By Tanya Dalik
“High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation” – Charles F. Kettering.
2014 is upon us, and everyone is thinking about what the year is going to bring. All of us expect something great from a new year, and the ecommerce sphere is no exception. So, what can we expect from the top ecommerce shopping cart platforms? These are some main expectations, falling somewhere between trends and predictions, for shopping carts throughout 2014.
Magento is one of the most well-recognized shopping carts in the crowded ecommerce scene. That’s why when Magento 2 was first announced in 2010, a large community of store owners and developers were quite excited. Later that year, it was mentioned we could expect a stable release somewhere in Q4 of 2011. Today it’s 2014, and as you can see, even a beta release hasn’t been presented. Nonetheless, the Magento development team is preparing a major code overhaul to start from scratch on the next generation of the Magento platform. So, what exact improvements are we waiting for?
- Improved product quality and security
- enhanced performance by 20%
- simplified customization process and learning curve
- clear processes and transparency
- and much more!
PrestaShop’s platform is constantly improving, and introduced 37 functional and technical innovations in 2013. Moreover, they recently announced a release of PrestaShop 1.6 Alpha, which is full of refreshing features coupled with excellent design. Generally speaking, main enhancements are:
- redesigned and fully responsive back-office
- new dashboard look
- refreshed default theme
- redesigned homepage with eye-catching banners, intuitive store navigation and quick view feature
- improved product pages with product reviews integrated in alignment with Google Rich Snippets
- new metrics including a real time net profit margin, smart forecast statistics panel
The final version of 1.6 is ready for 80%. This means in the near future, every e-merchant will be able to upgrade existing shopping cart version or migrate to PrestaShop 1.6 and feel all the benefits of a revolutionary and highly-anticipated ecommerce platform. If Magento can’t release their long-awaited second version, it may run the risk of being crushed under the feet of its main competitor, PrestaShop. It is also quite possible that many e-merchants are going to migrate from Magento to PrestaShop 1.6.
CS-Cart Saas is a new branch in the shopping cart product lineup. It is a hosted version of a platform which will be offered on a monthly subscription. Main benefits are that since it is cloud-based, e-merchants don’t have to worry about the installation, upgrades or maintenance. That’s why it would be a great solution for quick starters or those store owners who don’t want to go too deep into a source code. Sounds great, but what about the price? This shopping cart offers 4 pricing plans, and the cost depends on the number of products possible to add, file storage, and quantity of storefronts. You can also try it out with a personal demo store. It means you can launch a store and even start selling without paying a single cent. The duration of the trial period is 15 days.
It would be interesting to watch how a new solution from a known brand like CS-Cart is going to influence the market of SaaS platforms, especially its leaders: Shopify, BigCommerce and Volusion.
X-Cart 5 was one of the major expectations of the year 2014 as well. You may wonder why I’m talking about it in the past tense. All because right after the new year began, the X-Cart Team announced the release of X-Cart 5 downloadable. So, one of the expectations of this year is already fulfilled. Nonetheless, it is still a new shopping cart, which deserves attention. The main aim of the X-Cart Team was to take into consideration all suggestions of their users, remove bottlenecks, and make the platform flexible for merchants as well as developers. As a result, the following improvements were implemented:
- Improved design options and 4 new free, built-in templates
- Mobile skin out of the box
- Enhanced customers shopping experience with instant search, product filters and product comparison
- Advanced product attributes with a possibility to create global classes, single global attribute or custom attribute
As you can tell, good things come to those who wait, even if they’re waiting for ecommerce shopping carts. We hope 2014’s new shopping cart versions will meet our expectations and bring brand new features, along with new opportunities to make online store successful and profitable.
Tanya Dalik is a marketing manager at MagneticOne, the creator of Cart2Cart, an automated shopping cart migration service. Cart2Cart gives e-merchants the capability to automatically migrate to the newest X-Cart 5, PrestaShop 1.6 Alfa, and more than 45 other shopping cart options.