Best Shopping Cart (2014 Edition)

Its  a new year so that means there is a big scramble get online and start selling. It’s a busy time for blokes like me that write shopping cart reviews and all conversations invariably lead to what is the best shopping cart. I try and explain that there is no such thing and in different situations different carts are best but that doesn’t stop people wanting a leader board. Bookmark this post because I m doing a support wrap up for all the carts and because I consider support one of the most important factors in selecting a cart the rankings will change a little.

I expect this list will generate a lot of comments which is great so throw your two cents in and bookmark the post to check as things update.

  • Best shopping cart for beginner’sShopify
  • Best open source shopping cart – Prestshop
  • Best shopping cart for designer’sShopify
  • Best shopping cart for developers – Open Cart
  • Best Shopping Cart for brick and mortar storesBigcommerce
  • Best future proof cartShopify or Open Cart
  • Best ecommerce platform for SEO out of the boxBigcommerce
  • Best shopping cart for POS (retail in store Point of Sale) – Shopify or Vend
  • Best hosting for ecommerce sitesMedia Temple
  • Best shopping cart plugin for WordPressWooCommerce

 Top 14 Shopping Carts

# Cart Why? Cost
#1 Bigcommerce It does it all easily most things just work out of the box $24.95/month
#2 Shopify Simple and elegant, lots of apps to add that add more features $29/month
#3 Prestashop Very full featured and solid platform, easy to extend Open Source*
#4 UltraCart Integrates with everything. Very flexible, options for everything $49.95/month
#5 Americommerce Multi-store, admin tools and marketing features like newsletter & affiliate program $24.95/month
#6 3dCart Solid marketing platform, great support, templates getting nicer all the time $19.99/month
#7 Core Commerce Features matches most other carts, templates need work but are improving in 2014 $24.99/month
#8 Open Cart New, strong community, easy to work with, has some gaps but they are being filled Open Source*
#9 1ShoppingCart Designed to help you out market your competition, looks a little rough but works $34/month
#10 Pinnacle Cart A great cart to grow with, amazing support and available in several versions for growth $30/month
#11 Ashop Brilliant if you are starting out and need help $25/month
#12 Limited Run Perfect for musicians and artists to sell direct $20/month
#13 Big Cartel Small indie labels a specialty, super cheap too $19.99/month
#14 Volusion Solid inventory control and warehousing. Ugly though and still slow with horrible templates. $15/month
#15 Magento Does almost everything, still too hard to use and to slow to rely on. I wouldn’t recommend it usually Varies

*Copping some flak for listing the open source shopping carts like Prestashop and Open Cart as “Open Source” instead of free – I don’t believe they are free. You still need to pay for templates , developer help and you need to pay for hosting

Comments

  1. John says

    Sorry to dissuade you, Andrew, but my web store is currently on 3dcart. I would rate their support as POOR! And their regard for customer convenience or impact is negligible. For instance, just this week (1/21/2014) they decided to limit the default amount of time you are allowed to stay connected to your online store. They blamed it on PCI. Right! I was right in the middle of a relatively large edit when I was disconnected. Sure the duration can be set in your store configuration … but would they let a customer know – not.
    Another example is the length of the password they require for your email account – 12 characters – and again they just did it and no amount of pleading would induce them to change. None of my online financial accounts require 12 characters. And neither does their online store manager. What’s up?
    And, it is almost impossible to get relevant information out of them, their SEO practices are laughable (for instance – no H1 or atl= tags). They just do things with no notice.
    And there are more horror stories with them. Too many to recount in a comment.
    I am frustrated beyond expression with 3dcart. I got here because I am looking to move – even though that is a major undertaking.

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  2. Renaldo says

    Hi Andrew, love your posts around this subject! I’ve been following you for some time. I’m a bigcommerce partner and built of over 16 stores (uk based) and have been wanting to fill the gap for those who are adament they want open source vs SaaS. Bigcommerce’s Api now really takes the platform to another level although still some annoying gripes, but even with that I find some clients just want opensource.

    Also, from your experience would you say shopify is more flexible that bc for coders (front end guys?) With conditional statements etc they seem to allow us to do a little more..am I right, any experience coding it?

    I recently ventured into opencart and built a store based on a template. Wow impressive! Especially with its scalability with foundation which is an awesome framework. Which one is easier/ quicker to get a psd to store build with…prestashop or opencart (in your opinion, I’ve never tried prestashop)?

    Bigcommerce is without a doubt my favourite and when they finally pull their finger out with filter by option (size, color) it’ll be difficult to overtake them.

    I did notice you outlined their bronze plan..you know they are in the process of scrapping bronze and diamond plan right? They are putting the Api in with platinum plan only and adding a 2% revenue fee on the silver plan (as a ploy to get people on their gold). I’m petitioning at the moment, they are already A/B testing it.

    Thanks again, great post

    Renaldo

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    • says

      Argghhh! I have replied twice and managed to kill it both times. Thanks for the kind words and support it means a lot.

      The bullet points are:

      1. Shopify is brilliant for front end coders, the power and flexibility of using conditional and logic in a a template is amazing and allows for optimizations that you just can’t get with javascript and HTML

      2. Open cart is the easiest to theme. I just feel more confident referring customers to prestashop it is more stable and mature and a safer ecosystem for clients with only a little ecommerce experience.

      3. Bigcommerce needs filters desperately, in the meantime try seoegghead.com they have a product that does great search in Bigcommerce

      4. I heard a rumour about the change in Bigcommerce plans but seen nothing concrete. I will chase it up thanks for the heads up.

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      • Danny says

        Just visited the Bigcommerce pricing page, and yep they have changed it just like Renaldo said. The entry level plan is now $35.95pm with a 2% transaction fee.

        I imagine this will drive people to Shopify now. That was the main advantage Bigcommerce had in my opinion – you could test the waters with an entry level plan and no transaction fees.

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  3. John says

    I am searching (almost desperately) for a new hosting service. 3dCart is simply incompetent. The latest is database corruption. Of the carts reviewed, several mentioned here are interesting – but they are also disturbing. From my point of view any company that charges a per transaction fee is unacceptable. Period end of discussion. Adding 2% to the transaction in addition to the obscene 3% we have to pay for the ‘privileged’ of accepting credit cards is simply gouging and rude. Secondly, any company that does not offer a live interface for shipping charges is out. This approach is a serious disservice to consumers. ‘Guessing’ simply leads to overcharging for shipping – which is bad enough as it is. And most online stores are not like mine – they do not refund those excess, sometimes absurd, charges – or drop the shipping fee to the actual cost at fulfillment time. Based on that – shopify is immediately disqualified for small and medium sized businesses because they only offer live shipping on the premium plan. Bigcommerce appears to be in a loosing position if the comments from Renaldo are correct. In fact, I probably won’t even try them, now, based on that.

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    • says

      Renaldo does seem to be correct but don’t let that stop you trying the platform as an ecommerce platform it still represents a good investment. I will try and get some more information on the pricing and how permanent it is going to be. It may just be testing as Renaldo suggested

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  4. linbo says

    Don’t understand why Ashop is even on your list after their last update fiasco (just read the comments on your previous Ashop reviews); their support disappears for days, shops get jumbled, pages disappear.

    Ever think about doing reviews on other platforms?

    I’ve eval’d, in depth, Ashop, Pinnacle, BigC, and looked at Shopify, Lemonstand, and WP. Still can’t get some much needed features for my merchandise.

    Currently stopping my eval of MagGo and starting one on MivaMerchant. Would love to have read what you have to say about these two.

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    • says

      Personally and as a developer I have never had anything but great experiences with Ashop – especially for Australian merchants. If you read the comments of any of my reviews they are riddled with extremely negative experiences. I love that because everyone has a unique experience and i am sure i am shown a little extra love when I call because my blog ranks so well.

      Magento Go I reviewed a long time ago and continue to look in on, bottom line it is incredibly slow and very difficult to use. The only saving grace Magento had was it was open source so once they made a cloud product you couldn’t modify the source on it became a non-starter. Once they get a handle on performance and horrible SEO I will look at it again.

      MivaMerchant always gets good feedback form people. I don’t like that way it operates (as installed software) and I struggle with the templates and designs. That said I have only ever been asked by one person to move them off the platform to something else so I assume people are quite happy with it (or hopelessly trapped, but I might just be being a jerk)

      I always try and add more reviews and should add MivaMerchant to the list because despite my being sure it is on the way out it seems to continue to grow.

      Lemonstand is great – but you will need some amazing hosting because it suffers from some pretty nasty performance problems. I here they are working on it and the last version I installed ran much better. I hope it improves it is a brilliant hosted cart and I cart wait for the cloud version.

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      • JD says

        Currently in the process of moving from miva to americommerce for a multistore environment (5 stores). The main reason is to simplify product and store management – within miva there is no shared resources so everything has to be duplicated.

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  5. Bruce says

    Hey Guys, do paid shopping carts drive in more traffic than a wordpress shopping cart like woocommerce? Is there any built in advantage for paid shopping carts with regards to traffic?

    Or, is it still dependent on how your SEO capabilities? Thanks!

    (0)
    • says

      It’s hard to generalize but it is the usual experience for most people but I don’t think the platform is as responsible for the boost as the way people approach setting up shopping carts over blogs. Call it focused effort and a vested interest in retuning a profit on a store you are paying for.

      Things like server speed would help as well – and carts like Bigcommerce and Shopify use much better server’s and CDN’s than your standard cheap WordPress install.

      My best advice is: If you are setting up a store use a dedicated ecommerce platform, if you are setting up a blog use WordPress. Horses for courses, right tool for the job.

      I probably haven’t answered your question but I really don’t know how. SEO is always something that is earned and worked at. If you want faster traffic get Google Adwords

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  6. Anita says

    Hi Andrew
    I’m searching for the best cart for my customer to purchase my children’s/gift book. I want my potential reader to have a simple click process yet I’m already 2-3 books in the hole with the monthly fee. Would Shopify be a good consideration especially at $15/month or are there other possibilities for someone with only one product to sell? Many thanks for your opinion.

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    • says

      Sorry for the delay replying Anita it is the end of school holidays. Shopify is a good option and offers and easy growth path with upgrades and the app store. Something like Woocommerce running on WordPress would be OK but you would have get a developer in to make it a simple customer focused checkout.

      I’d suggest going with Shopify

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  7. olga says

    Hi Andrew
    I started 2 month ago with PRESTASHOP i really like all of it and want to work with this platform.but few days agIrealize 5 step check out not converting at all, there is a fix I JUSneed to buy a module. But i’m in the beginning my internet marketing life and amount of work need to be done just for marketingis overwalming . My teacher of im use shopify now i see it’s for a reason. It’s really easier to use Shopify ? Or i need just install a module for checkout? all the problems like this will keep coming with prestashop? I REALLYNEED EXPERT OPINION TO DECIDE TO SWITCH, maybe shopify have all kind of the own problems will come up

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  8. Prime says

    I have been using the Shopify platform for 3 years now and I think it is definitely one of the best HOWEVER the lack of features is starting to become a problem for my business. Yes, the templates are gorgeous and look professional but the Admin part of Shopify is where it falls short… they don’t seem to get it right. They forced all of their stores into Beta when it wasn’t even complete and when you would try to add a product it would literally disappear and you’d have to start all over. They’ve finally got it together and fix that but still it was super annoying and time consuming. Bottom line a store needs FEATURES not just a good design. You will find yourself behind the competition because you’re the only one who can’t offer your customer more than 100 options on a product. I sell products that require options and customization, etc. and I get calls from customers asking “Do you have any additional colors that can come in?” all the time….. I’ve been looking into bigcommerce and woocommerce. So far Bigcommerce Admin section looks good and offers a good amount of features but…there new themes are not great. To me they look like Shopify’s older free themes. I haven’t really looked at woocommerce themes but I did see one on themeforest that was stunningly..

    Also, I was looking at Magento Enterprise and immediately cancelled them out when I requested a demo and got an email giving me login details for the demo but when I click the link it was blank. So I emailed them back and they said “oh, we’re still working on the demo for you, it will be up by the end of the day” …FAIL! Why would you send a blank demo to a customer? Yeah, I’ll pass on Magento / Ebay.

    Andrew, what are your thoughts? I want a more

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