Types of eCommerce Solutions
In this article, we will discuss the types of eCommerce solutions available and why an hosted eCommerce solution may be a good choice for many people.
Anyone thinking about having an eCommerce websites has three basic choices. One is to integrate a shopping cart software into the site. Two is to sign up with a hosted eCommerce solution. And three, which is write your own custom shopping cart code.
Grant there may be some instance where you might need to write your own shopping cart. This is really not a good option for most typical store owners. The cost of custom development is high and the probability of bugs in the software is high due to the fact that the code is written from scratch and is not tested by hundreds of other store owners. So, we’ll just forget about option three for the purpose of this discussion.
Integrating Own Hosted Shopping Cart
Now you are left with integrating an shopping cart software into the site, or going with a hosted eCommerce Solutions.
First you have to pay a developer to integrate the software into the site. This is not as easy as the software might claims and you can run into integration problems.
Two software that can integrate into WordPress is ShopPlugin.net and .
Then there are constant updates and security patches to the software that your developer has to update for you. And if you had customized the software, the developer has to perform what are known as “code merges” which involves using a tool that does a line-by-line comparison of code files. Sometimes there can be compatibility issues and problems that arises whenever an update happens. Always backup before any update.
Just browse through the Zen-Cart forums and you will see the number of problems people are discussing and the frequency of updates. And Zen-Cart is one of the most popular powerful and flexible free open-source eCommerce software currently out there.
You have to remember that “free open-source” means that that developers that are writing the software are for the most part volunteers doing this on their own time and not getting paid for it. Maintaining a complex software such as eCommerce is a full-time job and it is hard to do for free. UPS and USPS change their shipping prices and rules all the time and the software needs to keep up. The software also need to integrate with a third-party payment processor such as PayPal. When the two software changes and things don’t sync up, problems can arise.
Speaking of PayPal, if you are selling a few products and do not need a sophisticated shopping cart, adding a PayPal button may be the way to go. It is simple and less problematic and maybe you can even do it yourself without a developer.
Hosted eCommerce Solution
Hosted eCommerce solution requires you to pay a monthly fee. In return, they give you a turn-key shopping site with hosting where you can configure you own products and prices. And often they provide technical support with that.
Some of them are …
Then there are some that provides possibility of both. xCart for example, provides a self-serve software or it can help you host it.
But what if you already have a website and webhosting? You can still keep your existing site and have another domain name be for your online store. The existing site simply links to your online store site.
Although each individual site is different, we feel that hosted eCommerce Solutions can be the best choice for many people. The monthly fee can be worth it in terms of time and headache saved. You don’t have to look for or pay for an eCommerce developer, who also have to perform regular updates for your site. In some case, the monthly fee for hosted eCommerce may turn out to be less.