how PHP/MySQL etc. work.
Most people choose reputable shopping cart solutions which are stable and secure especially if they handle a lot of transactions or receive heavy traffic. The shopping cart you choose can make or break your e-Commerce business. Technical savvy users enjoy the flexibility and control that comes with open source applications and software that do not limit their creativity. However, if you are not a tech person and you have to hire a tech expert to set up and build your online store using these open source platforms it would end up to be expensive than paying for a hosted or self hosted shopping cart.
Choosing the right shopping cart is important if you have to start selling right away. If you are starting an online business getting the right shopping cart is vital for your e-Commerce business. Choose a reputable and secure shopping cart that is well-respected. Although cost of the shopping cart is an important factor, it is not the only factor you have to consider. You have to think about what you want and whether the shopping cart application you have chosen is the most appropriate one for your business. Does it fulfill your business needs and requirements from the layout to the payment processing features?
Every type of shopping cart has its pros and cons which you have to weigh before deciding on the right one. If you have no technical knowledge of running a self-hosted shopping cart or an open source application then choose a hosted one and change when you become more conversant with the others and when you learn how they work.
Finally, when deciding which shopping cart to go for, you should aim at giving your customers the best shopping experience while they are shopping on your eCommerce site.