Shopping Carts: To Host or Not to Host?

Now that so many things have moved online, and so many people are connected to the World Wide Web, business has changed. Many companies have found that an excellent way to expand business and maximize profit is to offer customers the option to purchase products and services via the Internet. Some companies even use this method as their principal technique. In order to offer this option, companies need to implement some sort of shopping cart software, which allows customers to make purchases safely and effectively. Due to the popularity of ecommerce, many options have developed to assist companies in this venture, and choosing a shopping cart platform can be tough. They two main types of shopping cart options are hosted and non-hosted. But what does that mean?

Shopify

Hosted Shopping Carts
A shopping cart that is housed on another company’s servers is a hosted shopping cart. The retailer pays a fee to a hosting company, such as Shopify for hosting this cart. The charge could be a flat fee per month, a fee per transaction, a percentage of the sales, or a fee made of some of these elements combined. Many hosting companies have templates and settings ready-made in a shopping cart, which can be heavily customized with color, photos, and logos. A site could be up and running in a day or two, and the creator does not need to be tech savvy or know how to write code to achieve this. Another benefit to having a hosted shopping cart is they take the maintenance off your hands. Security and upkeep are the responsibility of the hosting company, and are services for which the retailer is paying. Before choosing one, a potential client can go through the many options of hosting companies available and compare cost, certifications, customization options, and any other factor considered important, and then shortly begin selling products. Many online stores choose this popular option.

Non-Hosted Shopping Carts
Shopping carts that reside in a server owned by the company using them are non-hosted, also referred to as licensed shopping carts. In order to use a non-hosted shopping cart, the user would need to be very knowledgeable in regards to computer hardware and software, or the company would need to employ someone to be in charge of it. The company would purchase the software from a company such as Magento or WooCommerce,  for a one-time fee, which can be very pricey at the beginning but cost effective in the long run, because there will be no other payments due. The creation of this shopping cart could be a lengthier process, but the creator would have total control over each aspect, and someone with a lot of experience could perform the task more quickly. Then security and preservation would be handled within the company. This option works well for a company that prefers to have complete control over each aspect of the online retail process.

It All Depends On the Company Needs

Both of these options have advantages and disadvantages, and it really boils down to what works best in each individual case. It may be cheaper to get started with a hosting site, but it could be more cost effective in the long run to go the non-hosted route and buy the software upfront. The size of the store and the number of items offered for purchase online are major factors that will also play a large role in making this decision. Both options are viable and have brought companies considerable success.

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