In the past if you wanted an e-commerce store you basically had two options, you built and coded your own online store from scratch or you paid a company to do the job for you. The first option required a great deal of knowledge and hands-on experience of the various coding languages, not to mention the ability to design an attractive interface that would work efficiently within the construct of the website’s structure. The second option was not only extremely expensive but seldom allowed you the freedom to create your own design.
That however was in the bad old days, when things were different; nowadays there is a ridiculously easy solution for building a quality online store that won’t overwhelm you – Zen Cart. This amazing and highly popular open source online store management system allows you to easily implement the perfect store design for your business.
Zen Cart is ideal for anyone who sells products online and is in need of a professional web site that utilises a shopping cart feature. It provides countless features within its system, allowing anyone to successfully sell their products online. This unique system was developed by other shop owners, programmers, designers and consultants with the sole mission of putting merchants and shoppers together, in an easy-to-use fashion. The idea was always that you don’t need to have extensive computer knowledge in order to get the most out of this store management system.
Not only does Zen Cart offer a very long list of features, as well as its own a superb range of Modules and Addons, the system is most definitely designed with both store owners and web developers in mind. It has an easy-to-customise template system so that the outlook of any online shop can be changed, including colours, fonts and much more. Zen Cart templates are XHTML 1.0 compliant and therefore can be edited without any knowledge of PHP.
With a wide range of functionalities this superb administration tool offers a fully functional and easy to use control panel that enables you to manage products, product listings and reviews, prices, change templates, add banners or advertising materials, etc. Zen Cart provides a huge variety of important features including a multiple payment system, shipping and tax options and a facility for setting up different currencies and languages. As an online merchant you are able to add an unlimited number of products and categorise them yourself.
The great thing about Zen Cart is that anyone with the most basic computer skills can manage their own shopping cart. Zen Cart is ready to go, right out of the box. Installation is automated and the administration area is very user-friendly, all you need to get trading is a merchant account. One major consideration though – unless you want your store to look exactly like countless others that use Zen Cart, it is well worth investing in a professional web design service to customise the look and feel of your web site.
One of the other advantages of Zen Cart is that it offers easy integration with PayPal, as well as other payment processors, which means you can get going in no time at all as an online trader. This excellent shopping cart also provides useful functionalities for setting individual prices, providing discounts, performing one-time charges, global sale reductions, customer group discounts or quantity discounts; in addition you can set prices in different currencies.
With all the worry about online security these days it is good to know that Zen Cart works well with all kinds of SSL certificates in order to secure the credit card transactions made to your website. As well as payment security, Zen Cart also provides that all important ability to secure your website and admin panel with a username and password at the time of installation.
Zen Cart has outstanding customer relationship tools enabling you to establish and manage customer relationships, a vital part of becoming an online success. In fact Zen Cart offers tools which enable the online merchant to send newsletters to the customers on a regular basis, send email confirmations, provide gift certificates, create referral programs and much more besides.
To sum up, while large companies will probably always elect to commission a custom built solution for their online stores, the average small business no longer needs to spend five or ten thousand pounds to have a quality store developed. The application of Zen Cart will have you selling online for minimum outlay and if you don’t feel you have the basic skills or even the desire to set up your online store you can hire a competent web developer to implement it for you.
Of course you’ll be charged for this service, but the price will be a tiny fraction of what you would have paid in the past for the creation of a complete bespoke e-commerce site, which is why Zen Cart is so obviously the future for e-commerce store development.
This article was written by Web Copy Expert