When you think to develop an online e-commerce store, you will have to go through many options to choose the right platform. There are plenty of platforms available in the market. Those platforms can be categorized into two parts: Open Source and Software as a Service (SaaS). Both platforms are very useful. But if you compare SaaS with Open Source platform, we’ll recommend open source which is more flexible for your online business. Open source eCommerce platform is the best solution for new entrepreneurs.
First let us clear what is open source platform?
Open source eCommerce platform will give you the ability to edit with the freedom. It also helps you to develop exactly what you need and want for your e-commerce solution. This platform is currently becoming so popular over current market trends. So, if you want to have a custom develop e-commerce platform you can prefer Open Source platform.
Why Open source as eCommerce platform:
- This platform is free to use.
- You will get full control over your design and store data.
- Many built in features is available and it is constantly updating with the development.
- You can control your plugin, themes and hosting.
In this article we will discuss about some open source e-commerce platform.
1. WooCommerce (WordPress) eCommerce Solution
WooCommerce is an open source eCommerce platform which is free to download and offers you with an enormous amount of extended features. It is a WordPress plugin that has user-friendly features and functions to provide a better experience to have a perfect e-commerce startup. The seamless integration with WordPress makes it a breeze to install and manage, which is one of the main reasons as open source eCommerce platform of choice.
The mobile-friendly feature of WooCommerce makes it an appealing choice to the growing number of customers that use their tablet or phone to shop.
You will need to have an active WordPress website in order to utilize this platform. You will get the installation guide of woocommerce here.
Features of WooCommerce
Here are some of the customization and design feature:
- Huge numbers of themes available.
- Plenty of shortcodes to embed products on any page.
- Split products according to categories.
- Customize store based on location.
- Products ratings and reviews option.
- Add unlimited products and corresponding products images.
- Selling option of both digital and physical products.
- You can add affiliated products directly to your store
- Add unlimited products variations.
- Multiple shipping options (including free shipping)
- Tax options.
- Different payment gateway to accept credit/debit cards.
- Support multiple currencies.
Advantage of WooCommerce
- Free to download and install as long as you have a WordPress website.
- This plugin can connect all major payment gateways.
- It is very simple and more professional.
- With a WooTheme, you hardly have to do any work besides adding content.
- There are plenty of extensions available to add multiple features.
- You will get fantastic support after installing WooCommerce.
Disadvantage of WooCommerce
- The main disadvantage of WooCommerce is plugin, which aren’t free and they play a vital role in the development.
- You may also have to pay some more expenses for purchasing theme, hosting and domain name. You will get details cost on hosting and domain here.
- Security is another issue, as you’re using other hosting.
It is a great starting point into the world of eCommerce even if you do not have a WordPress website you should consider getting one just for WooCommerce.
2. Magento Open Source eCommerce Platform
Magento is a open source eCommerce CMS platform for business owners and helps to expand their business operations digitally in e-commerce world. It is the best option for those who want to expand their businesses for long-term goals.
If you want to use Magento you will have to follow one of these two routes:
The “Free way” also known as Magento Open Source where you have to download and install to your server which will require some sort of technical knowledge. Therefore, you might need to outsource to a web developer.
And the “paid version” which is known as Magento commerce which is self-hosted. You’ll not need to worry about installing and configuring.
Features of Magento
Some of the features are as under:
- Segmentation and personalisation.
- You can manage multiple stores.
- Support varieties of languages.
- Multiple currencies.
- Instant purchase option.
- Drag and drop page and product page builder option.
Advantage of Magento
- It has both free and paid version. Therefore, you can upgrade and scale your business accordingly.
- The well-rounded interface makes it easy to create your store without looking around on the web on how to use it.
- You can customize the design and functionalities according to your needs.
- Add unlimited products and categories with unique search options.
- Easily manage the user and user level on your e-commerce site through the back-end.
- You can combine the design with the SEO services to gain the optimal search engine results.
Disadvantage of Magento
- The main downside to Magento is actually an inverse to one of its features: the community is so big, it’s a beast to navigate. That means you spend a lot of time learning the ins and outs of the platform, and you may need to be a tech wizard to do everything you want to do.
- Cost is another factor: the paid version is really expensive ranging from $15,000 to $40,000 per year.
- Although the Community Edition is free, there are lots of plugins and extensions you can purchase.
- Configuration can be confusing due to the major amount of settings you can customize.
Magento is definitely a pretty eCommerce solution their diverse set of settings and options for entrepreneurs who want to grow their business gradually. But it should be the best solution for the beginner.
3. Shopify open source eCommerce Platform
Shopify is the biggest WooCommerce competitors. It provides you with an easy to use drag and drop website builder where you do not need any sort of technical knowledge as long as you know how to move a mouse. You can find a huge range of free and premium themes that are exceptionally designed.
Most of the themes are fully customizable making it very easy to make changes where you see fit.
Features of Shopify
The most amazing features are:
- Store management.
- You can analyze customer profiles.
- Set up a drop shipping online store.
- Easy to create customer account.
- Refunds policy.
- You can set up complete solutions like Amazon.
- Order fulfillment with one click.
- Advanced inventory tracking options.
- Handle digital products which is downloadable.
- Products variations like multiple color, size etc.
- You can organize products with filter.
- Add multiple images.
- Product meta tag for SEO.
Advantage of Shopify
- Shopify provides website hosting with it at no extra cost.
- The company has its own payment solution.
- Support marketing and promotional features like SEO, Social media etc.
- Shopify support is available through multiple channels like live chat, twitter, and facebook.
- Excellent and friendly customer support, available 24/7.
- Themes are mobile friendly.
Disadvantage of Shopify
- Products variations option is limited.
- Cost with themes and plugins can pile up over time.
- Transaction fee is applicable if you use Shopify’s payment system.
- It uses its own Markup Language called Liquid which is hard to make any changes to the code by yourself.
Shopify is one of those eCommerce platforms that can please both beginners and advance e-commerce professionals. It’s a great choice for beginners that are looking to start a eCommerce business at minimum cost.
4. ZenCart open source eCommerce Platform
ZenCart is one of the oldest open source eCommerce platform solutions that are available in the market. It is completely free to use and more users friendly that helps you to scale up quickly even if you don’t have much-advanced skill over developing.
ZenCart offers all the basic functionalities that you need. It has great product management system with controlling inventory to create special products and sales all at your fingertips. This platform is made considering the priority of merchants and shoppers requirements.
Features of Zen cart
- Ability to customize everything due to its open-source nature.
- Offers all the required features an eCommerce store needs like product options and multiple product images and coupons.
- ZenCart utilizes a forum like support system where the community help each other.
Advantage of Zen cart
- Zen Cart is known as a secure software, so your site and customer information is always protect.
- It is scalable because of its wide range of features and full customization options.
- You can send HTML emails directly from your website to your customers that you have collected.
- Complete freedom to customize the store and products.
- Zen Cart has some great multilingual options available.
Disadvantage of Zen cart
- User interface is not good enough and does not have a modern look.
- Difficult to upgrade.
- Due to the complexity of the system architecture installation process requires outsourcing to developers
- No dedicated customer support.
ZenCart can be a first e-commerce solution for medium and large range companies. You will require careful planning due to limited support.
5. Open Cart open source eCommerce Platform
OpenCart is another open source eCommerce shopping cart platform and completely free to download and use. It allows you to achieve your online market goals, no matter how big or small they are.
It is popular among small businesses because they don’t have much staff with a lot of programming knowledge. The best part about OpenCart’s simplicity is that it doesn’t drag on your server. You can slow everything down by adding a ton of plugins, but for most people this should be one of the faster options.
Features of Open Cart
- You will be able to take a glimpse at the overall performance of your eCommerce store through the administration dashboard.
- Able to manage user roles and customer directly giving you the ability to organize and manage your e-store with more ease.
- It allows you to manage additional stores through the same interface making it very easy for Developers and Web Development Studios to manage projects.
- You can add Unlimited Products and Unlimited Categories.
- Setup advance eCommerce filters.
- Support Multi-currency and Multilingual.
- It integrates with 36 payment methods.
- Allows you to set up recurring payments.
- It comes with a standard pre-installed theme.
Advantage of Open Cart
- Free to download and use your own server.
- Built in advanced features like product reviews and rating.
- You can add unlimited products.
- Get all stats and information on your dashboard.
- It is possible to customize your platform to fit your business needs.
- Plenty of options on extensions.
Disadvantage of Open Cart
- The main disadvantage of Open Cart is that it’s so reliant on plugins. Sometimes you may have compatibility issues with different plugins, or you might need an update that may never come.
- The self-hosted version is tricky to configure and customize than Cloud version.
Open Cart is such type of solution that will require a lot of technical knowledge if you like to go for the self-hosted version which is free. It’s a great option for a small eCommerce store who want to expand business to mid-zone. With some limitations Open Cart is not the best solution for large eCommerce projects.
6. PrestaShop open source eCommerce Platform
Prestashop is the popular open source eCommerce CMS platform currently in European markets which is easily available at free of cost. It is similar to the other top eCommerce platforms it offers you the ability to create products and classify them into categories and sub-categories as well as an advanced inventory management system. It requires fewer servers and resources though as compared to other e-commerce open source platforms.
Features of PrestaShop
- PrestaShop has a user-friendly interface. It has the ability to let your customers upload photos and specs if you offer products that are customizable.
- You can add various payment methods and Shipping options.
- Assign shipping carriers based on geographical shipping delivery zones.
- Require SSL Certification to enhance security.
- Configure your own e-store search engine.
- You can add advanced filters and sorting parameters.
- Display a summary order page and order validation.
- It has the best collection of themes. On their site, they currently offer over 4,500 templates that ensure the majority of websites on the platform look different. The themes can be divided as Compatibility, Category, Style, Functionality, Developer.
Advantage of PrestaShop
- It is is completely free to download and easy to use.
- You will get surprise to see that how many things you can customize.
- This platform is very useful for for small and medium-sized stores.
- It integrates with numerous other applications through Modules.
Disadvantage of PrestaShop
- You need to pay for dedicated support from the PrestaShop team.
- Installation and configuration will require to have you some technical knowledge, otherwise you have to outsource.
- Some extensions, modules and plugins have to purchase as they don’t come with the pack.
- Since, this platform is very useful for small and medium sized stores, so scalability isn’t quite there.
7. XCart open source eCommerce Platform
XCart is the solid open source eCommerce platform that helps you to go online easily across global markets by providing you access and full control over everything. It supports OOP to PHP7 and the database is user-friendly too. The database is made up with MySQL, Maria DB and so on.
Features of X-Cart
- It’s free, open source and self-hosted.
- There’s a free trial for the premium plan, which goes for $495 as one-time payment.
- It lets you run an ecommerce website on your own servers.
- The platform is highly scalable.
- Option for multivendor selling.
- Responsive design and mobile POS.
- Ability to sell digital products and create auctions.
- Option for preventing fraud.
- Low stock notifications and best seller indicators option.
- A beautiful one-step checkout.
Advantage of X-Cart
- Support multilingual and multi-currency.
- You can integrate your shopping cart with the most popular payment gateways in the world such as PayPal and Sage
- Like WooCommerce there is some great developer support available.
- This is highly secured and PCI Compliant.
Disadvantage of X-Cart
- Although the feature list is very impressive, upgrading can be expensive.
- You’ll need to manually code and use HTML to get the most output of this ecommerce option. If you don’t know PHP code then you will have to outsource development work which will be costly.
- You have no direct access to customer support unless you pay an extra fee.
If you want a powerful and affordable eCommerce platform, X-Cart is an excellent solution. However, if you’re not a professional developer and you don’t have the money to pay for one, X-Cart is most likely not for you. There is a free plan from X-Cart, so you can still test it out and see how it works.
8. osCommerce eCommerce Platform
osCommerce has been one the most trusted open source eCommerce platform for the last 15 years. It has been loyal open source platform which is really a very major factor that expresses about the ability to still compete for the modern e-commerce market trends without any changes. With more than 260,000 store owners, developers, and service providers, osCommerce offers a huge support network, which serves as an excellent resource when things go awry.
Features of osCommerce
- Auto update of currency exchange rates.
- Support multiple currencies.
- Straight from the order screen you’ll get the package list and invoice printing option.
- Database backup and restoration
- Ability to reach out through email or newsletter.
- Require administration back-end authentication through a user name and password.
- Support both virtual and physical products.
- Add or edit product review, customer, manufacturer, products and categories.
- Hosting with unlimited products and categories.
- Compatible with all PHP version.
Advantage of osCommerce
- The online support is very amazing. Though there is no direct support option, but the osCommerce forum has millions of active conversations that you can search.
- Like WordPress you also have access to many plugins and add-ons.
- It’s very easy to open up and make more advanced customizations to.
- Affordable price to start up.
Disadvantage of osCommerce
- It’s not as scalable as like the other platform.
- Software requires more maintenance than other platforms which will require some extra cost.
- Security is the major issue for this platform.
It’s not surprising at all that osCommerce is now facing tough competition from a wide range of new entrants like PrestaShop, Zen Cart, CS-Cart, Magento, and many more. Meanwhile, your ecommerce platform choice should be basically based on your precise needs. If osCommerce seems like the best corresponding fit, you can move with it.
9. WP eCommerce
Another open source eCommerce platform which is filled with WordPress plugin options. WP e-commerce platform have been downloaded more than three million times to boost up the e-commerce solution through WordPress functions. It’s a WordPress plugin that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as WooCommerce.
First, you have to install WordPress on your hosting server and then followed by the WP eCommerce plugin. It looks like a regular WordPress dashboard, so you can add products, run promotions, create categories, and more.
Features of WP eCommerce
WP eCommerce has almost all the features you want.
- Easily add products to your products catalog.
- Possible to monitor sales and reporting.
- Configure taxes and shipping zone.
- Support all payment gateways.
- Customer support.
- Tax APIs
- Recurring Billing and Refund APIs
Advantage of WP eCommerce
- This plugin supports about a dozen popular payment gateways.
- You can customize the back-end and front-end view easily with some simple CSS and HTML.
- WP ecommerce support robust coupon feature that allows one-time use.
- You have to pay to get the direct customer support.
- You will get the SSL certificate out of the box.
Disadvantage of WP eCommerce
- The main disadvantage of this plugin is lack of add-ons. There are only 16 available add-ons in the store.
- Multi-lingual tools are okay which are not much advanced at all.
- You have to pay extra for premium support which offers training videos. So, cost is another factor.
- Limitation of WordPress themes for WP eCommerce.
If you can handle CSS and HTML code, you’re good to go. You can pay the experts to get little extra support.
10. Jigoshop (WordPress) open source eCommerce Platform
Jigoshop is another WordPress-based solution. Like other open source eCommerce platform, Jigoshop is rather lightweight on its own. You can also expand the functionality of the site with a wide range of plugins and add-ons, themes and extensions that are available for purchase.
Features of Jigoshop
- Runtime speed.
- Modern design.
- RESTful API.
- Easy interface.
- Comprehensive store management.
- Reporting system.
- PHP 7 Optimization.
Advantage of Jigoshop
- It is an easier open source ecommerce platform for beginners or intermediates. Like PrestaShop they offer a demo version of both the front end and the backend of the website before you download.
- You can choose from a large selection of themes that are available in the market.
- Like WooCommerce. Jigoshop is very easy to use.
- You have to edit the code for your site. Since there are no enlisted website partners, so you will be editing code by yourself.
Disadvantage of Jigoshop
- There is no customer support option, so you have to depends on forums and blog posts.
- There isn’t any free SEO options which other open source platforms provide.
- As JigoShop is not so popular, to find the hosting you have to struggle.
- Though the free themes are wonderful, but these are little old compared to other themes. So, if you go with the JigoShop keep consideration on extra cost for theme purposes.
Finding the Best Open Source eCommerce Platform for You
Ultimately, it’s impossible to say what the “best” platform is for you, as your specific needs will determine which features will benefit you most. If you’re trying to start basic eCommerce, and you don’t need a scalable or customizable option, then one of the smaller, simpler open source eCommerce platform may be perfect for you.