When you decide to have an online storefront for your business, one of the things you have to consider is whether to buy or rent your shopping cart software. Shopping cart software is what helps you customers choose products and services and then arrange payment for them. Shopping cart software is essential if you want an efficient and professional ecommerce Web site. One of the real issues you will have to face, though, is whether to buy or rent a shopping cart.
Buy vs. renting a shopping cart
There are two main options when you decide on a shopping cart: buy or rent. Each has its own merits and drawbacks. Here are some of the basics of buying vs. renting a shopping cart:
Buying a shopping cart: When you buy a shopping cart, you have complete control over the customization of the software. You can choose the features you want, and you can have them delivered. Additionally, with buying a shopping cart, you can alter the program once you have it (assuming you have the knowledge to do so, of course).
One of the downsides to buying a shopping cart, though, is that you have to pay for additional upgrades. If you want to scale up, it may be more difficult. Also, if you alter the shopping cart program that you buy, you may not be able to get the support you need down the road.
Renting a shopping cart: When you rent a shopping cart, there are some limitations to what you can do with it. You also usually cannot customize the shopping cart to the same extent that you can when you buy a shopping cart. Instead of paying one price, you have to pay a monthly fee. This can be irksome for many business owners.
On the other hand, renting a shopping cart does allow you to upgrade more easily – for free. When improvements are made to the program, you usually do not have to pay to have them included. In most cases, your shopping cart is upgraded automatically when you are renting – at no extra charge. (But check with your host to make sure that you won’t be charged extra for upgrades.) Also, when renting a shopping cart, you are more likely to have regular service and support.
Whether you rent or buy depends on the individual needs of your online business. If you are technically savvy, and if you have someone who can provide support, it can be a good idea to buy a shopping cart – especially if being able to completely customize your cart is important to you. But be warned: The more features you have, the more the software will cost.
Renting shopping cart software can be advantageous for those who are not able to provide their own support, and who want to be able to easily scale their shopping cart and get the latest updates. It is also helpful for those who do not want to spend as much up front. Many ecommerce Web hosts include shopping cart software in their monthly pricing packages, and this can be one way to rent a shopping cart wrapped into the rest of your ecommerce package.
In the end, though, you need to evaluate the needs of your business and decide which route would be best for you.