Do you have an online store set up? Or you’re thinking to create one? It doesn’t matter what your reasoning is, open source eCommerce software could be your best bet on success. Using an open source platform will help you cut the costs for maintaining an online market.
What are the pros in using an open source platform to run your store? I’ll tell you some of them right below:
- As I mentioned already, the costs for maintaining an online shop, using open source software will drop significantly. Most shop owners who migrate to a free platform are doing it because of financial reasons. The business will benefit from this, because you don’t have to spend so much money on keeping the store online.
- Freedom to personalize the store. This is probably the second most important part when choosing an open source tool over a paid one. Do you want your website to look like all the others that you can find online? Of course not, who wants that? Using an open source platform, you’ll have the ability to personalize the store however you see fit. How can you do this? Any open source tool allows you to modify the source code of your website (yes, this is why it’s called open source). This way, you can change your website’s appearance and functionality in any possible way you can think of. To be a successful store owner, a personalized website is a must.
- The Community. This is a big help for any shop owner. If you’re using an open source tool, all the development and maintenance of the site falls down into your hands. Having a great community besides you can come in handy. Especially if it’s good at giving ideas on how to solve a problem.
Now that you know what some of the reasons to choose open source software over a paid one are, you should know something else too. An open source tool takes more skill to manage than a paid one. Why? Just think about it. If you go for paid software, every technical issue will be solved by the company behind your platform in use. This is something to be expected, and it’s a good thing after all.
But what about an open source platform? Well, in this case things are a bit different. I already pointed out before, that all your market’s development and maintenance is up to you to handle. This means that if a problem surfaces regarding the shop, you have to be the one to take care of it. That is why the community is of so much help.
There in the community, you can find a solution to almost any problem you might come across. But what if even the community can’t help you? In that case, it’s best if you hire a developer who can solve your issue. This way you won’t break your website.
Should this downside scare you from using open source software? If you think about the pros and cons to using such a platform, the positives easily outweigh the negatives. To be able to overcome your competition, an open source platform is your best bet. Now I’ll give you 20 of the best open source software to manage an online store.
- Spree Commerce
- Magento Community Edition
- WP eCommerce
- SimpeCar js
Now, lets jump into the details and see what each open source eCommerce software is capable of.
WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin used by thousands of online stores around the world. More precisely, it powers more than 35% of all the eCommerce sites all over the globe. Huge number, right? But that’s not all, it’s got more than 7 million downloads.
I’m giving you these numbers, so you can see how trusted software WooCommerce really is. Most people who create a new store and want an open source tool for the job go with WooCommerce. But why is this? Let me give you some reasons for this.
For instance, WooCommerce has lots of extensions (these are basically what plugins are for WordPress). You can choose from a big variety. They can take care of any issue, or can be used to add new features to the shop, like easier order management, shipping management, payment processing (these are called payment gateways), mailing features, SEO and others.
Another nice option WooCommerce gives you is the ability to have a blog besides your normal shopping site. After all, it’s a WordPress plugin. Having a blog can be a huge advantage. It can help you keep your hard-earned customers. The most successful online stores take advantage of this feature, because they know how powerful of an asset a blog can be. You don’t have to post on it every single day. But you should do it regularly, so your visitors will come back to your site. And who knows, maybe they will even purchase something while there.
The last (but not least) option I will mention here that makes WooCommerce a go-to candidate for an online market is the diversity of themes that comes with it. You can choose your perfect theme from Storefront or the WooCommerce theme store. Both of them have free or paid themes that are perfectly built to suit your shop. If you’re only just beginning with your shop, go for a free theme. When your site gets a little more established, you can change it up for a better paid one.
This is another open source platform that many people like to use. Just like WooCommerce, AbanteCart also comes with all the expected options needed to sustain a fruitful online store.
It lets you sell anything on the site. It doesn’t matter what types of products you plan on selling, AbanteCart will help you do it professionally. Digital products are also possible to be sold using this software.
A nice feature they include in the core package (that is ready for download) is the possibility to add many different payment options for your customers to use. For example, they include all the major payment processors like Stripe, PayPal, Bank Transfer, Skrill and even Cash on Delivery.
The shipping is also easy to set up. The core package comes with lots of possibilities built in, like FedEx, UPS, USPS, Royal Mail or even Free Shipping. To be able to pay for the purchased items, you can set up the store using any currency. The payments will be handled safely, thanks to the SSL certificate compatibility. For an even more secure checkout process, you can use unique access tokens.
To set up the store using AbanteCart is very simple. They added a voice controlled intuitive interface that is easy to learn. This is helpful for those new to store management.
XCart is a well-established platform that was first launched in 2001. Since then, it powers more than 38,000 stores in 111 different countries around the globe.
XCart offers 4 plans from which 3 are paid ones. Then why am I listing this as a free platform? Because their free plan comes with everything you need to start your new shop.
They let you use this service for free and the plan doesn’t take any transaction fees either. Any purchase that was made in your store is free to handle, it doesn’t cost a dime. This is really great, because many other companies charge you a certain percentage of your sales. XCart doesn’t.
It also comes with unlimited products, orders, admin and staff accounts, opens source code, responsive design (works well on smartphones and tablets too), lots of payment gateways, real time shipping quotes from many agencies and MailChimp integration, just to name a few.
4. Zen Cart
Another popular choice is called Zen Cart. This platform is easily installed on any hosting provider’s server. This means that you can use your personal already bought domain name. It is also fast to set up; it can accept payments as soon as you add your products.
With more than 150,000 members in the community, you will easily find help if something goes wrong. Along with this huge community, you also have a thorough user manual that will help you along the way. But what is this option giving you?
It gives you multiple templates to choose from, advanced order and product management, many payment options, easy checkout process, secured payment and order processing and many other perks.
This platform isn’t the most famous one among your options, but it’s definitely worth a look. With more than 500,000 eCommerce sites powered by it, we can safely say it has a big number of users. You could be the next one.
Just like any good open source eCommerce platform, it packs all the must have features. You have the most used payment gateways built into the platform (PayPal, Amazon Payments, Authorize.NET, SagePay, Skrill, etc.) along with fast and reliable shipping providers (UPS, FedEx Royal Mail, USPS…).
There are many forums on the web dedicated to OpenCart. Finding answers to your questions should be easy with more than 550,000 posts related to every issue that you may come across using OpenCart.
Along the big community, you also have something most open source platforms don’t offer: Dedicated Support. This means that you can receive technical support from the developers behind this platform. Professional advice from the source is really all you need to move on from a possible problem.
This platform is one of the world’s most used tools to create and sustain an online market. More than 270,000 eCommerce stores use PrestaShop. Around the world, more than 200 countries use it to run online markets. Something really cool is the fact that it was translated into 65 languages. So, it’s quite sure you can use it with your mother tongue if you’re not too good at English.
PrestaShop allows you to quickly create new products and add them to your store’s catalogue. Creating categories and subcategories is also an easy process. The marketing is simple to handle too, using PrestaShop.
It lets you create and use coupons on the site. You can even make special offers based on various criteria like the products themselves, the customer who’s buying them or the final order. Offering free shipping is also possible.
osCommerce is a platform with an active community who will gladly help you out with your shop. It has uploaded more than 8800 add-ons to be used to freely customize your store. With more than 18 years of experience in handling eCommerce sites, you can be sure; you’ll get the best support from this platform.
osCommerce partners with big players in the industry, like BlueHost, SagePay and 1&1 Hosting. BlueHost is especially renowned for providing quality hosting services for small prices. Since osCommerce is a partner to such companies, you can expect a serious service from them.
paGOCommerce is a Joomla (CMS) based platform for creating and maintaining online stores. Just like WordPress based platforms, paGOCommerce is also responsive, to assure a better performance for your store.
It’s easy to set up and it includes lots of feature to make your store run better. For example, you get a global currency converter, single-page checkout to maximize the sales, social integration, prebuilt templates, built-in shipping taxes and 24/7 support to name just some.
This tool is used to build a custom-made eCommerce site. It has a community of more than 9000 active developers helping each other out to maximize what this platform can do. It has more than 700,000 downloads.
Just like all the other candidates on this list, Spree also comes with all the before mentioned features needed for your store. But what really makes Spree stand out from the crowd is the active community behind it. It’s the first open source eCommerce project on GitHub if you check out the activity.
Spree was built using Ruby on Rails. This is a good choice, because it makes sure that the platform will be working well for years to come, Ruby being one of the most often used programming languages (and it will be for years ahead).
Remember WooCommerce? Sure you do. JigoShop is another WordPress plugin similar to it. It is a good choice if you create an online store. Not as known as WooCommerce, but still good enough to get noticed.
They say that the most important goal for them is the speed. It’s true; speed really matters, especially in the case of an online shop. The load and runtime were cut in half since they redeveloped the platform.
JigoShop also has extensions to help you advance the store. 90% of them were redeveloped to ensure a better performance, and lots of new ones were created too. The payment gateways were also improved.
Many people trust this platform. With more than 500,000 downloads, you’ll be sure your shop is in good hands with JigoShop.
11. Drupal Commerce
Just as the name suggests, this platform has the Drupal CMS at its core. What do others say about it? Most people who tried it out were very satisfied using the software. One of the reasons for this is the fact that Drupal integrates perfectly with a good SEO and marketing strategy.
Having a good marketing strategy is of paramount importance to succeed with a new online store. That is where Drupal Commerce surpasses many other platforms. To assure your success, choose this platform. You won’t regret it.
While it’s not as powerful as the Premium Edition, this platform still gives you a strong tool to create and manage your store. A nice part in using this tool is that you can take advantage of the Magento Marketplace.
Here you can find 3 things: themes, extensions and partners. What is most important to a store owner is the theme with the right extensions to use on it. Luckily Magento has lots of themes to use with your shop, from which many are free ones. The extensions work like the ones from other platforms.
This tool comes with something called Business Intelligence Essentials. It’s basically a tool that lets you connect to a database and have immediate access to many reports regarding your store’s health, such as lifetime value, repeat purchase probability or the usage of coupons. It can help you plan a better future strategy for your business.
They say that Ubercart is the most popular Drupal based eCommerce software out there. So, it should be even more used than Drupal Commerce itself. Anyway, it surely is good enough to create and manage your market.
Something interesting about Ubercart is the fact that you (or a developer) do not have to change the source code of the software to add new features to your shop’s website. The available options can be altered easily by a more experienced developer, without even touching the code. This is great because you’re safe, from certain problems that could occur during the development process.
Like any other candidate in this article, Ubercart also allows you to have a fully functioning store that will catch the eyes of your visitors.
14. WP eCommerce
This platform markets itself as the original WordPress eCommerce plugin. It is quite widely used powering more than 36,000 stores worldwide. But what about its features?
Since this software is a WordPress based plugin, you get all the functionality that WordPress provides, like blogging and easy to use website management with the known Dashboard. Alongside these perks, WP eCommerce also grants you access to other features, such as monitoring your sales and orders, configuring taxes and shipping methods, adding reliable payment gateways and having a great customer support.
This plugin comes with something most of the others don’t. But I warn you, this option is a paid one. Still, I’m mentioning it because it’s great for those who are starting out with their site. The service I’m talking about is the ability to hire the developers behind this software to create your next eCommerce site. They also do custom made extensions and are giving consultations also.
Zeuscart is a program available for download at Softaculous.com since 2013. It is designed so even a non-techy person can open his online store easily. Zeuscart is based on PHP to be able to work in a stable manner.
You have all the needed things to open and administrate your shop. One of the best features included with the software is the possibility to send out mass emails to market the website. With its easy to use interface, you can set up a newsletter campaign in no time.
Once you have a store set up, receiving payments is the most important part. Zeuscart allows you to collect your money through various payment methods available for activation right in the dashboard. Authorize.NET, PayPal, 2Checkout WorldPay and Cash on Delivery are only some of the methods they provide you with.
This is another program you can easily download to create your shop. Most people who already used it were very pleased with what they got. TomatoCart is an eCommerce solution that has a desktop like interface easy to learn and use.
This platform is famous for its good configuration of SEO. It uses rich keyword URL-s, so your site will be easier to be found online. The software also works as a CMS, just like WordPress. This makes the management of the store much simpler. It even lets you write articles or blog posts to use on your shop’s website.
CubeCart is an open source platform loved by many shop owners. It packs lots of features to ensure a great performance for your market. It comes as a web-based application, but it runs well on Windows and MAC also.
CubeCart integrates many applications and businesses to use on the site. For example, they let you use MailChimp, eBay, TESCO, Microsoft Dynamics, Amazon and many other businesses as well.
Some of the features provided are these: technical support (big plus), unlimited orders and customers, unlimited products, categories and store admins, free templates, coupons and gift certificates, social plugins, statistics and much more.
18. Shoop – discontinued
This eCommerce software is from Asia, more precisely from Jakarta. It was founded in 2012 and it works as a great option till this day for those looking for a platform to build an eCommerce website.
It isn’t the most established software yet, but from what we’ve seen so far, it works well for many users worldwide. If the developers behind it keep up with the great work, it can quickly become a leading choice for new store owners.
This tool was created to work with Joomla (CMS). It integrates directly into the CMS code to ensure a better performance. The key features it comes with are the following ones: payment methods (PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Checkout, etc.), automatic cost calculation, custom shipping costs, up to 16 different currencies and more options.
It is very similar to the SimpleCart platform. The creators actually made it to be a lot like it, so it would be easier to learn the ins and outs of the platform. This is easily noticeable, because of the simple dashboard made to appeal even to the beginners. Installing the software is also easy, so if you’re a starter, RokQuickCart could be your best choice.
VirtueMart was founded in 2004 in Germany. More than 300,000 users are actively working with this platform. Most of them are from the US. VirtueMart’s community is also quite big, with more than 310,000 members all over the globe. So, you’ll easily get help when needed. But is it worth your attention?
For start, it partners with big companies such as PayPal and Skrill to handle your payments. The security of your store and that of the payments is a must, but they handle it professionally. A nice touch they implemented into this platform is that when a new customer visits your shop, he’ll be greeted in his native language.
The shopping experience can be individualized for any specific customer. For example, if a simple buyer visits your store, he will see the prices with tax added. But if another business purchases something from you, the prices are shown directly, without the added taxes. It’s nice that you can add a 5% discount for any returning customer.
21. SimpleCart js
Not to be confused with Shoop. This one is a WordPress plugin as well. You can freely install it on your site. It has one of the most user-friendly dashboards out there. That is the reason why many people choose it as their platform.
If you need many features available for your store, then Shopp could be just what you’re searching for. Why am I saying this? Just take a look at all these available features:
- Related products: this option will give your visitor products gathered by the search he made on the site or his/her shopping cart contents
- Change Variants: this will let the buyer know the price increase or decrease right in the cart.
- Promo codes
- Shipping and taxes
- Personal buyer accounts
- WordPress integrated accounts
- Lots of payment methods
- Email notifications
- Product arrangement
- Search bar
- Grid or List type viewing
- Many more…
Besides these candidates, there are some more that you can check out on the web. But should you? Not really. In this article I gave you 22 of the best eCommerce open source software you can find online. I am sure you can pick one that fits your personal liking.
How can you choose the one that goes best with your store? Think about what you want to accomplish with your shop. Well, yes, I know, you want to sell things. That’s what every shop owner wants. But be a bit more forward thinking. How will or should your store look like in 1, 2 or 5 years from now? If you know where you want to be in the future, you can plan to use the platform that will get you there in the simplest fashion.
For example, if you want to create or develop the next ‘’Amazon’’, maybe it would be best to go with a more professional tool, like WooCommerce or AbanteCart. These options (others from the list too) will give you more freedom in designing the shop you want.
But if your plan is to create a small online market where you sell products in a smaller area, or for fewer buyers, simpler software could be your thing. You could go for OpenCart or osCommerce, or any other one that goes best with smaller sites.
Another aspect you should think about, if you’re starting out, is the product you want to sell. There are generally 2 types of products sold online: physical and digital ones. There’s a difference here obviously. Digital products mean that you sell something that is used on a computer. A physical product, well you know exactly what it is.
So, why do you need to pay attention to the types of products you sell? Because there are certain platforms specifically created to sell digital products or services. If you’re store is solely made to sell physical products, look for a tool that will help you in doing that. It’s important to think about this because some platforms (for digital products) lack features that you might need to sell efficiently.
For instance, a piece of audio file doesn’t need to be shipped via traditional means. The buyer just purchases the product, and then he downloads it from the store. So, if you want to sell something that has to be delivered via traditional means, you should look for a tool that lets you ship your product to the buyer.
After all, the most important thing is to look for open source software that can accomplish your goals regarding your online market.
Think about it seriously, and you’ll choose the platform that will boost your business to the next level.