Posted on Mar 24, 2014

Shopping Cart Platforms Comparison

How to Understand Shopping Carts to Improve Sales


Choosing the right shopping cart is critical to making money online and smoothly running a successful ecommerce store. Getting it right will save you time, heartache, and ultimately money. But getting it wrong can be frustrating and costly. The choice is not always easy as there are a lot of shopping carts and ecommerce platforms available. But this shopping cart comparison will help.


In the offline world a shopping cart is something that customers use to carry items to the cash register. Online it does much more. An online shopping cart is your shop window, your display shelves, your trolley, your cash register, your inventory management system, your sales reporting system, and more.


Now do you see why choosing the right platform is so important?


Getting it wrong is the equivalent of opening a small and dreary shop, with no passing traffic and installing an old cash register with no inventory management. You might have the best product in world with informative product pages, but your shop will not sell many products.


So to help you get set up properly here are some of the best shopping carts that are currently available.




·         Some shopping carts can look dated but this looks modern and crisp

·         Free and open-source

·         Nicely designed user interface

·         Unlimited categories and products

·         Over 20 payment gateways are supported


There are not a lot of bells and whistles which is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It is a disadvantage if you need extra functionality. But not everyone does. For these people, the extra bells and whistles can just add complications.




·         Powerful software that can be used on all types of websites, including large ecommerce stores

·         Flexible and customizable

·         Good SEO

·         Unlimited categories and products


But it is difficult to use and has a steep learning curve. Plus the search functions are better in some other shopping carts.




·         Good choice for small stores

·         Easy to setup and use

           Several versions available depending on your store size and features you would like


But it does not have many extra features, which can be a problem with larger stores or those requiring specific functionality. And in-house payment processing ( if you take payment at a physical store and only take orders online) is not supported.





·         Around for a long time

·         Easily customized and there are a lot of 3rd part integrations that are available

·         Active community so has good support

·         Good search feature


This option requires hosting and it is not the best for SEO. You also have to be more mindful of security than other platforms as osCommerce has been around for a while giving hackers more time to learn how to exploit it. If this doesn’t scare you away from using osCommerce, here are a few tutorials to learn more.


Zen Cart


·         Free and has plenty of plugins available that can extend its capabilities

·         Customizable

·         Good support available from an active community

·         Unlimited products and categories

·         Good search feature


But it requires hosting and it is not good for SEO. Plus it looks outdated and doesn't have a mobile version.




·         For use on WordPress sites so it is not standalone like a lot of other ecommerce shopping carts

·         User friendly and easy to setup

·         A lot themes are available so customization is easy


But the core functionality is basic. To do anything more you will need to buy premium plugins.




·         For use on Joomla websites so it is not standalone

·         Good at SEO

·         Unlimited products and categories

·         Can be extended with 3rd party extensions


But because it is a Joomla extension many people regard it as being more complicated than other shopping carts and ecommerce platforms. That has more to do with Joomla than it does with Virtuemart. But it does have other disadvantages which are all of its own making. First, it is not easy to install. And second, it has poor reporting tools.


Consider everything when choosing your shopping cart. You’ll want to know the ease of setup, cost of use, and security. If you need specific features or would like to customize your shop, make sure this functionality is included.


The look of your store is important and you must check that your preferred payment gateway is supported. Finally make sure you are comfortable using the software and that the reports give you the information necessary to successfully run your businesses.


And after that…get selling!


Editor's Tips:

Most of these platforms are available in Mojo Marketplace ( which can be accessed from your control panel), for free with one click installation to your hosting account. The rest can be manually loaded to your hosting account via FTP. Also available in Mojo for free one click installation are Prestashop, AgoraCart, and TomatoCart which were not discussed in this article but will be featured in a future blog post.