Choosing the Best eCommerce Platform
eCommerce plays an important role in online business and marketing. Nowadays, almost all brands and companies have online stores because of the flourishing online shopping market. All customers want the opportunity to shop, without going into a retail location.
There are many different types of eCommerce platforms available, each with different unique features, that help you build the best online store, and take advantage of this online shopping market.
Selecting a dynamic and purposeful e-commerce platform is not an easy task. To help you decide which program is right for your business, we have outlined various shopping cart software solutions (offered in HostUpon’s one-click script installer!) and detailed what features they offer.
Some of the highest-rated shopping carts available (and some are open-source!):
CubeCart is a professional shopping cart program developed by a UK based company called Develion Limited. It is widely used and a fully featured PHP ecommerce platform. They have been around since 2004 and provide one of the most intuitive solutions on the market. Some features are a bit too simplistic, but pricing and ease of use definitely made it a product we would consider in our top 5 – for beginners.
CubeCart is easy to install, being available in Softaculous and similar script installers. The setup wizard is relatively easy to use, setup your products, and then choose a template from one of the built-in and fully customizable stores.
Some of the features missing from CubeCart include a backorder system, detailed coupon/discount system, support for some common postal/mailing plugins, and advanced security controls.
ZenCart was once the most popular open-source eCommerce platform. It is PHP/MySQL based, free, and completely customizable. It’s been around since 2003, after changing the architectural design of osCommerce and taking it in a new direction.
ZenCart is maintained by a large group of volunteer programmers and engineers with a goal to provide a free ecommerce solution that can be installed and developed by anyone.
Documentation in ZenCart in highly detailed and constantly updated. The community using ZenCart is quite large, at over 100,000 users, so there’s a good chance someone else has the same questions as you.
Overall, ZenCart is a great choice, but some users reported being confused when it was first installed, as the user interface and admin back-end can get quite overwhelming.
Magento offers two versions of their platform: Community Edition is a hosted open-source version of the cart that is free to download, and Enterprise Edition is a solution for large-scale retailers.
Magento is used by more than 150,000 merchants since it’s inception in 2007 and has earned a reputation for offering a large selection of features, addons, and being totally customizable.
Magento was bought by eBay in 2011 and since the buyout, the former owners have been quite disappointed with how eBay is managing the business. Despite the changes, Magento still receives many great reviews, and has advantages not found in other platforms.
In terms of usability, some users report it can be tough to navigate for beginners. Even simple tasks like adding products and setting up categories can be a challenge.
Most people have heard of WordPress, and many businesses are already using it for their business. WordPress has become an industry-standard platform, and thanks to WooCommerce, you can now add commerce features to your WordPress site!
WooCommerce launched in 2011 and has been downloaded nearly 4 million times by users across the world. The plugin is maintained by a company called WooThemes, and like other open-source plugins, it is free to download! There is a huge database of add-ons (though many are not free) which makes WooCommerce much more advanced and useable for many different industries. The extensions ranges from shipping calculators and accounting tools, to inventory management and user widgets. By the time you’re finished adding extensions and plugins, WooCommerce will no longer be “free”, but luckily most are only one-time fees.
Overall, WooCommerce is very easy to use, especially if you’re already familiar with the WordPress CMS. Similar to WordPress posts, products can be tagged, categorized, etc. It has a special “admin” interface only used for WooCommerce, but after a few minutes of navigation, it becomes very easy to understand and manage.
WooCommerce is completely customizable, scalable and can easily be updated with new features, dependant on what your store needs. It is a well-rounded plugin set to create the most robust and efficient open-source store on top of WordPress.
More details can be found on the WooCommerce website.
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