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8 PHP Shopping Cart Software for Reliable Ecommerce Solution

In today’s tech oriented lifestyle, we assume that internet is the lifeline for almost every kind of business. We all use internet for different activities. Every single company who wishes to introduce their stuff over a large group of customers, does it through internet. Some 10 years back, most of the online buyers & sellers were probably not aware of the system working behind internet. It is E-commerce. It won’t be wrong if we say that ecommerce is the right arm of internet while shopping cart being the soul of ecommerce on the other hand.

A Shopping cart is a web based software which lets buyers to purchase different products from internet. It provides a catalog of different items containing their details such as product information, pricing. You can select any/all of the items, pay the required amount through online payment systems such as Paypal, Google Checkout, Credit cards etc. The item(s) ordered by you reaches you in the specified amount of time. In this way, a shopping cart removes several limitations & allows the buyers to choose from a much larger variety of products irrespective of their geographical location.

Similar to the above process, sellers can sell their products online with shopping cart. Shopping cart allows them to run online stores & hence they can target their products to a much larger audience with no restrictions of land or place.

Today we will be reviewing some of the most popular & highly usable open source as well as affordable shopping cart softwares that can be put to use on your website within no time. Following is the data of some of the shopping carts:

1. Interspire: It is a new breed of ecommerce software, as the company says it. According to the company, the Interspire shopping cart is designed while keeping the store owner in mind. It is loaded with tons of useful features & provides a fully customizable interface in both front as well as back ends, requiring no HTML or server side editing at all. Some features of the control panel are Ajax based which further enhance the layout & ease of use, while simultaneously decreasing the time it takes to reload the pages when you will be working with your online store.

Interspire comes integrated with some of the popular payment & shipping providers like PayPal, Google Checkout, VISA, MasterCard etc. This online shopping cart also has built-in tools for marketing & business intelligence such as Google Adwords, Email Marketer & Traffic Analysis tools providing every update about the new visitors through maps, charts & graphs.

Features at a Glance

  • PHP/MySQL Based
  • Beautiful Store Designs
  • Drag & drop design mode
  • Easy Shipping & Payment method
  • Built-In Inventory Tracking
  • Sell Physical & Digital Items
  • Extensive Use of AJAX

Price: $295 / single license (Starter Edition)

2. CS-Cart: It is another online Shopping Cart software which is also PHP/ MySQL based. The code of CS-Cart is highly optimized to handle big stores comprising a large array of products.

The layout of CS-Cart is based on the PHP Smarty Template Engine that allows changing the look-and-feel of the store in the least possible time. CS-Cart comes fully integrated with more than 50 payment service providers including the popular ones like PayPal, Google Checkout, 2CO, HSBC etc.
Some salient features of this Shopping Cart software:

  • Extensive Use of AJAX
  • One-Page Checkout – Fast & User Friendly
  • Automatic Inventory Tracking
  • Online Promotion Options: Includes Bonuses, gifts once the customer fulfills your defined criteria.
  • Promotions
  • Gift Certificates
  • Return Mania
  • Affiliate System
  • Flexible Tax Rate
  • Gift Registry
  • Integrated with a number of overseas courier services like DHL, US Postal Service, DHL, Intershipper etc.

Price: $265 / single license

3. SunShop: is another easy-to-use online shopping cart system that is easily installable & configurable over a web browser & has all the features of a common shopping cart. Sunshop is supported by all major platforms such as Unix, Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, MacOS X, Sun OS etc. It is also compatible with various online money transfer & shipping services such as Paypal, Google CheckOut, Real-time USPS, UPS, Australia Post, InterShipper, FedEx, DHL, Canada Post. Another notable point in Sunshop is that 98% of its code is open source based, which means regular updates & bug fixes.

Price: $249.99 / single license

4. Zen Cart: It is an open source shopping cart system which is freely distributed under the GNU General Public License. It offers a powerful set of ecommerce solution while simultaneously preserving the user friendiness. Zen Cart supports a large array of features, including multiple payment, shipping & tax options. It allows configuring virtually unlimited number of products in different currencies & languages.

Price: Free

5. X-CART: It is another PHP/MySQL based ecommerce shopping cart solution that focuses on providing “optimal solution for most ecommerce projects”. According to the company that sells this ecommerce solution, most of the shopping cart softwares available so far do not fit in some or the other requirements. As such, there is no universal ecommerce shopping system that can fulfil every requirement of every online business owner. X-Cart is said to overcome this difficulty by a flexible & easy to use/ modify ecommerce system.

Salient Features:

  • PHP/MySQL Based.
  • Template System is based on PHP Smarty Templates.
  • W3C XHTML 1.0 compliance
  • Easily customizable source code
  • Easy Web-Based Installation

It is compatible with PayPal, Google CheckOut, 2CO, UPS Ready, FedEx, WorldPay, DHL, Canada Post, Australia Post, United States Postal Service, Intershipper.
Price: $229.00 / single license

6. Lite Commerce: is another PHP/MySQL based shopping cart that offers scalable ecommerce solutions for store owners, designers & web developers as well. It has an extensive list of available add-ons, many of which are open source based & free. Lite Commerce ecommerce solution is suitable to support high-end ecommerce solutions.

Some Salient Features:

  • Web Based Administrative Interface
  • Built-In Administrative Features
  • Built-In Template Editor
  • Editable Cart Look in HTML
  • Downloadable Templates – For modification at your local system using WYSIWYG editors like dreamweaver.
  • 97% kernel code in open source
  • Open Source Add-On Support
  • Robust Object Oriented Code
  • Cryptographic Data Protection
  • SSL Encryption
  • Template Code Wrapping

Price: $166.00 / single license.

7. Magento: Magento is a free, open source ecommerce solution which was judged as “The Best New Open Source Project” at the 2008 Sourceforge Community Choice Awards Winners.The ecommerce solution offered by Magento clearly reflect the edge of open source products over the features services offered by other licensed softwares.


Magento is distinct in the following features:

  • Product Comparisons & Reviews
  • Allows controlling multiple websites from a single Administration menu with the ability to restrict the information access.
  • Easy Integration with third party Applications using the Web Services API.
  • One Click Upgrades
  • Multi-Lingual
  • Multiple Currency support
  • Flexible Pricing rules with coupons
  • Shipping to multiple addresses in one order
  • Multiple Images per product/ Zoom-In Capability
  • Over 50 Payment Extensions.

Price: Free

8. Pinnacle Cart: Is another PHP Based Shopping Cart that has a high focus on Search Engine Marketting & User Interface, alongwith the other features. It runs on UNIX, Linux or FreeBSD platforms, however not supported by Windows presently.

Salient Features:
Web Based Admin
Easy-To-Use, customizable product pages with WYSIWYG Editors
One Page Checkout
Easily customizable discount coupons/packages
Search Engine Friendly URL
Auto site Map Generation
Batch Image Uploading
Import Products from any database/ text file
Large Payment/Shipping Gateway Support
Customizable Templates

You might also like:

  1. 8 Free Open Source Shopping Carts
  2. Free osCommerce Templates – An Overview
  3. Enable Visitor Tracking on Your WordPress Blog With These 11 Plugins
  4. Creating Transparent Border effects
  5. Most Popular Open Source Content Management Systems

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21 Comments

  1. I’m a PHP programmer who has worked with many of these products. RUN, don’t walk if anyone wants to use X-Cart. The package is still heavily-invested with font tags and other remnants of HTML from Middle-Earth; there is absolutely NO upgrade path between releases. Customization is a nightmare. CS Cart and Pinnacle Cart are much better solutions with similar (and better-implemented) features.

  2. Hi Ankur,

    Thanks for the mention and screenshot of Interspire Shopping Cart!

    We’ve recently released version 4.0 too with a whole heap of new features.

  3. Poy

    I’ve been using x-cart for 4 years and have installed to many clients. Upgrade path between releases are quite easy to do (upgrade from stock x-cart), customisation is fairly easy to use. Never try CS cart but will take a look one day.

  4. Alex

    Hi,
    Is it possible I use a shopping cart as unlimited licence after purchase?
    Actually I have an online website builder business and would like give to my customers shopping cart service.
    Please let me know any possibility I could have to use a shopping cart in this purpose. I appritiated for you help.

  5. Terrega

    if someone mentions zencart and magento and forgets to put down Oscommerce then they don’t know what they are talking about. osc is the mother of all open carts. it may not be pretty but it’s flooded with modules that might ever need.

  6. Gav

    the reason no-one mentions OScommerce is because it is dead. There have been no updates for ages and it is tired and old in comparison to the new stuff thats out there.

  7. Does anyone know of a shopping cart that can handle multiple B2C and B2B web stores and has all of the bells and whistles including CMS?

    I operate two businesses that use osCommerce shopping carts and have two more that need to launch in the next few weeks. Some of the products apply to more than one site and with my current set-up I have to manually add them to each shopping cart. It is very labor intensive.

  8. besart

    Well, I am impressed with magento. It is the best open carts I ever seen in the net. Great works!

  9. Eric

    No reason to use Magento, they announced it won’t be PA-DSS certified, which means it won’t pass PCI, which means you’ll me moving off as soon as your merchant account starts charging you for not reaching compliance.

  10. UK

    Hi Guyz,

    Im a Project Manager dealing mostly in shopping cart implementation projects.
    I have worked with almost all shopping carts including CS cart, Magento and Pinnacle.
    And i personally feel that Pinnacle is the best among all if you wish to customize the cart. It gives really good functionalities and great flexibility in customization.

  11. Of course Magento…… Its really very nice open source shopping cart software.. I really love to work on magento…. its fabulous software.

  12. Very nice roundup of PHP shopping carts. Flexibility, usability, search friendliness and promotion tools are what sets many of the best shopping carts apart from “the other guys.” Open source has been getting a lot of attention, especially with Magento. So, glad to see a nice mix of Os and web based/hosted here. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work.

  13. Great overview. Magento is server intense, but has great features for related products and reviews. X-Cart may have been popular years back, is still quite stable, although at this time, it would not be my first choice. Zen-Cart gets my vote for customization and optimization. Yes it is a bit clunky to look at first and the back end does need work, the community support is simply excellent!

  14. Doug

    If I wanted to use a cart as a catalog, and have multiple websites connected to this catalog, which program would you recommend?

  15. C Soyo

    Why are people SO confused about PCI and PA-DSS?? Eric: open source carts like Magento aren’t dead just because they don’t meet PA-DSS… it just means in order to use the cart, you need to defer to a gateway to handle the payments. Now, I will be the first to tell you, using a 3rd party gateway (ala Paypal standard) will likely lower your conversion rates depending on the market you are in, as some people just don’t like being redirected to make a payment – but in the case of smaller, “family owned” sites, it seems these gateways are becoming more and more accepted. After July 1st, this is where retailers will HAVE to go if their cart software is not PA-DSS – so it would seem acceptance will likely increase for these gateways as a result.

    If you are a somewhat larger retailer, and are on the edge of profitability, YOU are the ones who will need to strongly consider switching to a PA-DSS cart, or risking a little revenue loss (POSSIBLY) with the use of a gateway.

    Cheers

    CS

  16. sam-i-am

    yes interspire is truly the no.1 shopping cart i have deployed 3 projects in it and one in magento and now working on x cart. from the developer’s pov intersipre is the best,it can be themed easily great seo(ok) the worst is magento there is no documentation on how to customize it.

  17. love the write up. nice work. I’m looking at Pinnacle Cart as a solution. Their new release appears SEO friendly and the product migration service is pretty sweet. I like the open source maginto too but being new, I think I’d want to be able to call customer support in case something burps. Thanks for the round up.

  18. Have been using xcart for some time now and it works great. Thanks for the review. Really useful.

  19. joe

    I have been using pinnacle cart for years and its super easy to customize and add to. Very well organized and easy to use. On another note Magento is a disaster when you want to make changes, no documentation and it uses a structure thats hard to figure out.

  20. Zeuscart is the best php-based free GPL open source shopping cart software.

  21. mil

    My opinion is that Magento really looks pretty and i was impressed when first see it. Admin panel looks nice but when you start using Magento you will quickly see that it’s pretty slow. There is also a lot of Javascript in the header of every page page is huge and works and loads slowly. I use older version of Magento with custom design maybe new version works better but still if you use custom design it’s almost impossible to upgrade it. Admin panel looks nice but it’s useless. Can’t change prices for many products at once for example. You need to open every product and change the price and this could take a while. I still use Magento because I need to but with lots of custom works and plugins (I use my own script for adding products, pictues, changing prices, mass price changing, invoice printing etc.). But still Magento is slow I have around 5000 products inside and works really slow. Not really sure about new version but i will not recommend it. Oxid could be a nice solution in my opinion but need to try it.

    So overall rating about Magento:
    Pros:
    - It looks nice (at least admin)
    - some nice features
    - it’s free

    Cons:
    - works slowly
    - a lot of java script in header
    - poor help and support available
    - useless admin panel
    - with custom design it’s also impossible to upgrade it
    - heavy (huge) pages – open slowly in browser

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