Custom or Commercial Shopping Cart?

ecommerce shopping cart comparison

(Custom Shopping Cart vs Woo-Commerce, Shopify, Big Commerce, Magento, etc)

When it comes to setting up an e-commerce store, in almost every case you are better off with a commercial shopping cart rather than a cart that is custom coded for your website. That is because custom coding is expensive, more difficult to maintain and often it is difficult to find a programmer who can do the job.

When should you consider a customer coded cart?  The answer to this is rather simple.  When your product(s) are so complicated to purchase that a commercial shopping cart, such as WooCommerce or Shopify will be challenging to set up, these are cases where product options may have interdependencies, the options may be complex in themselves and\or the shipping or delivery method is complex.

Most commercial carts do have interdependencies included in them, but when those dependencies get complicated, for example, you can buy option A or C, but you must pick C when buying B. Often a custom cart can make these types of dependencies much to explain to the customer.  

Some options or variants can be confusing for customers because it isn’t clear how they are used and what impact they will have on the final product. Often these options need to be spelled out clearly with a large amount of text. In commercial shopping carts, it is hard to place this text in the correct spot on the screen, making it even harder to understand and buy the product.

Another area where difficulties with commercial carts are seen is where the shipping is more complicated.  For example, delivery charges that radiate out from a central point.  As they get further away, the delivery cost goes up. The more complicated it gets, the harder it is to explain to the customer and the more difficult it is to code it in a commercial cart.  

Ultimately, if shop owners could avoid these possible problems, every shopping cart would work for every online store.  Unfortunately, not every store can handle these complexities as it may be inherent in the products’ design or delivery.

Commercial carts do have a lot of advantages, but when the sales process doesn’t lend itself to that class of cart, it is often best to have a custom cart written for that specific sales process.  

At Fisher Design we routinely work with Woo Commerce, Shopify, and do custom shopping cart programming. Ask us which solution is right for you.

By Marv Conn, custom php programmer and ecommerce expert