Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shopping Cart Scalability

In my last article I had a number of Miva complaints. One of them being that Miva has given up on the little guy starting an e-commerce business. However in fairness, there are a number of carts and e-commerce solutions that are not scalable. Some like Miva cater to the developer – in Miva’s case a particular circle of Miva developers/programmers - others cater newbies creating a super simple application that lacks the ability to grow the user and their store. Obviously, with the myriad of cart and e-commerce solutions out there there is range to what is offered. Small and simple may work for some, but for those who are looking to grow it is important to consider both what is needed now and what will be needed in the future.

3DCart shopping cart software offers an excellent scalable solution. They do this on two fronts. First, this is done via price. The entry-level plan is $19.99 a month. They then it steps up in price as more space, bandwidth, and features are needed. However, the real reason 3DCart is such a good choice for those looking for a scalable solution is that they cater to all levels of user. It is easy to use for beginners, as it has templates and easy interface for those new to e-commerce. However, it also allows users to directly edit the css and html. Further more it allows easy editing of non-product and non-category pages. Other carts don’t always allow this, and some that do like Miva make it far more difficult that necessary.

Finally, 3DCart has an open API for developers to create custom applications via XML. This is important for a couple different reasons. First, it means that developers are creating apps and plug-ins that can bring added functionality to your cart - some free, some for a price. Fortunately, 3DCart is feature rich so you may never need an add-on, however, the option is there. Secondly, while the individual user may not see themselves developing custom apps, it is an excellent option to have. The open API means there are plenty of programmers/developers who can help customize the cart if specific ordering/processing solutions are needed. This is something offered by serious e-commerce providers, and is generally overlooked by those catering to the beginner. So while 3DCart is highly competitive and scalable in terms of cost, it is vital to look beyond your current business needs to see what is also needed down the road. This is where 3DCart excels.

3DCart offers a free trial period - an excellent way to see if they really do fit your needs.

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