Looking forward to setting up your own business and starting to sell online? Do you have most of the business figured out, but still can’t decide between using a hosted or self hosted shopping cart? This is one of the most essential decisions that any new ecommerce business owner needs to make. Having the right shopping cart that fits your business needs is crucial. So, choose wisely.
As your business grows, you need to ensure you have the right ecommerce platform which will grow alongside it. Your shopping cart should have all of the features you need, without draining your budget once you start making good sales.
When deciding on the type of shopping cart (hosted or self hosted), remember that each type has its pros and cons. However, it seems as if there are more misconceptions regarding self hosted shopping carts. These are some of the most common false beliefs you’ll come across.
Misconception #1 – Self hosted shopping carts aren’t worth the effort
Why bother with self hosted carts when hosted carts work well with every type of business? The truth is that hosted carts aren’t really that good. For example, if your business spreads globally, you will need to have a multi-lingual website. You will also have to set up pages with different information depending on the specific country where you want to sell your products.
Without a self hosted shopping cart, you’ll probably find it impossible to direct your foreign users to different pages so that they can make a purchase. There are only a few hosted cart solutions that offer this feature.
Using a self hosted cart may be the only way to achieve goals that are essential to your business growth. The more your business grows, the more you’ll need to have full control over your selling tools.
Misconception #2 – You can’t integrate properly with back-end software when using a self hosted shopping cart solution
This is one of the most common misconceptions related to shopping cart solutions. Many people believe that a hosted shopping cart is a better choice for integrating with back-end software. This comes from the fact that some providers offer solutions for such integration and brag about how “effortlessly” these integrations work. Their marketing makes it seem like the same integrations would not be available to self-hosted solutions.
However, if you do a high volume, you may need a much higher degree of more custom integration with your shopping cart software. This high level of very custom integration may not be possible for you, unless you use a self hosted solution.
Misconception #3 – You have full control over your shopping cart with both solutions equally
This is also a popular misconception about the benefits of a self hosted shopping cart solution. With self hosted carts, you buy the license from a chosen cart company and install the software on a server you control. In case the cart company shuts down, you still have your license and can continue using it for as long as you need.
If you use a hosted solution, you do not own the software. This means that you are paying for service access only, without having control over any changes that the shopping cart company may make to the cart. With self hosted carts, you are in control since you have bought and licensed the software from the cart company.
In case a hosted card company chooses to transform the shopping cart experience in any way, these changes will apply to your website as well. This may not sound like a big issue now, but with large software changes, you may be forced to make crucial adjustments to how you do business. If you don’t make those adjustments, your store may end up not being compatible with the latest software changes and it won’t work effectively.
Misconception #4 – Self hosted shopping carts are expensive
This is another common misconception. Getting started with a hosted cart is usually very affordable. You don’t have to invest in a software license to start selling online. However, the cost of a hosted cart far exceeds the cost of a self hosted one in the long run.
As your business grows, a hosted shopping cart will cost you more than a self hosted cart. The monthly fees for a hosted cart usually increase proportionally to business profitability. This means that the moment you start making big bucks – your expenses will grow accordingly.
Moreover, as your business expands and traffic increases, you may face additional fees that need to be paid. These fees usually include factors such as paying for a high traffic volume and high payment processing fees. On the other hand, if at some point your business faces slow sales, you may be charged a fee for inactivity.
What else do you need to know about the self hosted shopping cart?
The crucial advantage to having a self hosted cart is that you can do whatever you want with it. It’s totally yours and you don’t have to pay any fees to anyone to keep it running. This solution provides you with the opportunity and flexibility to access the code base by yourself and edit the code as you please.
That is how you can create a unique online store for your business, one that is fully customizable, according to your own ideas and preferences. Speaking of customization, hosted shopping carts come with limited customization options. Of course, there are some shopping carts that have many customization options, but the cost of using them can be very high.
Additionally, being new in the online business world means that you will be required to get verification for PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance. This is directly related to your shopping cart and the money transactions you expect to have.
PCI refers to specific security standards developed to protect card information during financial transactions, so the compliance is required by all card brands. The requirements for PCI compliance include building and maintaining a secure network to protect the information about the card holder.
This also includes having and updating anti-virus software and implementation of strong access control. Once you get the PCI verification, you are ready to start making profit online.
Self hosted shopping carts require some technical skills and knowledge. However, they open up numerous opportunities for business owners. They may not be as easy to create and maintain as hosted carts, but they are definitely worth the effort.