ColdFusion Software Development Company ColdFusion Software Development Company

What is the difference between a prebuilt and the custom shopping cart?

It is very difficult to think about a e-commerce website that sells tangible products without a shopping cart.  If you don’t know what a shopping cart is, it is the interface that lets you add items to a data array when you are shopping online.  When you’re done with adding all the items it presents to you a tabular view of the total of the amount you have to pay along with the list of items you have decided to purchase along with their individual prizes.

There are many flavors of prebuilt shopping carts available on the Internet and many shopping carts are even free.  Most of the time when you get your website hosted on a third-party commercial server among many free scripts they also give you a free shopping cart script that you can install as and when you need it.  But free is after all free.

Similarly there are many expensive, commercial shopping carts available that you can purchase and install or lease for a year or more.  They are mostly like the proprietary software that you may have on your computer; you can use it and you can make use of the features it already has but you cannot customize it much and you cannot customize the features that come with the software. Prebuilt commercial shopping carts become operational very quickly even if you have to compromise on the customization aspect.  Just purchase or lease the script and start using it from the day one.

Custom shopping carts on the other hand give you complete freedom.  The software solely belongs to you and you can get it built in whatever way you want.  For instance you can get your custom shopping cart integrated with your existing interface.  You may also have different ways of processing transactions in your organization; in the custom shopping cart you can incorporate those specific transactional procedures.  Listed below are a few differences between a prebuilt and accustom shopping cart:

1. Complete integration: You cannot fully integrate a prebuilt shopping cart into your existing interface.  There can be two reasons for it; either the source code of the shopping cart script is not provided to you or you are not allowed to make those changes.  Custom shopping cart allows you as much integration as you desire.  This is because since you are getting the code written you can get it in whatever form you want.

2. Custom templates: If the pages of your shopping cart look completely different from the pages of your website it may look odd to the shoppers and they may even get scared thinking that they have been led to another website and consequently, leave the transaction midway.  It is very important to let them know that they are on the same website and this can only be done if the look and feel of the shopping cart pages matches the look and feel of your website.

3. The database belongs to you: Most of the times when you go for a prebuilt shopping cart you have no control over the data that your website generates over the years; and you know how important data can gradually become.  When you have a custom shopping cart you control your data and own it completely.

4. Custom messages and e-mails: Out-of-the-box messages, whether they are on your website or in your e-mail, don’t look professional and this is what you get when you use a prebuilt shopping cart.  With custom shopping cart you can have your own messages and e-mails generated when people have shopped at your website.  This not only makes your brand stronger, it also strengthens customer loyalty.

5. Scalability without limits: No matter how expensive your prebuilt shopping cart is it has inherent limitations and very often it is not scalable — after a certain number of transactions or a certain amount of data you have to purchase the updates.  The custom shopping cart on the other hand is completely scalable whether you sell 10 products or 10,000 products to 10 customers or 1,00,000 customers.

6. Customized reporting: Reporting can be the backbone of your decision-making process so why depend on highly inflexible reporting that comes with a prebuilt shopping cart?  When you opt for a custom shopping cart you can have as many customized reports generated as you want.
To be fair there is not much comparison between a prebuilt shopping cart and a custom shopping cart.  Agreed, many people use a prebuilt shopping cart and for some it is a better solution but if you are really serious about your online business and have long-term goals you must have a custom shopping cart built for your e-commerce website.



We would love to help.
Give us a call:

(718) 793-2828

Get a free project estimate:

Recent Comments