Do you want to skip the read and get right to my top pick? We find that the best shopping cart solutions for most people is Ecwid.
With the global online marketplace becoming more competitive by the day, shopping cart solutions are seen as a godsend for businesses who are making the shift from brick and mortar to the virtual scene.
In today’s review, we list the five top ecommerce shopping cart solutions: shopping cart platforms that perform exceptionally well in terms of creating highly engaging online storefronts that can easily convert visitors into paying customers.
As we do so, we will present the merits of individual shopping cart platforms in terms of features and functionality, quality of service and support, user flexibility, as well as value for money.
What are Shopping Cart Solutions?
Let's get down to definitions first. A shopping cart platform – also known as ecommerce shopping cart solutions, shopping cart software, or shopping cart application – is a software suite that facilitates online purchases for both retail and service offerings.
This catch-all term is used to refer to any platform dedicated to hosting ecommerce websites, hosting or site building platforms offering a number of ecommerce solutions and features, as well as those which offer landing pages or funnels through which online businesses can do transactions more efficiently.
Shopping cart platforms may also include any of the following:
- Hosted shopping carts where the shopping cart platforms offer a hosting service for ecommerce users;
- Open source shopping cart software which is usually offered as free shopping cart software by providers who allow users to customise the source code to suit their needs; and
- Shopping cart abandonment software which helps users deal with any potential purchases that customers have left hanging for one reason or another.
Our feature today includes the best opensource shopping carts that do not feature hosting or site-building functionality.
Our List of the Best Shopping Cart Software:
We've screened potential best ecommerce shopping cart solutions, shopping cart platforms, and online shopping cart software, and came up with a top 5 shortlist:
How We Chose the Best Shopping Cart Solutions:
Our criteria for selecting the best ecommerce shopping cart solutions includes the following:
- Basic features of a shopping cart program, including solutions for inventory management, payment portals, and invoicing for orders;
- Ease of use and terms of usage;
- Third-party integrations;
- Technical support offered by the shopping cart platforms; and
- Pricing packages and their respective inclusions.
Our Best Shopping Cart Solutions in Detail:
Up until a few years ago, Ecwid was little more than a feature of Wix which enabled its users to create online storefronts even with its most basic site building packages. This all changed, of course, when that platform rolled out its Wix eCommerce storefront building and management suite.
Nevertheless, this handy little plugin has become one of the best shopping cart software. It works well with a number of other site creation platforms – has enabled more than 900,000 global users to create highly engaging online stores.
Recommended for small- and medium-scale enterprises, Ecwid enables users to add ecommerce features to their existing sites or blogs, including some innovations resulting from the pandemic like curbside / minimal contact pickup, gift card provision, and several point of sale features.
- Storefront builder;
- Online marketing tools that can be used with several social media platforms;
- Unlimited bandwidth;
- Multilingual catalogue builder;
- Dimensional shopping rates; and
- Ability to create your own shopping app (for premium users only)
Pros and Cons:
- Allows creation of multilingual stores;
- Enables users to import and export products;
- Offers mobile POS
- You may end up spending more for upgrades;
- Can be difficult to set up with third-party applications;
- Limited functionality when it comes to order management
- Free edition allows users to create a storefront and offer a maximum of ten products;
- Paid plans cost between $15 and $99 monthly
WooCommerce is the plugin that revolutionised the scene for WordPress users, enabling them to monetise their blogs or websites through their transformation into online shopfronts.
While it remains a WordPress-only plugin, this open-source shopping cart solution allows users to get started almost immediately. Using WordPress’ CMS editing platform, users can easily create both product and promotional pages. Indeed, all a site owner needs to do is type in the product or promo description, upload related images, and they’re all set.
- Built-in storefront template with two free variations and twelve premium variations;
- Customisation via a secondary plugin, Elementor;
- Cart2Cart migration feature;
- Store management app for both Android and iOS devices; and
- B2B and B2C toolkits
Pros and Cons:
- Free to use for WordPress clients, particularly those with Business or eCommerce subscriptions;
- Easy to set up and use;
- Offers an app you can use on your mobile device
- Does not offer the same level of functionality as a standalone shopping cart solution;
- While you can use it for free, any upgrades or third-party support apps can prove to be expensive;
- Limited choice of site design
Essentially free, but additional functionality via third-party apps may cost more than you would expect, so be sure to double check price tags on downloadable solutions before committing to a purchase.
Magento, a product of the Adobe Corporation, was specifically created for the very-large enterprise (VLE) sector – and that essentially means it isn't the sort of shopping cart platform we recommend for novices. This is a platform for individual entrepreneurs who have intermediate to advanced site creation and management skills, as well as those who have a dedicated web management team on call.
This particular shopping cart platform is open-source, so businesses are given carte blanche with which to create bespoke online storefronts to draw in their customers.
- A highly-diverse and practically arranged user interface;
- SEO and online marketing toolkit;
- Third-party integration with over 300 applications and programmes;
- Proprietary website building platform; and
- Storefront management system
Pros and Cons:
- Optimal flexibility for more advanced users;
- Highly scalable, making it a great choice for a growing enterprise;
- One of the more expensive shopping cart platforms/ecommerce shopping cart solutions currently available;
- Requires specialised hosting as opposed to a conventional web hosting service;
- Not the best in terms of technical support
Because Magento is open-source, it’s essentially free. However, if you want to expand the capabilities of your Magento usage, the actual price is dependent on the following details:
- Nature of your business;
- Standard sales volume;
- Monthly or annual profits
Like Magento, OpenCart is also an open-source shopping cart software, but has the advantage of being easier to use, making it a good choice for those who are just starting their online stores.
This best shopping cart software offers an extensive range of tools for creating, deploying, and managing an online store, OpenCart is a lightweight shopping cart software option that won’t gunk up your desktop or slow down its performance – two key elements that potential ecommerce entrepreneurs need to consider before selecting a platform.
We have to warn potential users, however, that as simple as it may look – and as engaging as its UI might be – OpenCart isn’t exactly the easiest platform to use. You need to have a few PHP skills to get the most out of it.
- Administrative dashboard;
- Single interface for multiple storefront management;
- Product options and attributes editing feature;
- Scheduled backups and on-demand restoration; and
- Built-in affiliates system
Pros and Cons:
- Free to use;
- Highly customisable;
- Offers extensive metrics with which to monitor the performance of one’s ecommerce hub
- Customers may find the checkout process slow and cumbersome;
- Features are too basic for long-term scalability;
- Poses challenges for importing inventory lists
- OpenCart is free to use, but it is admittedly basic
- Plugins for additional functionality are pay-to-use and may set users back between $20 and $5,000
Like Magento, PrestaShop was specifically created for medium-, large-, and very-large scale enterprises, so its features allow users to have a lot more leeway in terms of functionality – and it does have a lot of features.
PrestaShop, as one of the best shopping cart software, prides itself on having over 600 built-in features as well as access to over 1,000 third-party applications through its in-platform marketplace, enabling users to create and manage visually-striking online stores in a relatively short span of time
As stated above, PrestaShop offers more than 600 features already built into its user interface. But the following are what clearly set it apart from the competition:
- SEO toolkit;
- Abandoned cart notifications;
- Multiple language and currency support;
- Automated mailing list / newsletter function; and
- Local and foreign sales / shipping tax computing feature
Pros and Cons:
- This best shopping cart software has the most extensive range of built-in features;
- Offers a number of methods by which users can reach to customers across the globe;
- Robust CRM toolkit for customer management
- Not the easiest ecommerce/shopping cart platform to get started with;
- Rather clunky back end makes it challenging to manage;
- Platform tends to be unstable and may crash periodically
As an open-source shopping cart platform, PrestaShop is both free to use and free to modify. That said, however, it also has the most expensive add-on modules of any platform featured in this review, with some of the lowest-tier offerings coming in with a price tag of $100 or more.
Conclusion and Recommendations:
Not all software platforms are created equal, and this particularly applies to shopping cart platforms.
The best shopping cart software will enable users to modify the source code in order to create features specific to their website/online store certainly appeals to many online businesses as it allows them to have a completely bespoke storefront. In which case, we find that the best shopping cart solutions for most people is Ecwid.
The likes of Magento would be best for medium and very large enterprises respectively are excellent options to consider.
Nevertheless, it helps to read up and research about what shopping cart platforms are available in order to come to a decision you can happily work with.
Are there ecommerce shopping cart solutions exclusively for WordPress users?
Yes, WordPress offers the open-source WooCommerce plugin which converts standard sites and blogs into fully functional ecommerce sites.
Do open source ecommerce shopping cart solutions work for those who don’t have much of a budget?
Yes and no. While open-source shopping cart software may be downloaded for free, keep in mind that this lacks numerous features, thus entailing the purchase of additional plugins or third-party applications. While many of these best shopping cart software may also be downloaded for free, those that are specifically created for ecommerce tend to lean more towards the expensive side.
Are there any ecommerce shopping cart solutions that can be used for very large enterprises?
Magento is the best shopping cart software specifically created for the use of the VLE sector in that it is scalable, making it an apt choice for online businesses that are expanding their reach. Also, the level of complexity when it comes to using the platform means it appeals more to those with more extensive knowledge of online commerce and related technologies.
That's all for now:
If you've read all the way through this best shopping cart solutions guide, we are thankful. We hope you can now answer the question of what is the best shopping cart software option for you! We have a large collection of articles, guides, and comparison reviews of eCommerce solutions, web hosting providers, website builders, and more! Feel free to check them out;