Fourth post from the E-commerce platforms review series: ZenCart

We’ve already analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of Magento – the most versatile e-commerce software, WooCommerce – the leading e-commerce plugin for WordPress and PrestaShop – the ideal solution for small and medium-sized shops. This time, we’re moving on to another solution, one that’s perfect for anyone willing to start selling online: ZenCart.

 

What is ZenCart?

 

ZenCart is an online store management system based on PHP, MySQL and HTML components, freely available under the GNU General Public License. Previously a part of osCommerce, the solution has been on the market since 2003. Statistics show the solution has 16% share in the e-commerce solutions market.

 

What are the main advantages of ZenCart?

 

First of all, the functionalities offered in the free version of the software are fairly sufficient to run a fully functional store. Of course, there is a number of additional modules available for installation if need be. The software is simple both in terms of installation and administration. It allows sellers to freely manage products, prices, payment (DotPay, PayPal, credit cards, cash on delivery, bank transfer) and shipping methods (including international shipping).

The software is simple in terms of installation and administration. It allows sellers to freely manage… Click To Tweet

 

Other advantages of Zen Cart include:

  • sales tools, e.g. discount coupons, gift vouchers and discounts
  • unlimited categories and products,
  • multiple language support,
  • unlimited number of additional pages,
  • a variety of payment and delivery options,
  • the ability to set quantity discounts,
  • advertising banner management,
  • user frontend is validated to XHTML 1.0
  • quick settings for recommended and sale products
  • a variety of available templates to change the store graphics and product presentation,
  • management of product groups presented on the main page of the store (New, Promotions, Featured, Coming soon),
  • possibility to continue by adding products to previously abandoned cart.

 

There’s also a number of quite interesting options, such as: hiding prices of selected products for unregistered customers, or restricting access to store during offer upgrade periods.

 

What are the biggest disadvantages of ZenCart?

 

Speaking of ZenCart’s disadvantages, it’s impossible not to mention its limited SEO functionalities, lack of official support and dull, unappealing graphics. The free templates that are available for download are quite rough around the edges and certainly not up to contemporary design standards. Reporting system leaves lots to be desired, too. First of all, its functionality is limited, allowing just as much as counting customer orders and the amounts of products sold. Among other things, reporting also lacks data on the income from individual products and analysis of sales margins. These shortcomings make integration with an additional accounting system quite necessary. ZenCart’s other problem areas include broken update process, which often necessitates performing store configuration from scratch, including re-installation of all extensions that have been added since the last update.

 

All these disadvantages aside, ZenCart is still considered a very popular and user-friendly solution. It was created by a group of people associated with e-commerce, seeking a tool that would fully meet their needs. Creators of ZenCart include designers, programmers, consultants and actual e-shop owners. ZenCart is one of the few solutions available on the market today that offers so much functionality completely for free.

 

 

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About the author

Oliver Bock

Oliver Bock joined Quarticon on 1st March, 2015 and is the SaaS Guru of Quarticon. Oliver Bock brings invaluable SaaS, eCommerce and Marketing expertise to the team given his distinguished and long career in the SaaS and technology sector. Before joining Quarticon, Oliver Bock was the Head of of Marketing at StopTheHacker a US based website security company, from 2012 until its 2013 acquisition by Cloudflare. He is still working as the head of Business development for the Polish SEO company Positionly, where he is responsible to develop and grow the partner business and was heading the Marketing department before.


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