Hosted shopping cart

Updated: August 19, 2020 | Nikolay Sidelnikov, Business Product Owner

Hosted shopping carts provide an all-in-one solution for your business and ensure it gets transferred to the digital rails quickly. With the advancements of the Internet and information technologies, it has become much harder to choose from the many options that have appeared in recent years. And with today’s hosting technologies, you can easily get overwhelmed by the range of various solutions that different shopping carts provide.

A shopping cart hosting is a unique solution that provides you with hosting for your website through the servers of a shopping cart provider. As a business owner, you do not have to install or download all the e-commerce software as it is being taken care of by your shopping cart provider. Using a hosted shopping cart solution, you get the same level of personal service as a web-developer; meanwhile you also use hosting from the shopping cart itself. It also includes the detailed control panel, which allows you to upload and promote your products, set up discounts and deals, upload any necessary product information, add unique content to the website’s blog, determine payment options and shipping methods, etc. There is no need to worry about any code or to be concerned about your web store’s security. The shopping cart hosting platform does that all for you.

The benefits of using a hosted shopping cart solution

First of all, a hosted shopping cart solution is an easy way to make your first smart business decision to ensure successful sales in the long run. Hosted shopping carts provide a top-notch customer support and always take care of the server-side of things, allowing you to focus directly on achieving your business goals.

Secondly, you can quickly pick a design for your website by choosing from dozens of templates available. Style and personalize it however you want and configure the necessary things you need for setting up your shop in no time. The only sweat is in adding your products to the site, uploading the images, selecting the payment and shipment options and making sure that your website is rich with compelling content.

Thirdly, there is no need to overpay for your server – you pay a monthly subscription fee for the time you want your website to run. The monthly fee includes hosting, access to your admin’s panel and 24/7 customer service.

You can also avoid any security concerns by choosing a hosted cart to build your store’s website. The constant security of your site includes a lot of updating and research. There is no need to be bothered with it anymore - you can trust the work of professionals.

Finally, by choosing a shopping cart, you receive an enormous amount of customer support. As they make tons of websites, your site’s bug may not be a unique case to them. By managing a large number of shopping cart websites, companies get those bugs easily fixed for you.

Universal features that any hosted shopping cart platform should have

Now that we have determined the benefits of using hosted shopping carts to grow your business, look at some of the core features that will allow you to successfully sell your products on the Internet.

  1. Large and functional product images. When buying a product online, a customer wants to take a look at it and discover its features and quality. Product images allow you to do so and meanwhile they are one of the most effective ways of communication between you and your customer on the website. It should be a “must-have” for a shopping cart integration to enable you to upload high-resolution product images. This is the only way a customer cansee the product and get impressed by it. Another important thing is that these pictures can be resized to your needs since the bigger (and the clearer) the image is the better. Look at the carts that allow you to have product zooming.
  2. Product review. Product reviews have shown their positive impact on the conversion rate, as research suggests that more than 70% of Internet buyers trust online product reviews . These reviews help customers make product choices, and to provide those, you need to look for a platform that allows you to include instant product reviews or at least implement some third-party product reviews programs.
  3. Easy navigation. Take care of your customers by offering them the layered navigation on your commerce website. Include some filtering options, so they can find exactly what they want. Ensure the shopping cart provides this by specifying it needs to be data-driven and programmatic.
  4. Fast and easy checkout. Checkout is the final moment of the purchase, and you, as the owner, must do everything necessary to complete the checkout process as painless as possible for your customer. Remember, clients always look for the shortest line and want to complete the final steps as fast as possible. To do that, you need to ensure that your checkout form has very few fields and is located on a single page. By doing this, you will promote the user-friendliness of the website and allow for better conversion rates.
  5. Deals and discounts. Deal shoppers love to use their coupons. With multiple services that can provide coupons, your website needs to be customized to receive them and promote special deals. Special deals and the features we previously highlighted, will result in a pleasant customer experience and boost your sales in no time.

Having the must-have features covered, let’s move and have a look at the most widely-used hosted shopping carts out there.

Hosted shopping carts list

Shopify

If you strive for a perfect balance between the convenience of setting up and having control over your website, then, Shopify is the best platform on the market. It is highly valued in the community to provide as much control as possible before opening your server. If you are a small business owner, the first thing you will notice about Shopify is their largesupport base, which offers you a great variety of tools to alter your store. Another great thing is the presence of their AppStore, where you can find useful plugins for creating and customizing your website. Despite all of its great features, Shopify lacks the content-marketing feature, which has become a big deal on the market. It is only with content marketing you can double your conversion rate thanks to customers becoming more educated about your products and therefore, more willing to buy it. You should sign up for their free trial and see whether this hosted cart solution is the right fit for you.

opencart

Among other shopping carts, opencart has been very prominent for gaining immense popularity on the market. Clients appreciate opencart for the top-notch security protocols that do not allow any of your data to get lost, while keeping track of any activity on the website. Another great benefit is the availability of content marketing and SEO-optimization for any article you post about the product. For the price you pay, you will also get an official forum that allows you to avoid any obstacles in creating your website and receive a quick support response. The platform is flexible and very easy to use. It can be adapted to any web-hosting and provides a perfect and inexpensive solution for all your e-commerce needs.

PinnacleCart

If you want to set up a store’s website right out-of- the- box and you don't want to be bothered with an enormous amount of options available, PinnacleCart is the best choice for you. New and bright templates, various marketing tools, great SEO make PinnacleCart a very good choice for an online-only shop. It can also be credited for providing a 14-day free trial, giving small businesses the opportunity to set up a store and test transactions. You can select from 30 different payment gateways, as the platform does not charge any setup fee. Compared to Shopify, they are a much cheaper option, as they do not have any hidden fees. However, smaller packages reduce the amount of bandwidth and disc storage, which can damage your website’s capacity.

UltraCart

UltraCart is the best option in case you want your website to be loaded with features, while at the same time not bursting your budget. This shopping cart hosting comes with a large number of tools that will help you make more sales; it is built on enterprise-level hardware and it always takes care of any updates, security concerns or technical aspects. Like any other platform, it supports all the leading credit card processing gateways and works with many payment methods. Great customer support and technical documentation make this shopping cart platform stand out among others.

Magento

Magento is a huge independent company that continues to be an enterprise-level player in the field of hosted shopping carts. Customers value it for being elastic and for providing excellent support to large corporations and small businesses. Thanks to its opensource features, Magento is very scalable. It can sometimes be daunting to use, as it requires some programming knowledge. However, while being hard to manage, it is the top platform for security and customer support.

StoreFront

StoreFront is a hosted shopping cart platform that specializes in customized solutions for both small and large corporations. They are valued for their ability to integrate with many third-party software packages, merchant gateways, while providing customized store designs and brilliant customer support.

ShopIntegrator

A pretty basic shopping cart hosting that provides regular features like template selection, easy connection with the payment processor, secure hosting, mobile e-commerce and so on. Although it offers a Multi-Store Management, it lacks any inventory, SEO or Promotions management, marketing tools and loyalty programs. It is what you get starting at $9.95 per month.

Yahoo! Merchant Solutions

Robust hosted shopping cart. Yahoo! Merchant Solutions is well known for its unique features like cross-selling, gift certificate creation, discounts and deals creation, wish-lists and more. When designing your website, you can rely on the selected templates or have them designed specifically for your needs. Do remember to consult a web-designer as well, as Yahoo’s terminology can be tough to understand for the average Joe.

Virto Commerce

The enterprise-level e-commerce solution that is fully open source. Virto Commerce is based on .NET 4.6 with extensive use of IoC, EF, AngularJS, Liquid, MVC and many other cutting-edge technological advancements. If you want to manage large quantities of items, this is the platform that can provide product catalogs with the maximum ability for marketing and promotion. This platform is a well-built solution that eliminates the problem of creating a store’s website in no time. This modern technology allows you to set up a website in less than an hour, with such incredible features as technical documentation, tech support and so on. Great .NET architecture allows you to customize your website in an instant.

Nikolay Sidelnikov
Business Product Owner