Every commercial organization no matter how small looks for a viable online presence and free to use technologies have come as a blessing for them. Economical and easy to work with, these frameworks have enabled rapid development of websites with all the required functionalities needed for running a store in the virtual world. Let’s take a look at 5 open source eCommerce platforms that can help an entrepreneur gain entry to the online realm.
Open Source eCommerce Platforms
1. WooCommerce by WordPress
The hugely popular first entry on this list is a plugin that can be used only with websites developed using the WordPress framework and comes equipped with about 39 themes most of which are free, allowing for convenient designing according to the owner’s preferences. It gives the advantage of flexibility in adding functionalities like product catalogs and sale prices while the mobile-friendly nature makes it ideal to use as a growing number of people are using such devices for shopping purposes.
Integrating fully with an existing website, it gives the benefit of content marketing for better optimization of the project. Another attribute contributing to its utility is the built-in analytics system that is of huge help to any merchant in assessing the performance of the venture by perusing metrics like sales figures, orders, individual customer statistics etc. Supporting all the major payment gateways, WooCommerce is one of the attractions that motivate a person to convert an existing website to WordPress.
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2. Magento Community Edition
Most developers might have heard of the Enterprise edition which enjoys a huge and respectable patronage but a lot of the features of that version are available for free in the Community edition. A feature-rich framework which permits a merchant to manage various stores along with the option of the website in multiple languages which load according to the geographical location of a user along with payment options in a number of currencies has made this another favored choice.
Offering functionalities for all conceivable requirements of a seller like product display, shipping, and storefront design, its flexible nature is further enhanced by a wide variety of themes and plugins being supplied by a vibrant developer community. The only drawback that can be listed, perhaps is that as there is no centralized support system, finding solutions to problems is a time- taking process.
Favored by startups and small business owners with the limited budget, this fairly easy to use framework lack some functionalities but it offers all the basic facilities needed to launch a virtual outlet. Equipped with a very user- friendly set-up, with facility for opening multiple stores in a number of languages which can be managed from a single panel, it has a preloaded theme set which can be used for customization and the catalog functionality is very handy for order- processing needs. Its lightweight character does not put too much of a strain on the server but it’s over-dependence on plugins may give rise to compatibility issues.
One of the most reliable names of all the 5 open source eCommerce platforms named here, the biggest asset of using this framework is getting help from an enormous support community which has contributed more than 7,000 Add-ons for designing and customization of appearance and functionality of the outlet. Providing solutions for front- end, as well as back-end management issues, this self- hosted platform, is ideal for small-scale business persons looking for a very basic enterprise.
Allowing for unlimited additions to the product catalog along with language and currency options, it does not require in-depth technical knowledge for making modifications. It can be error-prone though and the poor scale-ability feature makes it vital to take professional help to maintain and manage the website.
5. Zen Cart
Another community developed and backed the project, it has an extensive library of templates and can be integrated with almost all the popular payment gateways making it an appealing choice for merchants. A fully customize-able product allowing the modification of the code according to the requirement makes it ideal for people looking for scaling the business in future.
Showcasing an extensive library of templates along with the facility to support HTML- formatted emails, it comes fitted with almost all the attributes like product description and pricing, inventory management, shopping cart, coupons and display of advertisements, needed for a shopping website.
The idea behind listing these 5 open source eCommerce platforms here was to give any person harboring thoughts of starting such an enterprise, an idea about the available frameworks which can help in the effortless and rapid creation of a virtual shopping outlet.