E-commerce has reshaped the face of every industry on the planet, connecting prospective customers to retailers and service providers around the world. With the advent of the Internet the marketing potential of every business has skyrocketed, and it is now possible for an aspiring online entrepreneur to go from zero to hero in less than a year. The advantages of marketing products and services online are obvious, and include a diversified client base and simplified/cheaper business promotion. One of the main aspects of any e-commerce website is the shopping cart, which is a server-side application that allows the online shopper to purchase more than one item at a time and perform a variety of other tasks. If you’ve ever shopped online before, then you have probably used a shopping cart. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay a lot of money to have a good shopping cart for your e-commerce website – consider the following free e-commerce shopping carts.
OsCommerce has consistently been one of the most popular shopping cart applications available, primarily because it is user-friendly yet provides robust functionality. OsCommerce is particularly effective in providing an enjoyable and convenient shopping experience for the customer, which thereby increases conversion rates and improves customer satisfaction. The shopping cart has integrated shipping and processing, pre-order, product review, and automatic e-mail components that simplify the job of the webmaster by automating redundant tasks related to customer follow-ups and billing. OsCommerce is also compatible with a variety of payment processors (including PayPal), which allow you to accept credit card payments securely.
CubeCart is one of the most customizable, yet user-friendly free shopping carts. The application utilizes theme-based design allows you to quickly adjust the appearance of the shopping interface on-the-fly. CubeCart is also one of the few shopping carts that automatically generates product catalog page URLs that are optimized for the search engines. CubeCart lets your customers use coupon codes and certificates for discounts. To simplify the check out process for site visitors, CubeCart has an integrated shipping and tax calculator, and is compatible with a variety of world currencies. If you plan on selling digital items online, you’ll be pleased to learn that CubeCart has secure download delivery features, and also has integrated e-mail marketing functionality.
Although not quite as popular as the two aforementioned free shopping carts, ZenCart is extremely suitable for novice webmasters. ZenCart is more than just a shopping cart, it is a shopping cart/content management system hybrid that allows you to create custom checkout pages using a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor with a basic user interface. ZenCart is also equipped with product catalog creators the let you easily upload product details and images, and then organize this content into specific categories to create a convenient shopping experience for your site visitors. ZenCart is extremely easy to install, and includes a developer’s toolkit that can be used by novice webmasters to find specific code strings for editing.