In this article we are going to cover the main differences and features of licensed shopping cart software and a hosted shopping cart solution. We will start with a general definition of each and then move on to possible scenarios where you may want to choose one over another.
A licensed cart is typically where you purchase a one-time license to set up an online store with the host of your choice, either hosting yourself or with a third party hosting company. The license defines what you are permitted to do with the software, typically in terms of how many stores you can set up with that license, access to source code and the like.
A hosted cart as the name suggests comes with the hosting included in the package. This means there is a monthly or annual recurring fee to use the cart. The system is typically “closed” in that there is no access to the source code or FTP to upload files and modifications. Access is via the browser and / or app. Other variations on the name may be SaaS (Software as a Service) or cloud application.
Like most things in life there is no “one size fits all solution” so we suggest carefully considering the points laid out above before making a decision.
Check the small print - some hosted stores will want to take a cut of your sales, they might only provide what you consider regular features in premium plans. Similarly a licensed store might employ an unfair support policy, unreal set up costs or high priced plugins for example.
Check the company - how long has the software been in development, can you get an idea of support response times and expertise and what are real users saying about their experience of using the software.
Check the cost - how much is it going to cost you per month, are there any extras you need to take account of, what level of sales are you going to need to at least meet those costs.
Check the features - does the software do everything you initially need “out of the box” or are you going to have to pay extra for plugins, apps or custom coding.
At Ecommerce Templates we offer both a hosted shopping cart and a licensed shopping cart so our views here are completely impartial - we have been developing the software since 2002 so we are confident we know what we are talking about. If you require further information or advice please don’t hesitate in contacting us.