Limitations of Zen Cart Open Source Shopping Cart

Zen Cart Limitations

Today I will write about the limitations of the free open source shopping cart Zen Cart. I would also like to say that its not all bad, its good in many ways, but could be better. This is an upgrade to the osCommerce shopping which is much worse.

Limitation One - Few Free Templates:

With a free shopping cart you would expect hundreds, if not thousands of free templates with which to build your website, but this is a huge problem as there are only a few working templates out there that are free, the rest you need to purchase, and most are extremely buggy, so best to stay away.

Limitation Two - Adding Pages:

Extremely difficult/cumbersome to add additional web pages that are not products. You can do it through a feature called EZpages, but very limited.

Limitations Three - Currency:

You can add loads of currencies on the website, but need to manually update all of them with one click of the button, but if you forget to do it regularly, you lose out should the exchange rate go up/down. This should be automated. Also a huge problem when customers check/add to cart all the products in their own currency say USD, but at the payment stage, they have to pay in the default currency (GBP for me), so they end up paying more or less than what showed on the website.

Limitations Four - SEO:

Not very good when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as you cannot specify the meta description for each page manually, there are built in features that do it for you, such as the first hundred or so characters from your product description, saves time especially for websites with hundreds of products, but better to have descriptions that give an overview of your product for Google (other search engines are becoming obsolete). Not that the website I am managing isn't doing too well.

Limitation Five - Visitor Statistics:

The feature that monitors incoming traffic isn't that good, since it doesn't identify where your traffic is coming from, which keywords they are using, referrals and other basic functionality. You can add free software to your website to monitor this but not always correct. You can also open a free Google Webmaster Tools account and they give you all the information.

I'll stop here and add other points when I can think of them. Zen Cart shopping cart is brilliant, but could be better.

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