Ecommerce shopping carts vs systems

There are a few ways of going about ecommerce. You can add a shopping cart to an existing site or use an existing system such as Zencart to replace your site with a shop.

Adding a Simple Shopping Cart

Adding ecommerce to your existing site can be as simple as signing up for a Paypal™ account and adding the links to your product pages. If you only have a few products and forecast modest sales, this could be a good option for you. Especially in the infancy of a site selling online, this is a good way to begin as the time and money required to set this up is lower than a full system.

By going this route however, you will be missing out on the powerful tools available to you with a full ecommerce site.

Benefits of Using an Ecommerce System

Using Zen Cart or TradingEye for example (our favourite ecommerce software) means you have a full on shop system. It will handle all your text pages, product listings and product pages using a database. It is effectively a content managed website with extra ecommerce capabilities.

Promotional Tools

With a full system you can manipulate your products – for example having a page of special offers or randomly displaying featured products. You can also cross sell products with a “you may also like” box offering accessories or complimentary products. As the system handles the shopping cart, you can have offers such as buy one get one free, and free postage over a certain order value. These promotional tools can persuade people to increase their order value, increasing your profits per sale.

Easy to update

With a database driven site, you create page templates and then the products appear within these templates rather than creating a page by hand for each product. This makes your site a lot easier to maintain and update.

Professional Order Process

The system takes payment for you by connecting to your payment provider such as Paypal™ or Worldpay™ for example. The order is then held on your control panel with all the customer details and the customer receives an email with their order details. As you process and despatch the order, this is all tracked through the control panel.

Interactive Features

Customers create an account with your shop and track the progress of their order. Once they have received their goods, they can also add product reviews – a powerful sales tool. Additionally, you can easily send newsletters to all your customers from within your control panel to generate extra sales.


When first starting out in ecommerce, a simple site is a good way to test the water and make your first few sales. However, if you have a lot of products and expect a good number of sales, a full ecommerce system such as Zen Cart or TradingEye is quicker, easier and offers you promotional tools that can increase your sales and profits.

Contact us now to discuss your shop ideas or find out more about the Zen Cart or TradingEye ecommerce systems.

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