One of the most common tasks I’m asked to perform as a web developer is to implement a shopping cart for clients. There are a number of ways to host a shopping cart, almost everybody can do it any you’d be surprised just how affordable it really is.
The most popular cart for me to install is a free, open source system called osCommerce, it’s an easy to use solution for business owners with limited technical expertise and the tool comes with virtually everything a small company needs to excel online.
In addition to unlimited product support, payment gateways and a whole host of features commonly associated with the best shopping carts, osCommerce also has an active online community with literally hundreds of free upgrades, ranging from additional payment modules to easy update packages.
As with most open source products, osCommerce is not the easiest application to install and does require a reasonable understanding of PHP, MySQL and basic web server technology. For that reason alone, I often recommend small business owners hire a consultant (such as myself) to setup the software and train them on the operation, freeing up their time to focus on building their business, not their web site.