What is Zen Cart ?
Zen Cart is a self-hosted, free and open-source ecommerce system which builds a complete website for you.
- self-hosted means you provide the web hosting and the SSL.
- free and open-source means there is no charge for the software, and you are free to use and modify it as you wish.
- complete website means that unlike a bolt-on solution like PayPal payment buttons, which require a pre-existing web page, Zen Cart builds your entire site.
A list of features is available if you have specific capability questions.
A self-hosted open source application gives you complete freedom to customize to your tastes and needs, but comes with the obligation of software maintenance and upgrading as new versions are released. However, there is plenty of documentation on upgrading as well as support on the forum, and there are also contractors who will maintain and upgrade your site for you.
While Zen Cart provides all the pieces you need to sell online, there are some things it does not do:
- It does not provide CRM functionality beyond a list of customers and their billing and shipping addresses.
- It does not provide ERP or accounting functionality, beyond recording orders and products sold. Costing data, FIFO or LIFO stock management and things of that nature are beyond the scope of what it does.
- It does not provide blogging functionality, although you can create new pages and manage content as needed.