The rise of internet usage gave birth to a new trend - "eCommerce". Online shopping is helping businesses to cross geographical boundaries and grow exponentially. For the customers, it gets easier to shop for their desired products and services comfortably from anywhere and at anytime. Online shopping has gradually evolved, and today as we can experience, there is a drastic change in the shopping habits of the people.
With the growth of the eCommerce business, the competition also increased. Not all eCommerce stores have achieved success. It is quite frustrating for online merchants to experience high bounce rates, or customers abandoning the shopping cart even after putting in a lot of effort in terms of time and money in building & marketing their eCommerce store.
As per Baymard Institute, some of the cart abandonment reasons are -
If your customers are leaving without buying, that means your sales goals are not getting accomplished and causing a very bad impact on search engines and online reputation. It costs a lot to lose even a single customer, and thus this issue needs to be addressed without fail.
To address this issue; it becomes important to provide a simple and bug-free shopping experience to your customers which can be done with the help of the best shopping cart software with high-end features.
If you are looking for a shopping cart software for your online business, we can help you with the list of 7 free and open source shopping cart software which you can customize as per your business logic and requirements.
But, before you go through the details of these free and open source shopping cart software, let’s go through the basic information about what exactly is shopping cart software, how does it work, its benefits, and the features to look for to select the best one that is compatible with your online business.
What is Shopping Cart Software?
Shopping cart software is an application which is usually known as an eCommerce platform, eCommerce solution, and/or online store builder helps the online buyers to select and reserve products/services for purchase before checking out of the online store. More than just selling online, the shopping cart software helps in promoting products through email and social media, tracking and maintaining inventory, monitoring sales, shipping orders, and many more tasks which can drive success for your eCommerce store.
Shopping cart software is often confused with eCommerce software. So, here is the -
Difference Between Shopping Cart Software and eCommerce Software
eCommerce Software is an all-in-one solution which can handle everything required to build and grow your online business which includes right from website design, web hosting, payment processing, online marketing, till security.
On the other hand, shopping cart software is deployed when you already have a website, and you just need to set up the list of products & services, and payment processing system. Shopping cart software is an eCommerce framework which can get integrated with the website or application and create a fully functional eCommerce store.
Precisely, a shopping cart software alone cannot build an online store, but an eCommerce software with the shopping cart software functionality can build a full-fledged online store.
To further explain the concept of the shopping cart software, let’s have a look at how it works.
How Does the Shopping Cart Software Work?
Online shopping cart plays the role of the physical cart in a brick & mortar store, but with some advanced functionality. The shoppers can add the products they want to buy in the shopping cart, review those products in terms of quantity, size, color, etc. kind of attributes, and modify their choice before or during the checkout.
Besides adding and removing products, the advanced functionality of shopping cart software includes, adding up the price of the products, including shipping, taxes, etc., and displaying the total billing amount. The buyer doesn't need to do this calculation. The shopping cart software does that for the buyers. In short, shopping cart software helps the buyers in deciding whether to go ahead with the purchase or not.
For online store owners, shopping cart software helps in keeping an eye over the customers and find the answers to the questions like which products attract the buyers, why do buyers abandon the cart, or which time of the day people prefer to shop from their store. This enables the store owners to come up with accurate solutions quickly and ensure the growth of their online business.
Below is the step-by-step working process of a shopping cart software -
Perhaps, by now, the concept of shopping cart software is evident. But, the question arising in your mind would be - why to use a shopping cart software. A shopping cart software can encourage productive and effortless selling by leveraging the below-mentioned benefits:-
Benefits of Shopping Cart Software
The benefits mentioned above may vary depending on the features of the shopping cart software you choose. So, just let us have a look at which features should you look for while selecting a shopping cart software.
Features to Consider in a Shopping Cart Software
User-Friendly Admin Panel
Shopping cart software includes an admin panel which helps in storing items, update data, and set permissions for the users. You need to make sure that the shopping cart software you choose should be having user-friendly admin panel with easy navigation and straightforward layout.
The shopping cart software you select should enable you to display the products excellently. You should be able to include images, descriptions, videos, and provide the ability to the customers to resize, zoom, or save an image.
Product filtering is mandatory for every shopping cart solution. You need to ensure that your customers are able to filter the products based on their preferences, instead of browsing through the products they are not looking for and wasting their time unnecessarily.
Quick & Secure Checkouts
The shopping cart software you select should enable you to provide quick and secure checkout to your customers. After all, user experience is very much important, and that can decide the success and failure of an online business.
Providing Special Offers to Regular Customers
Once you have the customer details in your database, you know how frequently they are buying and what they are buying. Based on that, you can offer special offers and coupons to those customers and accelerate your online sales. This feature of shopping cart software can help you in engaging and retaining customers.
Positive customer reviews always encourage buyers to make a purchase decision. The shopping cart software you select should enable your customers to leave feedback for your products and services, as that would help you in increasing sales over your online store.
Live Chat Support
You need to ensure that the visitors on your website get prompt support while browsing your products and services, and while making a buying decision. For this purpose, you need to make sure that you have a live chat feature in your shopping cart software.
Your shopping cart software should be able to generate reports which depict your sales, returns, order tracking, etc. type of different information, helping you to view the clear picture about the profitability of your online store and preparing you for the future.
The shopping cart software allowing your store to integrate with various third-party tools like accounting software, CRM, inventory management, BI solutions, etc.can provide high-end functionality and help your business in staying ahead of the competitors.
So, now when you know the features to look for in a shopping cart software, it would be easier for you to choose one from the below-mentioned list of free and open source shopping cart software.
The Top 7 Free and Open Source Shopping Cart Software
Agoracart is an open source shopping cart software which is built using Perl. As it is driven by the community for its design and development, and thus focuses on the needs of the merchants. It helps you in launching a flexible, powerful, and customized online store on a larger scale. You can easily integrate this software with your existing website or application and can even be hosted for you.
- Allows unlimited categories and products
- Can calculate multiple tax rates
- Configures flexible and custom shipping rules
- Can define 10+ shipping methods and payment solutions
- Allows customers to checkout without account creation
- Can assign SEO friendly URLs
- Helps in creating and customizing “Drop-In” modules
- Can upload images without resizing
- Compatible to SSL and Shared SSL
If you have already used Agoracart, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Storesprite is a free and open source shopping cart software which is packed with user-friendly features. Using this platform, deploying your shopping cart is quick and easy. It includes a simple to use control panel, which can help you in managing your entire store and generate reports required to make informed decisions for the future. The best attribute of this software is that it is scalable for an unlimited number of products and shoppers.
- Allows you to assign search-friendly URLs on your online store
- Calculates tax and delivery cost automatically
- Supports multiple currencies
- Allows guest checkout using PayPal Express
- Provides content managed pages through WYSIWYG editor
- Can help in editing store details & metas
- Allows assigning unlimited product categories & subcategories
- Offers customized dashboard for the shoppers
- Customization of your store is a breeze using this software if you know HTML and CSS
- Allows payment gateway integration
If you have already used storesprite, please feel free to share your reviews here.
#3 Zen Cart
Zen Cart is a user-friendly, free and open source shopping cart software developed by a group of like-minded people, including show owners, programmers, designers, and consultants. It is a straightforward shopping cart software which can be installed and setup by anyone having basic website building and computer skills. Made specifically for the users; it is designed suiting to the requirements of online merchants and shoppers both.
- Licensed under GPL2, and so you can modify the source code as per your business requirements
- It can integrate with many popular payment gateways which can help you in accepting payments immediately on your online store
- The online store developed using Zen Cart can run on servers having minimum and simple requirements of PHP, Apache, and MySQL
- You can launch your Zen Cart online store on whichever domain you choose
- It is quite easy to create product pages on Zen Cart, thus it is quickly ready to launch your products in the market and accept payments seamlessly
If you have already used Zen Cart, please feel free to share your reviews here.
X-Cart is easy to use, maintain, and modify shopping cart software which helps you in getting your website up and running fast. It can efficiently handle large product catalogs and at the same time ensures quick loading of your online store. It offers great design templates helping you to launch an attractive and appealing online store As it comes with free open source code, you have full control over your store and add features to it as per your business requirements.
- Helps in building a fully customizable and responsive shopping cart website
- Includes 84 high converting eCommerce templates
- Has intuitive drag-and-drop interface
- Offers real-time search features to the buyers
- Can translate your online store to 40+ different international languages
- Helps in managing inventory monitoring and tracking
- Includes effective SEO tools
- Provides in-built marketing tools and social media buttons
- Facilitates you to offer discount coupons and conduct auctions
- Can integrate tools like Google Analytics, MailChimp, etc.
If you have already used X-Cart, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Commerce.CGI is a free and open source shopping cart software which was first released back in 1998. It can help you in creating a full-featured shopping cart which is simple to install, setup, and maintain — the Commerce.CGI provides top-notch support through its Bulletin Board. It is compatible with Linux and Windows Servers. It is designed to run on Unix style servers, but with its recent updates, you can run it on Windows NT also after minor modifications in the code.
- Allows simple installation
- Can display an unlimited number of products
- Includes web-based store manager
- Supports product variations like size and color
- Provides flexible product search capabilities
- Supports multiple payment options
- Provides templates with easy customization of store design
- Allows formatting using CSS
- Provides flat file product database to create dynamic pages
If you have already used Commerce.CGI, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Nopcommerce is a transparent and well-structured shopping cart solution trusted by over 50,000 store owners and downloaded more than 2,500,000 times. It is a perfect combination of open source and commercial software, which is useful for corporates, and small businesses dealing in physical and digital goods online. This free and open source software includes everything that you need to launch and grow your online business.
- Provides responsive design of both admin and frontend area which can help you to manage your store and your customers to buy your products on the go
- Includes a wide range of editable and customizable product details depending on various business types, like SKU, size, price, quantity, weight, image, and stock level
- Allows easy checkout process to your customers with the help of features like one-page checkout, anonymous checkout, the addition of checkout attributes, and more
- Offers multiple marketing tools facilitating content marketing, and statistics automation
- Can help you in launching a market place wherein you can sell items supplied by different merchants
- Allows you to operate two or more online stores
If you have already used Nopcommerce, please feel free to share your reviews here.
CS-Cart is a super feature-packed shopping cart software being used by around 35,000 online stores in 172 countries since 2005. It is easy to use and extremely secure. Provides rich documentation and lessons which can answer all your queries. You can even customize the entire code as per your online store once you get the license. You also get a free trial of 15 days, to check whether it suits your business requirements or not.
- Includes built-in layouts editor
- Provides 200+ beautiful storefront themes
- Allows you to customize your storefront in real-time
- Provides full control over your store look and functionality
- Allows adding multiple product variants
- Provides control over your catalog inventory
- Includes search engine optimization plug-ins
- Facilitates you to sell on Facebook, eBay, Google Shopping
If you have already used CS-Cart, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Still, confused with your shopping cart software selection. Just go through the below chart to get a glimpse of the features of all the shopping cart solutions mentioned above -
The Top 7 Free and Open Source Shopping Cart Software Comparison Chart
So, these were the top 7 free and open source shopping cart software, but if you are looking for a shopping cart software with advanced functionality, we can suggest you to use Shopify, which can help you in not only launching your online store and but also excelling among other eCommerce businesses.
Let’s explore Shopify in brief -
Shopify is one of the most widely-used shopping cart software. It includes all the eCommerce and point of sale features required to launch, run, and grow your business. The online businesses using Shopify around the world have recorded over $100 billion in sales. It provides 14 days free trial period so that you can check whether it suits your business requirements or not.
- Helps in selling anywhere - eCommerce stores, social media, and online marketplaces
- Includes built-in tools which can help in creating, executing and analyzing campaigns on Facebook and Google
- Includes a single dashboard to manage orders, shipping, and payments
- Get insights about how your entire business is progressing and take the guesswork out of your important decisions
If you have already used Shopify, please feel free to share your reviews here.
We all know that eCommerce competition is fierce. Surviving and generating profits in ecommerce sector requires implementing winning strategies which can be done with the help of a well-featured shopping cart software. The ultimate aim of using shopping cart software is to provide an excellent shopping experience to the customers and increase the profitability of your online business. Thus, your perfect shopping cart software should have the user-friendly features helping you to achieve your desired goals.
We hope this article has provided enough information about shopping cart software and helped you to find the perfect one suitable for your business at a great extent. But, if investing in a shopping cart software is not a significant issue, you can also consider freemium and paid shopping cart software like Get Me A Cart, Volusion, LemonStand, Fortune 3,3D Cart, ProductCart, ShopSite, 1AutomationWiz, and CubeCart.
For more options, click here for a comprehensive list of shopping cart software.
If you have used any of the shopping cart software mentioned above, please leave your valuable feedback here.
Also, click here to browse all software categories, as we keep on updating the latest software used in other sectors as well, besides eCommerce.
Jemimah Rodriguez is a content marketing specialist having 8+ years of experience in content writing, SEO, and social media optimization. At present, she is working with GoodFirms – a reliable platform helping businesses in selecting right Software Companies & Products. For further information, you can get in touch with her on [email protected]
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