I am really not shocked why people would contemplate using a free ecommerce shopping cart. Most of the time you would prefer to spend your money in other areas if you can by with it. Also, general development of a website is not always the cheapest of things. If you spent money already on other things, you may simply be limited on funds. However, finding a good free ecommerce shopping cart is not always the easiest thing to do. There are many problems that you might be faced with that you should consider beforehand.
#1: Lack of Customer Service
Generally speaking, there is a severe lack of customer service on free products. Since there is no funding coming in to support projects, generally, they simply do not have any customer service to help with issues at all. Therefore, if you ask a question, it may sit in a person’s inbox for a long time before answered or even worse, perhaps no response at all. When there is no incentive to really support a product, most developers will get bored or move on to other projects.
#2: No Leg to Stand On For New Update Requests
One of the biggest problems I have ran into is when I would like to see the software updated with a new feature. When you have purchased a product, generally they are much more willing to help you. This is especially the case if you are paying a monthly fee or something. They want to keep you as a customer and make you happy in anyway they can. So if they can add a feature, it is not so uncommon to see it added later on in future updates. With a free shopping cart, asking for specific features is like pulling teeth. They just do not want to do it and many will take the mentality that since the product is free, you have no right to give input on what features it needs to include.
#3: Very Few Updates
Most people just assume if there is a bug found in software that the developers will hurry up and release an update for it. This is rarely the case though. As mentioned previously, many developers who release free products will move on to other projects or simply stop offering support. Therefore, they are no longer working on it to ensure that it works flawlessly and as intended. If it is a PHP script, then this is even a bigger problem. As PHP does frequently upgrade, if you are forced to by your web host, you may be impacted by seeing that the script no longer works at all. This, of course is the worst case scenario. Generally, it will be small things that you find broken, but you know they will never be fixed.
#4: Sometimes Poor Coding
This is not always the case, but I have run across several free scripts were simply not written very well. The code can cause load times to be slow and sometimes use more resources than really needed. As well, poor coding can result in doing your own updates near impossible if you are fairly new to programming. Many times you encounter scripts that were simply given to others because they worked, but nothing more than that. It was not that they worked flawlessly or to perfection. But many free scripts simply serve their purpose and nothing more. It is a sad situation when you want to modify a script to work specifically for you and not what the developer had in mind.