Advantages (And Possible Disadvantages) Of Using Open Source Shopping Cart And E-Commerce Platform AbanteCart
By: Anita Bern
Having a website online, unfortunately doesn't mean that you actually have an online business! For your website to generate income, you will have to either sell a product, or offer a service. In order to achieve those goals, you will need to set up an e-commerce store. While that may sound intimidating, there is in fact a lot of e-commerce solutions - designed to make your job as a merchant easier - available to choose from.
When it comes to open source e-commerce solutions, each of them comes with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, because they are all made with a different user in mind. Which one you will eventually choose depends on your business model, which features are important for you, and which ones you can easily do without.
Open source shopping carts can be both free and paid. The advantages of the free ones are – obviously – the price, in which nonetheless a wide variety of templates, extensions and modules are included. However, don't expect too much in terms of customer support. When you pay for an open source shopping cart, support charges are already included. They also offer high data security, but no extensions. In both cases, "open source" means that you will have full access to their source code. That makes for an unparalleled flexibility and virtually endless customizability – of course, if you know what you're doing.
For those who operate a small business, and therefore usually also have a smaller budget, free open source e-commerce solutions are a particularly attractive option. One of the newest shopping cart and e-commerce platforms is AbanteCart - a free, open source e-commerce application. Free open source e-commerce solutions have to offer a lot more than just a great price - and AbanteCart offers many great features.
To install and operate your AbanteCart, you will not have to possess any programming skills or hire a programmer: the installation is an easy, one step process. You could be up and running in a mater of minutes! In case you encounter some problems, you can ask for help at AbanteCart support forum, where you can typically expect a quick response from the knowledgable and enthusiastic AbanteCart community. That's great news for a small to medium business owner who cannot afford to spend too much in terms of not only money, but time and energy too!
Even for an inexperienced user, and a newcomer to e-commerce, it is rather easy to figure out how the application works. AbanteCart is a professional looking shopping cart and e-commerce platform, with user-friendly interface, and a clean, clear admin panel. The storefront itself is fast and easy to use. You can see the demo on the AbanteCart website.
The extensions, such as those for PayPal and shipping, are also free and easy to install. AbanteCart is highly flexible and customizable. You will not have to spend on templates neither - if you don't want to. It comes with a responsive HTML 5 template that lends itself to many different looks, so you will be able to come up with your own designs. AbanteCart comes with search engine optimization capabilities, making it easier for your buyer to find his way to your web store. AbanteCart is secure: thanks to the established security infrastructure, it can provide a secure environment for your buyers to interact with your web store.
All of these features are being constantly updated, with new ones being added at regular intervals. This PHP based application is highly scalable - it grows as your business grows! There are no limits on the number of items that you can sell through your AbanteCart web store. That makes it an ideal fit for small and medium sized businesses. AbanteCart will enable any merchant, and any type of business, to start selling almost right away, without the need for specialist knowledge or training!
But, are there any drawbacks to using AbanteCart as your shopping cart and e-commerce platform of choice? Of course, each and every product comes with its own set of problems, and AbanteCart is no different - but the disadvantages are minimal. For example, there is no traffic analytics, integration with Google Analytics, and bulk image upload provided, and no integration with Facebook and Twitter. Not all payment gateways are supported.
However, if you're looking for a flexible, secure, and affordable e-commerce solution - AbanteCart certainly fits the bill. More than just a shopping cart, it is a rapidly growing e-commerce platform that even a one-person business operation, and an e-commerce novice will find a more than adequate e-commerce solution. Although released just a few years ago, it is not a surprise that AbanteCart shopping cart and e-commerce platform is becoming increasingly popular.