Back in March I performed and exhaustive search a new shopping cart solution. We were outgrowing our Bizhosting hosted solution so I review and tried carts from Applepie to Zencart. It is unbelievable the number of different shopping cart solutions available.
I was looking for the most feature packed cart under $1,000 that had an active users community and secure advancing technology. It needed to be a stand alone application I could host anywhere so we would have complete control.
Here's what I found:
I ended up purchasing X-cart http://www.x-cart.com
for $185.00. This is probably the most featured packed cart I came across. There are several companies developing and offering plugin enhancements such as testimonials, sitemap, marketing manager ......... The users forum is very active and helpful. I have been able to find everything needed so far. X-cart has been offering free upgrades almost monthly and this would be my only complaint. If you modify your cart (stylesheets), some of the upgrade components may need to be manually patched, and this can be confusing to a non-programmer. Otherwise, I have been very pleased. It is a PHP code based cart the uses a MYSQL database. You can find many inexpensive hosts and use a Lunix server. We use Bluehost $ 6.95 month.
The other cart I considered is http://aspdotnetstorefront.com/
. At the time, many required features were promised but not available. Since then, I have been impressed to see all the features added and their own website redesigned. This is a highly configurable cart based on the newer .net standards. It does cost slightly more to host...ASP is usually offered on Windows based servers.
The most feature packed free cart: http://www.oscommerce.com
This cart is widely used and offer with easy one click installation from many webhosts (including Bluehost). The style sheet is difficult to customize however. Zencart is a takeoff of oscommerce and a little more freindly to use.
A few others looked interesting: http://www.comersus.com
For the coolest (price doesn't matter) hosted point and click solution...see Volusion (formerly Store2003) http://www.volusion.com/
. I absolutely fell in love with their customer interface and checkout process. For a budget, Bizhosting served me well.
I hope this helps. Cheers!