Why is Shopping Cart Software Important?
The top performers in our review are 3dcart, the Gold Award winner; Shopify, the Silver Award winner; and Volusion, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a system to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 platforms.
Introduction to Website Shopping Cart Software
In the digital age, it is important for your business to have an online presence, especially if you want to expand or enter new markets. Customers expect easy, instant access to products and services. The right shopping cart software helps you build a customized website for your company and host an online store. Website shopping carts also accept payments through your company’s website, making business transactions easy for both customers and business owners.
We’ve evaluated shopping cart software platforms to help you select the best software for your business. While your individual business needs will vary, the best shopping cart software help you expand your business and sell your products, for more information about these services, read our articles on shopping cart software.
How Do Online Shopping Carts Platforms Work?
Shopping cart software helps you build a website with a shopping cart and online store builder where you can sell and advertise your products. The software in our shopping cart reviews provide templates for building your website and online store.
You can alter provided or customized templates to design your website to meet your needs. With these templates, you can add products, change text and images, and advertise deals. Some of the best shopping cart software we reviewed have drag-and-drop editors, which allow you to adjust your site by simply placing items where you want them. If you want to take a more customized approach and have some technical capabilities, many shopping cart platforms allow you to edit your template using CSS or HTML. The best online shopping cart software has options for both novice and advanced users.
While the appearance of your store is important, shopping cart software also allows you to customize shopping cart options, for example, the option for customers to check out as a guest or require them to create an account.
Most of the online store software we reviewed merges with a variety of payment gateway providers. The services on our lineup are compatible with an average of 75 different providers, though some offer as many as a hundred and others work with as little as two. This means that you may be able to stay with your current payment processer when you establish your online store. However, this depends on which shopping cart provider you select and your current payment provider.
Security is an important thing to consider when selecting an online shopping cart platform. Half of the products in our shopping cart software reviews offer dedicated SSL certificates with their software plan, while some offer shared SSL certificates and charge additional fees for a dedicated certificate.
At the time of review, every website shopping cart software on our lineup is PCI compliant. However, in June of 2018, SSL certificates will no longer be considered PCI compliant. At the time of review, X-Cart is the only product on the lineup to provide TLS 1.2 encryption, which will remain PCI compliant.
How Much Will Shopping Cart Software Cost?
Cost is another important consideration for your company when selecting the best shopping cart software. For purposes of our review, we selected software plans that can store roughly 1,000 products at a time on your website. Most companies offer both smaller and larger plans, depending on your business needs, some even offer customized packages.
The majority of the shopping cart software in our reviews do not charge setup fees or transaction fees. However, payment gateways often charge separate transaction fees when they process your payments. Prices published on the matrix were quoted to us by the companies; however, prices may vary based on your business and the plan you chose.
What We Evaluated; What We Found
We looked for specific criteria important in online shopping carts when we reviewed the software companies on our lineup. These criteria included web-hosting tools offered, shopping cart and eCommerce tools, and back-office features. None of the companies in our review had any say in the results of testing or viewed our results prior to publication.
Web Hosting Tools
Every company in our shopping cart review provides web hosting along with its online store builder. For our in-depth testing of each software, we assessed each platform based on our proprietary ease-of-use score. This score incorporates types of editors available – CSS or HTML – as well as how efficiently our reviewers could complete specific tasks, such as customizing a template, changing texts and images, and adding products. Volusion and Pinnacle each earned high ease-of-use scores in our reviewer-conducted tests.
Each online store provider on our lineup provides templates free of charge. However, the quality of these templates and the number of templates provided varies widely. The smallest number of templates a company provides is four, while other companies offer more than 100 templates for you to choose from. Some companies have advanced or custom templates available, though these cost extra. CoreCommerce, Ashop and Pinnacle Cart do not offer premium-level templates.
Integration is an important part of web hosting and online shopping cart creation. These apps help you add convenience and another level of customization to your website. For instance, if you want to offer a special promotion or create coupons, a third-party app would facilitate these actions on your website. Many of these applications are free and integrate easily with your selected shopping cart software.
Cart & Checkout
The cart and checkout score reflects the experience of the customer. For this score, we evaluated the overall customer experience, including how many steps for check out, whether or not the site has multi-language capabilities, guest checkout and PayPal options, and the mobile shopping and checkout experience. Most of the software providers on our lineup scored high in our cart and checkout tests; however, GoDaddy and BigCommerce each received scores of 100 percent.
We evaluated the help and support provided by each company. The support score incorporates available help and support, including live chat, email and phone support, and also considers how effective each avenue of support is. Furthermore, we considered the security features a company provides to protect your customers’ important information, including fraud detection.
Verdict & Recommendation
Shopping cart software gives your business the important tools it needs to be successful and compete in the digital age. Our top three software providers, 3dcart, Shopify and Volusion, have the highest ease-of-use scores and offer the best features for designing your website and creating your online store.
When selecting shopping cart software, carefully consider which criteria discussed above is most important to your company. Every company on our lineup offers exceptional features; however, the best fit for your company depends on your business’s needs.