Open source shopping cart software has come a long way in terms of features. The two major standout features that are offered by open source shopping cart software are:
1) FREE usage OR merchants need pay just a one-time license fee.
2) Can be hosted on ANY web server that meets the software’s server requirements.
So, given the availability of open source shopping cart software, why do merchants still flock to paid shopping carts like InstanteStore?
“A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one.”
– Henry Ford
Reliability and Customer Support
Things don’t always work like clockwork in the cyber world, which is why it is always good to have someone around on standby to help you out. It’s safe to say that many small online business owners aren’t very tech savvy. Most, if not all paid shopping carts tout the fact that their applications are very user-friendly and require little or no programming knowledge whatsoever. The software can be so user-friendly to the point that calls to the help desk are quite rare.
On the other hand, open source shopping cart software is usually geared towards more technologically-inclined users who usually have either lots of experience with shopping cart solutions, software development experience of some form, or a combination of the two. These are the types of users who are most comfortable with such solutions, as they are familiar with most of the quirks of shopping cart solutions, and have the expertise to be able to make their own changes if necessary. This doesn’t apply to most novice users who may have difficulty with the hands-on nature of open source shopping carts.
Paid shopping cart applications usually come with some form of customer support plans included in their packages, so users of these solutions will be able to turn to experts who know the ins and outs of their software if they have questions or need help. Open source shopping cart users will either need to spend money to purchase additional support packages if these are available, or they will need to depend exclusively on other users for help via discussion forums.
A store that’s down cannot garner sales so obviously downtime must be kept to a minimum. Paid shopping cart applications typically include some form of hosting and/or store monitoring so downtime is always kept to a minimum. For users that choose to host their shopping carts on their own, the responsibility of monitoring and keeping their stores up and running 24/7 rests on their own shoulders.
Paid shopping cart software providers are always working to improve their software and keep it updated with the latest features. The same can be said for open source software also but the speed at which this happens is vastly different. Paid shopping carts are more proactive and innovative in this sense whereas free shopping carts are more reactive.
Needless to say, paid shopping carts come with lots of bells and whistles. The feature lists of paid shopping carts contain extensive features which are both useful and user friendly. And if you like certain things done a certain way, you can opt to have some custom work done for a fee.
If you are seriously thinking of running your own store, make sure you opt for an ecommerce software solution that is stable, reliable and up-to-date. Many ecommerce solution providers like InstanteStore provide a free trial period so that users can try out the various features and familiarize themselves with the software without any obligation. It’s not surprising that most people who sign up for the free trial end up signing up for one of the subscription packages.
What do you think? If you have had experience using open source shopping cart software, we’d like to hear your take on them.
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