Is Zen Cart right for you? Ecommerce businesses are the wave of the future. With so many online stores and marketplaces in existence today, shoppers all over the world can find and purchase nearly everything they could ever need with the simple push of a button.
While shopping online is easy peasy, starting your own ecommerce business requires a great amount of dedication, research, and decision making. If you are creating your own online retail shop, one of the most important things you will have to figure out is which shopping cart platform you want to use. There are several different shopping cart solutions out there, and they all come with their pros and cons.
At ecomdash, we work with some of the most popular shopping cart solutions, making it easy for merchants to consolidate all their operations in one place. Zen Cart is one of the ecommerce shopping cart solutions that we support. While Zen Cart is a user-friendly and open source option, it works better for some ecommerce retailers than others. Is Zen Cart the right shopping cart for your business? Ask yourself these yes or no questions to figure out if Zen Cart is your perfect match.
Do you know PHP code?
One of the perks of Zen Cart is that it is a completely free shopping cart software. It is also open source and licensed under GPL2, which means that anyone can modify the code to meet their specific needs. If you know enough about PHP code to make this software work for your ecommerce store, then Zen Cart can be an extremely cost-effective solution. However, if you need to hire web designers or programmers to modify and implement this option for you, then you will have additional costs to cover their services.
Are you working with a Zen Cart compatible hosting company?
For merchants who only have very basic skills and knowledge when it comes to building a website and working with computers, there are still ways to use Zen Cart. There are several compatible hosting options that offer one-click installs, regular updates, and technical support. By choosing a hosting company that does all of the installation work for you, you can get your ecommerce store ready and working without having to tackle all of the technical details yourself.
Do you have the time or resources to customize your website?
While Zen Cart does offer an out of the box solution for merchants, the result may be less than what you had envisioned for your online store. In order to make your ecommerce website more visually appealing and transform it into something that will really work for you, you will need to put some time and effort into it. Since Zen Cart is an open source solution, there are countless resources that various users have put together. If you have an idea that you would like to execute, there is probably a resource out there that can help you or your programmer make it happen. It can be overwhelming at first, but Zen Cart gives you the ability to create a website that is truly your own. Just check out the showcase directory to see some of the sites that have been developed using Zen Cart.
Do you need any plugins or add-ons?
If there is anything that you need your website to display or want to feature as an ecommerce option, there is most likely a plugin for that. In fact, there are thousands of customized add-ons that have been developed by the Zen Cart community. There are buttons and graphics available that you can use to add visual interest to your store or draw attention to particular areas. There are numerous marketing tools available as well that you can use to your advantage. You can easily install Google Analytics, create surveys for your customers, integrate with Facebook, offer customer loyalty discounts, create email newsletters, and more. There are even different pricing tools that allow you to offer group pricing, buy one get one offers, wholesale pricing, discounts, and more. Plus, there are plenty of website design templates to choose from, so you can have your ecommerce store fully designed in an instant. You can see the full list of available plugins and add-ons here.
Are you ready to become a forum user?
Since Zen Cart is a free and open source software solution, there is no formal technical support or customer service staff. However, the software does have an extremely active forum that features comments and feedback from over 100,000 registered users. If you have any questions or concerns, just post them in the forum. You will typically receive a helpful response quickly.
Do you want to manage all of your sales channels in one spot?
If Zen Cart is the right shopping cart option for you and your needs, the Zen Cart inventory software from ecomdash can make all of your online selling even easier. Our software helps to consolidate all of your sales, inventory, and shipping details in one place. Now you can easily keep track of everything you sell through various sales channels in a single dashboard, making Zen Cart an even more effective option for the right seller.