I love 3DCart as my go-to ecommerce website platform! We have used several different types of website platforms over the years, and this is the one we like the best.
Before we go on, I am not talking about Etsy, Artfire, EBay and any such marketplaces. I am talking about building your own stand alone website.
My friend, Andreea Ayers, wrote a post recently listing 25 different ecommerce options. Here are some of the information she shared:
When you start researching shopping cart software, you will find that there are many options to choose from. For physical products, they typically fall into three groups.
1. Hosted Shopping Cart Software
Hosted shopping cart software allows you to create an online store without having to install shopping cart software on your own website. In many cases, you will just customize a URL like yourbusiness.theirsoftware.com. Most will also allow you to use your own domain name like yourbusiness.com and have it point to their service.
The biggest pro of this kind of software is that you do not have to worry about the technical side of owning your own online store. You don’t have to install or update the software, manage security certificates, or handle other technical hassles. You just set up your store, enter and update your products and process the orders.
Because the shopping cart software provider is maintaining your online store, you will likely have to pay a monthly fee based on the number of products and sales volume. Monthly fees can be a drawback, especially if you are not making sales to start with, but have to pay just to have your store online.
2. Self-Hosted Shopping Cart Software
Self-hosted shopping cart software allows you to install the shopping cart platform on your own website server. In this case, you will use your own domain name like yourbusiness.com.
The biggest pro of this kind of software is that, in most cases, it is either free or significantly less than hosted software solutions because you will be doing installation and maintenance.
Because the shopping cart software is installed on your website, you will be responsible for configuration, design, security, file storage, and much more. If you’re not a technically savvy person, or don’t have the time to be, you’ll be paying for designers, developers, and webmasters to support your store.
3. WordPress Shopping Cart Plugins
The alternative to hosted and self-hosted software platforms is plugins. Plugins are add-ons that work with alongside other website platforms. The most popular website platform is WordPress, the widely-used content management system.
The biggest pro of this kind of software is that it works with the platform you are already using for your website. Instead of having to learn a new platform, you will install it on the platform you are already familiar with.
Because the shopping cart plugin is an add-on, you will likely have to purchase it and pay an annual subscription for updates. These typically are less than what you would pay for a hosted shopping cart software solution.
Similar to plugins are widgetized options that work independent of your platform. These only require you to use embed code from their website anywhere on your website you choose. It’s a blend of hosted and plugin, typically with fewer customization options, but also with less cost and hassle.
Andreea continues her article with some excellent information of the various types of ecommerce plateforms (including 3DCart!).