When choosing an open source eCommerce platform you will be bombarded with many different packages and options available. You will most likely get a lot of conflicting information and people will tell you one is better than the other. In this article we have reviewed the top eCommerce solutions for your website and try to share the best eCommerce solutions that may fulfill your specific needs. Some platforms that are good for one site, may not be so good for another, so it can be very difficult finding the perfect solution.
Each platform has its own set of pros and cons as they have been built and designed from different perspectives, with different users in mind. Creating a shop, uploading and tweaking an online shop can take a lot of time, so it is essential that you at least try a few different platforms before making your final decision.
Finding the Right E-commerce Software Platform
The best reasons for using hosted E-commerce software are the low cost and lack of IT requirements. Another benefit to hosted E-commerce is that many solutions are designed to grow with your business. You typically won’t pay for features you aren’t using today, but you have the option to upgrade services and features as needed.
Most ecommerce platforms will provide the basics to get you started. This includes customizable site templates, an integrated shopping cart, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, inventory management and analytics. All you need to do is create an account and use store management tools to customize your ecommerce presence.
To find the best fit for your business, you need to look at what is most important to you and research the vendors offering complete ecommerce packages. For example, do plan to invest heavily in email marketing, or is mobile commerce a must-have option? Once you have a list of the features you need, look for an ecommerce software vendor that has a proven track record and can deliver the tools and services to meet your business goals.
Hybris by SAP
Hybris, based in Zug, Switzerland, offers technology that helps companies sell stuff or services to customers across multiple channels — brick-and-mortar stores, web sites, mobile etc. It claims an estimated $110 million in sales last year, up more than 50 percent over 2011.
Hybris’ software suite works on both the web and mobile devices. It supports search and merchandising, master data management, order management and web content management, among other capabilities. In short, it gives the business user a holistic view of a customer, with specific functionality tailored to the needs of the retail, manufacturing, software and services, media or telecommunications sectors.
Oracle’s ATG Web Commerce
Oracle’s ATG Web Commerce is the industry’s top-ranked commerce solution that powers the world’s best brands, and delivers a consistent, personalized cross-channel customer experience. ATG Web Commerce offers a complete commerce software platform that enables you to deliver a personalized customer buying experience across all customer touch points, including the web, contact center, mobile devices, social media, physical stores, and more.
To further enhance the customer experience, Oracle offers an integrated set of software-as-a-service (SaaS) commerce services that provide the flexibility and intelligence to target the right visitors at the right time with the right offer in the right channel to drive high-value sales. Through these services, your company can engage with customers at the point of interaction through personalized recommendations, targeted promotions, and guided assistance.
WebSphere Commerce by IBM
E-commerce is no longer simply about selling online, it’s about delivering a consistent shopping experience across all customer touchpoints, including mobile, social and in-store. WebSphere Commerce allows you to deliver a seamless, cross-channel shopping experience through contextually relevant content, marketing and promotions, while extending your brand across all digital and physical customer touchpoints.
Magento is by far the most versatile e-commerce platform of them all. You have only got to look at Magento’s clients to see they are both small and big players. Companies such as: Nike, Lindt, Olympus and OfficeMax use Magento to power their online stores. At the same time you see small businesses like Henkaa is also using Magento very effectively. Magento is used by over 30,000 online merchants and is the world’s fastest growing e-commerce platform. The Community Edition is free, you can go with out of box installation yourself, but advanced configurations need support of a developer. The Enterprise Edition is extremely powerful and is jam-packed full of useful and amazing features, but this can be expensive. If you are not a developer, your best bet is to pay a web developer one-time fee to build a shop using the Community Edition.It saves you from recurring costs as others charge for the e-commerce platforms.
Shopify is one of the easiest eCommerce applications we reviewed. It features a customer menu to help you keep your customers’ information organized for marketing campaigns and an inventory menu to help you easily keep a close eye on your inventory. There are limits on the number of products you can add to each category, but you can add as many categories as you desire.
Shopify is heavily packed with features and tools to help you create a successful online store. Whether this is your first eCommerce website or you have many more, Shopify will meet the needs of any skill level.
You can easily design your eCommerce website using the drag-and-drop capabilities this application offers. It is also compatible with more than 50 payment gateways. This eCommerce solution does not feature a built-in POS system. You cannot process credit cards in house using 3DCart either.
3DCart is a powerful eCommerce solution that has the tools to prove it. It will help you successfully manage an online store, but it also lacks several features that you may find on our higher-ranked products.
X-CART provides an advanced HTML mode if you want to put your HTML skills to use when you create your website. This software also features advanced security tools such as fraud score capabilities. Although X-Cart distinguishes their plans by number of products, they do include storage limit allotments that should be noted.
Infinitely scalable, flexible and robust, Red’s tradeit ecommerce platform enables businesses to extend their reach into new markets, channels and business models. Leveraging the tradeit ecommerce platform’s innovative and agile technology framework, Red can efficiently and effectively customise ecommerce solutions to meet individual and highly complex business requirements, delivering rich engaging ecommerce experiences that captivate and delight consumers.
Bigcommerce offers more than 125 professional and very intuitive template designs. It is also easy to use, with drag-and-drop capabilities, and features an exceptional return service. This eCommerce application lacks a multilanguage storefront. Bigcommerce provides the features and the security necessary to make it an excellent choice for eCommerce software.
osCommerce is one of the older players in the e-commerce game and has proven to be a very popular choice for people looking to set up their shops online powering over 228,700 online stores. The set-up and running of an osCommerce store is incredibly easy and with all of the themes and plugins out there, it enables non-developers to set up a shop with little or no help. Although this can be a drawback, as it is hard to differentiate your site from others using the same theme.
osCommerce has also been known to have coding vulnerabilities and there has been many reports of stores being hacked.
OpenCart is a very scalable, powerful e-commerce platform that can power an online shop of any size. You can create an unlimited number of categories, sell an unlimited number of products, accept multiple currencies, use multiple languages, choose from over 20 payment and 8 shipping methods. OpenCart is also know to be very search engine friendly so requires less work to achieve a good ranking in the search engines. One drawback to OpenCart is that it’s lesser know than other e-commerce platforms, therefore documentation and help may be hard to come by.
Zen Cart is very easy to install, customise and manage which makes it the perfect choice for less technically minded people who want a simple e-commerce solution. Zen Cart contains handy features such as newsletter manager, discount coupons, gift certificates. There are many handy addons available to build and expand your shop and admin area, although too many can make the UI a little cluttered.
If you are looking for a basic store and aren’t fussed about the look and setup, or you are good with PHP Zen Cart could be a good choice for you.
The cart is primarily for small and medium storeowners and offers inventory management, attribute-driven product catalog, category management, a built-in CMS and SEO-friendly URLs. Standard features such as discounts, taxation, shipping options, integration with multiple payment gateways and email templates are also included.
ZeusCart 3.0, licensed under GPL 2, can be installed on any server where a PHP interpreter, MySQL database server and a web server is present
PrestaShop is a customizable, PCI-DSS compliant, ecommerce solution that will handle everything from Web store set-up to managing customers and orders. Storeowners can create and manage the front-end catalog and marketing, customize orders and change shipping options and localization to suit their business. PrestaShop is available in three languages (English, French and Spanish) with an additional 41 translations available.
PrestaShop v.18.104.22.168 (stable) is the current version published under the Open Software License (OSL) v3.0. Server requirements include Linux, UNIX, or Windows, Web Server (Apache 1.3 or later, IIS 6 or later), PHP 5.0 or later and MySQL 5 or later.
Loaded Commerce is the 6.5 release of the software developed by the CRE Loaded team. Loaded Commerce, based on the popular CRE Loaded program, includes security modifications. The Loaded Commerce Community Edition (CE) is a shopping cart designed for the small office, home office (SOHO) storeowner who wants to add transaction capabilities to an existing website.
This ecommerce solution offers a number of features for product, customer, order and content management. It is highly customizable so you can change your site design choosing from hundreds of templates, edit customer information, orders, invoices and more.
The CE is the free edition of the ecommerce shopping cart software and supported by the Loaded Commerce community. A customer account is required to download Loaded Commerce.
WP E-commerce is very easy to install, only taking about five minutes. Adding products is very easy too and there is also a CSV importer included if you have lots products to add. Much like the other e-commerce platforms above, there are loads of great addons available to give your shop even more functionality. WP E-commerce also supports quite a few payment gateways, and even more if you purchase the “Gold Plugin”. So in conclusion, this plugin does have most of the functionality of a fully fledged e-commerce system and is great if your are a beginner looking for a simple and easy to set-up online shop. But if you need something with some power, you may need to look towards a non-Wordpress solution.
WooCommerce is a derivative of JigoShop, another WordPress e-commerce plugin. WooCommerce has many similarities with WP E-commerce but there are also quite a few differences. One of them being WooCommerce doesnt work with many themes, so if you have little coding knowledge it may be hard for you to customise your online shop. Also the shipping options are very limited compared to WP E-commerce.
WooCommerce’s back-end and front-end interfaces are very nice, with a smooth easy to use system. From a store owner’s perspective, an interface that’s easy for customers to use is likely to lead to more sales.
The best thing to do would be to try both WooCommerce and WP E-commerce to see which solution works best for you and your site.
To summarize, there are lots of different e-commerce solutions out there, all with different features, pros and cons. The best thing to do before making a final decision is to research and try a few.