Pros and Cons of Free Shopping Carts

Although it is possible to get a free shopping cart for your business website, a free cart may not be the best solution for everyone.  This article covers the pros and cons of free shopping carts.  Keep reading to see if the pros outweigh the cons on using a free shopping cart for your online business.

Where Do You Find Free Shopping Carts

Free shopping carts may be avaialble through a provider like SimpleScripts when you sign up for shared Linux hosting or by adding a theme or module to a content management software program like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla! or as a direct download from a developer. As with every other free offering, free shopping carts can have pros and cons.  Let’s take the pros first.

Pros of Free Shopping Carts

Here are some of the pros of free shopping carts.  Some of the pros apply to all free shopping carts, and some apply more selectively.

  • Well, first of all, they’re free! That’s a big plus in their favor.
  • You can find stand-alone choices or shopping carts that can be integrated with other website elements, like a blog or other free-standing pages that are not part of the ecommerce part of the site.
  • There are pre-fab shopping carts that are useful for novices in the online world because they have almost everything you need already set up.
  • There are also shopping carts that those with coding skills can adapt and elaborate.
  • Some of them have simple transaction options like PayPal or Google CheckOut integration, while others are compatible with a merchant account, payment gateway, and SSL certificate use.

Cons of Free Shopping Carts

Here are some of the cons of free shopping carts. In this case, none of the cons are universal: they apply only to particular shopping carts.

  • Development may cease.  Somebody providing a free product has to have a reasonable incentive to keep on providing it. If the incentive ceases, you may be stuck with a product that has reached an end.
  • Support may be limited.  You may be limited to a support forum, which may not be the level of support that you need for your ecommerce site.
  • Limitations in documentation. Or you may have to pay for it.
  • Limitations in functionality. If the developer is putting out the free shopping cart as a lure to encourage you to purchase a paid product, you may find that some functionality is reserve for the folks who pay.
  • Forced advertising. If the developer is making the time to create this free version because of the advertising benefits, then the “price” of the free software may be putting up with advertising on your site. You may be able to eliminate advertising—by paying.
  • Free up to a point. Free someimes is used to describe aspects of a product that is not itself free.  For example, EasyStoreCreator offers “free” website templates, but the software costs $67/month, far more than most other shopping cart options.
  • No warranty.  Particularly if you can alter the code, these free shopping carts may not provide you with any back-up once you make changes.